Summer is the perfect time to pack up the family and head off for some adventurous fun. Choose from any of these family-friendly destinations for fun in the sun, spotting wildlife, catching an adrenaline rush, or seeing a new type of landscape.
1. An Adventure Awaits in Denali National Park
If you’re looking for a truly wild time, the six million acres of untamed wilderness in Denali National Park is the perfect spot for your vacation. Don’t miss the glacial lakes, extensive forests, frozen tundra, and the tallest mountain in North America.
Embark on the Tundra Wilderness Tour
Take in views of Denali.
Private vehicles are allowed in only a small portion of the single road in Denali National Park, so taking a tour or transit is a must. Nature-loving families will absolutely enjoy getting close to nature on the Tundra Wilderness Tour. The tour duration is between 7-8 hours of getting to see nature and wildlife up close.
Get your camera ready for stunning views. Be sure to dress in layers and bring rain gear. We also recommend pre-booking a boxed lunch, as only canned water and a snack are provided.
A Walk Through the Woods
Escape in the lush green trails offered at Denali National Park.
Slow your trip down and take in the beautiful scenery of Alaska on foot. Denali National Park has hiking options from mild to strenuous so there’s the perfect trail for everyone.
Where to Stay: The Lodge at Denali Park Village
Recharge and enjoy the views of The Lodge.
Open late-May through mid-September, The Lodge at Denali Park Village is close to various Denali activities, yet provides a sense of serenity. The Lodge is a perfect place to stay for families who have their own vehicles. Enjoy a meal at the Gold Rush Dining Room which offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner for convenient dining.
2. Spot the Whales in Glacier Bay
If you’re looking for a getaway to see wildlife and take in unique scenery, there’s no better place to visit than Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve in Alaska. This location is remote, and unspoiled, where the animals outnumber the roads a million to one.
Where to Stay: The Lodge at Denali Park Village
Take in all that Glacier Bay has to offer and maybe even get a surprise visit from a friend!
Hop aboard a 50 foot, 28 passenger vessel and head out into the Icy Strait for some wildlife spotting. Listen to your guide and keep your camera handy in case you spot a whale.
Take a Ranger-Led Tour
Get lost in the woods while learning all about your surroundings with a ranger-led tour.
There’s no better way to learn about Glacier Bay National Park than to learn from the experts, the national park rangers. You can take a ranger-led tour that departs from the Glacier Bay Lodge. Also be sure to check out the park’s visitor center, conveniently located on the 2nd floor of Glacier Bay Lodge.
Where to Stay: Glacier Bay Lodge
Nestled in between the lush woods, Glacier Bay Lodge provides a cozy getaway.
To stay close to the fun, you’ll want to book a room at the Glacier Bay Lodge. One of the best features of the hotel is the massive stone fireplace in the lobby, where you can warm up after your activities outside. Each cozy hotel room comes with a private bathroom, coffeemaker, and hairdryer.
3. Immerse Yourselves in the Rainforest in Olympic National Park
The Olympic National Forest is home to a diverse and beautiful landscape full of coastline, forests, calm lakes, and glacier-capped mountains.
Tour the Rainforest
Find all of the hidden, mystical gems during your exploration of Lake Quinault Rainforest.
There are only three rainforests located in the contiguous U.S., and all three of those are located on the Olympic Peninsula. To really get to know the rainforest, sign up for the 4-hour, comprehensive Lake Quinault Rainforest Tour. On the tour you’ll learn more about the flora and fauna of the forest and, if you’re lucky, you might spot elk, black bear, bald eagles, and osprey.
Lake Quinault provides fun for the whole family on the lake with different options for everyone.
Let your stress melt away as you paddle across the unspoiled, quiet waters of Lake Quinault. Rent a canoe, kayak, or paddleboard to enjoy the beauty of the calm waters of Lake Quinault.
Where to Stay: Lake Quinault Lodge
Relax on the lawn of Lake Quinault Lodge for a beautiful sunset to end the day.
Built in 1926, Lake Quinault Lodge is the perfect place to disconnect from the modern world and tap into the natural world. With home-away-from-home comfort, you can relax and unwind in front of the majestic fireplace or enjoy your room with a lakeside view.
4. Take in the Stars in Lake Powell
With nearly 2000 miles of coastline and protected dark skies, Lake Powell is a beautiful place to enjoy the stars and spend time out on the water. No matter what type of water adventure you’re looking for, you can get it at Lake Powell. Rent a houseboat, Jet Ski, or powerboat to enjoy the water.
Rent a houseboat and get lost in the winding canyon waterway with the family.
Take in the Expanse of the Stars
Make sure you find the perfect spot to stargaze before the sun goes down.
Located near Lake Powell is Rainbow Bridge, which in 2018 was designated an International Dark Sky Place. These regulations help to support the circadian rhythm of local wildlife, but also make for some of the best stargazing.
Cast a Line
A perfect activity for all ages to sit and enjoy some quality time on the lake...and maybe even catch something!
One of the best ways to relax at Lake Powell is to cast a line and kick back to wait for a bite. The lake is teeming with smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, striped bass, walleye, crappie, and more. If you’re lucky, you might even catch dinner!
Where to Stay: Lake Powell Resort
Relax and kick back by the pool at the Lake Powell Resort.
Lake Powell Resort is conveniently located for all of your lake activities. Located at Wahweap Marina in Page, Arizona, it gives you the perfect resting place to restore after a fun day out on the lake. Book a suite, get great lake views from your room and enjoy on-site dining options.
5. Rafting in Jackson Hole
If you’re looking for the ultimate, adventure-filled family vacation this summer, you must consider a trip to Jackson Hole for whitewater rafting down the Snake River. While there’s plenty to do and see in Jackson Hole, rafting the Snake River is a must-do.
Raft the River
There are breathtaking views all around you while you float the river.
Whether you crave the rush of whitewater rafting or just want to gently float and take in the scenery, Sands Whitewater has a tour that’s just your speed. With experienced guides at a company with over 50 years of experience rafting on Snake River, whether this is your first rafting experience or you’re a pro, you’re sure to enjoy your raft trip. Be sure to keep your eyes open to take in the spectacular scenery, spot local wildlife, and learn about local history.
Where to Stay: Togwotee Mountain Lodge
A beautiful place to take in the fresh mountain air with loved ones this summer.
Located a short drive away from Jackson Hole, you’ll find Bridger-Teton National Forest. Book your stay at Togwotee Mountain Lodge for a centrally located, comfortable place to stay. Togwotee Mountain Lodge is also located near Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. The lodge has 34 guest rooms, private log cabins, and a great dining room.
No matter what type of adventure you’re looking for this summer, there are plenty of family-friendly destinations across the U.S. to be explored. You can find dark skies for stargazing, lakes for fishing, hikes in nature, and sightseeing tours to see whales.