The Great American Family Vacation is a cultural establishment, a testament to the spirit of adventure that we pass down from generation to generation. From family vacations come the memories that shape the explorers, dreamers, and budding history buffs among us. The U.S. is so much more than Disney World, so here are seven extra special destinations that will captivate travelers of any age.
7 Great American Vacation Spots for Families
The Time Capsule
Mackinac Island, MI residents banned cars from the island in the 1800s. To this day, horse-drawn carriages fill the streets, which are lined with candy and ice cream shops. The quaint Mackinac lifestyle is a refreshing change of pace, and tourists won’t want to miss authentic Fort Mackinac or the many hiking trails that crisscross this little gem of an island.
The Southern Splash
The German-Texan roots of New Braunfels, TX lend a unique flavor to its attractions. Take Greene Hall, the iconic honky-tonk venue where George Strait and Lyle Lovett first tuned up their guitars. Or Schlitterbahn (“slide”), the world-famous water park. New Braunfels’ warm weather and multitude of rivers and lakes make it an über-hotspot for tubing and other water sports.
The Jaw Dropper
Photographs hardly do justice to Bryce Canyon, UT. Its breathtaking landscape of brilliant red rock could only exist in the American Southwest. Tourists can locate hiking and biking trails of any difficulty level on a Bryce Canyon National Park map. Bryce Canyon is an unforgettable place to ski and snowshoe in the winter, fish and ride horseback in the summer, and gaze up at the stars all year round.
The Wild, Wild East
Cumberland Island, GA is not your average Spring Break haunt. Its wilderness has remained untouched for centuries, a secret paradise where wild horses still wander the sand dunes. Visitors hike through freshwater wetlands and camp beneath canopies of live oaks and Georgia pines. This peaceful haven lets vacationers experience the shore like never before.
The Lap of Luxury
A trip to Millionaires Row in idyllic Hudson Valley, NY is probably the closest one will get to a castle tour in the U.S. Visitors can explore exquisitely preserved mansions that belonged to Ogden Mills, Vanderbilt, and Rockefeller, including the 65-room Staatsburgh Estate. Hudson Valley is also home to the historic United States Military Academy at West Point.
The Rock Star
Ancient landforms and manmade attractions become one in Chattanooga, TN’s extraordinary Rock City. A nature walk on scenic Mount Lookout turns magical thanks to curiosities like Fairyland Caverns, rock formations with names like “Fat Man Squeeze,” and a 145-foot underground waterfall. There is even a lookout where you can glimpse seven states at once!
The Roaring City
The San Diego Zoo in San Diego, CA is one of the best in the world, a 99-acre marvel where more than 650 species slither, squawk, and howl. The Zoo’s Safari Park allows guests to roam with endangered rhinos or glide above giraffes on a 2/3-mile zip line. Families can also peruse the museums and gardens of Balboa Park, snorkel at La Jolla Cove, or enjoy a Padres baseball game. And if all else fails, Legoland California is a breezy 45 minute drive away.
America is an endless patchwork quilt of regional flavors, small town secrets, weirdness, and wonder. Not to mention some of the most magnificent landscapes in the world! Whether your family is tubing down a river in Texas or watching wild horses graze in Georgia, you’re in for a vacation you’ll never forget.