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I'm Terri and I love to travel with my kids. We have a goal of visiting all 50 states. Learn more...

Colorado – Great Sand Dunes National Park

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Many of my friends who have seen my pictures of Great Sand Dunes National Park have the same reaction: “Really?! That’s in Colorado?! Where?”

It’s in south central Colorado. We stopped at Great Sand Dunes for a few hours on our way from Colorado Springs to Mesa Verde National Park. Combined with several hours of driving on both ends, that adds up to a full day. Before you head to the park, plan to stop at the Great Sand Dunes Oasis or in the town of Alamosa where you can rent a sand sled and a sandboard from Kristi […]

South Dakota – Jewel Cave National Monument

Touch the jewels at Jewel Cave

Perhaps Jewel Cave National Monument doesn’t sound very impressive. After all, it’s just a National Monument, not at National Park, right? Wrong. Jewel Cave is the third longest known cave system in the world. And the key word in that sentence is “known.” New passages of Jewel Cave are still being discovered and mapped. Once it’s all mapped, it quite possibly could turn out to be the world’s longest cave. Scientists have estimated the volume of the cave using airflow studies. They measure how much air the caves exhales when the outside pressure drops and vice versa. The parts of […]

California – Lava Beds National Monument

Smaller lava tube at Lava Beds NM

We recently returned from a road trip during which we saw almost a dozen national parks, and you know what? My kids kept talking about one of the parks that we visited almost a year ago, one that I hadn’t yet written about. And, technically, it isn’t a national park–it’s a national monument–but that doesn’t really matter. I’m going to dub Lava Beds National Monument “The Best National Park You’ve Never Heard Of”.

Lava Beds National Monument is located in the far northern part of California, near the Oregon border. It sits on top of the massive Medicine Lake […]

Kentucky – Mammoth Cave National Park

Mammoth Cave Historic Tour 6

Mammoth Cave, the longest cave system known in the world, is located in Southwest Kentucky’s Cave Country. It has over 400 miles of surveyed passageways! That distinction definitely makes it worth a visit.

As with most national parks, the place to start is the Visitor Center. Inside you can watch an orientation film and explore exhibits that educate visitors about the geology of the area, types of cave passages, and animals found within the caves. I really liked the 3D model of the cave passages.

The Visitor Center is also the starting point for cave tours. I strongly […]

Kentucky – Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park

Symbolic Log Cabin - Lincoln Birthplace NHP

To celebrate Presidents’ Day this year, I decided to take a look at the humble beginning of one our greatest leaders, Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was born in a log cabin on Sinking Spring Farm on the Kentucky frontier near the current town of Hodgenville. The site is now a National Historical Park.

As with most national parks, I recommend starting in the Visitor Center. View a 15-minute film to learn about Abraham’s parents, Thomas and Nancy, where they came from, and about Abe’s early years in Kentucky.

After that, we perused the exhibits in the Visitor Center. The […]

Michigan – Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Sleeping Bear Dunes - view from Lake Michigan Overlook

We visited 101 attractions last summer (literally!) and I can honestly say that Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore ranks way up there as one of my kids’ favorites.

It was about a 40-minute drive from the Bayshore Resort in Traverse City to Sleeping Bear Dunes, where we spent the day. Our first stop was the Dune Climb.

The Dune Climb was undoubtedly the favorite part for my older two kids. Before you start the climb, you should consider how long you might want to hike the dunes. From the parking lot, you can see only the first hill, […]

Oregon – Crater Lake National Park

View from Garfield Peak at Crater Lake National Park

Our family loves the national parks. Ever since I’d first seen the blue waters of Crater Lake in photographs, I’ve wanted to visit. But before I talk about the park, I have an announcement: Our trip to Oregon was significant because it marked my husband’s 50th state! He is the first in our family to achieve this. (I’m next with 47 states so far.)

We are grateful to Travel Oregon and its partners, including Southern Oregon, for hosting our trip. They made our arrangements and negotiated discounted rates or complimentary admission for parts of our trip. Now, on to […]

Pennsylvania – Gettysburg National Military Park

Gettysburg Cyclorama 3

Gettysburg is a quiet town in south central Pennsylvania that likely wouldn’t be on anyone’s vacation itinerary except that it was the site of one of the most important battles of the Civil War, where 11,000 men lost their lives. It is now home to a National Military Park and Museum and should be part of your travel plans because your kids will learn about the history of the Battle of Gettysburg and the Civil War much better than they could learn from any textbook. 2013 marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and the park has special […]

Wyoming – Grand Teton National Park

Wyoming

Snapping this photo felt very gratifying to me. Why? I think it’s because it captured the essence of Grand Teton National Park perfectly, without the need for words. So maybe I should just not say anything about it and end my struggle to find the right words. The stunningly beautiful Grand Teton Mountain Range is the centerpiece of the park, but that’s not the only reason to visit–you must see the wildlife, and it’s the combination of the mighty beast against the backdrop of the rugged peaks that makes you pause and ponder the wonder of God’s creation.

We […]

Maine – Acadia National Park

Acadia National Park

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love the beauty of America’s National Parks. Situated on Mount Desert Island on the coast of Maine is Acadia National Park, 41,000 acres of glacier-carved granite and forests with gorgeous ocean views.

Any visit to Acadia should start at the Hulls Cove Visitor Center, conveniently located at the entrance to the park. There is a relief map of the park showing you the different points of interest. You’ll want to talk to a park ranger to plan your stay. Your visit should be no less than than a half-day, […]