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With so many amazing outdoor destinations to visit, even just in the United States, it can be hard to choose — especially if you’re looking for a trip that’s great for kids as well. We’ve got some ideas! From the west to the east, there are some fantastic options to choose from.
- San Diego Zoo – California: Located in Balboa Park, this zoo covers 99 acres and is one of the few places in the nation to see giant pandas, rare sun bears and Australian koalas. With 3,700+ animals there’s a lot to take in, but don’t miss the Northern Frontier to see the polar bears or “nighttime zoo” hours for special shows. Plus this year, the zoo is celebrating its 100 year anniversary!
- Yellowstone National Park – Wyoming: Established in 1872, this destination is American’s first national park and has the highest concentration of geysers in the world. Be sure to experience Old Faithful, which shoots steam high in the air every 90 minutes, as well as the flower-shaped Morning Glory Pool and other colorful hot springs. You’re also likely to spot wildlife such as bison and elk.
- Grand Canyon National Park – Arizona: This one should be on everyone’s bucket list! Covering 1,902 square miles, the sheer expanse of the Grand Canyon alone wows visitors year-round. If you have time, also embark on a water raft trip for part of a day, climb the stone Watchtower for a 100-mile view or participate in a Field Institute Learning Adventure to learn about the area’s geology and history.
- Mount Rushmore National Memorial – South Dakota: The carving of presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln in the Black Hills is on the National Register of Historic Places, spanning a vast 1,200+ acres. Within an hour’s drive, you can also see the world’s second-longest cave, the Jewel Cave National Monument.
- Wisconsin Dells – Wisconsin: This Midwest location is the waterpark capital of the world! Get a day pass for Noah’s Ark Waterpark and race down the 47-foot-high Quadzilla, or try another of the 50 waterslides it offers. With three other waterparks including the African-themed Kalahari, plus zip lining, horseback riding and more, kids will get worn out long before they get bored.
- Niagara Falls – New York: Niagara Falls has a lot more to offer than people might think: the Aquarium of Niagara with more than 2,000 species of fish and sea life, Niagara Falls State Park where you can hike, bike, camp and fish, and the stunning Falls themselves. It’s hard to deny the beauty of six million feet of water crashing over rocky crests!
- Capital Building – Washington, D.C.: Visiting Capitol Hill is great when kids are in upper grade school and learning about government so they can connect firsthand experiences with class concepts. As you think on our nation’s history, you don’t want to skip the iconic White House, Lincoln Memorial, Library of Congress or Smithsonian.
- Disney World – Florida: Let’s face it: most kids dream of going to this magical place! It sparkles with fun, with the opportunity to meet Disney characters and ride thrilling roller coasters for a fist-pumping good time. Explore Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and more for a trip that’ll be remembered.
Wherever you go, we hope you enjoy the adventure to the fullest. Outdoor enthusiast or not, you will love getting out to one (or more) of these destinations with your kids!