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Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

Budding naturalists feel right at home at Rocky Mountain National Park where the kids can join in on short, family-friendly hikes around the park. Bring along a magnifying glass to explore the plants, leaves and bugs during a stroll around Bear Lake. 960 1280
Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

Pack binoculars to get a close-up of Albert’s squirrels scurrying around the ponderosa pine forests or bighorn sheep spending a summer day at Sheep Lakes. Kids can scramble up rocks along the trail to Gem Lake or search the water under the bridge for beavers along the Beaver Boardwalk. 960 1280

By Frank Schulenburg (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Carlsbad Caverns

Carlsbad Caverns

Young adventurers travel deep underground to explore one of the many caves at Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. Children must be 4 or older to participate in a basic cave tour of the Big Room. Brave souls over 12 can shimmy and crawl through a maze of narrow entryways and tunnels at Spider Cave. 960 1280
Carlsbad Caverns

Carlsbad Caverns

Check out the resident wildlife outside of the cave during the Bat Flight program, a free summertime special when nearly 400,000 Brazilian free-tail bats fly from Carlsbad Cavern at sunset to search for an insect-filled dinner. 960 1280
Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park caters to 8- to 12-year-olds with daily Junior Ranger programs throughout the park. Rangers keep kids busy with stories, artwork, kid-friendly hikes and scavenger hunts to uncover secrets around the park. 960 1280
Grand Teton National Park

Grand Teton National Park

The whole gang can enjoy family-friendly activities including the fire and ice cruise around Colter Bay to learn about the park’s ecology, including the glaciers and towering mountains. 960 1280

By Acroterion (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park has laid down the law on the many ways that kids should enjoy themselves in the park, summarized in the Children's Outdoor Bill of Rights. Take note of this decree, and plan for family fun in every corner of the park. Pack the bikes and helmets for a ride along the carriage road system -- flat scenic paths that are made for a 2-wheeler (training wheels optional) or the chubby tires of a jogging stroller. 960 1280

By heipei from Deutschland (Acadia National Park, ME) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park

Head to the shore to enjoy a cool ocean breeze and search for marine life in the shallow tide pools. Set sail on a ranger-narrated cruise including the Dive-In Theater Cruise from May through October where real-time video technology allows passengers to watch scuba divers search the ocean floor for marine life that is then brought onboard for impromptu touch-tank experiences. 960 1280

By Erin McDaniel Erinmcd (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

America’s first national park welcomes visitors to check out the hot springs, steaming geysers and extraordinary wildlife, including grizzlies, bison and elk. With the park spread out over a sprawling 2.2 million acres, it’s impossible to experience all the fun at once. 960 1280

Michael H Spivak/Moment/Getty Images  

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park

As a family, decide on the highlights to experience, like the legendary geyser Old Faithful and the wildlife-viewing at Lamar Valley. Families with children over 8 can enjoy a 2-hour horseback ride to the cookout while families with little ones can ride into the sunset aboard a horse-drawn covered wagon. 960 1280

Adam Long Sculpture / iStock / Thinkstock  

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Don’t worry if you’re more of a beach person than a woodsy type: There’s a national park experience waiting for your family at the national seashore at Cape Hatteras. This protected seashore is made up of narrow barrier islands along the beloved Outer Banks. Celebrate the past with a climb up a lighthouse or an evening of pirate tales with a park ranger. 960 1280

By Madhatter987 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Cape Hatteras National Seashore

There are miles of beaches for swimming, shelling, kite-flying or just chilling out and reading a book. Cruise the beach on foot or in an off-road vehicle that allows cars to leave behind the paved roads and drive the sandy shores. 960 1280
Biscayne National Park

Biscayne National Park

Biscayne welcomes families with the free Family Fun Fest program, a celebration of the park’s wonders with stories, superheroes and cool park activities. The festivities take place on the second Saturday of each month from December to April. But don’t fret if you miss the fest as there are still plenty of opportunities for family-bonding in the park. 960 1280
Biscayne National Park

Biscayne National Park

Look for some of the park’s cool creatures, including manatees, sea turtles and fish galore, during a snorkeling adventure or kid-friendly ride on a glass-bottom boat. 960 1280

By John Brooks, National Park Service photographer (http://www.nps.gov/bisc/images/20060905140916.jpg) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons  

