Courtesy of Bruce and Jennifer Sawle
2010 Photo Contest Winner
"Maui was absolutely beautiful!" says Jennifer Sawle. "We hung out by the pool, took long walks along the beach, watched the Hawaiian sunsets, barbecued, and went for scenic drives."
Fun Fact: The Auau channel between Maui, Lanai, and Molokai is one of the best places to whale-watch in the world.
Photo of Bruce Sawle, Hayden Sawle, 1? years; Raya Sawle, 6 years; Jennifer Sawle, and Jordyn Sawle, 1? years
Submitted by Bruce and Jennifer Sawle; Oakland, California
Courtesy of Shari Lenz
"When we visited my sister in Iowa, the kids loved playing the cornfield game, where you call out 'cornfield' whenever you see one," says Shari Lenz, of Orange, California. "Of course, we said 'cornfield' about a million times!"
Fun Fact: Kids can watch demonstrations on yoke-carving, pottery-making, blacksmithing, and more at The Pella Historical Village.
Photo of Kalena Lenz, 5 years
Submitted by Shari Lenz; Orange, California
Courtesy of Marianne Anzalone
Sarasota Jungle Gardens, Sarasota, FL
"There's a reptile area and a giant playground," says Marianne Anzalone. "But Leah loved the flamingos, because they come right up to you and honk."
Fun Fact: Minutes away is the Mote Aquarium, where kids under age 4 get in free.
Photo of Leah Anzalone, 2 years
Submitted by Marianne Anzalone; Westbury, New York
Courtesy of Rebekah Haffner
Oljato-Monument Valley, AZ
"On our road trip last summer, my boys climbed up this hill when we pulled over to stretch. It was one of those wow moments where they were both just taking in the scenery," says Rebekah Haffner.
Fun Fact: Not too far is the Grand Canyon, where kids can spot about 70 species of mammals, 250 species of birds, and 25 types of reptiles roaming around.
Photo of Kellen Haffner, 3 years, and Merak Haffner, 6 years
Submitted by Rebekah Haffner; Wellington, Colorado
Courtesy of Scott and Beth Silver
"We took a big family vacation to Topsail with Ellie's aunts and uncles and grandparents," says Scott Silver. "We relaxed on the beach and ate a ton of seafood."
Fun Fact: The Belle of Topsail, a 55-foot replica of an 1880s riverboat, offers summer pirate cruises for kids.
Photo of Ellie Kate Silver, 3 months
Submitted by Scott and Beth Silver; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Courtesy of Becky Wohlert
Mount Rushmore, Keystone, SD
"We saw the sculptures from a distance through our binoculars, but when we got closer, the girls were amazed at how large the faces became," says Becky Wohlert.
Fun Fact: South Dakota's Black Hills are also home to family-friendly Wind Cave National Park and Custer State Park.
Photo of Aubrey Wohlert, 3 years, and Delaney Wohlert, 5 years
Submitted by Becky Wohlert; Kenesaw, Nebraska
Courtesy of Kristen Jones
"Every Labor Day weekend we visit my grandparents on their 80-acre farm," says Kristen Jones. "Davin loves riding the tractor with his great-grandpa and helping him bring the cattle fresh bales of hay."
Fun Fact: The Oklahoma Aquarium in nearby Jenks is home to the largest bull sharks in captivity.
Photo of Davin Jones, 10 months, and Charles Townley
Submitted by Kristen Jones; Midlothian, Texas
Courtesy of Christie Riddle
Ripley's Aquarium, Myrtle Beach, SC
"The girls were instantly drawn to the vibrant colors of the fish and coral in the aquarium," says Christie Riddle. "They pressed their noses up against the glass and just stood there, in complete awe."
Fun Fact: Myrtle Beach has almost 50 mini-golf courses. Pick your favorite theme and start putting!
Photo of Corinne Riddle, 4 years, and Caitlin Riddle, 2 years
Submitted by Christie Riddle; Winchester, Virginia
Courtesy of Amy Steigerwald
Cape Cod, Chatham, MA
"When we visit Chatham, the kids spend the days on the beach building sand castles, searching for shells, and seal-watching," says Amy Steigerwald. "They also like to go to the dock to watch the big fishing boats pull in and unload their catch of the day."
Fun Fact: You don't have to go far to find a lighthouse on Cape Cod; it has 14!
Photo of Heidi, 6 years; Mia, 1 year; and Dieter, 4 years
Submitted by Amy Steigerwald; Syracuse, New York
Courtesy of Kelli Chivers
"When we arrived in Arizona, the kids jumped out of the car and started running around and were so excited about the cacti -- until our friend told us to be careful of the rattlesnakes!" says Kelli Chivers.
Fun Fact: The Park of the Canals, in Mesa, features the ancient Hohokam Indian canal system, where your little historians can learn about life 2,000 years ago.
Photo of Kiegan Chivers, 7 years
Submitted by Kelli Chivers; Olympia Fields, Illinois
Courtesy of Kitty Liu and Ken Kung
Nelis' Dutch Village Theme Park, Holland, MI
"Holland, Michigan, is like a mini Amsterdam," says Kitty Lui. "They have a windmill, a canal, bridges, shops that sell chocolate and coffee, and wooden shoes!"
Fun Fact: Nearby Lake Michigan boasts the same sandy shores and stunning sunsets as ocean beaches.
Photo of Theodore Kung, 11 months
Submitted by Kitty Liu and Ken Kung; Palatine, Illinois
Originally published in the September 2011 issue of Parents magazine.
This piece was accurate at publication time, but all prices, offerings and availabilities are subject to change. Please contact each hotel and attraction for up-to-date rates and information before taking your trip.