The Best Family Activity Vacations

Whether it is a long weekend or a summer vacation taking the family on a trip can be fun and enjoyable for everyone if you plan it right and go to a destination where everyone has something interesting to do and can get involved. Here is our list of some of the best places and activities for a family vacation.

11. Camping

Camping is one way to get the kids to leave the electronics and enjoy some outdoor activities. Whether you rent a camper or buy some gear, the whole family can enjoy a respite from the hectic rush that encompasses everyday life. Check out the State Parks where you live and spend some time teaching your kid to fish and enjoy the outdoors. National Parks like Yosemite and White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire offer the opportunity to enjoy nature, leave the cell phone behind and relax a little. Spend some time at night cooking over a campfire and telling stories. Camping can be a great option to getaway and not spend a ton of money.

family camping

10. Take a History Tour

One thing that can be of interest to everyone is learning about a place or visiting a historical site. School age kids can see places they learned about in class and the adults can enjoy visiting places they may have never seen and teaching the kids. Visit locations like Gettysburg National Military Park or Boston where you can see places that shaped the history of the country. Take a trip to Tombstone Arizona where Wyatt Earp, his brothers and Doc Holliday had their famous gunfight with Billy Clanton and gang at the OK Corral. A visit to Williamsburg Virginia is like being transported to colonial times where you see how people lived and get to interact with the period actors. A vacation to a historical place can rev up the kids desire to learn about history and also give the whole family a renewed appreciation for things people had to endure in the past.

Family, Athens

9. Dude Ranches

Dude Ranches began springing up in the western part of the US in the late 1880’s when the wealthy wanted to experience the “Wild West”. What started out as hunting expeditions has grown over the years into today’s version of the Dude Ranch. Places today offer things like fine dining and cooking classes, spa services, white water rafting, hiking, nature hikes and of course horse riding, roping and cattle drives. There is even a Dude Ranch Association and trust that preserves the history of Dude Ranching. How about a Montana Cattle drive? The McGinnis Meadows Cattle and Guest Ranch offers cattle drives every June. With all the outdoor activities and accommodation options ranging from basic to luxury there is a Dude Ranch that will fit your family’s interest level and bring great memories.

kids horseback riding

8. All Inclusive Getaway

For years places like Cancun and the Caribbean have been famous for the “all inclusive” experience. Today you don’t need to travel quite as far since many places offer all-inclusive packages. Whether it be a place in the mountains such as Sky Top Lodge in the Poconos or Club Med in Florida, the advantage of an all-inclusive for families is the parents don’t have to worry as much about daily budgets and spending. Choose a place where everyone in the family has activities to enjoy. Pick a place in advance and pay one fee that will cover accommodations, food and activities. Some places charge extra fees for their premium activities like jet skis and some cover food and not drinks. Make sure you check to see what activities are not covered and any extra fees that may be involved.

Family resort

7. Cruises

Cruises aren’t just for retired people and couples celebrating anniversaries. Cruise lines have made a concerted effort to attract families and younger people. You can find cruises leaving from most large ports in the US and Canada and they travel to places both domestic and foreign. From 3 day cruises to cruises that last 10 days or longer and stop at multiple ports, a family trip on a cruise can be fun and exciting. While on board there are activities to suit everyone and great food along with entertainment. Once you dock at a port you can explore the area, take part in optional tours and pick up souvenirs. If you want to see the glaciers in Alaska or visit the warm sunny Caribbean, you can find a cruise that the family will enjoy. If you don’t think a sea cruise is for you then take a river cruise. American Cruise Lines offers 35 cruises on America’s waterways. How about a trip down the mighty Mississippi river on a paddle wheeler?

family cruise ship

6. Volunteering Vacation

If you want to experience new cultures or make a difference then go on a volunteer vacation. I know it sounds wrong to pay to volunteer but you are paying for someone that has the expertise to guide you, lodging, food and other items when you take on a vacation like this. Volunteer vacations range from wildlife conservation to helping upgrade facilities in remote locations. Imagine taking the family to Nepal to help rebuild and upgrade facilities in the countryside while you enjoy the company of the locals and learn about their culture. How about a trip to Costa Rica to build and renovate schools or bring running water to remote villages. There are a lot of tour companies that offer volunteering vacations ranging from teaching abroad to rebuilding and improving villages. The whole family can enjoy a vacation where you volunteer to make a difference.

