The world’s beautiful places provide nourishment for the soul and bonding opportunities for families. Here are five inspiring places to consider:
1 The Road to Hana: The surf crashing on the rugged Maui coastline, bamboo forests and glorious waterfalls make this roadway a destination in itself. It’s a stark contrast to the resort-filled beaches on other parts of the island. You’ll find an unblemished, lush landscape oozing with remnants of the old Hawaiian culture. Stops along the 52-mile drive for photos, hiking, picnicking and tasting the famous banana or mango bread make it worth the effort. Consider spending the night in Hana to avoid rushing through the spectacular scenery.
2 Montauk, N.Y.: Just 100 miles but a world away from the bustling Big Apple, this seaside enclave on the east end of Long Island offers secluded beaches, whaling tales and pounding surf. Deep-sea fishing, hiking, seal watching and surfing are all available in a community first settled by Europeans in the mid-1600s. Scramble to the top of the Montauk Point Lighthouse for magnificent views of the craggy coastline.
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3 Hike the Canyons: From winding slot canyons to plateaus, southern Utah’s canyon country offers a bonanza of color, shape and form. Athletic families might consider the Narrows, a spectacular 16-mile corridor that requires one rigorous day. Most recommend an overnight. Better yet, choose the Bottoms Up hike enabling trekkers to see the most stunning aspects of the canyon in four to six hours. Day hikes and mountain biking options abound.
4 Finger Lakes, central New York: Named for the 11 glacier-carved lakes that spread like fingers across central New York state, the Finger Lakes provide 9,000 square miles of pristine lakes, deep gorges, white-water streams and charming villages. Don’t miss Letchworth State Park, known as the Grand Canyon of the East. There, the Taughannock Falls, higher than Niagara, make a breathtaking 215-foot drop.
5 Dubois, Wyo.: Wade into the vast Wyoming wilderness, where high mountain lakes, miles of hiking and horseback trails, and magnificent views provide a stellar experience. At Brooks Lake Lodge, rustic, restored cabins are nestled among the spruce and pine trees of the Pinnacle Mountains. Enjoy the sweet smell of the forest from under your goose-down comforters. Or consider an overnight pack trip into the back country and sleep under a star-studded sky.
Dallas Morning News