1. Bretton Woods; Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
Bretton Woods Mountain Resort overlooks Mount Washington and is the fastest growing ski resort in New England. With 101 trails and glades, this huge resort is perfect for skiers and boarders of all levels. There are skiing and snowboarding lessons for children as well. See brettonwoods.com for more information.
2. Copper Mountain; Summit County, Colorado
Copper Mountain is perfect for fun-loving families with activities such as snowshoeing, sleigh rides, and snowmobiling. You can select the skiing or snowboarding lesson best for you, whether you want to work on your turns, build confidence, or join a group. There are exciting, seasonal programs for kids from ages three and up. Check out coppercolorado.com.
3. Northstar at Tahoe; Truckee, California
Northstar at Tahoe has several runs designed for all levels. Adults and children can join group lessons or sign up for private lessons. The resort also has a Minor’s Camp, where children as young as three can play in the snow and learn how to ski. Go to northstarattahoe.com.
4. Okemo Mountain Resort; Ludlow, Vermont
Okemo is a family friendly resort with amazing runs and great family pricing deals. Lessons are offered for kids, teens, adults, and seniors. See okemo.com to find out more.
5. Park City Mountain Resort; Park City, Utah
Park City, the home of many of the 2002 Olympic events, is great for non-Olympians, too. The resort has 104 trails as well as terrain parks and a superpipe for snowboarders. Enroll your kids in the Mountain School and make it a great afternoon for the whole family. Go to parkcitymountain.com to learn more.
1. Schlitterbahn; New Braunfels, Texas
Schlitterbahn has held the best waterpark titles for years and for a good reason, too. For example, the park has a mile-long Raging River chute, a 1,000-foot-long water caster, and a cool natural spring. For more information, check out schlitterbahn.com.
2. Wet ‘n Wild; Orlando, Florida
Wet ‘n Wild was the world’s first modern water park and has kept its reputation ever since. The Bomb Bay is a near-vertical ride for daredevils and Hydra Fighter lets back-to-back riders on swings battle with water cannons. Go to wetnwild.com to find out more.
3. Noah’s Ark; Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
Noah’s Ark, at 70 acres, is the nation’s largest water park. Some of the favorite rides are Time Warp, the world’s largest “family bowl” ride and Black Anaconda, a quarter-mile-long water coaster reaching top speeds of 30 m.p.h. See noahsarkwaterpark.com.
4. Splashin’ Safari; Santa Claus, Indiana
Splashin’ Safari combines family fun with exciting rides: wave pools, play areas, and the ten-story-tall Zoombabwe, the world’s tallest enclosed slide. It’s next door to the amusement park Holiday World. Check out holidayworld.com.
5. Water World; Denver, Colorado
Water World combines raft journeys with “dark ride” storylines, with robots and other theatrics. Ride The Screamin’ Mimi, a toboggan that plunges into a pool. Play with the kids at Wally World. Go to waterworldcolorado.com to learn more.
1. Pine Valley Golf Club; Clementon, New Jersey
Pine Valley is a difficult place to find and is therefore extremely private. But those who do venture there say it is one of the world’s finest courses, with its beautiful woodlands. Call (865) 309-3203.
2. Pebble Beach Golf Links; Pebble Peach, California
Pebble Beach is probably the best known course in the United States. Located in the rocky shores of California, the course has narrow fairways and frequent wind, so bring the proper club. Go to pebblebeach.com for more information.
3. Shinnecock Hills Golf Club; Southampton, New York
Shinnecock Hills had the first clubhouse in America and was the first clubhouse to admit women members. The terrain on Long Island’s southern shore gives the course a lot of variety. Also, Atlantic winds make playing quite a challenge. Call (631) 283-3525.
4. Augusta National Golf Club; Augusta, Georgia
Augusta is home to the Masters each spring and has three of the sport’s toughest and most famous holes, known as “Amen Corner.” Play like a pro on your trip to Georgia. Call (706) 667-6719.
5. Pinehurst Country Club; Pinehurst, North Carolina
Pinehurst has eight courses and more holes than any other resort. If you’re up for taking the scenic route, Course No. 1 is the most picturesque with its tree-lined fairways and various bunkers. Check out pinehurst.com to find out more.
1. Cedar Point; Sandusky, Ohio
Cedar Point, known as the roller coaster capital of the world, has sixteen roller coasters, including the three of the world’s best rides. If you love roller coasters, you’ve come to the right place. There are also carousels, children’s rides, circular rides, and tranquil rides for those who are seeking less of a thrill. See cedarpoint.com to learn more.
