40 Places to Take Your Kids (But Also Yourself)!

I don’t want to write about.. all the places I HAVEN’T been..

Are you planning a family vacation? Are you dreaming of #travel? I love this article of these 40 must-see destinations. I want to see them all with my kids.

..for too many years anyway. I’m as much of a bucket list maker as someone can be! I believe in photography bucket lists, and spring bucket lists, and fall bucket lists, and definitely summer bucket lists. I believe in food bucket lists and more specifically – ice cream bucket lists. I believe in literary bucket lists, and somewhat related – career-as-a-whole bucket lists.

I believe in believing in bucket lists.


I read this awesome post based on this awesome article and it all fit together. I want to write about all the places I’ve been and will go, and I don’t want to write about all the places I haven’t been and will never go – unless to say it here, loud and clear, that I WILL go there. Put it on my list. Your kiss is on my list too, but that’s not listed in the article. (why??)

Thanks, Dara! So here are the 40 places from Today.com:

1 – Grand Canyon. I’ve never been, but I will go! I have zero fear of heights, although when I’m nervous, I get unbalanced. You know that song, “Unsteady”? That’s me! Not in front of grand and great things, though. This is on my list with your kiss.

2 – Yellowstone National Park. I’ve been twice, and once with Cassidy. I dream about taking the kids all the time.

3 – Freedom Trail in Boston. How have we not?? We live in Massachusetts! This seems remedy-able.

4 – The French Quarter. I have been! Do I want to take my kids? Umm.. maybe when they’re older. It was such a wild and untamed place – the stuff of all kinds of dreams and nightmares. Uncle Sam lives there so I think/hope it will happen.

5 – Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard of this place, but count me in!

6 – Dinosaur Valley State Park. See above!

7 – Stingray City. That’s a “yes” for me – in terms of wanting to go.

8 – Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Another miss and we have been to Cleveland! (once) My mom and sister went and got Scarlet an excellent Yellow Submarine shirt that Des now wears. Maybe that takes us a little closer..

9 – Bioluminescent Bay. This is on my photography bucket list!

10 – An Alaska Cruise. hmm.. none of us are cruise people. It’s sort of our worst nightmares. I’d rather be in an elevator for 7 days. Alaskan cruises, though? That’s different. Sign me up for smooth seas, with lots of whales, and moose at ports.

11 – National Civil Rights Museum. I would love all of us to go one day.

12 – Sanibel & Captiva Islands. Never been, but I’d love to take the family to escape our winter.

13 – Monterey Bay Aquarium. I LOVE this place. Cassidy and I went. I remember reading that they briefly had a Great White Shark in captivity? Anyway, I saw otters there. Not even IN there. Just hanging around it. Free otters wanting to hang!

14 – Niagara Falls. I’ve been there.. three times or so. Cassidy and I went and it was VERY eventful. Maybe one day we’ll take Scarlet and tell her she was conceived there and she’ll be all, “ewwwwwwww!”

15 – Petrified Forest I once plotted out a cross country road trip and this was a stop on it. The road trip didn’t happen because my boyfriend cheated on me and that’s not even why I didn’t go on this trip. There was another man. Ah, youth.

16 – Statue of Liberty. This was our big 5th grade field trip, and also the only field trip I can remember in which my mom was chaperone. I almost chickened out but she talked me into going to the crown with her. It was worth it.

17 – Disney World. Four years and counting as a family of four!

Are you planning a family vacation? Are you dreaming of #travel? I love this article of these 40 must-see destinations. I want to see them all with my kids.

18 – Climb Mt. Rainier. Ohh.. climb it? I mean, visit it is one thing, but CLIMB it? Des complains when he gets a rain drop on his foot. I can just imagine his old man venting? But hey, I would never dream of ruling it out.

19 – Galapagos Islands. Doesn’t it make your heart skip a beat? I’d love for us all to see it one day.

20 – Sesame Place. It’s not far from my parent’s house! It’s nearly too late for us, though.

21 – Pacific Coast Highway Drive. Two of us have done this and I can’t wait to do this with the kids. I dream about it often. I remember making a mix CD for my first drive on it, when mix CDs were still cool.

22 – Ground Zero. Cassidy and I have both been there, but not at the same time. I haven’t told my kids that story yet. It’s a bit much. One day, I will, and one day they’ll read what I wrote about it here.

23 – The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Yes, times four!

24 – Wisconsin Dells. I mean, sure, if we all happen to ever be in Wisconsin?

25 – Redwood National & State Parks. PLEASE. One day.

26 – Swim with Manatees. Please, please can we do this?

27 – San Diego Zoo. I think I’m the only one who’s been there but since San Diego has my dream weather, maybe we’ll all move there one day and live in the zoo. Although I wouldn’t be able to NOT free this guy:

Are you planning a family vacation? Are you dreaming of #travel? I love this article of these 40 must-see destinations. I want to see them all with my kids.

28 – Plimouth Plantation. With our annual treks to Cape Cod and back, one should think we will go one day.

29 – Buckingham Palace. Please sign all four of us up for a trip to London.

30 – The Colorado Rockies. Cassidy alone has been to Colorado. It’s always been on my bucket list. I got SO close when we were visiting parks in Utah. Why didn’t I go??? There are so many gems to visit in Colorado, and I’m mountain-obsessed.

