West Coast Vacation Ideas

West Coast vacation ideas #1: Glenwood Springs, Colorado - On the top of Iron Mountain you can take the family to the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. You can do the guided Glenwood Caverns and Historic Fairy Caves walking tour. Or you can try the Adventure Tour or the Wild Tour.

These will take you in for some real cave exploring fun where you will get dirty as you crawl around inside the mountain caverns. Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park also has some great family thrill rides like the Bungee Trampoline, the Swing Shot or Canyon Flyer.

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West Coast vacation ideas #2: Ghost town - Ely NV - The historic mining town of Ely is in the heart of Nevada's ghost-town country. It makes sense that here you can see - as well as ride - the old Ghost Train of Ely. This is also where you can find the Nevada Northern Railway Museum. This is a great vacation spot for kids, train buffs or anyone interested in history. There are 50 or so old buildings making this a National Historic District.

The museum has 56 acres with all kinds of trains including freight, passenger, steam, electric and diesel. For a really unique vacation experience you can rent a steam or diesel locomotive and actually drive it down the tracks yourself. Sounds like fun!

Jet Boating

West Coast vacation ideas #3: A jet boat ride on the Colorado River is a fun thing to do while vacationing in Arizona. Yuma River Tours offers exciting jet boat tours through the Imperial National Wildlife Refuge.

These tours offer an excellent way to enjoy the magnificent scenery around Yuma, Arizona and along the Colorado River.

The tours are narrated and provide a good sense of the local history and plenty of opportunity to see some Southwest wildlife such as bighorn sheep, burros, deer and many varieties of birds. Part of the tour includes viewing American Indian petroglyphs. Yuma River Tours also offers canoe trips, bird watching tours and photography tours.

West Coast vacation ideas #4: The Sandia Crest National Scenic Byway is a great road trip vacation idea in New Mexico. It starts out near the small town of Cedar Crest.

The road then twists and turns it's way 4,000 feet up to the summit of the Sandia Mountains, with wonderful scenery along the whole route. The observation deck at the Sandia Peak provides a stunning panoramic view of the surrounding mountains and the Rio Grande Valley, often referred to as the Land of Enchantment.

The peak is also accessible from the Sandia Ski resort via the Sandia Peak Tramway, the world's longest passenger aerial tramway. For hikers and mountain bikers the Sandia Peak has over 26 miles of trails in the Cibola National Forest. Here is some helpful information for visiting Sandia Crest National Scenic Byway

San Diego Harbor
Photo Credit: flickr.com/photos/breilly
West Coast vacation ideas #5: San Diego, California has so much to do for families on vacation. Here are just a few quick examples.
  • Belmont Park combines the sun and fun of a beach with the traditional excitement of amusement park games and rides. Just a mile away is the big-time theme park Sea World.
  • For water fun take the kids to Knott’s Soak City Water Park. You’ll get all the slipping, sliding, splashing and soaking that you can take.
  • For something both educational and fun, the family will enjoy the hands-on interactive exhibits at The New Children’s Museum.
  • At the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center the kids can get involved in science with hands-on science experiments, exhibits and demonstrations. See nature and outer space films at the center’s IMAX Theater.
  • Kids love wild animals and there are plenty to see at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Enjoy an African Safari as the tram and monorail guide you to the free roaming animals in this huge African theme park.

West Coast vacation ideas #6: Olympia, Washington - Of all the state capitals, Olympia, Washington may be the most beautiful. Located along the Puget Sound, the city commands impressive views of the Olympic Mountains, Mount Ranier and Puget Sound making this is a wonderful vacation spot.

The Capitol Campus is a great place to visit with 30 acres of cherry blossom trees and flower gardens. You can tour the capitol building and actually watch the legislature as they hammer out the laws. Capital Lake Park is a great place to unwind with a little swimming, sailing biking or just a good walk.

The Hands On Children's Museum is a fun stop on your family vacation in Olympia. The kids will really love to explore all the wonderful interactive exhibits. The Olympic Flight Museum has some great vintage airplanes on display such as the T-28 Trojan, Hawk Hunter, F-104A Starfighter, and a T-37B Tweety Bird. Olympia Washington Tourism Info

#7: Mendenhall Glacier, in Juneau, Alaska is a 5000 square mile expanse of snow, ice and rock which is still flowing at the breakneck speed of 2 feet per day. This Alaska vacation spot is actually very accessible despite the fact that are no roads into Juneau. A ferry or plane is the way to get there. Then head to the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center which is the jumping off point to see the glacier.

There is a network of maintained trails leading to the glacier. There is plenty of native wildlife to see such as red squirrels, porcupines, beaver, mountain goats, black and brown bears. Mendenhall Lake is popular for kayaks and canoes.

West Coast vacation ideas #8: Carson City, Nevada, a former frontier town, is a historical showcase full of old architecture and museums such as the Nevada State Museum & Mint, the Nevada State Railroad Museum and Bowers Mansion which was built by a Comstock millionaire.

The Kit Carson Trail runs through the center of town and highlights the rustic beginnings of the well preserved historic district. For some gaming fun and evening entertainment Carson City has a number of great casinos. The Nugget is one of the local favorites and has been voted the "Friendliest Casino". The city has a number of excellent hiking and biking trails.

There's a four-mile easy trail that follows the former Virginia & Truckee Railroad line in East Carson City. You can explore old mining sites and encampments on the more strenuous 15-mile Brunswick Canyon climb. Official Carson City, Nevada Vacation Info

West Coast vacation ideas #9: My favorite vacation experience so far has been the trip that I took with my family to Arizona, California, Nevada, and New Mexico. We spent two weeks traveling and sightseeing. I am from the North Eastern USA, so it was really fun seeing a different area of the country.
Arizona Landscape

The strip in Las Vegas was really neat, and even though I was not yet 18 when we went and couldn't gamble, it was really cool seeing how alive that city was. They have restaurants and shops that are open nearly 24 hours a day and it was so alive. It seems like there is always something to do there. I also enjoyed California.

We went to a lot of theme parks while there, but my favorite part was seeing the Pacific Ocean. The views were amazing. I enjoyed Arizona very much as well. We toured the Grand Canyon with donkeys which was so much fun and visited several really cool cities including one called Jerome that was built into the side of a mountain. I would love to go back to the west coast and spend more time visiting all these places. - Bambi from Vermont

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