#1 Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon boasts an array of adrenaline-pumping activities – most notably hiking and whitewater rafting on the Colorado River. To avoid the crowds, check out the hiking routes on the North Rim; chances are you won’t see anyone along the Kaibab Trail.
When Lewis and Clark first spoke of Yellowstone’s natural beauty, no one believed them. But today, those who catch sight of the area’s geothermic wonders (like Old Faithful and the Mammoth Hot Springs) can attest to the explorers’ description.
Yosemite National Park features mountains, meadows, massive sequoia trees and plenty of waterfalls – all just a quick drive from San Francisco. Opportunities to hike, bike and horseback ride draw outdoor enthusiasts from across the country.
#4 Jackson Hole
Jackson Hole offers adventure year-round. In winter and early spring, ski resorts boast plenty of powder. In the warmer months, kayaking or hiking in Grand Teton National Park is a must. And in the fall, visit the National Elk Refuge to hear the bugle calls of its residents.
#5 Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe’s beauty is impossible to ignore. The picturesque peaks offer some of the best skiing in the country, while the crystal clear lake is ideal for kayaking, canoeing and boating. For an even bigger thrill, try your luck at the casinos in nearby Reno.
#6 Hawaii – The Big Island
The largest of Hawaii’s islands boasts plenty of jungle to trek and not one, but five volcanoes (some of which are still active). You can snorkel and kayak off the island’s coast or hike through Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park and the Hakalau Forest.
#7 Acadia National Park
There is ample opportunity for adventure in Maine’s forested wilderness. If you’re considering Acadia for your next family trip, note that the park’s rocky trails can be challenging for little legs. But both you and the kids will get a kick out of watching the park’s harbor seals.