If there’s anything parents learn quickly, it’s how soon their children become young adults. Make the most of their childhood, building memories that will last with these vacation spots that are not only enriching, but entertaining for everyone!
1. Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve; Alaska
For an ultimate adventure complete with larger than life ice cubes, (glaciers), this park will instill a sense of wonder, courageousness and accountability for the environment when kids see what life is like in The Last Frontier. Experiences include Kayaking, whale watching, eco-tours, fishing, ranger programs, ship cruises, camping, hiking, rafting, mountaineering, hunting, trapping and more; all abundant on 3.3 million robust acres.
2. Poipu Beach; Hawaii
As this was voted in the top 10 by the Travel Channel as “America’s Best Beach”, it is a no-brainer that family-friendly is on the menu! The little ones can wade in gentle, clear, warm water to get acquainted with the beach while the older children take up snorkeling for treasure and sea creatures among the reef formations! With 7 days a week lifeguards, this is one of the safest beaches in Hawaii. By the time you’re ready to head home, you will have future marine biologists on your hands! Mahalo!
3. Painted Desert; Arizona
Getaway from it all in the Grand Canyon State where echoes across dusty pink cliffs become fast friends. Where sunset never seems to end your family will discover 160 gorgeous miles of natural beauty hand-painted by millions of years of the plates of the earth shifting. Hopi legends and prehistoric fossils bask in the surreal splendor of this incredible mountainscape.
4. Niagara Falls; New York and Canada
The Niagara Falls beats any summer sprinkler your kids have ever seen! Get them completely drenched at the base of millions of gallons of water toppling at high speeds over the Falls gorge on a Maid of the Mist Boat Tour! Get those blue keepsake ponchos on and cover your faces against the soaking roar of the oldest tourist attraction in the country! Your steamboat will return you to safety for further exploration of an aquarium, museum, botanical gardens, restaurant, and The Whirlpool suspended cable Aero Car rides!
5. Cannon Beach; Oregon
An unspoiled shoreline dotted with wildlife and small-town ambiance stretching across nine miles of seaside bliss. Arrive between June and September for fresh Farmer's Market produce in town to pack for a picnic in the woods lining prime seashell hunting grounds! Horseback riding on the silent sands will alert you as to why this rugged community is known as one of the best art towns in America. The children will particularly enjoy the various tide pools inhabited by crabs and starfish, but keeping their eyes to the sky may result in a rare sighting of the Tufted puffin!
6. Golden Gate Bridge; San Francisco
For the best look at San Fran, your family must stand at the gateway to the pulsating vibes of counter-culture heaven. Whether you take a boat beneath it, a car across it or a walk beside it, this International Orange-colored suspension bridge is a famous icon that deserves a look! On a foggy morning when one end of the bridge can’t be seen it is an adventure on its own as you make your way along 4,200 feet of endless grey mist above the ocean. The most photographed bridge in the world, this engineering marvel is one place you won’t mind the traffic because enjoying the view around you is half the fun!
7. New York City
In a city fueled by bucket list chart-toppers, even kids have big ambitions for the Big Apple! World-famous Rockefeller Center’s ice skating rink is a MUST for first-time visitors to capture the feeling, “just like in the movies”! The Madame Tussaud Wax Museum offers photo ops with Justin Bieber or Edward Cullen, as well as a Marvel Super Heroes 4D film/command center! Hop a horse-drawn carriage through Central Park before taking the sprouts for their first mugshots at the NYC Police Museum where there is also a Junior Officers Discovery Zone just for them!