Relaxing on pristine beaches. Rock hopping across rugged shorelines. Kayaking along coastal waterways. Swinging in an oceanside hammock. Sipping water from a freshly picked coconut. Thrilled by an impromptu wild dolphin show. Ending the day with a beyond-words gorgeous sunset. These are highlights of family vacations past.
And we have loved each and every one of these experiences. Explore with me while I take a walk down vacation memory lane. Be inspired for your next vacation! Enjoy!
Jaguar Reef Lodge, Hopkins, Belize
Surrounded by tropical rainforests and crystal clear reefs, it’s a mecca of adventure and relaxation. Kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, fishing, diving, caving, even exploring Mayan ruins – it’s all here. Or simply relax in an oceanside hammock, sipping water from a freshly cut coconut!
Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica
Manuel Antonio National Park is one of Costa Rica’s most well-known attractions. There’s a reason for that! Pristine white sand beaches surrounded by lush, green forests, not to mention the wildlife you might encounter.
Near the end of our hike through the park, we “discovered” Manuel Antonio’s “third beach.” Tropical blue-green waters beckoned further exploration, as did the sloths hanging in the trees above us, and the calls of howler monkeys off in the distance.
Gulfo Dulce, Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica
The Gulfo Dulce is located in the South Pacific region of Costa Rica, and is one of only three tropical fjords in the world.
Our exploration of the Gulfo Dulce and Playa Nicuesa remains one of our most treasured experiences to date. Imagine being greeted by a pod of dolphins performing a most amazing acrobatic dolphin show, just for you. Happened to us. Nothing staged in this wildly beautiful experience!
Lake Superior, Upper Peninsula, Michigan
Lake Superior is a most incredible, extremely large, and very untouristed destination. It’s also a favorite destination in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Lake Superior’s beaches around Marquette are often this s0-not-crowded! Lots of space to run, jump waves, and make sand castles. Check out my earlier post, Lake Superior On A Hot August Day, for more on Lake Superior.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is also located along the Lake Superior shoreline, just outside Munising, Michigan.
Sandstone cliffs, beaches, sand dunes, waterfalls and forests. Yep – all here! Kayak, bike, hike, camp. Yep – here too! Our favorite beach is Miner’s Beach. It’s a hike well worth the effort. And once there, you might just have the beach to yourself.
Ke’e Beach & The Na Pali Coast, Kauai, Hawaii
Ke’e Beach and the Na Pali Coast are at the end of the road along Kauai’s North Shore.
This is a very special place. Find rugged hiking trails into the nearly inaccessible Na Pali Coast, incredible sea cliffs with million dollar views, and the soft, silky sands and crystal clear waters of Ke’e Beach.
The Beaches of Wailea, Maui, Hawaii
Rest and relaxation abound on the beaches of Wailea, Maui, Hawaii.
What more can be said? Tropical weather, beautiful beaches, warm ocean water, snorkeling, paddle boarding. It’s an all-around great place to kick back and relax.
Castaway Cay, Bahamas
Castaway Cay is Disney Cruise Line’s private island. So yes, you will need to take a Disney cruise to get here.
But if you do, a magically fun day awaits you. Though we only had eight hours of island time, we filled it with lots of great family fun – biking, swimming, snorkeling and lazing on the beach. Read more about Castaway Cay at Cruising On The Disney Dream – One Family’s Cruise Adventure.
Acadia National Park & Bar Harbor, Maine
The beaches and shorelines surrounding Acadia National Park are the perfect backdrop for catching amazing sunsets. It’s also a great place for adventure!
Spend the days hiking, ocean front rock hopping, swimming in the refreshingly cool Atlantic Ocean on hot summer days. Don’t forget the bikes for some inland biking along the park’s carriage roads.
Bowman Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana
Read more about Bowman Lake at Glacier National Park – A Family Adventure.
Resurrection Bay, Seward Alaska
Nothing beats the heat of a hot summer day like a cruise through Resurrection Bay, Seward Alaska!
Keep a watch out for lots of critters. We spotted sea otters, harbor seals, bald eagles, and these stellar sea lions basking in the afternoon sun. Oh, and a whale and several land-lubbing mountain goats too.
Where Will Your Summer Travels Take You?
The summer of 2013 will again find our family along shorelines and beaches. We will be re-visiting a family favorite – the beaches of Lake Superior, Michigan. And we’ll be exploring a new shoreline – Cape Breton National Park, Nova Scotia.
Where will summer find you? Will it be beach-side? Rock-hopping? Kayaking along pristine waterways? Or sipping on a coconut on a Caribbean island? Let us know in the Comments section below.
Photos from C.Biederman, National Parks.gov (Pictured Rocks).