Every time we begin plotting vacation ideas here in the US I am always amazed by the vast size of our country. How incredible it would be if we could just move into an RV and drive, coast to coast, north to south, exploring every state at our leisure.
This year we will visit a few places new to our family as well as places my husband and I visited before we had kids, which we can’t wait to explore with the girls. Also included is a small “wish list” of destinations we would like to make it to, if time and money allow.
The Desert Southwest
February will find my eldest daughter and I enjoying a long weekend in Chandler/Tempe/Mesa/Apache Junction, Arizona. I have visited in the past, but this will be Brenna’s first time seeing large cactus, mountains, and a real desert. We won’t get to the Grand Canyon, but have it on our “when the girls a re a bit older” list.
The Gaylord Opryland
If you ever find yourself in Nashville, Tennessee you must stop, if only to see how magnificent this hotel is. My youngest daughter and I will be heading here mere days after I return from Arizona for the Blissdom Conference, where I am the Travel Community leader.
The most incredible feature of the Opryland Hotel is that it is a miniature city built inside a bio-dome. Magnificent gardens, a Delta riverboat cruise and a gorgeous Southern Plantation house will keep you occupied while half a dozen restaurants and nightclubs entertain you through the evening.
National Parks: Yellowstone, Big Sky, Paradise Valley, Little Big Horn Battlefield, Devil’s Tower, Mt. Rushmore
A 10 day family vacation at the beginning of July will take us to all these parks. From our Iowa home we will drive to Montana for a family adventure vacation with Austin Lehman. We will stop at Little Big Horn on the way out, see Yellowstone, Big Sky and Paradise Valley during our 5-day tour and hit Devil’s Tower and Mt. Rushmore on the way home. I’m tired just thinking about it.
The Ice Cream Capital of the World
On our way home from vacation we’ll be passing so closely to LeMars, Iowa it would be a shame not to stop at the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor.
While that is where our travel plans end, there are a few things that we would all like to see this year.
Play on a Beach and Swim in the Ocean
This is very high on my daughters’ wish list. While they have seen the ocean (we lived on the beach during a short relocation to Boston- in the winter) they have never gotten to play in it, or on a beautiful sandy beach. They aren’t picky about where, but I think the Irvine, California area could be a winner. We would have the beach, Disneyland, lots of parks and beautiful weather.
Door County, Wisconsin
This is Doug’s wish for a long adults only weekend. The beauty of Door County in the fall is legendary, and an adults only weekend is always a blessing.
Potter County, Pennsylvania
What is in Potter County, Pennsylvania? Besides a lot of parks and state forests, I’m not really sure. But Potter County holds a genealogical mystery for my family. My 4x great grandparents died here and it’s where our trail to the past grows cold. I would love to spend some time “digging” to see if we can find the missing part of our story.
What do your travel plans or dreams for 2012 hold?
Apache Junction, Arizona from SunnyAZ CVB
Gaylord Opryland, Ice Cream Capital by the author
Devil’s Tower from NPS.gov
Laguna Beach and Door County Lighthouse from WikiCommons
Potter County Courthouse from PotterCountyPA.net
Jody Halsted shares her family’s travel
tales at Family Rambling.