Hanoi Photography / Shutterstock.com
Hanoi Photography / Shutterstock.com

5. Conservation Tourism

There are several ways to enjoy a vacation while at the same time witnessing wildlife in its natural habitat. African safaris have evolved from hunts to photo shoots getting you up close to animals that may be on the verge of becoming extinct. These types of vacations provide the family a way to see vanishing animals and eco systems while at the same time the money helps in conservation efforts. The family can take trips to the Galapagos Islands to see the abundant wildlife, vacations where you scuba dive and snorkel while seeing living coral and marine life or a visit to an Eco lodge to enjoy the activities and help conserve the eco system. A Conservation Vacation can be educational for everyone in the entire family while also helping the environment.

Family at Galapagos

4. Road Trip

Say the words family road trip and you conjure up images of bored kids and nerve racked parents. It doesn’t have to be that way. Instead plan out a road trip to a destination such as The Grand Canyon or to visit a distant relative for a day or two. Make plans to stop and enjoy various sites along the way making on one big adventure. Instead of driving for 2 days only to stop at a hotel for the night, incorporate some side trips along the way and back home. Take one route going and return by a completely different rout. Visit a theme park on the way or stop at popular attraction or town. Spend some time exploring a cave system like Carlsbad or a museum like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Have everyone list a couple of their favorite sights and pick something for everyone.

Family road trip

3. Head to the Beach

No matter where you live in North America the beach is fairly close. Even by plane you can find a great beach destination a few hours from home. The family will enjoy all the beach activities and spending time whatever town is close by. No matter how much you want to just lay around and relax the beach seems to inspire your inner urge for adventurism. Besides just laying out on a sandy beach the fresh air and ocean breeze beckons you to enjoy activities like Jet Skis, paragliding or partaking in other water sports. Come nightfall the parents can enjoy some quiet time on a balcony overlooking the water while the kids are fast asleep after all the daytime activities. The kids can enjoy the water and get some exercise and the parents can return home relaxed and ready to go back to work while dreaming of the next vacation.

Family beach sunset

2. Visit the Wonders of the World

One way to ensure that the kids remember a trip for years to come is to take the family on the trip of a lifetime. Imagine visiting the Great Wall of China or the ancient ruins off Greece. While this type of trip may be more expensive than most you can plan in advance and start saving money to take the family to a world class destination. Some of these places are in decline and may not be around in years to come like the Medieval Monuments in Kosovo or the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra where poaching and illegal logging are threatening the entire area.  Visit one of the UNESCO world heritage sites like the temples in Angkor Wat in Cambodia or Westminster Abbey in the UK. Plan a trip that the family will talk about for years to come.

great wall of china

1. Disney

No list of family vacations would be complete without Disney. From the early beginnings of Disney Land with teapot rides and roller coasters Disney has evolved into probably the world’s leading family activity destination. Disney World, Epcot Center, Animal Kingdom, Sports Complexes and Water Parks all make up Disney World. Disney World encompasses over 25,000 acres of family fun. From world class golfing, Amusement Parks, fine dining, resort properties, Hollywood Studios and more Disney has something for everyone. Spend some time at one of the parks, enjoy the amenities of the hotel resort or some of the nearby activities. Give yourself some time to enjoy everything but even if you spent two weeks you probably would not get around to enjoying everything Disney World has to offer. Like they say Disney World is a place “where dreams come true.”

Katherine Welles / Shutterstock.com
Katherine Welles / Shutterstock.com

The 10 Coolest Train Rides in the World

In the 21st century, train travel has been displaced by other modes of transport, like air travel and automobiles. But many travelers laud the experience of train travel; it’s often faster than a car and, unlike air travel, it allows you to see the landscape as you roll along toward your destination. Reflecting this, many train operations now offer luxury tours for travelers who want to ride in style without missing an opportunity for exploration. Combining amazing scenery, national treasures and elegance, here are 10 of the coolest train rides around the world.

