Having spent the last 10 years traveling with my family across the United States, we have visited some of the most unique places that the United States has to offer. So if you are planning a family vacation, consider some of these unique places across America to see what this country has to offer.
From the majestic views of Denali National Park to the amazing museum and nerve wracking attractions, there is plenty to see for both children and parents alike. Read on to see the 10 unique places in the US to visit with children.
1. Denali National Park
Denali National Park encompasses over 6 million acres of wild land, bisected by one ribbon of road. Explore the high-alpine tundra, rivers and snowy mountains before viewing North America’s tallest peak, 20,320’ Mount McKinley. Roughly 400,000 intrepid travelers journey to Denali National Park and Preserve each year, primarily between late May and early September. Within Denali there are six campgrounds of varying size and distance from the entrance to the park. You are allowed to camp a total of 14 days per year in Denali’s campgrounds.
Families on the Road recommends spending at least 4 days at Savage River Campground and an additional 3-4 days at Teklanika if your rig can fit. We were fortunate enough to find camping in both Savage River and Teklanika River campgrounds. Spending more than a week inside the heart of Denali offered unique access to wildlife, serenity and a survivalist bond.
Remember to determine the overall length of your RV before heading into Teklanika River because you will be stopped and measured by a park ranger. The overall truck and trailer length for this campground is 40 feet max.
2. Cedar Point
Cedar Point is a 364-acre amusement park located on a Lake Erie peninsula in Sandusky, Ohio. Opened in 1870, it is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the United States behind Lake Compounce.
Cedar Point is owned and operated by Cedar Fair and is considered the flagship of the amusement park chain. Known as “America’s Roller Coast”, the park features a world-record 71 rides, including 16 roller coasters – the second-most in the world behind Six Flags Magic Mountain. Its newest roller coaster, Valravn, opened in May 2016.
Cedar Point’s normal operating season runs from early May until Labor Day in September. The park then reopens only on weekends until the end of October or early November for a Halloween-themed event known as HalloWeekends. Other attractions near the park include a one-mile-long (1.6 km) white-sand beach, an outdoor water park called Cedar Point Shores, an indoor water park called Castaway Bay, two marinas, and several nearby resorts.
Familiesontheroad recommends Camping with the coasters. That’s what it’s like at Lighthouse Point, where you can “rough it” just steps away from the most exciting rides and attractions anywhere. Sites are available in back-in and pull-through configurations and every site is full hook-up with water, sewer, electric and cable along with a picnic table. All sites are level with concrete pads. Your site will be close to Cedar Point, Cedar Point Shores Water Park and Cedar Point’s famous Lake Erie beach. Complimentary WiFi is available.
The park has reached several milestones. It is the only amusement park in the world with five roller coasters taller than 200 feet (61 m) – Magnum XL-200, Millennium Force, Wicked Twister, Top Thrill Dragster, and Valravn – and is the only park with roller coasters in all four height classifications. Cedar Point also received the Golden Ticket Award for “Best Amusement Park in the World” from Amusement Today for 16 consecutive years from 1997-2013. The park is the most visited seasonal amusement park in the United States with an estimated 3.6 million visitors in 2016. The park also has several buildings that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
3. One World Tower
One World Trade Center (also known as 1 World Trade Center, 1 WTC or Freedom Tower is the main building of the rebuilt World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan, New York City. It is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and the sixth-tallest in the world. The supertall structure has the same name as the North Tower of the original World Trade Center, which was completely destroyed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The new skyscraper stands on the northwest corner of the 16-acre World Trade Center site, on the site of the original 6 World Trade Center. The building is bounded by West Street to the west, Vesey Street to the north, Fulton Street to the south, and Washington Street to the east.
One World Trade Center became the tallest structure in New York City on April 30, 2012, when it surpassed the height of the Empire State Building. The tower’s steel structure was topped out on August 30, 2012. On May 10, 2013, the final component of the skyscraper’s spire was installed, making the building, including its spire, reach a total height of 1,776 feet (541 m). Its height in feet is a deliberate reference to the year when the United States Declaration of Independence was signed. The building opened on November 3, 2014; the One World Observatory opened on May 29, 2015.
On March 26, 2009, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) confirmed that the building would be officially known by its legal name of “One World Trade Center”, rather than its colloquial name of “Freedom Tower”. The building is 104 standard floors high, but the tower has only 94 actual stories.
The new World Trade Center complex will eventually include five high-rise office buildings built along Greenwich Street, as well as the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, located just south of One World Trade Center where the original Twin Towers stood. The construction of the new building is part of an effort to memorialize and rebuild following the destruction of the original World Trade Center complex.
4. Zion National Park
Utah’s First National Park
Follow the paths where ancient native people and pioneers walked. Gaze up at massive sandstone cliffs of cream, pink, and red that soar into a brilliant blue sky. Experience wilderness in a narrow slot canyon. Zion’s unique array of plants and animals will enchant you as you absorb the rich history of the past and enjoy the excitement of present day adventures.
5. US Constitution Center
The National Constitution Center is the first and only museum dedicated to the U.S. Constitution. Through must-see exhibits, timely America’s Town Hall programs, and the engaging educational resources, this experience will inspire active citizenship and bring the Constitution to life for visitors of all ages.
Located in historic downtown Philadelphia the entire 10 block area provides an educational experience for the entire family.
6. Arches National Park
Arches National Park is a US National Park in eastern Utah. The park is adjacent to the Colorado River, 4 miles (6 km) north of Moab, Utah. It is home to over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, including the world-famous Delicate Arch, in addition to a variety of unique geological resources and formations. It contains the highest density of natural arches in the world.
