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Tags: vacation | destination | attraction | national parks | history | amusement parks

Newsmax's List of the Best Family Vacation Destinations

people walk around in harry potter world with buildings topped with fake snow and a hogsmeade street sign
Visitors walk around in Hogsmeade at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida. (Dreamstime)

By    |   Friday, 22 January 2021 02:46 PM

No matter what your family vacation goals may be — the fun of local attractions, the adventure derived from the great outdoors, or learning more about the rich history of our republic — the United States has a perfect destination for you.

Here is Newsmax's list of the best 10, not including vacation spots located in the states having the most stringent COVID-19 restrictions — California, Michigan, New Jersey, and New York.

Fun Destinations

Branson, Missouri, is known for its live music from some of the best entertainers in the business, as well as live theater, acrobatic shows, and magic shows that are sure to thrill all ages.

But it's also home to amusement parks, water parks, and the world's largest toy museum, displaying toys dating from America's colonial days to the present.

Dollywood Theme Park, located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, has many park attractions, including the Rocky Top Mountain Coaster and Dolly Parton's Stampede Dinner Attraction.

Other local attractions include the Redneck Comedy Bus Tour, the Anakeesta Mountain Sightseeing Chondola, and the Hatfield & McCoy Dinner Show.

When visiting, be sure to stay at Dollywood's DreamMore Resort and Spa.

Gatlinburg, also in Tennessee, is located at the entrance of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Attractions include the sights of Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, the Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre, riding the Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway, and visiting the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts Community.

Orlando is everyone's favorite family Florida vacation Mecca. Anaheim's Disneyland may be the original, but Disney World is bigger, better, and most important, is open for business.

But Orlando is much more than all things Disney. It's also home to WonderWorks amusement park for the mind, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Epcot, and Universal's Islands of Adventure, to mention but a few.

When visiting Orlando, you may want to stay at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. You'll be a hero to your kids.

Outdoor Adventures

The Grand Canyon, located in northern Arizona, is a mile-deep chasm chiseled out by the Colorado River over some six million years. Just taking in the sight is confirmation as to why the Grand Canyon made the list of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

In addition to experiencing the breathtaking vista, you can raft down the Colorado, take a mule ride down to the bottom on the Bright Angel Trail, or explore the canyon from the air by airplane, helicopter, or even a balloon.

One of the best places to view the canyon is at Grand Canyon Village, located at Yavapai Point.

Yellowstone National Park, described as "an outdoor enthusiast's paradise," was a favorite destination of President Theodore Roosevelt. It's located in northwest Wyoming and is comprised of 2.2 million acres that kiss the edges of Idaho and Montana.

Everyone knows of Old Faithful, the geyser that spews plumes of water into the sky like clockwork. But there are also hundreds of miles of hiking trails winding their way around Yellowstone Lake, Mammoth Hot Springs, and the West Thumb Geyser Basin.

Yellowstone is a destination you can return to year after year and never see the same thing twice.

Yosemite National Park made Newsmax's list even though it's located in locked-down eastern California because it's still open for daytime activities. It's probably one of the advantages of being a national park, as opposed to a state-run attraction.

And there's plenty for the adventurous to see and do there. Comprised of nearly 1,200 square miles, visitors are encouraged to hike through Hetch Hetchy Valley in the park's northwest corner, explore its numerous lakes and rivers, and take in its countless waterfalls, best viewed during the spring snowmelt.

When you're there don't miss hiking Yosemite's Half Dome cables route and El Capitan, and check out the park's numerous museums.

Educational Junkets

Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, at 300 acres, is the world's largest living museum and place to be for those interested in life in 18th-century America.

While there, you can learn about life in colonial America and during the American Revolution, tour 18th-century government buildings and family homes, observe blacksmiths, printers, milliners, and other tradespeople employing 1700s methodology, and travel back in time as you watch historical reenactments by expert interpreters.

Those interested in early American artifacts and folk art will also want to take in Williamsburg's two excellent art museums.

Mystic, Connecticut, is the place to be to learn about America's rich seafaring past, especially the early whaling industry.

In addition to exploring Mystic's historic downtown area, there's also Mystic Aquarium, which serves as the northeast's premier marine mammal rescue and rehabilitation center as well as a place to view marine life up close and personal.

You'll also want to check out Olde Mistick Village, a recreated 18th-century New England town, and Mystic Seaport Museum.

But the highlight will be exploring the Charles W. Morgan. Located at Mystic Seaport, it's described as the only wooden whaling ship still in existence. And while the family is there, Dad may want to visit the Barley Head Brewery — for educational purposes, of course.

Washington, D.C., as the seat of our national government, is a place everyone should visit at least once. Take a tour through the White House, sit in the gallery of each chamber of Congress, and check out the seat of the highest judicial body in the land — the U.S. Supreme Court.

You'll also want to visit the city's numerous monuments — the Jefferson, the Washington, and the Lincoln Memorials, as well as the National World War II Monument, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Be sure to set aside at least a full day to explore the Smithsonian Institution, the world's largest museum, education, and research complex.

You should finally make a daytrip next door to Virginia to visit George Washington's Mount Vernon and Thomas Jefferson's Monticello.

© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

No matter what your family vacation goals may be - the fun of local attractions, the adventure derived from the great outdoors, or learning more about the rich history of our republic - the United States has a perfect destination for you. Here is Newsmax's list of the best...
vacation, destination, attraction, national parks, history, amusement parks
Friday, 22 January 2021 02:46 PM
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