If you have a family and you’re planning on doing some traveling this summer to see the sights, you know that it takes a bit of planning to make sure that everyone is going to have a good time. Having the family together in the family truckster is going to be bad enough, but visiting destinations that only appeal to one or two members of the family is a sure-fire recipe for disastrous meltdowns and temper tantrums and having your perfect family vacation completely ruined.
Since I am determined for us to take a vacation together as a family this year, somewhere that we all will enjoy, I’ve been scouring the internet looking for places near and far that has something that will appeal to each member of the family and I have found the perfect spot. The Dinosaur National Monument is located on the borders of Utah and Colorado.
Also known as Dinosaurland, the Dinosaur National Monument is about more than just dinosaurs. This national monument spans more than 200,000 acres (definitely plenty to see and keep the teenagers busy) with thousands of fossils that were discovered in 1909. 80 acres were declared a protected national treasure in 1915 and the huge expansion came later to protect the site’s natural history. You can actually touch 149 million year old dinosaur bones on the fossil wall and around the various attractions!
There is so much more to see than “just dinosaurs” though. There are four beautiful state parks to enjoy – Red Fleet State Park offers camping, picnicking, swimming, fishing and boating; Starvation State Park offers fishing, boating or waterskiing, and evenings of camping; Steinaker State Park offers fishing, waterskiing, picnicking, relaxing on the beach and camping; and finally the beautiful 20,000 square foot Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum. Just the state parks alone offer something for everyone in our family!
There is so much more to see though. Do you know what a petroglyph is? Petroglyphs are images created by removing part of a rock surface by incising, picking, carving or abrading, as a form of rock art and often associated with prehistoric people. Well Dinosaurland has two different areas where you can view petroglyphs up close and personal! The McConkie Ranch Petroglpyhs and Nine Mile Canyon. As with any historical site, please treat the artwork with respect. The gallery of primitive art at McConkie dates from 1-1200 A.D. and shows examples of the Fremont Native American culture. Nine Mile Canyon offers ancient cliff dwellings and remnants of early pioneer cabins from those who once called the canyon home. This is something definitely up mom’s alley!
I could sit here and write a 3000 word post on this amazing vacation destination. There literally are tons of experiences to be had, so many that you would probably need at least a week or more to experience everything. A really good reason to keep coming back if you don’t have more time!
There are so many amazing trails to walk, bike, and hike. Don’t forget the Old West where you can ride the same trails the outlaws did, take in some professional bull riding, or how about checking out the Flaming Gorge-Uintas National Scenic Byway? I love stopping at scenic overlooks – the view is always guaranteed to be spectacular and a great photo opportunity for the family!
If that’s not your cup of tea, there is always the river trip down Northeastern Utah’s Green or Yampa River. Easy or wild, the choice is yours, and there are guides and outfitters who can get you and your family the experience of a lifetime!
Love to fish like hubby? I could probably plant him at Flaming Gorge or Jones Hole and pick him back up when the vacation was over and he would never miss us! I would love to see the abundance of wildlife in the area – from bighorn sheep, moose, elk, antelopes, cougars, coyotes and a golden eagle? I would be the lady on the tour with the camera permanently glued to her face snapping away quite happily!
So if you’re like me and you’re looking to pack up the family and take a family friendly vacation this summer that will not only be educational but one that has something for everyone – Dinosaur National Monument and all the attractions it holds is the ideal vacation destination spot for 2016!
If you have already planned a vacation to Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, or the Arches National Parks this summer, did you know that Vernal and Dinosaur National Monument are centrally located between each of these parks? Definitely a must stop and see on your itinerary!
If camping out and “roughing it” isn’t your thing, there are many accommodation options, from campgrounds, to B+B’s, and various hotels. You will definitely be able to find the perfect accommodations for your family.
Check out the Dinosaurland website and see for yourself all the amazing activities available for a family friendly vacation destination. You can also watch videos and check out the photo gallery.
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