This morning, Lonely Planet unveiled their list of the Top-10 U.S. Travel Destinations for 2014, including some great cities I’ve covered before here on Kidventurous, such as Boston and Las Vegas. Take a look at all 10 must-visit destinations you may want to consider for your next family adventure.
1. Grand Rapids & Lake Michigan’s Gold Coast (MI): Head to the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum for loads of interactive hands-on activities, then take in the Grand Rapids Public Museum to learn more about dinosaurs and take a ride on the carousel. The beaches along Lake Michigan’s Gold Coast are also largely unexplored and worth a visit for the beaches, berry farms and even surfing.
2. Yosemite National Park (CA): You and your family can hike, bike, fish, ride horses and do some birdwatching. Your kids can also become a Junior Ranger (ages 7-13) or a Little Cub (ages 3-6). Don’t miss Yosemite Falls, the tallest waterfall in North America at nearly 2,500 feet tall. Go on a one-mile loop trail, which leads to the base of the falls or go on a day hike to the top of the falls.
3. Boston (MA): We took a road trip to Boston a year and a half ago, and I loved everything about this city. Make sure to visit the New England Aquarium, eat at Quincy Market, and of course, take a ride on the world-famous Swan Boats. You’ll also want to sit on the famed “Make Way for Ducklings” sculpture in the Boston Public Garden before riding the carousel in the North End.
4. Central Coast (CA): Situated between San Francisco and Los Angeles, there’s so much for you and your kids to see and do. Even just a drive along the Big Sur coastline will leave you and your kids in awe. Stop in Santa Barbara to enjoy the lively seafood market on Saturdays and pay a visit to the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum to learn more about the area’s maritime history.
5. Jersey Shore (NJ): I’ve enjoyed the beaches along the Jersey Shore a number of times and count all different beach towns, including Cape May, Wildwood, Avalon and Stone Harbor among my favorites. The Victorian homes along Sunset Beach in Cape May are not-to-be-missed, while your kids will love the games and rides along the boardwalk in Wildwood.
6. Kansas City (MO): There’s loads to do in Kansas City for kids and families, including lots and lots of free activities. Head to Kaleidoscope, a creative arts space sponsored by Hallmark where kids can draw, paint and create. You’ll also love the LEGOLAND Discovery Center and SEA LIFE, a huge aquarium next door that lets kids get up close with more than 5,000 sea creatures.
7. Cumberland Island (GA): Head to the Cumberland Island National Seashore for hiking, camping, fishing, birdwatching, even star gazing, which is one of my favorite activities. Make sure to pick up a Junior Ranger activity booklet in the visitor center so your kids can earn a badge. You may also want to take a tram tour to learn more about nearby historic St. Mary’s.
8. Las Vegas (NV): While some may still refer to Las Vegas as “Sin City,” you’d be wise to take a look at all of the family-friendly activities worth taking in around town. The Botanical Cactus Garden showcases 300 plant species, and even sets up twinkle lights during the holiday season. Or, stop in the interactive Discovery Children’s Museum or the Las Vegas Natural History Museum.
9. Sun Valley (ID): I’ve never been to Idaho, but it’s definitely on my bucket list. Sure, they’ve got great skiing at the Sun Valley Resort, but also check out tubing at Dollar Mountain, the resort’s new snow tubing park. In the spring and summer, look out for horseback riding, family river rafting adventures and hiking. You may also want to make a stop in the beautiful Sawtooth Botanical Garden.
10. Lana’i (HI): Certainly another spot easily making its way onto my bucket list, Lana’i is the smallest of the Hawaiian islands for travelers to visit, but it also has so much to do. Try Garden of the Gods to see boulders of all sizes and shapes, and visit at sunset if you can for amazing colors. Enjoy the beaches, snorkeling and horseback riding, as well as hiking at Koloiki Ridge.
Have you been to any of Lonely Planet’s picks of the top places to visit in 2014? Are there any more that you would add to this list? Let me know in the comments section below.
Photo Credit: S_Paul45