Mother Nature's Coolest Attractions
Whether made by Mother Nature or man, America is full of amazing attractions. Families interested in the natural wonders of the world have hundreds of attractions to choose from. Families who like to stop at quaint roadside attractions off the beaten path will also find many choices.
Old Faithful is the world's most predictable geyser. Located in Yellowstone National Park, the geyser has drawn visitors for decades. Plus, Yellowstone National Park is reason enough to visit!
See if your family can stay at the rustic Old Faithful Inn, built in 1904. At the Old Faithful Inn you won't find TV or radio, air conditioning or the Internet. The main attraction is right outside your window and promises to blow on time.
Niagara Falls isn't the tallest waterfall in the country. It isn't even close. But compared to all the others, Niagara Falls is a magnificent site to behold. The volume of these falls is a whopping 85,000 cubic feet of water per second with a maximum recorded volume of 292,000 cubic feet per second. That's a lot of water!
Multiple family-friendly lodging options are available at Niagara Falls, along with affordable dining options for every member of the family.
The northern lights, or the aurora borealis, are a sight to be seen — especially when they can be combined with a fun trip to Fairbanks, Alaska! Being able to see the lights is largely dependent on how dark the sky is, so careful planning is needed. That doesn't stop families from planning aurora borealis vacations throughout the viewing time, which is between August and April.
Activities like snowshoeing, watching sled dog races and sleigh rides complement Alaska's incredible beauty. Kids will love visiting the Ice Park where they can crawl through ice mazes and slide down massive ice slides. Animal-loving families will also enjoy visiting sled dog kennels where you can pet the working canines.
Chimney Rock in the North Carolina Mountains is home to the breathtaking Hickory Nut Falls. Chimney Rock is 25 miles from Asheville, North Carolina. Views from Chimney Rock are unforgettable, particularly during the fall when foliage explodes through the mountains. Geological formations formed three and half miles of trails, one of which was featured in the film The Last of the Mohicans starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Madeleine Stowe. Seventeen minutes of the film were shot along the Cliff Trail at the top of Hickory Nut Falls.
Chattanooga, Tennessee, is home to Ruby Falls. They're the tallest, deepest underground waterfalls accessible to the public in the United States. It's part of Lookout Mountain, a family destination that offers many family-friendly activities and lodging options.
One of the best times to visit Ruby Falls is around Halloween. The Ruby Falls Haunted Cavern Halloween event features a shrieking ride in the cavern's “hellevator” and numerous above- and below-ground tricks guaranteed to scare guests silly. The Haunted Cavern is open shortly before Halloween and closes shortly after. Discounts and additional information are available online.
California Redwood Forest
The California Redwood Forest in Humboldt County is one of those places you hear about and wonder if it's worth the trip to see. Well, it is. If you're planning to visit Humboldt County, you might want to invest in a neck pillow for the ride home. Here you'll spend much time gazing upward at the incomprehensible heights of the California redwoods.
On your visit to the Redwood Forest, you'll travel along the Avenue of the Giants. This is a scenic drive you won't want to miss, but also be sure to get out and explore the Humboldt Redwoods State Park, home of the largest remaining location of virgin redwoods in the world. The Avenue of the Giants extends about 31 miles on Hwy. 101. The area is perfect for stopping to picnic, camp and hike, or just walk among trees that are hundreds of years old and hundreds of feet tall.
Other Sites of Interest
Some other wonderful natural attractions:
It's not hard to convince someone to visit Hawaii. It's a tropical, beautiful paradise. One of the most impressive things to do in Hawaii is to take a tour of a live volcano. Companies like Big Island Volcano Tours can take visitors close to craters to see firsthand some of the newest places on earth.
The Rollins Planetarium at Young Harris College in Young Harris, Georgia, offers 30 free shows throughout the year on Friday nights. The show features the GOTO Chronos Space Simulator star projector, the first installation of this simulator in the world. If the skies are clear, the Observatory is also open.
Cave of the Winds near Manitou Springs, Colorado, was discovered by two brothers accidentally in the late 1800s. If you go, be sure to take the lantern tour to see what it might have been like if your family were to happen upon such an amazing attraction.