The park consists of 76,679 acres of high desert located in the Colorado Plateau. Its highest elevation is 5,653 feet (1,723 m) at Elephant Butte, and its lowest elevation is 4,085 feet (1,245 m) at the visitor center. Forty-three arches are known to have collapsed since 1977.
Just south of the National Park entrance is the town of Moab, Utah. Moab is famous for canyoneering, hiking, river rafting, biking, motorcycling, ATV riding, and 4×4 driving. The Moab area is home to many easy to difficult off-road trails for novice to experienced off-roaders. RV camping at Kens Lake offers an inexpensive way to stay for an extended period of time and enjoy all that the area has to offer.
7. Country Music Hall of Fame
The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum adds a strikingly modern touch to the Nashville skyline and is situated at the epicenter of the city’s rapidly growing core, a block from the popular honky-tonks of Broadway, across the street from Bridgestone Arena and Music City Center, and adjacent to the Omni Hotel. The museum, called the “Smithsonian of country music” because of its unrivaled collection, recently unveiled a $100 million expansion, doubling its size to 350,000 square feet of dynamic state-of-the-art galleries, archival storage, education classrooms, retail stores, and special event space boasting stunning downtown views.
In the museum’s core exhibition, Sing Me Back Home: A Journey Through Country Music, visitors are immersed in the history and sounds of country music, its origins and traditions, and the stories and voices of many of its honored architects. The story is revealed through artifacts, photographs, and text panels, with a rich overlay of recorded sound, vintage video, and interactive touchscreens. Sing Me Back Home is enhanced by several limited-engagement exhibits including Dylan, Cash and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City. The ACM Gallery and the Dinah and Fred Gretsch Family Gallery offer visitors a hands-on immersion into today’s country music with artifacts from today’s country stars and a series of technology-enhanced activities that allow guests to become “Certified Country.”
In addition to world class galleries, the museum has the 776-seat CMA Theater; the 213-seat Ford Theater; the Taylor Swift Education Center; and multi-purpose event rental spaces in high demand. Other historic properties of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum include the legendary letterpress operation Hatch Show Print (located inside the museum) and Historic RCA Studio B (located on famed Music Row), Nashville’s oldest surviving recording studio, where landmark recordings by Elvis Presley, Dolly Parton, Waylon Jennings, and many others were made.
Since 1987, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum has been accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, certifying that the museum operates according to the highest standards, manages its more than two million-item collection responsibly, and provides quality service to the public. Of the 17,500 museums nationwide, only some 1000 are accredited.
The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum has developed multiple platforms to make its collection accessible to a wider audience. From weekly instrument demonstrations to its flagship songwriting program for schools, Words & Music, the museum offers an aggressive schedule of educational programs.
8. Mall of America
Since opening its doors in 1992, Mall of America® has revolutionized the shopping experience and become a leader in retail, entertainment and attractions. Mall of America is one of the top tourist destinations in the country as well as one of the most recognizable brands.
Mall of America has earned a national reputation for entertaining guests. From musical acts to celebrity book signings to fashion shows, Mall of America is the Hollywood of the Midwest. Along with coverage in many national and local broadcast and print media outlets, Mall of America has been featured on the Discovery Channel, Travel Channel and TLC. By hosting more than 400 events each year, the Mall has become the place where fans can meet and greet their favorite celebrities or take part in interactive, one-of-a-kind events.
Mall of America® is located in Bloomington, Minnesota—only 15 minutes from downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul. As one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world, Mall of America features—520 stores, 50 restaurants and attractions galore, including Nickelodeon Universe®, the nation’s largest indoor theme park, and the American Girl store. Plus, there’s no sales tax on clothing or shoes!
With ample parking, this destination is big rig friendly.
9. Washington, DC
Washington, DC, the U.S. capital, is a compact city on the Potomac River, bordering the states of Maryland and Virginia. It’s defined by imposing neoclassical monuments and buildings – including the iconic ones that house the federal government’s 3 branches: the Capitol, White House and Supreme Court. It’s also home to iconic museums and performing-arts venues such as the Kennedy Center.
Monuments and memorials, eclectic neighborhoods, true local flavor – Washington, DC is a place unlike any other. It’s your home away from home with free museums and America’s front yard. Plan your trip to the nation’s capital by checking out all the things to do, places to eat and ways to stay.
Wondering if the Metro is the best way to get to the National Mall. Read our article about it.
10. NASA Cape Canaveral
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is where rockets launch and inspiration begins at Florida’s gateway to space. Located only an hour away from Orlando, arrive early for a full-day experience at the greatest space adventure on Earth!
No doubt about it, Florida is a very popular destination, if you are treating yourself to sun, sand and space, we’ve got a few tips to make the most of your visit to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex.
The visitor complex opens at 9 am every day and the parking lot opens at 8:30 am. Early bird opportunities include getting a jump on lines and scoring the best parking spot! Don’t Miss This: Kennedy Space Center Bus Tour, Space Shuttle Atlantis® and Heroes & Legends
Did you know that all three attractions are included with daily admission?
Eat Lunch Early or Late
Don’t follow the crowd and have lunch at 11 am or 2 pm. Bonus tip: visitors are welcome to bring picnic lunch to enjoy at the visitor complex using soft-sided coolers. No glass bottles, please!
Be for Some Waiting
Busy or not, the first line you may encounter is the security line. Visitors may encounter another line for the Kennedy Space Center Bus Tour. Bonus tip: An entire fleet of buses keeps the tour operating continually throughout the day until 2 and half hours before complex closing time.
Purchase Tickets Online
Purchase your tickets before you arrive at www.kennedyspacecenter.com. You must have printed tickets to enter, so print out your tickets and bring them with you, otherwise you’ll need to wait in line at Will Call to have them printed for you.