2. The Islands of Adventure; Orlando, Florida
The Islands of Adventure is the spot for daredevils of all ages. You can travel to any of these five incredible islands: Marvel Super Hero Island, The Lost Continent, Jurassic Park, Seuss Landing, and Toon Lagoon. With Steven Spielberg as a creative consultant, you’ll never know what to expect! Check out universalorlando.com.
3. Six Flags Magic Mountain; Valencia, California
Six Flags Magic Mountain has the largest collection of roller coasters on the planet, with seventeen world-class roller coasters. Ride Tatsu, the longest, tallest, fastest flying coaster on earth. To see more, go to sixflags.com.
4. Holiday World; Santa Claus, Indiana
Holiday World, in its fifty years of business, has set standards for the theme park industry due to its beautiful grounds and friendliness. From family rides to thrill rides, there’s something for everyone. You can also enjoy musical shows. For more information, go to holidayworld.com.
5. Busch Gardens; Williamsburg, Virginia
Busch Gardens is the perfect place for families to relax and have fun after visiting historic Williamsburg. The park is designed after European attractions so your family can travel the globe in just one day. Go to buschgardens.com/bgw to see more.
1. Fleming Beach; Kapalua, Maui
Fleming Beach is a white stretch of sand located in front of the Ritz-Carlton in Kapalua. You can swim in the summer and surf during the wintertime. The hotel rents snorkeling gear and boogie boards.
2. Caladesi Island Stake Park; Florida
Caladesi Island is the second best natural beach in the nation and can be reached by a ferry. Beach lovers can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, fishing, and beachcombing. Watch wildlife or go kayaking. Check out floridastateparks.org/caladesiisland.
3. Ocracoke Island; North Carolina
Ocracoke Island is accessible only by air or water and is one of the barrier islands in the Outer Banks. With sixteen miles of wild beaches, the possibilities for fun are endless. Visit the quaint village of Ocracoke on the south part of the island for some sightseeing. See ocracoke-nc.com.
4. Main Beach; East Hampton, New York
Main Beach is the highlight of East Hampton, with dunes, surf, and terrific fireworks on Independence Day. The beach is known for its beautiful scenery: windmills, ponds with swans, and colonial homes. However, summer lodgings are pricey.
5. Coronado Beach; San Diego, California
Coronado Beach is popular among locals, families, and tourists. Besides the obvious water activities, visitors can play beach volleyball, explore tide pools, or fly kites. There is also a bike path nearby. Watch for migrating whales in early winter.
1. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks; Three Rivers, California
Both of these parks have giant sequoias, however Sequoia is more accessible for casual visitors. Go hiking on Congress or River Trail. Be sure to check out General Sherman Tree, the world’s largest sequoia at 275 feet tall. Go to nps.gok/seki.
2. Gettysburg National Military Park; Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
It was here that the Union and Confederate soldiers fought the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, resulting in 51,000 deaths. Take the self-guided tour to see various attractions with your family. Check out nps.gov/gett to learn more.
3. Blue Ridge Parkway; North Carolina, Virginia
Blue Ridge Parkway is the most visited unit within the National Park System, due to its age-old beauty of the southern Appalachians. This 469-mile road connects Shenandoah National Park to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Go to nps.gov/blri.
4. Yosemite National Park; California
Yosemite is a natural wonderland in the Sierra Nevada due to the work of giant glaciers during the ice age. Enjoy the waterfalls, meadows, and sequoia forests. Visit Yosemite Falls, the tallest waterfall in North America. See nps.gov/yose to find out more.
5. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park; Hawaii
If you’re eager to get close to an active volcano, be sure to stop by the Big Island. Kilauea and Mauna Loa are two of the most active volcanoes in the world. The park stretches from sea level to Mauna Loa’s snowy peak. Check out nps.gov/havo.
Museums and Galleries
1. Smithsonian Institute; Washington, D.C.
The Smithsonian is the largest research and museum complex in the world, with sixteen museums and galleries. Start off with a plan to see a couple exhibits at two or three museums and wear comfortable shoes! Go to si.edu/museums to learn more.
2. The Metropolitan Museum of Art; New York City, New York
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is the largest museum in the Western Hemisphere with some 142 million items from around the world. The main attraction is Adam and Eve, the famous engraving by Albrecht Dürer. See metmuseum.org.
