If you are anything like me, you might spend your free time searching for unique experiences for your family across the US. I have compiled a list of our favorite unique destinations and experiences for all of your planning purposes!
Ruins of Presidents Park in Williamsburg, Virginia
Have you ever seen a photo of a place so unique that you knew you had to visit? That was my reaction the first time I saw a photo of the Ruins of Presidents Park. The image I saw was so eerie and creepy, I just had to add it to my bucket list. Plus, I have a new love of all things historical, so this was a destination I knew I needed to explore.
There are 43 President Sculptures, from George Washington to George W. Bush. They range in height from 18-20 feet. Most are in terrible shape with crumbling features and water discoloration. This only adds to the character and eeriness of the site!
To visit these ruins, you must purchase a ticket through eventbrite with John Plashal Photo. He is a photographer that has some kind of connection to the family that owns these sculptures and is allowed to host events every few months. Once tickets are purchased, you will get more detailed instructions via email about the location, where to park, what to bring, etc. Upon arrival, you will meet John Plashal and he’ll give out instructions, get you checked in, and then you pretty much have free range to explore during your ticketed hours!
Click here for tickets!
The Elephant Preserve in Fredericksburg, Texas
Do you love up close and personal animal encounters? Have you ever wanted to visit an elephant sanctuary? Then let me tell you about The Preserve in Fredericksburg, TX!
This experience was so amazing, I was literally brought to tears twice. We listened to some information about The Preserve, the back story and how the elephants came to be here. Then we all watched in complete awe as 4 Asian elephants began to head towards us, trunk to tail in a line. Cue the first set of tears I cried. We were able to spend about 2 hours here with the elephants and even participated in giving one a bath! Such a fun experience and the staff is awesome! They were all willing to give each guest an epic experience and wanted to help photograph our time with the elephants.
Overall, without giving too much away in case you want to visit on your own, I will say that this has been one of my favorite family getaways of all time! I am a life-long learner, an animal lover, and adventure seeker. This hit all of those areas for me. But my favorite part about it was seeing the pure joy and excitement from my boys. They loved the experience and want to go back!
Walking Behind a Waterfall in Twin Falls, Idaho
What a fun surprise Twin Falls was! Idaho as a whole is a beautiful and underrated state that I hope we can venture back to explore soon. We didn’t spend a lot of time in Twin Falls, it was more of a resting point for us on our drive from Texas to Yellowstone, but it was a fantastic stop that really made me appreciate the area!
Our first stop of the evening was to see the Perrine Coulee Falls, within Centennial Waterfront Park. It is the coolest waterfall that has a trail that allows you to walk right behind it! This was one of our favorite adventures on our entire road trip! We used AllTrails for directions to the waterfall trailhead. It said that it’s a 2 mile out & back trail, but if you park along the road next to the falls it’s less than 0.5 miles of walking. There are several spots right along the road that offer parking and there is a bigger parking lot farther away that you can use if there aren’t spots available next to the trail, but we had no problem finding a spot. We did go later in the day, around 6:30 pm as soon as we arrived and it wasn’t very crowded at all. The hike also isn’t very long and took less than 5 minutes from our parked car. You can hear the waterfall as soon as you exit your car, before you see the falls. It was so impressive and really flowing! The falls drop almost 200 feet and flow year-round, but summer flows are stronger. We spent at least an hour just taking it all in from different angles.
Home Alone Airbnb in Dallas, Texas
I might have a small obsession with the movie Home Alone. I’ve visited the house in Chicago where the movie was filmed two times now and it’s on my bucket list to go back and see it during Christmastime. So, when I heard that there was a Home Alone Airbnb in Dallas (just 45 minutes from my house), I knew I had to see it! This movie is definitely a family favorite of ours and I cannot even tell you the total amount of times I’ve seen it. I still remember my mom taking my little sister and I to the movies when it released back in 1990, I was 8 years old. I’m not sure a year has gone by that I haven’t watched it during the holidays. And thankfully my boys love it just as much as I do!
I’m happy to say that our stay was everything I hoped it would be! I don’t think we stopped smiling all night. The thoughts and details that went into planning this themed getaway are top notch and I cannot believe some of the memorable in this place! AND, it even came with a FREE large cheese pizza.
I think one night is all you need to experience the magic of this place, especially if you are local. It felt like the most epic sleepover ever and my boys were thrilled we didn’t have to leave once we arrived. If you are traveling from a long distance, you will be right outside of downtown Dallas and have tons of touristy locations and amazing restaurants right at your fingertips!
And my favorite part of all, watching both Home Alone and Home Alone Lost in New York on VHS tape! We taught the kids how to rewind a video and all about Blockbuster and how exciting it was to go rent movies on Friday nights! I’m totally an 80s kid and this just took me back to my childhood!
Click here to book your stay at The Kevin!
Dogsledding at Monarch Mountain, Colorado
We decided to road trip across Colorado up to Monarch Mountain to go dog sledding with Monarch Dog Sled Rides. My littlest son is obsessed with wolves & huskies, so we knew he’d love this animal adventure! And I think it’s safe to say that we ALL loved dog sledding.
The tour started with an introduction and background story about every dog on the tour. Then we learned about the history of dog sledding and the kids were so engaged. From there we learned how to harness a dog and anyone has the opportunity to try it out themselves. Then it was time to start the ride! I have never seen dogs so excited to work! You can totally tell that these dogs are treated very well and are truly born to pull sleds! The kids and I bundled up together in the sled and Jereme got to stand at the back with our guide and drive the sled. The sights were incredible, the guides were so knowledgeable and we enjoyed chatting with them during our tour. The few stops we made were fun, we especially loved getting to play with the dogs and watch them roll around in the snow to cool down. I would highly, highly, highly recommend this company and this adventure for anyone wanting to add some fun to their ski or snowboarding trip to Colorado!
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon Inflation in New York City
When I was looking for fun things to do in New York, I stumbled across information about walking around the parade balloons while they are being inflated the day before the big event. I knew that this was a must for us! So, obviously you will need to be in NYC the week of Thanksgiving to experience the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon inflation. The cool thing about being in NYC, is that the local news stations detailed exactly what we needed to do to see this in person and we followed the directions and had no issues getting to experience this. We took a subway ride to Central Park and the boys played a little and we walked around the lake for a bit. We had some hot dogs and some pretzels from a street vendor in the Park and then walked back over to Columbus and 72nd Street. There was a line forming, so we got in it and waited less than 5 minutes before we started moving into the blocked off areas around the balloons. You do have to go through a security area and if you have a bag, it will be searched. Once you pass this, you follow the crowd to the streets that they have set up the balloons and the floats on, and you get an up close view of it all! The parade staff even told us this is the best way to experience the balloons and we were even told to just watch the parade from TV! This event is free and you do not need reservations at this time!
The week of Thanksgiving is such a fun time to visit New York! Not only can you experience the Thanksgiving Parade, the city is also decorated for Christmas and just truly magical this time of year.
Click here for more information about the Parade and balloon inflation!
I cannot wait to add more unique adventures to our travel list! If you have a favorite unique experience or destination, please share in the comments! Follow me on Instagram to see more photos and videos of our unique travels.