For many of us, summer vacation is one of the most important times of the year. We dream, plan and eagerly anticipate its arrival. It has become a welcomed opportunity for us to spend time with our family and friends while exploring new places and discovering new adventures.
Often people tell me that they are starting to plan a family vacation, but have no idea where to go and what to do. Here are a few ideas to consider.
Camping in a National Park
One of the best ways to spend summer is exploring nature. National Parks are filled with excitement and beauty. If you are traveling with your family, camping in the vastness of a National Park is a fantastic way to find quality time and strengthen the bonds between loved ones.
A couple of my personal favorites are Yellowstone, Great Smoky Mountains, Denali National Park and Grand Canyon National Park. At these parks you can experience adventures for any interest level amongst what are widely considered to be some of the most unforgettable landscapes this planet has to offer.
The Oregon Coast
The cool misty coast of Oregon is the perfect escape from the scorching summer heat. The landscape is green and lush, yet the temperature is calm and breezy; a wonderland for road trips. Hike through old forests, breath in the fresh air and take in the vibrant views over the Pacific.
The most famous hiking trail in the area is Three Capes Scenic Loop. This is a 35-mile trail that highlights some of the most beautiful areas along the northern coast.
A good base for your summer vacation on the Oregon coast is Tillamook, also home to Oregon's famous Tillamook Cheese. From Tillamook, you can drive down the coast visiting the small picturesque cities and towns along the way. For those of you that are foodies, there are amazing hot spots along the way including delectable pastry shops.
While in the area, also make sure you take a few days and head north of Tillamook to Portland. It is located only a couple of hours away and is one of the best summer cities in America.
Santa Barbara, California
Santa Barbara has it all. Although it’s located near many famous attractions, Santa Barbara is a smaller and more peaceful alternative to its southern neighbor, Los Angeles. However there are a few other reasons that Santa Barbara is a perfect place to explore during a summer vacation.
First, the atmosphere of the city is laid back and relaxing. Second, Santa Barbara has perfect temperatures. Third, at the base of the town is the ocean while above the city towers The Santa Ynez Mountains. What more do you need?
Basically Santa Barbara is awesome. There are a variety of beaches to just sit back and relax in the sun and enjoy the ocean breeze while the mountains offer trails views, and an excellent escape from civilization.
Make sure you take a drive down Santa Cruz Boulevard to visit the One Thousand Steps Beach or Butterfly Beach for a unbelievably stunning sunset.
Of course, make sure to visit a winery and sample some of California’s famous elixir while you’re in town.
Colorado is one of the most stunning states in the US and Denver is a city that everyone should visit at least once. It is a city that appeals to outdoor lovers, solo travelers, and families alike.
Here are a few reasons that Denver has become such a hotspot for the summer.
For families, Denver offers a variety of activities. There are several museums around the city that the kids will absolutely love. Plus, there are also many beautiful metro parks in which to enjoy the great outdoors. Pack a picnic, rent some bikes and make it a day. For outdoor lovers, there are some great mountain biking, hiking, and running trails.
However, make sure to take some time to explore the city itself. There are a lot of events to attend, good food to eat and microbrew beers to drink.
Who doesn’t want to escape from the mainland and chill out on an island? Spend your day sinking into the soft sands of a smooth, white beach while sipping a cocktail; for many a picture perfect way to spend a summer vacation.
Hawaii surprises many first time visitors though, because there is in fact a lot more to any of the islands than just those picture-perfect beaches. Go for a horse ride through cowboy country or take a drive through the sugarcane fields to appreciate its agricultural heritage. No matter what you decide to do, few visitors leave Hawaii disappointed.
Of course, any of the Hawaiian Islands would be wonderful to visit during the summer; nothing more needs to be said. However, if you don't want to venture as far as Hawaii, a good option is the Florida Keys; a set of tiny gorgeous islands that appear like stones skipping towards the sun.
The weather in the Keys is perfect, and the islands cater to people looking for an awesome, laidback summer vacation.
With so many summer vacation options to choose from, finding the right one for your family is key to taking advantage of those hard-earned and much desired, vacation days.
So make those dreams a reality. Do a little research, start the planning, and get ready to have a great vacation.
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Stephen Schreck is a world traveler, nomad, and adventure backpacker. Knowing a life of aimlessly wandering the globe in search of adventures was the only life for him he set out to make his dream his reality. Currently he is trying to conquer his fears and tackle his bucket list. Follow Stephen's adventures at A Backpacker's Tale or on social media on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.
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