Scenic spots for your next family getaway

Are you seeking inspiration for your next family getaway?

Here are five beautiful places to consider.

Niagara Falls, NY

Hear it roar. And feel the mist. But don’t worry, ponchos are provided when you board the iconic tour boat, the Maid of the Mist, to feel the power of the historic falls.

Formed some 12,000 years ago, Niagara Falls, straddling the US border with Canada, has long been a magnet for explorers and adventurers, as well as honeymooning travelers. By day, explore the area from multiple angles, via lush nature trails, a water-skimming jet boat or high-flying helicopter.

Inside Niagara Falls State Park, visit the observation tower for a panoramic view of the three main falls — American, Bridal Veil and Horseshoe falls. Each night, the park offers an “inspired by nature” illumination of the falls, along with seasonal fireworks.

For more: www.NiagaraFallsUSA.com.

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

A four-season playground for nature lovers, Michigan’s UP nudges up against three Great Lakes — Superior, Huron and Michigan.

Water and beach activities are plentiful with kayaking, sailing and fishing as warm-weather staples. Inland, visitors venture along rivers that feed the Great Lakes, explore old-growth forests and fly-fish small streams.

From the Porcupine Mountains, just a few miles from the shores of Lake Superior and considered one of Michigan’s most wild landscapes, adventurers can hike from a summit to the shore in one day. During the winter months, snowmobiling, skiing, snowshoeing and ice fishing are popular pursuits.

For more: www.Michigan.org

Tybee Island, Ga.

Just 5 miles long, this charming barrier island is big on scenic beauty and hidden gems with a small-town vibe.

Located 20 minutes from downtown Savanna, Tybee Island will appeal to families who might enjoy kayaking, searching for fossils or learning about ecology on the beach.

Check out Georgia’s oldest and tallest lighthouse and enjoy bicycling around Tybee’s historic Fort Screven District. Get up close and personal with bottlenose dolphins on an adventure tour.

Don’t miss the new 5,000-square-foot Marine Science Center experience for touching tanks, turtle talks, floating classrooms and hands-on activities. Stay in small inns or rental properties near the sea.

For more: www.VisitTybee.com

The Road to Hana, Hawaii

The surf crashing on the rugged Maui coastline, bamboo forests and glorious waterfalls make this roadway a destination in itself.

Offering a stark contrast to the resort-filled beaches on other parts of the island, the Road to Hana offers an unblemished, lush landscape oozing with remnants of the old Hawaiian culture. Stops along the 52-mile drive for photos, hiking, picnicking on the beach and tasting the famous banana or mango bread make it worth the effort.

Consider spending the night in Hana, known as “the heart of Old Hawaii” to further explore and to avoid rushing through the spectacular scenery.

For more: www.gohawaii.com/maui; www.hanamaui.com

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 all-inclusive 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 backcountry and sleep under a star-studded sky.

For more: www.brookslake.com; 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.

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