The Glenn Highway National Scenic Byway

The Glenn Highway National Scenic Byway

The Glenn Highway (AK-1) travels north from Anchorage and past Chugach State Park to Glennallen 179 miles away, where it meets the Richardson Highway (AK-4). 960 1280

Z-lex  

Stretch Your Legs along the Glenn Highway

Stretch Your Legs along the Glenn Highway

The Glenn Highway National Scenic Byway (AK-1) follows the Matanuska River and passes the Matanuska Glacier, the largest glacier accessible by car in the United States. The Glacier is located at Mile 101, and is 27-miles long and four-miles wide. Matanuska Glacier Adventures offers guided glacier treks. 960 1280

Noppawat Tom Charoensinphon  

Whittier: Gateway to Prince William Sound

Whittier: Gateway to Prince William Sound

Whittier is a small community on Prince William Sound of about 200 people, most of whom live in a single 14-story, apartment-style building connected to the rest of the town via tunnels to avoid harsh winter weather. It connects to the Seward Highway (AK-1) via the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel that goes through Maynard Mountain and is the second-longest highway tunnel in North America at 13,300 feet long. Stan Stephens Glacier and Wildlife Cruises offers tours between Whittier and Valdez, where wildlife such as sea otters, seals and humpback whales are commonly seen in Prince William Sound. 960 1280

Daryl Pederson / Design Pics  

Prince William Sound

Prince William Sound

Named in 1778 to honor the son of Great Britian’s George III, Prince William Sound is rich in marine life and is the terminus of five glaciers. It is a popular sight-seeing destination from Whittier and Valdez, and is known for its sea otter and whale sightings. It was the site of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, and has since recovered. Kayak among sapphire iceburgs in Prince William Sound with Pangaea Adventures in Valdez. 960 1280

Kevin Miller  

Alaska's Little Switzerland: Valdez

Alaska's Little Switzerland: Valdez

Valdez is a commercial and sport-fishing port as well as the terminus of the Alaska Pipeline. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, Valdez is called Alaska's "Little Switzerland." 960 1280

Steve Larese  

The Richardson Highway

The Richardson Highway

The Richardson Highway (AK-4) is a 368-mile-long stretch that connects Valdez to Fairbanks. The Richardson Highway passes many scenic stops such as the waterfalls of Keystone Canyon. This route makes a classic Alaska road trip, or leave the driving to John Hall's Alaska tours. 960 1280

Gary R. Johnson  

The Alaska Pipeline

The Alaska Pipeline

The Trans-Alaska Pipeline, commonly called the The Alaska Pipeline, was completed in 1977 and stretches 800 miles from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez. It can be seen along Richardson Highway from Fairbanks as it travels to the Valdez Marine Terminal. Information kiosks along the route give details about this massive engineering feat, such as how heat exchangers are used to keep the permafrost from melting underneath the pipeline. 960 1280

STEVELARESE  

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve is America's largest national park and is filled with nine of the 16 highest peaks in North America, glaciers and miles of hiking trails through boreal forests. Its main visitor center is located off of the Richardson Highway (AK-4) between Copper Center and Glennallen. 960 1280

Steve Larese  

End of the Road: The Alaska Highway

End of the Road: The Alaska Highway

Completed in 1942 to aid the war effort during World War II, the Alaska Highway (also called the Alcan Highway) travels 1,387 miles from Dawson Creek in British Columbia, Canada, to Delta Junction, Alaska, where a monument marks its end point. Today it is a popular route for road trippers who pride themselves on completing the entire route through two nations. Alaska's segment of the Alaska Highay is also called the Richardson Highway (AK-4). 960 1280

Steve Larese  

Fairbanks: Gateway to the Arctic

Fairbanks: Gateway to the Arctic

Fairbanks is the northern extent of many Alaska road trips and is home to the Golden Heart Review at Pioneer Park, which explains Fairbanks' storied history through song and comedy. The Fountainhead Antique Cars Museum has an impressive collection of rare autos. The Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center explores Alaska's many indigenous cultures, as do the Chena Indian Village and the Alaska Native Heritage Center. 960 1280

