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5 Family Travel Destinations for Movers and Cruisers

Scenic Spots for Active and Not-So-Active Grandparents to Visit With Grandkids


Whether you are an active mover or a laid-back cruiser, you won't want to miss the stunning vistas of these top family travel destinations. This short primer will help you find the accommodations and activities to suit your active or not-so-active style. For travel with grandchildren, you won't go wrong with any of these five scenic wonderlands.

1. Acadia National Park in Maine

Photo © Susan Adcox

For Movers: Acadia has more than 125 miles of hiking trails. There are four campgrounds, one reserved for riders traveling with their horses. Acadia is a top equestrian destination.

For Cruisers: There's no lodging inside the park, so stay right outside the park. We liked the Cromwell Harbor Motel on the quieter side of Bar Harbor. Take a horse-drawn carriage ride on roads off-limits to autos.

For Both: Try the Park Service's EarthCache program. Swim at warm-water Echo Lake Beach. Play miniature golf at Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf in Bar Harbor.

Warning: Keep kids in sight on Acadia's hiking trails. It's easy to take a wrong fork, and the terrain is rugged. Our granddaughter and her friend gave us a scare a couple of years ago.

2. Yellowstone National Park

Photo © Susan Adcox

For Movers: Yellowstone offers seven Park Service campgrounds and five operated by Xanterra Parks & Resorts. The privately run ones offer more amenities, but movers should sample the more rustic Park Service camps, especially if tent camping. If you want the camping experience but don't have equipment, try the Roughrider cabins at Roosevelt Lodge.

For Cruisers: Of course, you have to stay at the Old Faithful Inn. More luxury can be found at Lake Yellowstone Hotel, where rooms in the main building start at over $200.

For Both: You can take a short walk or a long hike to see geysers and other thermal features. Wildlife is often seen from the road, or on the road!

Warning: Heed wildlife warnings! Elk and bison can be as dangerous as bears.

3. Yosemite National Park

Photo © Susan Adcox

For Movers: Almost 95% of Yosemite is wilderness, so it's a backpacker's paradise. There are also 13 campgrounds. Yosemite Mountaineering School offers rock-climbing lessons and guided climbs.

For Cruisers: The famous and lovely Ahwahnee Hotel costs over $400 a night. Save by staying at the Yosemite Lodge or the Victorian-era Wawona Hotel for less than $200.

For Both: Soak up the spectacular scenery! Enjoy free art classes spring through fall.

Warning: You will want to stay inside the park, as it is quite a drive in. The tent cabins for less than $100 are the cheapest place to stay inside the park, but they are small and crammed close together. They are fine for sleeping, but if you need a spot for some down time, opt for a hotel.

4. DeGray Lake Resort State Park in Arkansas

Photo © Susan Adcox

For Movers: Because DeGray Lake is surrounded by state park land, development is minimal, making it a great, uncrowded place for water sports like sailing, water skiing and pleasure boating. It's also one of the few places in the United States where you can rent a yurt!

For Cruisers: DeGray State Park Lodge is a reasonably priced facility with a water-view dining room. A lakeside golf course offers the chance of seeing wildlife as you putt.

For Both:The park offers a lively array of programs; some are educational, like the "Owl Prowl," some sporty, like water bike races, and some just plain wacky, like "Eat a Bug."

Warning: Poison ivy is rampant in the area. Trails are kept clear, but patches of it abound just off the trails.

5. Utah Canyons

Photo © National Park Service

For Movers: Great hikes abound in all three of Southern Utah's National Parks--Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Canyonlands. All offer camping as well. At Bryce, you can take a guided horse or mule ride into the canyon. At Zion, enjoy a car-free bike trail.

For Cruisers: The Bryce Canyon Lodge offers rooms inside the park. Non-campers can also stay in one of the motels and resorts that cluster around the parks.

For Both: Take a drive, a walk, or a hike to view the unusual rock formations, such as Bryce's hoodoos. Canyonlands' stargazing programs take advantage of some of the darkest skies in the U.S.

Warning: Temperatures are often over 100 degrees in the summer, with low humidity. Spring and fall are better for visiting Utah canyons.

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