Summer vacation season is just around the corner. Here are five ways to explore all of the natural wonders of our nation with your family.
1. VISIT A NATIONAL PARK And this year, the list of possibilities got longer with the addition of seven parks. Among them is Blackstone River Valley National Historic Park in Massachusetts for river rafting, canoeing, kayaking and cycling. You'll also get the chance to honor the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution. The area hosted the first successful water-powered cotton-spinning factory.
2. RAFT A RIVER Find your way to Idaho's Frank Church Wilderness and commit to an unplugged week on the Middle Fork of the Salmon. As you float, fish and splash through 100 miles of spectacular scenery, you'll be treated to unexpected luxuries. Relish the fresh morning air as your crew delivers hot coffee or cocoa to your cozy tent.
3. HIKE THE ROCKIES Reward your clan with stunning vistas, wildflowers and a sense of accomplishment. The 12-mile trail between Crested Butte and Aspen crosses over the Maroon Bells pass (12,500 feet) and through splendid scenery. A package created by Crested Butte's Nordic Inn and the Limelight in Aspen simplifies logistics for travelers.
4. CONSIDER A FARM STAY A stay at the Flint Hill Farm, which is on 28 acres in Pennsylvania's Lehigh County, means you and your family will learn about country life dating back to 1850. Find out what it means to run a certified raw cow and goat milk dairy and how artisan cheese, butter and yogurt are made.
5. CAMP UNDER THE STARS Keep your carbon footprint low by setting up your tent close to home. Bring reusable utensils and containers and leave the campsite better than you found it. While exploring, discuss the importance of staying on marked trails to protect fragile ecosystems.