In time, we'll be on the road again, in search of compelling outdoor playgrounds in which to explore and enjoy nature's finest. Here are five destinations to consider:
1. Flagstaff, Ariz.
Just 80 miles from the Grand Canyon and close to seven other parks and monuments, this college town offers a long list of options for family travelers. At 7,000 feet, you'll enjoy hiking and biking amid Ponderosa Pines, comfortable in the cool mountain air. Tap into the history that combines the nostalgia of Route 66, the historic "Mother Road" that bisects the town, as well as the rich legacy of the Old West and Native American culture. Don't miss a tour and exhibits at the Lowell Observatory, the astronomy research center where Pluto was discovered.
Contact: www.Lowell.edu; www.FlagstaffArizona.org.
2. Traverse City, Mich.
This northern Michigan city is known for celebrating all things cherry. In Julys past, music, parades, tastings and art have been part of their weeklong National Cherry Festival. Throughout the warmer months, family travelers enjoy the local freshwater lakes and streams where searching for Petoskey stones, swimming, kayaking and paddling are favorite pastimes.
Visit the diverse ecosystem of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore for miles of trails, shoreline and forested islands. Adults might want to arrange time to visit a handful of the more than 50 wineries in the area.
3. Jackson Hole, Wyo.
As a gateway to two of our most stunning national parks -- Grand Teton and Yellowstone -- this Wyoming paradise has long been a favorite stop for active travelers.