Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

The following pit stop is submitted by reader Erica Smith. Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is located along the shores of Lake Michigan and is easily accessed from I-94. With 15 miles of beach, outdoor activities, and park programs, there's plenty for families to do. Stop for a few hours en route on I-94, or make it an overnight! Things to do: Hike the sand dune of Mt. Baldy, then … [Read more...]

Pier Cove Beach, Fennville Michigan

The following pit stop submitted by Jessie Voigts of A small, beautiful beach, Fennville's Pier Cove Beach features a small creek that lets out into Lake Michigan, which is often warmer than the big lake. It's perfect for small kids to splash in! Families can also find rocks and logs and make sculptures! In the big lake, kids (and adults!) will swim to their hearts' … [Read more...]

Oval Beach, Saugatuck, Michigan

The following pit stop submitted by Jessie Voigts of Saugatuck's Oval Beach is a popular pit stop along the coast of Lake Michigan for a reason: ranked by Conde Naste traveler as one of the 25th best beaches in the world, it boasts wonderful dunes (including Mount Baldhead), family amenities such as a playground and concession stand, and picnic areas complete with grills … [Read more...]

Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory

A great way to spend a rainy (or snowy, or sweltering) day with young kids while traveling in western Massachusetts is the Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory. The conservatory (or as my toddler calls it, “Butterfly Farm”) is a huge greenhouse filled with trees, flowers, turtles, lizards, and of course, butterflies. One of its biggest selling points is the fact that the greenhouse is kept nice and … [Read more...]

Liberty Park, New Jersey

A main gateway to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ offers much more than a boat ride to the harbor. With over one thousand wooded acres, it offers amazing views of Manhattan, and it's waterside, so fishing, crabbing, and kayaking are popular. Visitors can easily hop on a ferry to the statue or Ellis Island, but upon return, the Central Railroad Terminal … [Read more...]

Exploring Vancouver, B.C.: Granville Island with kids

When I set out to explore Vancouver's Granville Island on a sunny Monday afternoon, I didn't expect to like it as much as I did. Known best for its upscale public market and boutique shops, I certainly didn't think it would have much to entice kids. I was wrong. Granville Island began winning me over before I even got there: from the dock at the very end of Hornby Street, I waited (all of two … [Read more...]

Bear Lake State Park Rendezvous Beach

Clear, turquoise-blue water. White sand beaches. Scuba diving, fishing, and wind surfing. Would you guess you're in Utah? I wouldn't! In fact, until I saw Bear Lake's Rendezvous Beach for myself, I assumed the state park was exaggerating with its claim to be the 'Caribbean of the Rockies'. But it's no lie: right on the Utah-Idaho border near the touristy town of Garden City, weekend visitors (and … [Read more...]

Kennedy Park, Helena MT

If you've road tripped through Montana on a summer family vacation, you know that while beautiful, the state of Montana is vast...and often empty. Pit stops are sometimes scarce, which makes Kennedy Park (located on Harrison Avenue) in the heart of East Helena all the more attractive. We loved the wide space of grass (the boys dug the soccer ball out of the car), the picnic areas, and the … [Read more...]

Desert Botanical Garden

Just in time for Mother's Day, the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix Arizona makes for the perfect pit stop or sun-filled family outing. (Or maybe I'm just suffering from a severe case of sun-envy here in Oregon!) But what makes Desert Botanical so great (in all seasons, but especially spring)? The new blooms, of course! In springtime, this 50 acre garden is positively alive with color, making … [Read more...]

Stanton Park, Douglas County Oregon

This review of Stanton Park has been submitted by Pit Stops for Kids reader, Anne. A regional park that is good for an hour's respite from the car, the Stanton Park in Douglas County, Oregon has a day use area with a nice playground and big grassy area. It's located on the banks of the Umpqua River in Canyonville, and includes a campground with immaculate toilets/showers. We were feeling … [Read more...]