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The Grand Canyon – I am terrified of heights. Seriously. I don’t like to climb ladders. So this was a tough one for me. But you don’t have to stand close to the rail to enjoy the beauty of the Grand Canyon. We didn’t do have a long visit, we just went for the day during a recent trip to Arizona. We can’t wait to go for a longer visit and take a hike down into the canyon. Yes, even me. They promised me there are hikes that won’t make me puke.
On our next trip, I want to stay at the Trapper’s Rendezvous. It has gorgeous forest views and my daughter will love the nightly campfires they hold.
Niagra Falls – Again. Difficult for someone who doesn’t like heights, but so worth it. First, don’t bother doing your hair. Second, don’t wear something you will get mad if it gets wet. The spray from the falls will soak everything. For the adventurous ones in your group, do not miss the Cave of the Winds tour. You get to go home with a souvenir poncho. Travel tip: Pack some towels. Otherwise you may drive back in a wet seat!
Mount Rushmore – A trip to the Black Hills in South Dakota is worth a trip on it’s own. But throw in a hand carved sculpture made out of solid granite and you have a history buff’s dream. Did you know that the original idea was to carve Lewis and Clark, Red Cloud and Buffalo Bill Cody? The sculptor Bordlum wanted to give it wider appeal so he chose four presidents, Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln. It was originally meant to be carved from waist to up, but they ran out of money for the project. Bordlum died in March 1941 and his son completed the sculpture to it’s current state by October 1941.
The Alamo, San Antonio, Texas – No, I am not saying the Alamo because we live in Texas. This is a trip that shouldn’t be missed. And just because everything is bigger in Texas, don’t expect this to be a huge fort. It’s actually pretty small. And it is sitting in the center of a very busy city. If not for the work of the Daughter’s of the Republic of Texas, the Alamo might not have survived. They fought tirelessly for it’s preservation. Today, the Alamo sits surrounded by a large, bustling city. And also a gorgeous river walk that is worthy of a trip on it’s own. Take my advice and go for a walk and grab a bite to eat at Rosarios on the Riverwalk. The only thing better than their salsa is the people watching. There are tons of other things to do in San Antonio besides the Alamo and the Riverwalk. Plan to stay for a few days and check out the missions. The Alamo is not the only preserved mission in the area.
Freedom Trail, Boston – Sixteen historically significant sites in less than 2.5 miles. To get the most out of this trip, definitely take a tour. The tour guides are a wealth of information. And there is nothing better than learning about American history by walking in the footsteps of our founding fathers. If you have seen National Treasure, it’s also fun to see several spots where filming took place. This area can be a little crowded, so if you have kids who tend to wander, make sure to keep them close.
Sequoia National Park, California – The General Sherman tree is the largest living tree in the world. In the world. According to the park information guide on outdoorempire.com, this park is home to five of the ten largest trees in the world. Along with the awe inspiring sequoia trees, there are over 240 known caves in the park. One of our favorite parts of this park is the tunnel log. In 1934 a massive 21 foot diameter tree fell from natural causes. It landed on the road through the forest. Instead of removing the tree, they just cut a big hole in it so people can drive through the tree.
Washington, DC – If you want a trip with plenty to do and see, this is the one. You can pack an itinerary with no effort at all. Don’t miss the National Museum of Natural History. It has interactive learning spaces that even your moody tween will love. Did you know there is an International Spy Museum? Let your wanna be 007 explore decades worth of espionage artifacts. If your kids are budding environmentalists, then you have to take them to the National Geographic Museum. They have revolving exhibits and displays of ways to help preserve and protect the worlds natural resources.
Williamsburg, Virginia – If you want to extend your DC trip, take a drive over to Williamsburg. It’s like traveling back in time. You can explore historic buildings surrounded by tour guides in period clothing. Not only are there tons of things to do to keep your crew entertained, this is one trip that doesn’t have to break the bank. While the kids grab a burger at the local tavern, be sure to sample one of the local craft brews.
White Sands, New Mexico – I’m a beach kinda girl. There is nothing I love more than a sandy beach and the sound of the waves against the shore. But no salt water? I wasn’t sure about this one. Until we got there. The rangers are friendly and informative and love showing off the park. Want to learn more? Be sure to check out an Adventure Pack. They are free. Yep, free. Check out a backpack loaded with binoculars, compass, animal guides and more. Once you are done being a junior park ranger, you have to try sledding down the dunes. The super fine gypsum sand looks and acts like snow. You can grab a sled and act like a kids too. Just be careful, the sand is soft, but the hard ground at the bottom is not. Don’t ask me how I know. I just know.
Disney World, Orlando, Florida – Yes. Disney. I was in my 40’s when I went for the first time. And even the crankiest amusement park haters can’t resist the Disney magic. Seeing my daughter’s face when she met her favorite Disney princess was priceless. Well, maybe not priceless. It’s not cheap. There are ways to save money at Disney. We researched and read everything we could before we went. We have another trip planned so we can try the Not So Scary Halloween party. And we CAN’T WAIT to check out Pandora.
There are more family friendly vacation ideas, but these are the ones that top our list. We love to get some educational activities in on every trip we take and most of these make it easy.