Growing up I went to sleep away camp. I often use this to explain how I managed to enter my 40's before ever seeing The Grand Canyon. Many of my friends went on teen tours growing up - hitting all of the national parks along the way. Me - I had been to Africa and Australia before ever setting foot in a national park in the United States. It took into my adulthood for me to realize just how much beauty is right here in our own backyard.
I have made a point of taking my kids on national park vacations. I have to say - these have been some of our most memorable and incredible trips together. Jackson Hole, Grand Tetons and Yellowstone was one of my favorite family vacations ever. My children were 11 and 7 - perfect ages for this type of trip. Old enough to appreciate it and participate in everything we wanted to do -- but young enough that they were happy to hang out with us by the firepit at night roasting s'mores.
Most recently we visited the Adirondacks. We live on Long Island and given all of the travel restrictions with COVID-19, we decided to stay in New York for a roadtrip. We went to Lake Placid and stayed at the amazing Lake Placid Lodge. We had our own cabin right on the lake which was perfect for a safe and socially distant vacation. Once again I realized how much beauty is in my own back yard. We absolutely loved the Adirondacks. My kids only came out of the lake to hike, bike and eat- and even though they were a few years older, they were still cool hanging around the fire with us at night making s'mores. It was a perfect getaway -- and I will absolutely return to the Adirondacks again and again!