It’s Almost Summer!!
Ok, so my kids have just one week left of school (insert a panicked face). I love having my kids home and no schedule, but lets be honest… I get a little bit of anxiety thinking about entertaining them for two months. Especially in Arizona where it is too hot to do anything but swim. So, Jen and I put a list together of our top 5 U.S. family friendly summer destinations. I’ll be honest. Our lists are pretty different, and that’s what makes this so good. There really is something for everyone.
So, whether you love to camp or love the beach, enjoy cities and culture or just really want to do a fun family road trip…we think you will find something here that your family will love. We would also love to hear about your families favorite summer vacation spots in the comments below…happy summer everyone!!
Lalani’s Top 5….
I’m warning you now, it will be apparently obvious that I was a backpacking guide all through college by the end of my list. My picks are very different, but all nature based. However, each one has the cutest towns and restaurants nearby as well. So, don’t write them off just yet…
1. Jackson Hole/ Grand Teton National Park
I LOVE Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park. Next to Kauai, it is my very most favorite place. I have been coming here for years first with my parents and now with my own family. It is beautiful, the weather is perfect and there is something for everyone to do. We love to hike, kayak, go on a cowboy horseback riding dinner, listen to ranger programs and raft the river. You can camp, rent a house or stay in a beautiful hotel. It is amazing.
2. The Oregon Coast / California Redwoods
I was 8 the first time that I went to the Redwoods and the Oregon Coast. I loved it then and I love it now. My kids went for the first time 2 years ago and they were in heaven. There is so much beauty and history there. We love the tiny towns, blueberry picking, fishing in the rivers and running on the beaches. My kids eat blackberry pie in every town we stop in, and rate them throughout the trip. It just feels like summer.
3. Glacier National Park (with a day trip to Canada)
Montana is just so wild. I actually almost went to college in Missoula at the University of Montana, but changed my mind 6 weeks before I was suppose to start school. However, I’ll always have a special place in my heart for this state and Glacier National Park is at the top of my list. It is beautiful and wild; when I’m there I feel like nature is in charge. It gets me every time. There are so many things to do in Glacier; hiking, biking, boating and taking a long day trip (or over night) into Canada to Waterton Park in Alberta. We also really love the town of Whitefish which sits just outside the park. It is a great home base for all of your adventures and it really has some of the cutest shops and restaurants. If you and your family are looking for adventure; Glacier is your place.
4. Outer Banks, NC
Instead of Montana, I ended up at college in Raleigh, North Carolina at NC State. I LOVE North Carolina. In fact, if Nate didn’t have such a big family, we probably would still live in North Caroline. It is a beautiful state and really has something for everyone. In my opinion one of the most amazing parts of the state is the Outer Banks. These are a series of barrier islands that are connected to the mainland by bridges and ferries. It is such a unique spot. The islands are just a few feet above sea level and you can look at the Atlantic ocean on one side and Pamtico Sound on the other side. There are so many cute towns to choose from; Ocracoke, Hatteras and Nags Head are just a few. Rent a house and enjoy the ocean. It’s amazing.
5. Olympic Peninsula and the San Juan Islands
The Olympic Peninsula is one of the wettest spots in the world, which doesn’t make it sound very summery. However, before you write it off, it is such a unique place. It is seems almost mystical; because it is constantly shrouded in clouds, mist and rain. It is also just so green. You can fly into Seattle or Portland and then drive up the peninsula. Make sure to stay in some of the little towns along the way. I personally really like Port Angeles and Olympic National Park. The park is SO cool. Hiking there is like hiking on another planet. From Port Angles you can take the ferry across to either Victoria BC or one of the San Juan Islands. Just make sure to eat fish and chips from Both are amazing places with charming towns, beautiful gardens and an abundance of good food and outdoor activities. Rent bikes and kayaks and enjoy everything that these places have to offer. If you are lucky you may see some whales on your ferry ride!!