3. Museum of Fine Arts; Boston, Massachusetts
The Museum of Fine Arts is one of the most comprehensive art museums in the world, and has over one million visitors each year. The exhibits range from ancient Egyptian to contemporary. Go to mfa.org for more information.
4. American Museum of Natural History; New York City, New York
Head to the American Museum of Natural History to learn more about the natural world and its inhabitants. Be sure to tour the various halls—culture, mammal, bird, fossil, etc. This museum has interactive exhibits that are great for curious kids. To learn more, go to amnh.org.
5. Oakland Museum of California; Oakland, California
If you live in or love California, you’ll have a great time in Oakland. The Oakland Museum of California explores California art, the complex history of the state, and its natural beauty. For additional information, go to museumca.org.
1. Pacific Highway 1; San Luis Obispo to Monterey, California
This route runs nearly the entire length of the state’s western coast. The twists and turns above the Pacific Ocean are exciting and driving through redwood forests, sunny grasslands, and oak woodlands is beautiful.
2. Route 93; Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada to Sonora Desert, Arizona
If you’re up for an unforgettable journey, begin in the Canadian Rockies and drive deep into the Arizona desert. You might get tired of stopping to see the endless panoramas. Watch the terrain as it changes from state to state.
3. Dalton Highway; Fairbanks, Alaska to Arctic Ocean
Leave civilization behind for 240 miles and journey across Alaska. Grab some food and a quick nap before you take off and don’t forget an emergency kit. Then again, who wouldn’t want to be stranded in the breathtaking Arctic tundra?
4. Kancamagus Highway; Lincoln to Conway, New Hampshire
Travel east to west on this short drive. Expect switchbacks and hiking trails along the way. If you like to fish, make a stop at the Upper Greeley Pond, a great spot for speckled trout.
5. Route 100; Stamford to Newport, Vermont
Find paradise within the Green Mountain National Forest. This route was designed to follow the natural inclinations of the eastern valleys. You won’t find any fast food stops; instead, get a bite to eat at an antique inn or fruit stand.
1. Grand Canyon; Arizona
As biggest and most spectacular canyon on earth, it’s no wonder that the Grand Canyon has a beautiful vista. It’s 1 mile deep, 10 miles wide, and covers over 1 million acres. Find the best views along the South Rim and the Park Loop Drive.
2. Niagara Falls; United States and Canada
Niagara Falls is actually made up of three different falls from the Niagara River. About 700,000 gallons of water drop over the 184-foot cliffs every second. The best views are from the Canadian side. Or you can take the “Maid of the Mist” boat right up to the base of the falls.
3. San Francisco Bay; California
There’s little more American than the Golden Gate Bridge. Stand along the edge of the harbor and watch the glowing bridge at nighttime. Or, if you like, look for it when you’re on the airplane.
4. Manhattan Skyline; New York
New York City likely has the world’s most recognized skyline with soaring buildings and two clusters, midtown and downtown. Look west in the morning and east in the late afternoon. The best views are from the 86th and the 102nd floors of the Empire State Building.
5. Waimea Bay; Hawaii
Waimea Bay curves along Oahu’s volcanic coastline, opening up on the west side of the island. This wide bay seems to go on forever to the horizon. Admire the view from the large rock out in the water or while driving past the beach.
1. Paris, France
Nothing says sophistication like Paris. Take pictures under the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame and spend hours in the Louvre. Walk down Champs Elysees and take time to notice the quaint cafes along the way.
2. Mayan Riviera, Mexico
The Mayan Riviera, stretching from Cancun to Tulum, is one of the most fascinating destinations in the world. Your family will love the tropical beaches, ancient ruins, and the marine and wildlife around. Go snorkeling at the Great Mayan Reef, the largest coral reef in the Western Hemisphere.
3. Tuscany, Italy
The central part of Italy is home to Florence, Siena, Pisa, and San Gimigano. There are hundreds of places for you to see in the beautiful countryside of Tuscany. The highlights include Michelangelo’s “David,” The Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the Piazza del Campo.
4. Breezes Costa do Sauipe, Brazil
Head south to Brazil for the beautiful beach and culture. Take a canoe trip down the Sauipe River or visit the historic city of Salvador. This resort has plenty of activities for children and adults. The fun never ends in Brazil.
5. Quebec Winter Carnival, Canada
The largest winter carnival in the world is held in Canada from late January to mid-February. Activities include a snow bath, night parades, slide runs, a giant football game, snow sculptures, sleigh rides, and ice fishing. See the wonderful city of Quebec while you’re there.