10. Maharajas Express -India

Travel through India on this amazing train journey. Five different routes are offered, departing from either Mumbai or Delhi. Choose from a four day journey or an eight day grand tour of some of the most famous and majestic places on the Indian subcontinent. Partake in Hindu rituals at the ghats of the Ganges or witness a polo match played not on horses, but on the backs of elephants. From ancient civilizations to the Taj Mahal, you’ll see palaces and museums, national parks and beaches on the Heritage of India tour. On the Indian Splendor tour, you’ll have a chance to explore an abandoned kingdom and a dinosaur fossil park. Departures are limited, usually once per month between October and April, so if you want to travel on the Maharajas Express, you’ll want to plan in advance.

Photo by: Maharajas' Express
Photo by: Maharajas’ Express

9. Grand Canyon -USA

Train travel is almost synonymous with the American West; train service was the glue that held the nation together until the mid-20th century. The Grand Canyon Railway captures the Old West feel with its stops at historic train depots and the El Tovar hotel, which was built in 1905. The railway has a number of unique passenger cars, including the dome cars that are peculiar to American railways. Two of the luxury parlor cars feature open-air platforms for observation. Trains depart the Williams depot daily and arrive at the south rim of the Grand Canyon National Park two hours and 15 minutes later. The trains return to Williams around 3:30 in the afternoon. Along the 65-mile journey, the train passes through diverse terrain of the high Sonoran desert and mountainous areas, and passengers might sight any number of animals, including pronghorns, and a variety of plants.

Grand Canyon Railway

8. The Ghan -Australia

Connecting Darwin at the northern tip of the Australian continent and Adelaide on the southern coast, The Ghan makes one of the most fascinating trips in the world. The Great Southern Rail-operated train travels almost 3,000 kilometers over the span of 54 hours, with a four hour stop over in Alice Springs. The train originally ran between Adelaide and Alice Springs, beginning operations in the late 1890s; it wasn’t until 2004 that Darwin was connected. The reasons are obvious: the route runs through vast swaths of the rugged Australian Outback. With the new train in operation, getting to Darwin and seeing the Outback has never been easier, although delays and track trouble still plague the line. Stops at Katherine and Alice Springs allow time for optional tours. The Ghan generally runs once a week, although two services operate weekly between June and September.

The Ghan, Australia

7. Blue Train -South Africa

The South African Blue Train is world-renowned for its luxury service, boasting butlers, two lounge cars, an observation car and private carriages with gold-tinted picture windows. The train takes passengers nearly 1,000 miles between Pretoria and Cape Town. Originally, the service was meant to connect passengers from Johannesburg to England-bound ships in Cape Town. There was a time when four routes were offered, but all have been discontinued except the route between Pretoria and Cape Town. The train makes at least one stop in either direction, allowing guests to explore the Open Mine Museum at Kimberley Station or enjoy a glass of sherry at Matjiesfontein. The journey takes passengers between inland and coastal areas, showcasing the spectacular scenery of the South African landscape. Passengers will journey across scrubland, through mountain foothills and across rivers in the height of luxury. Bring formal wear for your dinner engagement.

Blue Train, South Africa

6. Trans-Siberian -Russia

Not just a single line, the Trans-Siberian Railway is rather a collection of lines that traverse the huge expanse of the Siberian hinterland, connecting European Russia with the Russian Far East, the Sea of Japan and branching into Mongolia, China and North Korea. It is the longest railway in the world, spanning 5,772 miles from Moscow to Vladivostok, and is still being expanded. Even before its completion in 1916, it had become a hotspot for travelers, who then wrote about their experiences. The journey from Moscow takes about six days and crosses seven time zones before dropping passengers on the Pacific Coast. The line is still incredibly important for the transportation of goods and people between Moscow and the Russian Far East, and its historical importance cannot be underscored enough. The journey might not be the most luxurious, but it is certainly a fascinating view of Russia.