Steve Larese  

It's a Dog's Life

It's a Dog's Life

Visitors are welcome at Trail Breaker Kennel along the Chena River in Fairbanks. Established in 1980 by David Monson and four-time Iditarod champion Susan Butcher, Trail Breaker Kennel breeds sled dogs and educates the public about the dogs and sport. Dog sledding is a popular and often necessary sport in Alaska, and the famous Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race takes place annually in March. 960 1280

STEVELARESE  

The George Parks Highway

The George Parks Highway

The George Parks Highway (AK-3) travels 361 miles from Anchorage to Fairbanks, and is the gateway to Denali National Park and Preserve. The Alaska Railroad parallels much of the highway. 960 1280

mcveras  

Denali National Park and Preserve

Denali National Park and Preserve

Grizzly and black bears, moose, wolves, caribou, Dall sheep and many other animals are seen within Denali National Park and Preserve’s six million acres. The 92-mile park road connects the park entrance to Kantishna, where remote lodges are located. Buses are the only public transportation permitted into Denali’s backcountry other than planes. Road trippers can park at the park’s main entrance and take a bus into the park. 960 1280

David Rasmus/Getty Images/iStockphoto  

Land of Lake–and Volcanoes

Land of Lake–and Volcanoes

Wonder Lake within Denali National Park is one of Alaska's 3 million lakes larger than twenty acres. At 586,400 square miles, Alaska is the largest state in the U.S. Alaska also has more than 12,000 rivers and 40 active volcanoes. 960 1280

STEVELARESE  

Denali: The High One

Denali: The High One

Denali, meaning "The High One" in the Koyukon Athabascan language, is the highest peak in North America at 20,310 feet. It can be seen from vantage points along AK-3 near Denali National Park. 960 1280

STEVELARESE  

Denali Backcountry Lodge, Kantishna

Denali Backcountry Lodge, Kantishna

Situated along Moose Creek within Denali National Park and Preserve, Denali Backcountry Lodge is 92 miles from the park's main entrance and reached only via a bus that takes guests through the park. Road trippers may park at Denali's main visitor center to catch a shuttle to the lodge. 960 1280

Steve Larese  

Alaska's Friendly Skies

Alaska's Friendly Skies

Alaska’s preferred method of transportation is airplanes, with many residents living in areas where there is no direct road access, if there’s any at all. The venerable Piper Cub is a popular plane, and is owned by many Alaskans in the same way as others would own a passenger car. Planes are often seen taking off and landing on waterways throughout Alaska, which uses its many rivers as roadways. 960 1280

STEVELARESE  

Flight Seeing in Talkeetna

Flight Seeing in Talkeetna

Road trippers can trade their car for an airplane in Talkeetna for a flightseeing tour of Denali National Park to the north. K2 Aviation takes passengers on scenic flights into the park, and can even land on glaciers for hiking. 960 1280

Steve Larese  

Roadside Beauty

Roadside Beauty

Throughout the summer wildflowers such as fireweed add color along Alaska's highways. 960 1280

Steve Larese  

Back to the Beginning: Anchorage

Back to the Beginning: Anchorage

Often the starting and ending point for Alaska road trips, Anchorage offers much to see and do itself. The Anchorage Museum details the history, cultures and art of Alaska. Local shops and restaurants such as 49th State Brewing Company make exploring Anchorage's charming downtown worthwhile. 960 1280

Steve Larese  

Skógafoss
Skógafoss

Skógafoss

With a 200-foot drop, Skógafoss — located in Skógar, Iceland — rivals Gullfoss as the country’s most famous and tallest waterfall. According to legend, the first Viking settler in the area buried a treasure chest in the cave behind the waterfall. Locals found the chest but were able to grasp only a ring, which is now on display at an area museum. Designated camping areas and hiking trails along the Skógá River have made this waterfall a popular tourist spot. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Rhine Falls

Rhine Falls

The best time to visit Switzerland’s Rhine Falls is between April and October. Tourists flock to the city of Schaffhausen to see the falls via a guided boat tour or train ride. Outdoor enthusiasts can also visit Adventure Park, the country’s largest rope park, built at the Rhine Falls. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Cummins Falls

Cummins Falls

The namesake attraction of Cummins Falls State Park in Tennessee isn't easy to get to, accessible only by foot through some steep terrain. The reward, though, is a scenic dip below the 75-foot falls in one of the country's most popular secret swimming holes. 960 1280

