When planning a family vacation, it can be a challenge to narrow down the voluminous options.
Here are five categories to consider.
Make road trip memories
Explore along the historic Route 66, where your family will marvel at the wide-open spaces, the changing landscape and the rich history discovered as you follow the path of the original Mother Road. Plan for a stop in the small town of Oatman, Ariz., where it’s said there are more wild burros than people. The burros are the offspring of the original critters that worked alongside gold miners back in the day.
Some shops even sell carrots that can be fed to the four-legged creatures. The colorful town might have faded into history were it not for the resurgence of interest in the Mother Road. And the burros, of course.
Today, visitors channel the Wild West history (be on the lookout for staged shootouts on Main Street), stroll along wide-planked wooden sidewalks, and hike in the adjacent wilderness areas.
For more: www.VisitArizona.com
Theme park thrills in Carlsbad, Calif.
Pair a little SoCal sunshine with some theme park fun during a visit to Legoland California, where more than 60 rides, shows and attractions beckon children ages 2 to 12. (Note some rides have height restrictions.) Youngsters will enjoy testing their skills in the Junior Driving School and will get a thrill out of the Coastersaurus.
Later, they can cool off in the on-site water park. Don’t miss the chance to build, test and race your own Ferrari in the new attraction’s “garage,” also home to a life-size, bright red Ferrari F40 model crafted from more than 350,000 LEGO elements.
For more: www.Legoland.com
Saddle up with the clan
With an authentic and scenic setting as the backdrop, you and your family can enjoy beautiful places and learn horsemanship from experienced hands who will tailor the instruction to your skill and interest level. Opt to ride in open meadows, on mountain trails or in the desert Southwest.
Will your family members choose to participate in a real cattle drive? Are you up for a horse pack trip into the backcountry? Will your youngsters be eager to learn the skills required for team penning and other arena games? Or you will be happy to relax during daily trail rides. The options are yours at working dude ranches and guest ranches across the country.
For more: www.duderanch.org.
Go for the island vibe
If you’ve ever dreamed of casting away to a tranquil hideaway where white sand beaches stretch for miles and your worries dissolve in soft ocean breezes, then this coral island is for you. The only resort on a small spit of land in the middle of the Indian Ocean, the Four Seasons Desroches Island in the Seychelles pairs warm and welcoming service, top notch cuisine and rustic luxury with a pristine natural environment.
Stay in villas, suites or expansive residences, each with private pools and beach access. Ride bikes to the Island Conservation Society’s Giant Tortoise Sanctuary before stopping on a private stretch of beach for a family picnic. Explore your choice of 14 world-class dive sites around the island or soak up the sun in a kayak or on a stand-up paddleboard.
Youngsters can explore with the Kids for All Seasons crew while adults spend the day deep-sea fishing or relaxing in the open-air spa. Later, connect for a spectacular sunset atop the Lighthouse, the beachfront restaurant with fresh-caught seafood.
For more: FourSeasons.com/SeychellesDesroches
Explore a wild world
Learn about the evolution, habitat, social interaction and historical significance of the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang herd during a visit to the extraordinary 38,000-acre landscape that is their home outside of Lovell, Wyo.
It’s one of only four designated wild horse ranges in the country. Many believe the magnificent creatures are descendants of Spanish horses brought to the area by Native American tribes, including the Crow. During a visit, bighorn sheep and other wildlife sightings are possible as you traverse the land that straddles the Montana and Wyoming border.
For more: www.pryormustangs.org; www.pryormustangs.org; www.travelwyoming.com.
Lynn O’Rourke Hayes (LOHayes.com) is an author, family travel expert and enthusiastic explorer. Gather more travel intel on Twitter @lohayes, Facebook, or via FamilyTravel.com