TransSiberian Railway

5. Royal Scotsman -UK

If you look at many top-10 lists for rail travel, you’re almost bound to run into the Royal Scotsman, a luxury liner that offers charter tours of the Scottish Highlands in the UK. With a variety of tour options, ranging from two nights in the Highlands to the seven night Grand Tour of Britain, the journey makes plenty of time for stops at local attractions, such as castle ruins, whisky distilleries and iconic natural wonders. Some journeys even include outdoor pursuits like shooting clay pigeons. As you travel, the observation car provides spectacular views of the glens, lochs and villages that make up the Highland vistas. Dining makes use of the best local ingredients and experiences are mixed between formal and informal. Combining luxury with an amazing tour of the Scottish landscape like you’ve never seen before, it’s little wonder the Royal Scotsman ranks highly on so many travelers’ bucket lists!

Photo by: Simon Pielow via Flickr
Photo by: Simon Pielow via Flickr

4. Glacier Express -Switzerland

While the Glacier Express isn’t a very quick trip—in fact, it has a reputation for being the slowest express train in the world—you probably won’t mind as you pass through the Alps between St. Moritz and Zermatt in Switzerland. The 7.5-hour journey takes passengers across 291 bridges, through 91 tunnels and across the Oberalp Pass. Large portions of the railway use a rack-and-pinion system for ascending through the steep Alpine inclines—up to 6, 670 feet at its zenith! Running east-west almost across the length of the country, the train travels through a number of important sites: the Albula/Bernina section of the trip are part of a World Heritage Site and the train journeys through the Rhine Gorge and up to the Matterhorn in Zermatt. Since the 1980s, the trains have run year-round, which means this spectacular trip can be enjoyed by travelers no matter the season.

Glacier Express, Switzerland

3. Eastern & Oriental Express -Thailand to Singapore

The Oriental Express is an actual train service, journeying through the Southeast Asian countries of Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and, since 2007, Laos. The tour starts in Singapore and stops in Kuala Lumpur, Butterworth and Kanchanaburi before arriving in Bangkok. A guided tour of the River Kwai and a tour of Georgetown, near Penang, are included on the most popular route, although there are nine routes to choose from. The Singapore-Bangkok route takes three days to complete. The journey has been awarded a place on the Society of International Railway Travelers’ “Top 25 Trains” list, earning points for service, dining, beauty and off-train experiences. The service is operated by Belmond, a renowned name in luxury train travel, and is considered one of the best ways to explore Southeast Asia. In 2015, two new “signature journeys” were introduced.

Photo by: Simon Pielow via Flickr
Photo by: Simon Pielow via Flickr

2. Hiram Bingham -Peru

Hop aboard this luxury liner and ride the rails between the city of Cusco and the ancient Inca capital of Machu Picchu. This ride consistently makes the top-10 lists for travelers visiting Peru, and not only because it heads up to the sacred Inca city. Part of the Orient Express, the train operates in both directions and is named after the discoverer of Machu Picchu. Combine slithering through the soaring Andes in the Incan outback with fine dining and a relaxing four hour trip. Guests have brunch on the trip to Aguas Caliente, and dinner if they catch the late train back to Cusco. A local band provides live entertainment during the trip and guests can sample the Peruvian drink pisco as the train rumbles alongside the Urubamba River, which flows from the Sacred Valley. The observation car features an open deck for passengers to better enjoy the view!

Hiram Bingham, Peru

1. Rocky Mountaineer -Canada

The Rocky Mountaineer isn’t one route, but four routes running between Alberta and British Columbia in Western Canada. Formed in 1990, the company operates the busiest privately owned passenger rail service in North America, with more than one million passengers having boarded the train since its inception. The Rocky Mountaineer is a perennial favorite among train travel enthusiasts, having been named the “World’s Leading Travel Experience by Train” seven times and the Society of American Travel Writers’ top train ride in 2009. All four routes run through the rugged Canadian Rockies, some of them following historic routes such as the Canadian Pacific. In 2013, it was announced that a three day trip from Seattle would be offered. All trains operate during the day, with some overnight stops, between May and September. The “Journey through the Clouds” takes passengers over the Canadian National railway through the Rockies, between Vancouver and Jasper.

