1. The Grand Canyon. Hike, photograph, raft or paint this wonder of the world. Hikers like the Bright Angel Trail for great views of the inner canyon. Choose day hikes to the Three-Mile Rest-house or to Indian Garden. Better yet, reserve a campsite at the Bright Angel campground (9.3 miles one way) or bunks at Phantom Ranch (9.8 miles one way) for a full experience. Plan well in advance. Reservations for Phantom Ranch can only be made by mail, phone or fax.
Contact: nps.gov, recreation.gov, grandcanyonlodges.com/ phantom-ranch
2. Grand Lake, Colo. Visit this old-school Western town for a lakeside getaway that will charm every member of your family. Stroll the boardwalk with an ice-cream cone, play minigolf and dip your toes into the state’s largest natural lake. Hike, fish or ride horseback through stunning high mountain scenery. A western gateway to Rocky Mountain National Park, Grand Lake is known for frequent wildlife sightings. Stay in a rustic, pet-friendly cabin for a relaxed holiday.
3. The Grand Tetons. Fill your lungs with pine-scented air. Raft the rivers, marvel at the wildlife or travel by horseback into the backcountry. A visit to this historic mountain destination offers families the best of the great outdoors paired with a glimpse into our Western heritage. Stay in the tony town of Jackson Hole, Wyo., or in more rustic quarters within Grand Teton National Park. Take in the rodeo and a cowboy cookout, and visit the hot springs and the local museums.
Contact: (888) 838-6606; jacksonholewy.com
4. Grand Cayman Island. The largest of three Cayman Islands, this popular Caribbean beach destination pairs sandy relaxation with underwater exploration. Stow yourselves away inside the lush grounds of the Ritz-Carlton or spill onto the famous Seven Mile Beach where snorkeling, beach walking and sand-castle building can engulf the day. The hotel’s Cousteau-inspired Ambassadors of the Environment program offers dozens of learning programs each week, designed to send family members home with a greater understanding of the islands.
Contact: (800) 241-3333; ritzcarlton.com/grandcayman
5. The grand- parents. Learn about your family history, tell stories and pursue mutual interests. Ask questions, laugh, take pictures and share your favorite foods. Combine the generations for a memorable family getaway soon. Time flies.