You’ve put your traveling on hold to settle down and have a family. We did the same. Except now our little ones, who are six and seven, are to the point where they can handle being on the road. No more strollers, pack-n-plays, or diapers… but still plenty “are we there yet, Papa Smurf?” comments. Let the traveling commence!
Below you will find 3 Must-Have Books for Creating a Family Travel Plan:
Frommer’s 500 Places to Take Your Kids Before They Grow Up
by Holly Hughes
Amazon Writes: Here are cities, zoos, sports shrines, museums, castles, beaches, outdoor activities, and more—500 thoughtfully-chosen places that will enchant and beguile both the young and the young at heart. Each entry contains all the information families need to help plan a trip: age ratings, service details, and nearby kid-friendly hotels. Photos throughout the book help bring destinations to life.
The 10 Best of Everything Families: An Ultimate Guide for Travelers
(National Geographic the 10 Best of Everything)
By Susan Magsamen
Amazon Writes: Family trips are the most popular form of leisure travel, and according to recent research, the current trend of multigenerational and family-friendly getaways will continue to grow. To answer the need for an authoritative, creative, and practical travel planner, National Geographic and Susan Magsamen, a leading parenting expert, have joined together to create this must-have guide. Chock full of ten-best lists, sidebars, maps, and more, this is the perfect resource for planning a week-long vacation with grandparents, a dream trip across the country, or a short getaway close to home.
101 Places You Gotta See Before You’re 12!
By Joanne O’Sullivan
Amazon Writes: To children, the world can seem huge, filled with exciting places to visit and new things to experience. But how can they start uncovering the many treasures that await them? This fun and informative guidebookthe first in a new seriesinvites kids to embark on an exhilarating scavenger hunt that opens their eyes to things they’ve never imagined before. And there’s no need to go far or plan a big, expensive vacation to see this great stuff. In fact, some of the places may be quite close to home.
My husband and I sat down and discussed where we want to take our girls. While Disney was discussed, these five locations won out. Here is our family’s list of travel goals:
1. Redwood National Park, California.
We camped here in college and the experience was unlike anything I’ve ever felt. One really feels how grand nature can be while standing in the middle of the forest here.
“The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It’s not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time.” ― John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America
2. Glacier National Park, Montana.
We had reservations to camp here for our honeymoon, but forest fires closed the park the month we got married. I’ve heard that this park is as lovely as Yosemite with less of a crowd. As the daughter of a builder I was enthralled by the PBS special on the grand lodges of Glacier.
3. Zion National Park, Utah.
When our Glacier honeymoon plans were canceled, we decided to head to Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands and Zion National Park out west. We spent a few days at each, but there was something magical about Zion. Surrounding by beautiful rock, the scenery would dramatically change depending on the time of day.
The most amazing experience was hiking The Narrows. You literally hike up a shallow river between gorgeous bounding rock walls.
4. Yosemite National Park, California. I found myself swept away by the words of John Muir throughout the documentary The National Parks :: America’s Best Idea. This is on my personal list of “life goals” and I want to share the experience with my family.
“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” — John Muir from Our National Parks (1901)
5. Apostle Islands, Wisconsin.
I remember once being frustrated by a gorgeous vacation photo in a magazine because it seemed unobtainable. Living in the Midwest, many our of my favorite destinations are quite far away or costly. I was surprised to find the photo was right in my backyard, aka the Apostle Islands.
When planning your vacation dream list don’t forget to look for semi-local locations! My husband and I have vacationed in Bayfield many time for our anniversary. When the girls are old enough we are excited to take them sea kayaking through the caves in the islands.
Do you have a “must see” trip you want to share with your family?
I’d love if you would share. Let’s chat in the comments.
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