Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
When it comes to the perfect family escape, the Nulls, of Glen Allen, Virginia, have a hands-down favorite. "Our best vacation was a trip to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains," says Rusti Null, who camped there with her husband, Jeff, and kids, Siani, 4, and Savannah, 2. "It was the first time our girls had been camping and only the second time for my husband, which made it unforgettable for all of us."
Why It's a Winner
"There are no phones, no TVs, no distractions, and no stress, so you can enjoy simply hanging out as a family," Rusti says. "We hiked the nature trails and played in a waterfall -- it beats the neighborhood pool any day. We cooked our meals over an open fire and slept in a tent, which was the biggest treat of all. The girls toasted marshmallows, giggled, talked, and played with their flashlights until they couldn't keep their eyes open." The campground also provides a great Junior Ranger program, Rusti says. And in the summer, the park offers night-sky telescope viewing once a month.
Where to Stay
The Nulls pitched their tent in Big Meadows Campground, which has shower facilities and boasts three waterfalls within hiking distance ($17 per site, 800-365-2267). If you're not up to camping, try a cabin (from $59) or a room at Skyland Lodge (from $79, 800-999-4714). The lodge features pony rides and a playground and is famous for its blackberry-ice-cream pie.
For more information, call 540-999-3500 or visit www.nps.gov/shen.