Cummins Falls Tennessee  

Murchison Falls

Murchison Falls

Murchison Falls, aka Kabarega Falls, is a waterfall on the Nile River in Uganda. At the top of the falls, the Nile is forced through a 23-foot-wide gap in the rocks (seen on the far right) that flows westward into Lake Albert. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls

Take a look at this aerial view of Victoria Falls, found on the Zambezi River in Zimbabwe. Scottish missionary and explorer David Livingstone, who is believed to have been the first European to view the falls, named the site in honor of Queen Victoria. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls

Havasu Falls in Supai, AZ, is one of the most famous and most visited waterfalls in the Grand Canyon. The site consist of 1 main chute that drops over a 120-foot vertical cliff. Hikers can relax, stop for lunch and sit at the picnic tables near the waterfall. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

La Cascata del Sasso

La Cascata del Sasso

The Metauro River falls over the layers of limestone to create La Cascata del Sasso in Marche, an eastern Italian region. It is one of the 10 largest waterfalls in Italy. Below the waterfall, the lake is surrounded by willow and poplar trees. And it’s also a hot spot for fishermen, who will find rare species including the kingfisher. 960 1280

Gengish Skan, Flickr  

Yosemite Falls

Yosemite Falls

Deep in the heart of California's Yosemite National Park, tourists marvel at this waterfall wonder. With its 2,425-foot drop, Yosemite Falls is the sixth-tallest waterfall in the world. The Ahwahneechee, a group of Native American people who lived in the Yosemite Valley, believed that the pool at the base of the falls was inhabited by the spirits of several witches. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Iguazu Falls

Iguazu Falls

A trip to Brazil or Argentina isn’t complete without making a trip to Iguazu Falls. The waterfall runs along the border of the 2 countries and divides the Iguazu River into upper and lower sections. An old legend claims that the falls were created when an angry god split the river in 2 after his fiancée ran away with her lover on a canoe. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Seven Falls

Seven Falls

Take a steep climb up 224 steps to get a picturesque view from the peak of Seven Falls, a cascading waterfall in Colorado Springs, CO. While you’re there, hike the Trail to Inspiration Point or the Trail to Midnight Falls. The best time to enjoy the scenery and wildlife on these 2 trails is between May and October. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls is the collective name for 3 waterfalls — Horseshoe Falls (Canada), American Falls (US) and Bridal Veil Falls (US) — found on the Canadian-US border between Ontario and New York. The falls have the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world. On average, almost 4 million cubic feet of water falls over the crest line in 1 minute. And in case you didn’t know, this waterfall is used as a source of hydroelectric power. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Warren Falls

Warren Falls

Visit the Mad River in Warren, VT. Although small when compared with other waterfalls, Warren Falls, aka Carleton Falls, is a perfect outdoor getaway for communing with nature. Take a relaxing stroll around the falls and along the river. 960 1280

Jeff Myers, Flickr  

Sutherland Falls

Sutherland Falls

Nestled in the woods behind the fog is Sutherland Falls in Milford Sound, New Zealand. The water spills 1,904 feet into 2 glacial lakes on the mountainside inside Fiordland National Park, making it the second-tallest waterfall in the country, behind Browne Falls in Doubtful Sound. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Huangguoshu Waterfall

Huangguoshu Waterfall

Located on the Baishui River in Anshun in the Guizhou province, Huangguoshu Waterfall is the largest in China. The falls reside in Huangguoshu National Park and consist of 18 waterfalls that vary in size. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Bouma Waterfalls

Bouma Waterfalls

Bouma Waterfalls, aka Tavoro Waterfalls — located in Fiji’s Bouma National Heritage Park — looks like a beautiful backdrop from a spectacular movie scene. It consists of 3 waterfalls. The tallest of the 3, Lower Bouma Falls, has a 78-foot drop. 960 1280

Tracey, Flickr   

Kaieteur Falls

Kaieteur Falls

Three times the height of Niagara Falls and twice the height of Victoria Falls, Kaieteur Falls plunges 822 feet into the lake below. The site, part of Kaieteur National Park, is a popular tourist attraction in the center of Guyana’s rain forest. Travelers arriving and departing from Ogle Airport and Cheddi Jagan International Airport may be able to catch a glimpse of the waterfall from the plane’s window. 960 1280

Soren Riise, Flickr  

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