#NEVERIDLE JOURNAL   //   Roadtrip Travel  //  Staff Picks

7 Unique Family-Friendly Summer Adventures Worth The Drive

Roll the windows down and let the fresh air in—summer is the time to hit the road, go on big (and small) adventures, and take your tribe along for the ride. Whether you have weeks of saved up vacation time, or just a couple of days to escape, we’ve rounded up some of the most scenic destinations that are perfect for the road warriors out there.

The best place to start your trip? With an awesome rental from Outdoorsy. 

Finger Lakes Region in New York State

The long and thin finger-like lakes of this region in New York draw visitors from all over the country — not only for the natural beauty of the waterfall-laced landscape, but also for the vineyards (Rieslings do well here), art museums, and outdoor activities like hiking, biking, fishing and boating. Visit any one of the 11 finger lakes (Canadice, Canandaigua, Cayuga, Conesus, Hemlock, Honeoye, Keuka, Otisco, Seneca and Skaneateles), situated between Syracuse, Rochester and Elmira-Corning, for a nice weekend away. There are a number of great state parks to visit as well, like Watkins Glen State Park where you can see nearly 20 waterfalls along the Gorge Trail.

Stay: Hammondsport Bath KOA Resort, near Keuka Lake, has fun themed weekends with loads of planned activities. Plus, there’s a swimming pool and splash area, mini-golf, wagon rides and more.

Vermont splendor

Lighthouses, maple syrup, and tiny towns are not the only reasons to visit the country’s second smallest state. New England is a nature lovers paradise in the summer months, when the weather is just right, and RV adventurers will find lots of fun things to do in Vermont. The Champlain lake area is home to the Arnold Zlotoff Tool Museum, Z-Motorsports Collection, Apple Island Annual Car Show, Strawberry Festival and a weekly Farmers Market.

Stay: Apple Island RV Resort, bordering Lake Champlain, is where to go for freshwater fishing. You’ll have access to hot showers, laundry, a general store and, of course, the lake.

Camp along Lake Michigan

The shores of Lake Michigan are home to several State Parks, perfect for camping and exploring this summer. P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, located five miles north of Grand Haven in the state of Michigan, has a wooded campground, located with easy access to hiking trails. We love Dune Climb Stairway, which takes you nearly 200 steps up a massive dune—don’t worry, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views at the top, making the climb totally worth the effort. Kids will love a visit to the Gillette Sand Dune Visitor Center, where they can learn about bats and owls, outdoor skills, and the sand dunes in the area. Get involved and participate in one of the visitor center’s weekly nature programs, ideal for families.

Stay: Rest your head at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park Campsite, where you’ll have everything you need for an adventure in the great outdoors. You’ll want to reserve your spot early as the campground fills up quickly. Enjoy a swim at the beach, have an open-air picnic and explore one of the many foot trails like the Hoffmaster-Dune Overlook, Hoffmaster-Homestead Trail, or Hoffmaster-Walk-a-Mile trail.

Relax in Glenwood Springs, Colorado

Glenwood Springs, less than three hours west of Denver, has it going on—there’s so much to do here, you’ll want to carve out several days to enjoy it all. Definitely visit Glenwood Hot Springs Resort (home to the world’s largest mineral hot springs pool), Iron Mountain Hot Springs (the state’s newest hot springs) or Yampah Spa and Vapor Caves (experience a natural geothermal mineral steam bath). See Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon and don’t forget to visit the Hanging Lake Welcome Center. You can also organize a guided tour, go rafting or kayaking, and find endless hiking trails to satiate your nature proclivities.

Stay: Situated in a picturesque location right along the Colorado River, Glenwood Canyon Resort’s Riverfront RV Sites offers guests: water and electric service, a private campfire picnic table and fire pit, restroom and shower facilities, laundry, playground, a bar and grill and an onsite activity center for rafting, ziplining, high ropes course and kayaking.

Off-the-beaten-path: North Cascades National Park, Washington

While we love our National Park System, America’s best and grandest idea, we would normally recommend other lovely areas to visit in the summer due to the massive amounts of tourists that visit the parks during these couple of months (visiting National Parks during fall or spring is ideal in general), however, North Cascades National Park in Washington is quite the gem and it isn’t as crowded as other national parks. In fact, North Cascades, located just two hours from Seattle, is one of the least visited parks. A visit here, though, offers views of the North Cascade Mountain Range’s craggy peaks, the most capacious glacier system in the lower 48 (over 300 glaciers exist here), countless headwater waterways, verdant forests and a rich flora and fauna ecosystem. Go hiking at Diablo Lake, paddleboard on Lake Chelan, and check out Heather-Maple Pass Loop.

Stay: First-come, first-serve campgrounds include Colonial Creek North, Goodell Creek and Gorge Lake Campgrounds. Check the North Cascades National Park website for more campground information to decide where to park your RV.

California dreaming: The Redwoods

Hike and explore among some of the tallest and thickest trees in the world along a stretch of northern coastal California. California is home to 31 redwood state and national parks so it’s quite simple to find Sequoias. Set up your RV, surrounded by tall giants, and take in the scenery by foot. Campgrounds and backcountry sites are situated within four different parks: Redwood National Park, Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.

Stay: Well-loved sites include Mill Creek Campground, where you can see enormous stumps from the logging days of the 1920s; Elk Prairie Campground, located in dense forest near fantastic hiking trails; and Jedidiah Smith Campground, which is home to a large population of old growth trees.

Wild Horses on Assateague Island, Maryland

Assateague Island, a 37-mile long island along the coasts of Maryland and Virginia, is home to two main herds of wild feral horses—one on the Virginia side, managed by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company, and one on the Maryland side, managed by the National Park Service. The folks that round up these horses and look after them are called Saltwater Cowboys. This barrier island is also home to trails for hiking (many of which are only half mile loops—perfect for little kids), bird watching, animal encounters on the beach and a myriad of other nature activities. Kids can take part in the Junior Park Ranger activities and earn a badge. Check out Toms Cover Visitors Center in the Virginia District and Assateague Island Visitor Center in the Maryland District.

Stay: Camping, available only in the Maryland district of Assateague Island, is a unique experience. RV Assateague Island National Seashore Campgrounds include Oceanside Drive-in and Bayside Drive-in.

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