Lissandra Melo / Shutterstock.com
Lissandra Melo / Shutterstock.com

America’s Most Scenic Road trips

A road trip can be defined as a journey by car, with no restrictions on how long you must travel for or how many stops you must make. Therefore exploring America’s most scenic road trips has led us anywhere from day trips to week-long adventures. In terms of scenery, America is full of crashing coastlines, rain forests, historical architectures and rolling fields of wildflowers. From the lava flows of Hawaii to the quirky roadside signs on Route 66 to the quaint villages of New Mexico; these 15 scenic road trips will have you headed to the car in no time.

15. Route 6, Cape Cod, Massachusetts

When you hear the words Cape Cod, one immediately thinks of quaint villages, historic lighthouses, miles of beaches and picturesque harbors. Route 6 offers over 117 miles throughout the Cape Cod area and road trippers will want to give themselves a few days to complete this trip, in order to truly get the most out of the scenery. Sand dunes, tidal pools, beaches and marshes will all entice you to stop the car and explore the surrounding areas. In the midst of the forests along the side of the road, keep your eyes peeled for wild blueberry and huckleberry bushes.The perfect treat to compliment any trip. Route 6 takes you into Provincetown, where music festivals and art work await. Make sure you rise early to catch the epic sunrises over the Atlantic Ocean while on your trip.

Route 6

14. The High Road, Santa Fe to Taos, New Mexico

This winding scenic road takes travelers along a 52 mile route through an authentic remainder of Old Spain, which is evident in the religion, architecture, topography, history, and people here. This day trip can take anywhere from four to seven hours depending on how many times you stop to admire the breathtaking churches, scenic byways and unique villages. This twisty road takes you up into the mountains, with views of snow-capped peaks, evergreen trees and wildlife. In the autumn this road turns into the “High Road Art Tour” where artists open their studios and galleries to the public. Visitors can meet with the artists and purchase directly from them while taking an incredible road trip through the historic villages, in a season where the trees turn color and the sky is an incredible shade of blue.

High Road

13. Historic Route 66, Chicago to Los Angeles

For three decades Route 66 was known as the “Main Street of America” as it wound its way through small towns across the Midwest and Southwest. This legendary old road passes through the heart of the United States and continues to captivate people from all over the world. To drive the entire route, it is over 2,000 miles and takes you past some of the most outrageous road signs, giant statues and quirky roadside attractions. The scenery along Route 66 is not to be forgotten though. Giant cornfields of Illinois, the streets of St. Louis and the golden sands of California pave the path for an unforgettable road trip through the history of America. Step back in time and discover what was the start of the American love affair with road trips on this iconic route.

Historic Route

12. Million Dollar Highway, Colorado

It provides one of the closest ways to experience the Wild West, as if it were still wild today and the Million Dollar Highway through Colorado takes travelers past old mines, deep gorges, waterfalls and breathtaking views. The actual Million Dollar Highway is only a 24 mile stretch of road but many road trippers choose to extend their trip down to Durango. Along the way travelers are privy to the peaks of Red Mountain, a set of three peaks that get their name from the red iron ore rocks covering their surface. The region’s old mines are here and can be explored by hiking or biking. The spectacular overlook at Molas Pass is not to be missed and it is said that the air here is the cleanest in the USA. In the spring, wildflowers are in full bloom and elk, mountain goats, black bears, and mule deer are often visible from the road.

Million Dollar Highway

11. The 1 Week Grand Circle Road Trip, Southwest Canyons

The dramatic red-rock scenery will absolutely blow your mind as you travel through Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon. In Zion visitors will be privy to emerald pools, the Narrows of the Zion Rivers and dramatic orange-red sandstone. Bryce Canyon is known for its colorful hoodoo formations that will awe and inspire you. The drive from here to Capitol Reef will be full of scenic overlooks and breathtaking views. Make sure to get out of your car and explore the Grand Canyon by foot or bicycle as every viewpoint offers something different. This amazing one week popular road trip offers jaw-dropping scenery both on the road and off, and is a must do for every American.

