Birmingham Civil Rights Institute—Birmingham, Alabama
Courtesy Carol Highsmith
One of the best reasons to travel with children
is to give them learning opportunities that they won't get in school. The museum at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
is an excellent place to teach your children about the history of the Civil Rights Movement in America, the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the ongoing struggles that African American people and other minorities face in America today. While this destination certainly isn't a joyful romp, it will be a memorable and valuable experience for your whole family.
Tracy Arm Fjord—Juneau, Alaska
If your family is traveling to Alaska, be prepared for some breathtaking sites. Alaska is full of national and state parks, with unique natural formations such as glaciers and fjords seen nowhere else in the world. The Tracy Arm Fjord, located in the Tongass National Forest
in the "Inside Passage" route of Southeast Alaska, is one of the most beautiful wilderness sites in the country. This remote glacier valley is home to mountain goats, seals, and whales, and provides endless hiking opportunities for the adventurous family. At the head of the fjord you'll find a startling blue glacier that regularly calves fresh icebergs into the Pacific Ocean.
Horseshoe Bend—Grand Canyon, Arizona
Taking your family to the Grand Canyon almost seems like a cliche at this point, but that doesn't mean it's not worth doing. The Grand Canyon is still one of our nation's most beautiful spots, and all the decades of tourist traffic haven't changed that. That being said, Horseshoe Bend
a part of the Grand Canyon—it's part of Glen Canyon, which is a short drive from Page, Arizona. This bend in the Colorado River is surrounded by waves of brightly colored sandstone, carved by millennia of flowing water. You'll want to bring your camera (and wide angle lens) for this one.
Garvan Woodlands Garden—Hot Springs, Arkansas
This huge botanical garden in Hot Springs, Arkansas, is something like a plant museum. Among the 210 acres of carefully tended greenery is a Japanese garden, 160 different species of azaleas, and many rare species of shrubs and trees. Come visit the Garvan Woodlands Garden
in the early springtime to see the spectacular tulip display. If you have particularly bad allergies, it might be worth taking some precautions
for this very pollen-heavy trip!
Jae C. Hong/AP/Rex/Shutterstock
An oldie but a goodie. Although Disneyland involves more spending than your average family road trip, it's also unbelievably fun—for people of all ages. Stay at the Paradise Pier Hotel
to enjoy the rooftop pool and water slide, ride Splash Mountain, go see a live performance of Frozen
, then be sure to hit all the other theme parks in the area, like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios
. If you're bringing young children along, read up about the park's height and age restrictions for some rides
Great Sand Dunes National Park—Mosca, Colorado
You won't soon forget a visit to the lunar landscape of the Great Sand Dunes National Park
in Colorado. This expanse of rolling, soft sand dunes is perfect for—believe it or not—sledding! Kids will love sliding down the dunes and building sandcastles on the banks of Medano Creek, and you'll love the natural beauty (and the great photo opps). Stick around for a night for an unparalleled stargazing opportunity
The Maritime Aquarium—Norwalk, Connecticut
Courtesy megan Malory
There's something about peering through the glass into an underwater world that completely captures children's imaginations. At The Maritime Aquarium
, kids can get up close and personal with marine animals at the Touch Tank, see hundreds of beautiful jellyfish at the Jellies exhibit, and learn about the unique ecology of the Long Island Sound. Be sure to hang around to watch feeding time for the noisy seals!
Air Mobility Command Museum—Dover, Delaware
If you have a history buff or a kid fascinated with planes, trains, and automobiles in your family, they'll love to visit the Air Mobility Command Museum
. It's not just dry exhibits and documentaries here—the museum houses over 30 actual aircraft that visitors can walk right up to! Kids can test their pilot skills with a flight simulator, and the whole family will love learning about the history of the aircraft hangar that now houses the museum. Best of all? Admission and parking are absolutely free! Speaking of free, don't miss these free tourist attractions in every state
Siesta Beach—Siesta Key, Florida
Sure, there's plenty of theme parks to take the kids to in the Sunshine State. But if you've ever been to Florida before, you know that one thing it has over every other state is its uniquely beautiful white sand beaches. Siesta Beach
, named best beach in the U.S. by TripAdvisor in 2015
, is definitely no secret—you'll have to fight crowds to plant your beach blanket somewhere nice—but it's worth it. Have lunch in the nearby Village district, then walk to the beach in the evening for a spectacular sunset walk.
Center for Puppetry Arts—Atlanta, Georgia
Courtesy Sara Hanna Photography via Center for Puppetry Arts
If you've ever seen a puppet show and thought "how do they do
that?" or enjoyed an episode of Sesame Street, the Center for Puppetry Arts
is for you. Wander the museum to see puppets from all over the world, catch a film or live performance by a visiting our resident puppeteers, or attend a puppet-making class. The Jim Henson Collection brings together puppets and backdrops well-known to fans, including a certain little green frog!