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10 Trips All Families Should Take

There are a few places in the United States that all families should visit. From learning about the history of a great nation to discovering the beautiful sights to learning more about how to help the less fortunate, traveling and working together as a family offers a variety of great opportunities. Whether you’re looking to make some treasured memories or to make a difference in your community, these are 10 of the places you should visit with your family before your children grow up.

  1. Washington, D.C. – The seat of the nation, the District of Columbia is home to such iconic sights as the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the White House and the Smithsonian Museums. If you’re trying to teach your children a hands-on civics lesson, Washington is a natural starting point.
  2. Walt Disney World – Disney World may not have any grand historical importance or political influence, but it is The Happiest Place on Earth and the stuff that iconic, childhood dreams are made of. The chance to explore Cinderella’s castle and meet beloved favorite characters is not one your family should miss.
  3. The Local Animal Shelter – Caring for animals in need helps kids learn to be more responsible and teaches them the importance of helping those that need it. From cleaning out cages to walking dogs and feeding cats, volunteering together as a family shows kids that they need to be part of the solution, and that you’ll be there to help them.
  4. Colonial Williamsburg – Living history at its finest, Colonial Williamsburg is like stepping into a time warp. With more than 300 acres of homes, shops, public buildings and gardens, costumed interpreters show Williamsburg as it was when America was still in her infancy.
  5. Yellowstone Park – Whether your family is into hiking and fishing, exploring history, or simply experiencing true natural beauty, Yellowstone Park has something for everyone. There’s a reason why Yellowstone is a cultural American icon when it comes to the family vacation; it’s one of the best choices the country has to offer!
  6. Chattanooga, Tennessee – This small town in Tennessee might not be on your family-vacation radar, but there are a ton of reasons why it should be. Rock City, the Chattanooga Choo-Choo, Ruby Falls and an award-winning aquarium all call the area home, making it a great stop for families.
  7. Your Local Homeless Shelter – Kids aren’t naturally grateful for everything they have and all of the ways that they’re more fortunate than others. Sometimes, they need to see the way that others live and just how lucky they are while learning about helping their fellow man. Working together at a local homeless shelter, soup kitchen or outreach mission can give your kids a sense of accomplishment in a job well done, as well as a new appreciation for their own lot in life.
  8. Mount Rushmore – The image of four historical giants carved into the side of a mountain in the Badlands is one that all Americans can call up at the mention of Mount Rushmore’s name. Seeing it in person, however, is an experience unlike any other. Taking a trip to the Badlands to see Mount Rushmore can help your kids put a face to those names, and open up some educational talking points along the way.
  9. The Grand Canyon – Kids might not be overjoyed about the idea of traveling into a massive canyon on the back of a donkey, but they will appreciate the breathtaking views and the cultural and historical opportunities offered by a trip to the Grand Canyon.
  10. Your Local Food Bank – Particularly sensitive kids can struggle with the images of homeless people and animals that they see in shelters, which makes volunteering together at your local food bank a more suitable choice when they’re still small. Helping to provide food to those that can’t afford it is a great way to help kids understand the concepts of poverty and hunger in ways that aren’t too harsh for them to deal with at a young age.

The Great American Road Trip might not be within your family’s household budget, but it doesn’t cost anything to volunteer with a local outreach group. Visiting historic sites and seeing the attractions scattered around the nation will be a memorable experience, but may not have the same lasting impact that learning to help the less fortunate will have on your children. At the end of the day, the name of the game is togetherness, not extravagant vacations.

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