Bryce Canyon

10. Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia

It is one of America’s most scenic road trips; no matter what time of year you travel it, but many travelers head here in the fall to see the unbelievable display of changing colors on the leaves. This scenic highway connects Shenandoah National Park and the Skyline Drive in Virginia, with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee. This highway runs 468 miles with cliff-hugging turns, sweeping views, diverse flora and fauna and over 200 overlooks to take advantage of. Expect lakes, gorges, waterfalls, red oak trees, wildflowers and incredible rock formations. Begin in Virginia and snake your way down this colorful road all the way to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Hiking and biking trails lead right off the parkway and the small town’s quirky roadside attractions and great restaurants along the way make for the perfect scenic road trip.

Blue Ridge Highway

9. Historic Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway, Oregon

This was the first scenic highway in the United States, a marvel of engineering for its time, a National Historic Landmark and is still considered one of the most scenic drives in all of America. The highway treats travelers to ever-shifting views of the Columbia River Gorge, along with numerous hiking and biking trails that lead to hidden waterfalls. Historic monuments and buildings, fish hatcheries, stunning overlooks and of course the majestic waterfalls await you on this 70 mile journey. The most highly anticipated part of this drive is the five miles of figure eight loops that lead travelers down the river, loaded with waterfalls at every turn. The 620-foot Multnomah Falls, the fourth largest waterfall in the US is the highlight for many on this trip. After the waterfalls comes the impressive geological formations of the gorge and makes way for the dry, eastern Columbia River plateau where native plants and wildflowers make up the view.

Historic Columbia River

8. Road to Hana, Maui, Hawaii

The Road to Hana is at least a day, if not two day adventure through the beautiful island of Maui. This legendary road winds its way 50 miles through lush rain forests, past waterfalls, plunging pools and by dramatic seaside. The road is full of hairpin turns, one-way bridges and state parks. Taking your time on this road is highly recommended. The best way to see what the Road to Hana really has to offer is to do your research ahead of time. Many of the beaches, waterfalls and dramatic lookout points are hidden just off the road and require you to know which mile marker to pull off at. Black sand beaches, turquoise sea waters, bamboo forests, old wharfs, lava tubes, churches built of lava rocks and so much more await you on this epic drive through a breathtaking island.

Road to Hana

7. Beartooth Highway, Montana

This almost 70 mile stretch of highway from Montana to Wyoming is only open from May until late September and takes travelers throughout some of the most spectacular scenery in the United States. This zigzag highway is complete with switchbacks, steep climbs and endless views of the snow-capped Rocky Mountains, alpine plateaus, lush forests and sparkling lakes. This drive can take you anywhere from two hours to two days, depending on how many times you want to stop and explore. Most choose to start their drive in the town of Red Lodge and head east to Yellowstone National Park, as this route reduces glare and gives you the best views of the twenty plus peaks you pass. Wildlife sightings, countless overlooks and jaw-dropping views await you on one of the most scenic drives in all of America.

Beartooth Highway

6. The Olympic Peninsula Loop, Washington

This scenic loop takes travelers 329 miles, from the Olympic Mountains to the rain forests and to the beaches of the Pacific Ocean. What makes this drive so unique is the diversity of terrain it covers as it circles the Olympic National Park and Olympic National Forest. It is recommended to take at least two to three days to make this scenic road trip because many of its best kept secrets are located off the beaten path. It is therefore important to mention that not all the ‘scenery’ can be seen from the road. Venture off at Sequim and head to the Dungeness Wildlife Refuge and Dungeness Spit where you can visit the world’s longest natural sand spit. Don’t miss Rialto Beach where towering rock formations and sea life provide ample photography opportunity. Other hot spots are Lake Quinault and the Quinault rain forest, Ruby Beach and Hurricane Ridge.

