There are places to travel alone to, and then there are places to travel to with your favorite people on the planet. Family road trips can be a headache, but they can also be a great way to create fond memories. Here are the four best states to visit while you do so.
Although Salt Lake City is one of Utah's most famous sights, there's a lot more to see; especially if you're traveling with your kids. Utah has spectacular state and national parks. Zion National Park has impressive waterfalls, rugged cliffs, great hiking trails, and panoramic views of the mountains. The Zion Canyon Scenic Drive runs through the valley. The Colorado River Scenic Byway runs along Highway 128. The scenic highway begins in Moab, ends in Dewey, and covers 41 miles. Along the highway are Canyonlands National Park and Arches National Park in Moab. Canyonlands has been compared to the Grand Canyon. Island In the Sky is the section most tourists visit. The park is reached by driving north on Highway 191 past Arches National Park, outside Moab. Arches features unusual rock formations and most are visible by taking one of the park's scenic drives. If you’re not too fond of nature, you can also stop by the various towns and cities around Salt Lake City to see all the other events that go on in the state.
The section of the Pacific Coast Highway 1 between Monterey and Big Sur is a fun road trip for families. This portion of the California highway extends for 24 miles along the coast and could be extended to about three days if you have the time. Monterey's most famous attractions are Fisherman's Wharf and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. A lot of people travel to the coastal town specifically to visit the aquarium. A side trip on the Monterey Peninsula is Jacks Peak Road that winds up to Jacks Peak County Peak with mountain views, forests, hiking trails, and horseback riding. When you get to Big Sur, Pfeiffer Beach in Los Padres National Park is the place to see some of California's famous redwoods. Limekiln State Park has campgrounds and beaches and hiking trails to explore.
Route 1 travels along the Maine coast which has about 5,000 miles of coastline. The state has three scenic area, the South-Coast, Mid-Coast, and Downeast, with plenty of attractions for families. One of Kennebunkport's five beaches is perfect for frolicking in the surf and building sand castles. Rococo's is the place for homemade ice cream. The Maine Eastern Railroad offers scenic tours in the Mid-Coast region. In Rockland, take the kids to the Lighthouse Museum. The only bridge observatory in the country is the Penobscot Narrow Bridge Observatory at the Fort Knox entrance. The most famous attraction in Bar Harbor is Acadia National Park with the Lulu Lobster Boat where kids can learn about lobstering, and more than 100 miles of hiking trails. At Thunder Hole, watch the Atlantic Ocean's waves shoot up more than 40 feet in the air. Jordan Pond is the perfect place to do some kayaking and sample popovers with homemade jam.
The West Texas Mountains and desert are fun and exciting for families and extend from Guadalupe National Park on the New Mexico border to Big Bend National Park on the Rio Grande. The Fort Davis National Historic Site in the Davis Mountains is one of the best-preserved forts in the country. The Davis Mountains State Park is a remote camping area where kids can learn about area wildlife at presentations by park rangers. Follow the winding road to the top of one of the mountain peaks to visit the McDonald Observatory and stop at the Chihuahuan Desert Nature Center and Botanical Gardens to see more than 200 species of cacti and other plants, ancient volcanic peaks, and springs.
A road trip is a perfect way for families to explore nature, historic sites, fun attractions, and make friends along the way.
Eileen O'Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to regsearch and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanass