Yes, vacation is for relaxing on the beach, drinking a few fruity beverages and getting plenty of rest. It’s also for exploring a new place, getting your hands dirty, and seeing the world from a different perspective. These five locations allow your family to do exactly that, creating memories that will last a lifetime along the way. Keep these destinations in mind you’re ready for your next family adventure.
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park, located in Montana, proudly boasts one million acres of natural beauty. The star attraction: 25 remaining glaciers because in 1850 there were 150 glaciers. Now’s your chance to see the few that are left, along with the rest of the park—and the best part is, you can see it all from your car, which is helpful for families with small children:
“A drive along the park’s epic Going-to-the-Sun Road can be a true adventure as it curves along mountainsides with steep drop-offs, providing jaw-dropping vistas,” says Kwin Mosby with TravelChannel.com.
When you’re done driving around, hop out of the car for some hands-on adventure, with boat tours, horseback riding tours, and bicycle tours, all of which are available to visitors. If you love to hike, there are more than 700 miles of hiking trails to choose from, as well, with choices for every level of hiker.
One hidden gem you don’t want to miss is Two Medicine. Once a main destination for visitors, this is now off-the-beaten path will reward you with breathtaking views and a moment of solitude, as you and your family take in the amazing world around you.
In northwest Florida, off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, you’ll find the charming city of Destin. Destin is also referred to as the “world’s luckiest fishing village” and is the best spot for families to learn the ropes of deep-sea fishing—something most people will never do in their lives.
“The port continues to thrive with the same bountiful success that put Destin on the map as a top deep sea fishing destination. Today, Destin is home to the largest fishing fleet in the state of Florida. Millions of visitors flock to the area each year to experience the adventurous tradition of abundance and blessings in deep sea fishing that founded the city of Destin so long ago,” according to Charter Fishing Destin.
Most excursions are kid friendly, and some are even designed to education your little ones as you go. You’ll enjoy a day on the water, while the kids are engaged and entertained. The best part: you’ll get plenty of quiet back at the hotel after they pass out from a long day in the sun.
Chicago may not be on your radar for family adventures, but the Windy City is rich in opportunities for all ages. The Navy Pier, alone, is worth the trip, home to specialty cruises, unique art and tech exhibits, and the infamous Centennial Wheel, where you can go high above the city for the most spectacular views are just a few of the offerings at The Navy Pier.
Once you leave the pier, head to The Skydeck at the Chicago Willis Tower or 360 Chicago, formerly the former John Hancock Observatory. For the science lovers in the family, no trip to Chicago would be complete without stopping at the Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium and Field Museum. If visiting museums and city exploring sounds like your kind of adventure, Chicago is a must-visit.
Zambia, South Africa
If you’re longing for adventure outside of the U.S., look no further than Zambia. This South African destination offers the same scenic wildlife tours that you would find in Botswana with more of an emphasis on family excursions. Victoria Falls offers the perfect rafting experience for those looking for a water-based adventure. If you’re feeling extra adventurous stay the night in Puku Ridge Sanctuary, a tented safari camp that overlooks the wetlands and promises incredible views of the African wildlife.
For the ultimate tourist experience, consider a reputable tour company that takes care of all of the details for you. You enjoy the adventure, while they do everything else.
Pristine white sand beaches, all-inclusive resorts, and family-oriented activities make the Bahamas one of the top family adventure destinations in the world. Scuba diving and snorkeling are two of the most popular island activities for families and budding marine biologists can swim with dolphins and get up close and personal with sharks. If you time your trip for December or July, you’ll even be able to catch Junkanoo, the carnival-type festival, reminiscent of Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
Make your next family trip and adventurous one, whether you stay in the U.S., explore the safaris of Africa, or spend a week on island time. Use these ideas to inspire your next adventure.
About the author: Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and is currently a full- time writer and content marketing consultant. She’s written for Reader’s Digest, AARP, Lifehack and more. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07 for money-saving ideas, health tips and more.