Acadia National Park in Maine was the first national park in the East, and includes the tallest mountain on the U.S. Atlantic coast, along with several other mountains, lakes, ponds and forests. Its jagged and irregular shore is lined by a succession of high cliffs, headlands, coves and beaches. Trails and cycling routes are accessible from the road that circles the park, and handy Island Explorer buses stop at all the attractions and at trail crossings, so walkers and cyclists can explore the park without backtracking. You can rent kayaks, canoes, sailboats and bicycles, and find fishing and whale-watching cruises outside the park in Bar Harbor, Northeast Harbor or Southwest Harbor.
In Central California, the 100-mile San Luis Obispo County coastline — from Santa Barbara County to Monterrey County — attracts families for all its outdoor activities on land and at sea. There’s plenty to enjoy for non-activists too, along the California Highway 1 Discovery Route. The region’s topographic splendor is obvious even while driving, but it’s a WOW! from the heights of the spectacular, art-filled Hearst Castle. Plus, there are shops and galleries, fun places to eat and drink, and tasting rooms to sample regional wines along The Pacific Coast Wine Trail. (As I was driving, I did more listening than sipping, but I learned about the wines and winemakers.)
For all the nature-loving outdoor enthusiasts you’re shopping for this graduation and Father’s Day season, let this list be your guide.
By Hainan Airlines
Some families like vacations to include a little adventure. Others like trips to have big, bold, capital letter ADVENTURES the kids talk about for years, the friends ask about the second they see you and your family relives through photos and stories. These intrepid families may seek out these experiences on their own but some prefer to combine an element of practicality to their thrill seeking and find companies who’ve built relationships with locals, constructed the contraptions to hurl them through the sky safely and researched the area to bring it all to life between your laughter and screams. The following two such companies, one in Costa Rica, Diamante Eco Adventure Park, and the other in Mexico, AllTourNative, combine sustainability, cutting-edge environmental stewardship and the practice of bolstering the living conditions of the native population around them.