Nature's Lite Guide

America The Beautiful. We know the song. We’ve seen the pictures. And if we’re lucky, we’ve experienced the spacious skies and purple mountains firsthand. (Anyone else singing this in their head right now??) We are fortunate to live in a part of the world that can treat us to such a wide range of Mother Nature’s beauty. Journey with us as we explore our home.

Water. It lures us in and tempts us like walking into a bakery and only buying a pastry for someone else. Every body of water is as eye-catching and thrilling as the one before it. Gorges are gorgeous. Those familiar with the Finger Lakes in New York know the quaint towns along the lakes’ shorelines. After spending a day on Seneca Lake, dock on the south end and head over to the Watkins Glen Gorge. Follow the gorge trail and let it lead you to 19 stunning waterfalls. Interested in bungy jumping off the New River Gorge Bridge while flying through gigantic rock formations over the gorge below? Then, West Virginia is for you. The bridge itself isn’t too shabby either. The Columbia River Gorge and the Oneonta Gorge are some of the most scenic in Washington State. Both are located along the Columbia River and offer a scenic backdrop to any family photo. The two-tiered Multnomah Falls along the Columbia River is rich in Native American legends. You can’t beat this view. Idaho’s 212ft Shoshone Falls lead into the Snake River where you can experience some of the most challenging whitewater rafting around. A more serene waterfall experience can be found at Raven Cliff Falls in South Carolina. Not only is the area known for its massive 420ft falls, it offers a pretty sweet view of the Carolina sunset. Crater Lake in Oregon is the deepest lake in the country. It is known for its clear and deep blue water. Caddo Lake borders Louisiana and Texas. It is part lake and part bayou. Take a boat tour to see the wide array of marine life and gorgeous cypress trees. Want to see what happens when there’s a sinkhole in the middle of a canyon? Visit Hamilton Pool Preserve outside of Austin, TX. It is naturally fed by the Pedernales River and has cascading limestone walls. Beat the heat and head far north to visit the Matanuska Glacier in Alaska. This is the largest glacier accessible by land measuring 4 miles wide by 27 miles long. Dive deeper into your bucket list and experience an ice cave. The Mendenhall Ice Caves are within the Mendenhall Glacier outside of Juneau. This is one of the few places you can walk through a cave with the water flowing over the rocks at your feet with the glacier doming overhead.

Land. Life goes by fast. It’s time to stop and smell the roses. Really. Stop and smell these flowers. Every April visit the Texas Hill Country and Skagit Valley, Washington to witness millions of bluebonnets and tulips (respectively) in bloom. Take in the North Carolina wildflowers amongst the rocks at the Craggy Gardens. Reach for the clouds as you climb even higher on Cadillac Mountain in Maine. Don’t forget your rock-climbing shoes and your swimsuit as you twist and turn along the Pacific coastline through Big Sur in California. Head inland and catch The Waves in Northern Arizona. Around before the dinosaurs, the granite wave formed from millions of years of erosion. Ride this wave down to the sandy beaches of Hawaii. Kauai’s Na Pali Coast was no stranger to earthquakes long ago. These created the remote area of Honopu Valley with a very well hidden Honopu Beach that is only accessible from the water. Consider the Indiana Dunes or Cape Henlopen in Delaware for more adventures in the sand. Step back in time when you visit the isolated valley of Cades Cove within the Great Smoky Mountains. Catch your dinner like our forefathers fly-fishing in the crystal-clear water of Paradise Valley in Southern Montana. Dip below sea level into the caves and caverns of America. Most notable are the Maquoketa Caves of Iowa (closed until 8/24/2018 due to road construction) and Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico with their stalactites and stalagmites.

Space. Meteor showers, constellations, eclipses, shooting stars, the phases of the moon, and our neighboring planets can be seen with the naked eye on a clear night. And then there was light. The Northern Lights. Caused by the interaction of solar wind with the earth’s magnetic pull gives us a light show Las Vegas or any house during the holidays can’t rival. Set your sights on the north sky between Fairbanks and Anchorage, Alaska from early fall to early spring.

We hope this guide gets you inspired to explore our wondrous backyard. If you want more information on family-friendly hot spots, become a member of our community and download our free guides. Want a getaway where you and yours can concentrate on making long-lasting memories? Let ALL THEIR STUFF create a BUNDLE package with a personalized itinerary that's only focused on your family’s interests. Our motivation is for you to spend less time researching (we’ve done all of that) and more time with the ones that make you smile.

If you have any suggestions or tips you would like to add, don’t hesitate to send me a quick email. Happy Travels!

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