31 – Cedar Point. Wait, what? 17 roller coasters? And to think, I just went on the FIRST TWO OF MY LIFE!

32 – Kennedy Space Center. You know, I hope it happens. Scarlet thinks space is cool. I have a slight outer space phobia, but all the more reason. I tend to beat (or at least meet) phobias in Florida. (see above)

33 – Fort De Soto Park. I’ve never even heard of this, but sounds AMAZING! By the way, the article gives age levels, which is cool.

34 – Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Sign us all up! Only Cassidy has been to Hawaii.

35 – Mesa Verde. 0 for 4. Sign me up, though.

36 – Ride Cable Cars in San Francisco. I lived there for two years and didn’t do this until about a month before we moved back. My mom was visiting us for one last time there, and she treated me to a ride. We have to go back!

37 – Waikiki Beach. Maybe Cassidy has gone? We all four would go in a heartbeat (or a long flight)!

38 – National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Another 0 for 4, but we’ve been to the Basketball Hall of Fame!

39 – Yosemite. Ok, so I’ve been there once with Cassidy and we were there for a few days. We had a cabin in the middle of nowhere with a hot tub under shooting stars. We stayed in and made bacon and watched a ton of movies, so one day I want to go back and see more of it. I remember the smoky smell and the crisp air, and oh god, take me back.

Wait just a minute. I have photos from our cabin’s porch.

Well, if THAT doesn’t sum it up. What does? Oh yeah! I forgot one:

40 – Millenium Park. It’s never been all four of us there, but it will happen. On the sooner side.

Searching for hotels in Disney World is FUN! Read here for more information about these magical places.

What do you NOT want to write about? How many of these places have you visited?

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  1. Like I told, Dara, I need to travel more apparently, because even though I have been to a few of these, there are still may I haven’t been to. So, might have to see what I can do about that now 😉

  2. Great list! I have visited quite a few of these places! My kids are sadly lacking on many of the back East locations. Travel with a family of 6 is kind of limited to the car these days 🙂

    1. My in-laws are going to Spain for three weeks next month and I’m super jealous! Then my other set of in-laws is doing Spain/Italy in June. Swoon.

  3. This is an awesome list of places to go as a family. We have only made it to Disney World, but I would love to go to some of the other places on this list.

  4. So many great places. I NEED to visit the Wizarding World.
    Fun fact: The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was the first place my husband took me to in Cleveland. 🙂 Jimi Hendrix was the big exhibit there. I saw a letter he wrote to his dad when he was little, it was cute. Now that I live here in the Seattle area I thought I’d be surrounded by Jimi, but not so much. His childhood home has been torn down. There is a museum for him though.

    1. ahh, I’ve only been to Cleveland once and we didn’t go there. I wanted to go there! That’s so awesome about Jimi’s dad’s letter!!

  5. Awesome places! You’ll LOVE Colorado, although I may be biased as that’s where I grew up and it’s one of my favorite places in the entire world. Also go to the Grand Canyon. It’s amazing!!! So many places on your list that are on mine, too. Alaska being one but I think I’ll skip the cruise. I want to go in the winter to see the Northern Lights!

    1. I can’t even believe I’ve never been there. I even have family there! One day! And the Grand Canyon too!! And Finland to see Northern Lights! And Moose Manor..

  6. Great list, Tamara! I’ve been to a few of these. Ground Zero, very emotional. My children were in elementary school when 911 happened. My daughter was pretty distraught. It was not easy explaining it to them. I would love to go to Harry Potter world! Many of these places I would also enjoy. You can count me in. I had the exact same shoes as you are wearing in the last pic (of you and Cassidy). I wish I had kept them. They’re still in style.

    1. Harry Potter World is amazing!!!! So yes, I shall count you in for so many of these.
      I don’t have those shoes anymore! I’m trying to remember where I got them. Probably DSW. I miss heels. I always felt tall and powerful!

  7. I’ve been to many of these. My girls loved Sesame Place.. where are your parents? Go before it is too late! I was a child when I visited the Petrified Forest and don’t really remember it well. Maybe I’ll go back. Cedar Point was another childhood place – loved it!

    1. I heard once that nine-year-olds can do that free for a year! Scarlet will be nine! That might have been an Obama thing, though, and might be long gone.

  8. Great list! Keep us up to date! My girl is difficult to travel with (but I’m hoping to go to Disney with her in the next year), and I’d love to follow along vicariously. A bunch of these spots were ones I’d “reserved” for family trips–like the Grand Canyon–once we had kids. on your way through eastern NY to Niagra Falls, lmk. We can say hi!

  9. I am SO hoping to visit the San Diego Zoo in a few weeks if only for a few hours! Love this list! I need to figure out some real summer plans for the kids before it creeps up on me!

  10. Everything on this list is wonderful although I haven’t heard of some of them yet. The usual ones I’d love to visit one day are Grand Canyon, Niagara, Yosemite, and Galapagos! 🙂

  11. This is a great list…so many great places. Now that my son is older I have been thinking about taking a trip with him to the French Quarter and an Alaskan cruise is on my bucket list.

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