Looking for inspiration for your next family trip?
Here are five beautiful places to consider.
Niagara Falls, NY
Listen to the roar. And feel the fog. But don’t worry. Board the iconic Maid of the Mist and get a poncho to feel the power of the historic waterfall.
Formed about 12,000 years ago, Niagara Falls straddles the US-Canada border and has long been attractive to explorers, adventurers, and honeymooners. Explore the area from different angles during the day, including lush nature trails, water skimming jet boats, and high-flying helicopters.
Within Niagara Falls State Park, visit the observation deck for panoramic views of the three major waterfalls, American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls and Horseshoe Falls. Every night, the park offers “naturally inspired” illuminations of the waterfall, along with seasonal fireworks.
For many: www.NiagaraFallsUSA.com..
Upper Peninsula of Michigan
A four-season playground for nature lovers, Michigan’s UP confronts the three Great Lakes of Lake Superior, Lake Huron, and Michigan.
As a staple of warm weather, there are plenty of water and beach activities such as kayaking, sailing and fishing. Inland, visitors explore the primeval forests and fly-fishing streams along the rivers that water the Great Lakes.
From Mount Porcupine, just a few miles from the shores of Lake Superior, adventurers considered one of Michigan’s wildest landscapes can hike from the summit to the coast in a single day. Snowmobiles, skiing, snowshoeing and ice fishing are popular during the winter months.
For many: www.Michigan.org
Tybee Island, Georgia
Only 8 km long, this fascinating Barrier Island is magnified by its scenic beauty and hidden gems with the atmosphere of a small town.
Twenty minutes from downtown Savannah, Tyby Island appeals to families who enjoy kayaking, looking for fossils and learning ecology on the beach.
Check out Georgia’s oldest and tallest lighthouses and enjoy cycling around Tybee’s historic Fort Scriven district. Get intimate with bottlenose dolphins on an adventure tour.
Don’t miss the experience of the new 5,000-square-foot marine science center for touching tanks, talking about turtles, floating classrooms, and engaging in hands-on activities. Stay in a small inn or rental property near the sea.
For many: www.VisitTybee.com
Road to Hana in Hawaii
The rugged Maui coastline, bamboo grove, and waves crashing into the glorious waterfalls are destined for the road itself.
In stark contrast to the resort-filled beaches of the rest of the island, the road to Hana offers a clean, lush landscape that exudes remnants of old Hawaiian culture. It’s worth the effort to stop along a 52-mile drive for photos, hikes, beach picnics, and tastings of the famous banana and mango breads.
Spend the night in Hana, known as the “Center of Old Hawaii,” explore further and consider not rushing through the spectacular scenery.
Step into the vast Wyoming wilderness. Here, alpine lakes, miles of hiking and horseback riding trails, and spectacular views offer a spectacular experience.
At the all-inclusive Brooks Lake Lodge, a rustic and restored cabin is surrounded by spruce and pine trees on Pinnacle Mountain. Enjoy the sweet scent of the forest from under the goose-down comforter. Or consider a one-night pack trip to the backcountry and sleep under a star-studded sky.
Lynn O’Rourke Hayes (LOHayes.com) is a writer, family travel expert and avid explorer. Gather more travel information via Twitter @ lohayes, Facebook, or FamilyTravel.com..