Olympic Park

5. Seward Highway, Alaska

Starting in Anchorage, this 127 mile highway runs from sea to mountains and back to sea, all the way south to the harbor town of Seward. If you are planning on doing this route as a round trip, it is recommend you give yourself at least three to four days because the sights you see will literally be a visual overload. This drive is where you will find majestic waterfalls, blue glaciers, whales, jagged mountains, ponds and ocean fjords. Numerous hiking and biking trails can be caught right off the highway, as well as many overlook points and picnic areas. What makes this drive so special is that it is truly interesting the entire way, with mountains, glaciers, wildlife, trails, lakes and rivers to see throughout the entire 127 miles. Combine that with a wide and easy driving road and you have yourself one of the best road trips in all of America.

Seward Highway

4. Pacific Coast Highway, California

It comes as no surprise that this is one of the best loved drives in all of America with its mind-blowing scenery, quirky stop-offs and exhilarating driving experience. This highway runs a whopping 550 miles along California’s coastline and is the most scenic part of the highway, although most travelers tend to drive the Central Coast which runs about 240 miles. Driving north to south is recommended to have unobstructed ocean views the entire way. Highlights of this trip include upscale villages, state parks which feature hundreds of species of birds and mammals, remote forests and towering sand dunes. Big Sur is often the highlight of the trip, as this coastline is made up of redwood groves stretching high into the sky, jagged cliffs stretching out into the sea and waves crashing onto rigid rocks.

California Highway

3. Going-to-the-Sun Road, Montana

It is the only road that crosses Glacier National Park in Montana and is only open from early spring until late fall. This two-lane paved 50 mile highway gives visitors a look at all terrains within the park including large glacial lakes, alpine tundra’s, cedar forests and dozens of animals. The road twists and turns throughout the park and offers plenty of places to pull over, admire the views and snap photos. Visitors should expect to take at least a few hours to drive this road. This highway was created with the notion of making it barely visible in the landscape, thus creating a minimal impact in the park and leaving visitors with the feeling of driving on the edge of a cliff. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled for waterfalls, the Jackson Glacier and the array of beautifully colored lakes.

Going to the Sun Highway

2. Pacific Coast Scenic Byway, Highway 101, Oregon

This 363 mile Byway traces the entire coast of Oregon, one of the most photographed regions in the nation. To do the entire coast, you will start in Astoria and head south, all the way to Brookings. The road takes travelers to the sea and away again, as it winds past marshes, seaside cliffs, lush agricultural valleys and wind-sculpted dunes. Expect to see majestic temperate rain forests, a rugged, rocky coastline and resort towns scattered throughout the state. All of the beaches along the coast are open to the public and travelers will want to spend some time exploring them, beachcombing for shells and splashing in the waves. In the winter months it is possible to see the migrating gray whales and colonies of seals and sea lions appear all year round. Make sure to allocate an extra day or two as most travelers find themselves stopping more than expected due to the striking landscapes, beaches and towns to explore.

Highway 101

1. The Hawaii Belt, Big Island, Hawaii

The Big Island was the first Hawaii, the biggest of all the islands and is home to one of the most scenic road trips in all of America. Taking a road trip around this island is perhaps the best way to experience everything the island has to offer, from its lava desert flows to its soaring mountains to the farmlands and sandy beaches. The Hawaii Belt Road is made up of three sections and it fully circles the island, giving travelers a full picture of what Hawaii truly is. Expect to see coffee farms, Eden-like forests, active lava flows, lush rain forests, long stretches of beaches and welcoming villages. It is easy to take this road trip on a whim with plenty of places to stay and eat along the way. Experience the finest of the Big Island and all its beauty it has to offer.

Big Island

You Won’t Believe What Happened at the Grand Canyon…Again

For the second time in 6 weeks, visitors at the Grand Canyon were witness to a rare weather event known as a cloud inversion.

This phenomenon filled the massive canyon with clouds to just below the rim.  The inversion is said to happen when cold air is trapped in the Canyon and topped by warm air. If there is enough moisture in the air (usually from recent rains) then condensation will happen and fog will form. The clouds, or fog is forced down by warm air and unable to rise up due to a lack of winds. The National Weather Service says this rare event usually happens only once every several years, however the same thing also took place in December… just 6 weeks ago. Are we just lucky?

Check out the amazing video of this rare weather phenomenon here: