SALT LAKE CITY — With summer rapidly approaching, many families are planning that quintessential family vacation.
When planning a trip from the Salt Lake City area, it's easy not to realize the wide array of destinations that are easily available. While beach and amusement park vacations typically top the lists for many families, there are also many other great opportunities available within reach of an easy, direct flight.
Here are five unique summer family vacation ideas which all have direct flights out of Salt Lake City:
Vancouver, British Columbia
With just over two hours of flying time, this Canadian gem is an easy flight from Salt Lake City. Grab your passport and give your family the experience of visiting a different country without having to deal with long fights, language barriers and jet lag.
Vancouver is a beautiful city that offers many family-friendly attractions and is the perfect spot for a summer visit. The whole family will enjoy a visit to Granville Island and perusing the public market or renting bikes and taking a lap around Stanley Park on the famed and picturesque SeaWall.
Vancouver is also a great stepping off point to catch a ferry to Victoria or a cruise up to Alaska. For those wanting to escape into nature, a short road trip up to Whistler for beautiful mountainous views can’t be missed.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Grab a nonstop flight to The Big Easy and treat your family to a trip they will remember forever. New Orleans is best known for it’s french-inspired architecture, authentic creole and cajun dishes; and, of course, powdered sugar encrusted beignets at Cafe Du Monde.
New Orleans is unlike any other city in the United States. It is easy to create a family-friendly itinerary (keeping out of Bourbon Street, of course) that will give your children, regardless of age, a unique experience. Highlights can include touring the French Quarter, digging in deep to history at the National World War II museum, taking a steamboat ride on the Mississippi River, kayaking the bayou, or seeing the parade floats at the Mardi Gras museum.
Rapid City, South Dakota
Rapid City is a bustling town during the summer months and is conveniently situated between some of the most beautiful and picturesque parts of the country. Rapid City is just 24 miles from Mount Rushmore and also in close proximity to the Black Hills, Custer State Park, and Badlands National Park. All of these are worthy of ditching your beach plans and taking your family to this midwest summer hotspot.
Of course, taking in the presidential views of Mount Rushmore will be on the top of your list, but so will buffalo spotting at Custer State Park, hiking the Black Hills and taking in the awe-inspiring landscapes at Badlands National Park. This will be a trip your family will talk about for years to come.
Another quick flight from Salt Lake City will bring you to The City of Roses. Portland itself is a great place to spend a few days as it’s known for being an artsy vibrant foodie town. After spending a few days in Portland, rent a car and head to the coast.
The Oregon coast offers a unique and spectacular opportunity to drive the U.S. 101 and have an unobstructed and magnificent view of the Pacific Ocean you really can’t get anywhere else. Depending on how much time you have, heading down to Newport and working your way back up through Seaside will give you the opportunity to have a wide array of experiences including lighthouse viewing, beautiful nature hikes, tide pool exploring, fresh seafood dining and some of the most beautiful beaches for enjoying the summer sun.
San Francisco, California
Offering a little more diversity than your typical Californian summer vacation, San Francisco is a great place to visit during the summer. You can easily visit San Francisco and create a unique family vacation without even renting a car thanks to the ease of public transportation from the airport and around the city.
Families can enjoy spending an afternoon exploring Fisherman’s Wharf, touring Chinatown while tasting dim sum and seeing how fortune cookies are made, taking iconic selfies with the Golden Gate Bridge, and riding a historic cable car. There are also quite a few day trip options out of the city, including viewing the majestic redwoods at Muir Woods National Monument or heading to the Pacific Coast for tide pools and beautiful nature hikes.
Hilarye Fuller is a blogger and an author and travels full time with her family, including four children, trading experiences for things. She shares her experiences and travel tips on her blog https://www.dottingthemap.com