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Road Trip Roundup: Our Favorite Family-Friendly Destinations

June 06, 2022

Summer’s here – time to take a road trip! Gather your crew (and your favorite snacks!) and get ready to hit the road. From coast to coast, we’ve rounded up some destinations you’ll want to visit on your family road trip. 


1. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona 

 1_GrandCanyon two children


One of the most iconic parks in North America is almost one of the most popular destinations for a family road trip: Grand Canyon National Park. This iconic park is part of the Colorado River basin and shows literally billions of years of Earth’s history through layer upon layer of exposed rock formations. At just over 1,900 square miles, the Grant Canyon is so huge that it’s bigger than the state of Rhode Island! In such a magnificent and large park, there are countless things for you and your family to do and explore. Certainly, it’s a place everyone in North America should try to visit at least once.  


2. Hearst Castle, San Simeon, CA 

2_HearstCastle california attraction landmark


Heart Castle is a beautiful estate located on a slopped hill in San Simeon, California, which is why it’s officially named La Cuesta Encantada, Spanish for Enchanted Hill. The land where the estate is located was purchased by George Hearst, a politician and businessman who made much of his fortune in mining during the California Gold Rush. When he and his wife passed away, their son William Randolph inherited the land and an incredible fortune. The estate was developed over the course of nearly 30 years to include many, many buildings constructed primarily in the Spanish Colonial Revival Style. Located right on the coast, the tiny town of San Simeon is the perfect pit stop if you’re making a road trip between San Francisco and Los Angeles.  


3. The Gateway Arch, St. Louis, MO 

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One of the most striking structures in the United States has to be the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, MO. Standing 630 feet tall, you can travel to the top of the monument in a tram to get incredible views of the city and the Mississippi River. Designed in 1947, the Arch was constructed from 1963-1965 and was finally opened to the public in 1967. Since construction was completed, it has also reinvigorated development along the banks of the Mississippi in St. Louis. As the name suggests, the Gateway symbolizes a passageway to westwards expansion across North America. You can learn more about first nations and pioneer exploration in the Museum at the Gateway Arch. At night, the Arch is beautifully illuminated, forming the crown jewel of the city’s skyline. The Gateway Arch is a must-see destination for any family road tripping across the Midwest. 


4. Navy Pier, Chicago, IL 

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One of the most popular attractions for families in Chicago is Navy Pier. Located downtown and stretching out 3,300 into Lake Michigan, it was the largest pier in the United States when it was constructed in 1916. It was named to honor World War I naval veterans, and in 1941, opened as a training center for the United States Navy. It was redesigned in the 1990s for public use and has undergone many renovations since. Now, it is home to a Ferris wheel, the Chicago Children’s Museum, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and IMAX Theater, and also serves as a venue for many trade shows and exhibitions. There’s something for everyone of every age to enjoy at Navy Pier, so make sure to stop by when you’re in Chicago during your Midwest road trip.  


5. The Alamo, San Antonio, TX 

5_Alamo st. antionio texas historic site landmark 

One of the most historic locations in Texas and the entire United States is The Alamo located in San Antonio. Originally constructed as Spanish mission in the 18th century, the complex has also served as fortress throughout its nearly 300-year history. The oldest part of the site is known as the Long Barrack, while one of the most recognizable structures is undoubtedly the Church, also known as the Shrine. This historic site was also the location of the Battle of the Alamo, a pivotal event of the Texas Revolution. Before the Texas Revolution, these territories were part of Mexico, which gained its independence from Spain in the 19th century. Following the War of Mexican Independence, many citizens of the United States moved to what is now Texas. However, they were unhappy with rule and rebelled against Mexico. Though Mexican forces killed every Texan soldier during the Battle of the Alamo and emerged as the victors, Texans were inspired to fight back even harder following this massacre and eventually won their battle for independence. No Texas road trip is complete without a visit to The Alamo. 


6. Shenandoah National Park, VA 

6_Shenendoah valley virginia national park wilderness sun coming through clouds 

Just outside of Washington, D.C.,  Shenandoah National Park is composed of more than 200,000 acres of gorgeous lands for you to explore. Shenandoah National Park lies along 101 miles of the famous Appalachian Trail, and has a whopping 500 miles of hiking trails within it! The park is teeming with all kinds of wildlife from black bears to wild turkeys, and almost half of the park has been designated as wilderness. Here, you can experience the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains, some of the oldest mountains in the world with some exposed bedrock dating to around 1 billion years old. If you’re feeling especially adventurous, you might want to climb some of the park’s peaks, the biggest of which is over 4,000 feet above sea level. Full of beautiful vistas that you can enjoy in all four seasons, Shenandoah National Park is a wonderful place to enjoy Mother Nature on an East Coast road trip. 


7. USS Yorktown, Mount Pleasant, SC 


Just outside of Charleston, SC in historic Mount Pleasant, you can find the USS Yorktown. The aircraft carrier, which is nearly 900 feet long, was first laid into the Atlantic off the coast of Virginia in 1941, just days before the Attack on Pearl Harbor. In 1943, the ship was placed in active service and soon made her way through the Panama Canal into the Pacific, and was used in World War II and the Vietnam War. The warship spent much of its service in the western Pacific before it was deactivated in 1970. Now, the USS Yorktown is the centerpiece of Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum. If you’re traveling up and down the East Coast, you and your family can even schedule an overnight visit on the USS Yorktown! During your stay, you’ll sleep in Navy berthing compartments and eat in the ships galley to give you and your kids a full, immersive experience. 


Of course, these are just a few of the many destinations you and your family can explore during your summer road trips. And wherever you are, don’t forget to capture the magic with family photos. And, don’t forget to subscribe to The Holiday Blog for more ideas on how enjoy time with your loved ones all year long! 

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