Colorado Springs to Great Sand Dunes National Park a top road trip for families

Courier file photo Sand Dunes National Park was the destination of a family friendly road trip that began in Colorado Springs. The trip was voted one of the top road trips for families.

Colorado Springs to Great Sand Dunes National Park was second with voters in a survey of America’s Top Family Friendly Road Trips.

The US offers an array of road trip routes that are globally renowned for their expansive skies, breathtaking natural landscapes, and opportunities to meet new people. While many of these journeys captivate adults, they might not always cater to the interests and energy levels of younger travelers, who may have limited attention spans and less interest in lengthy drives focused on geography or history.

However, the country is packed with shorter, child-friendly road trips (and shorter day trips) ideal for young explorers. For example, Florida offers family-friendly adventures with attractions like the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, and Orlando’s theme parks such as Disney World and Universal Studios.

Gunther Mitsubishi carried out a survey of 3,000 families, asking them to identify the ultimate family-friendly road trips they aspire to experience this summer.

The top 5 were as follows:

  1. Flagstaff to Grand Canyon: Arizona

Coming in first place, the route from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon offers a variety of attractions. Start with the Lowell Observatory or the Museum of Northern Arizona in Flagstaff. Older kids will love the zip lining at the Flagstaff Extreme Adventure Course. On the way to the Grand Canyon, stop in Williams to enjoy a scenic ride on the Grand Canyon Railway. Conclude the trip at the Grand Canyon National Park, where families can enjoy breathtaking views, easy hiking trails, and ranger-led programs.

  1. Colorado Springs to Great Sand Dunes National Park: Colorado

Taking the second spot, the trip from Colorado Springs to Great Sand Dunes National Park is filled with exciting stops. Start with the Garden of the Gods or Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. En route to the Great Sand Dunes, stop at the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park for stunning views and thrilling rides. Finish the trip at the park, where kids can play on the massive sand dunes and splash in Medano Creek.

  1. Hilo to Kailua-Kona: Hawaii

In third position, the route from Hilo to Kailua-Kona offers a mix of natural beauty and historical sites. Start in Hilo with visits to the Panaʻewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens or the Lyman Museum and Mission House. Don’t miss the nearby Rainbow Falls, a stunning natural attraction. Continue to Kailua-Kona, detouring to visit Volcanoes National Park with its dramatic landscapes and educational exhibits. End the journey in Kailua-Kona with visits to the Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, the Kona Coffee Living History Farm, or snorkeling at Kealakekua Bay.

  1. Boston to Cape Cod: Massachusetts

Fourth on the list is a family trip from Boston to Cape Cod offering historical and coastal attractions. Start in Boston with a visit to the Boston Children's Museum, the New England Aquarium, or the Museum of Science. A walk along the Freedom Trail is also great for exploring the city's history. On the way to Cape Cod, stop in Plymouth to see Plymouth Rock or visit Plimoth Patuxet Museums for a living history experience. Conclude on Cape Cod with beaches, the Cape Cod National Seashore, or a whale-watching tour. The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History is also a great stop for kids.

  1. Buffalo to Niagara Falls: New York

Rounding out the top five, a trip from Buffalo to Niagara Falls combines cultural and natural attractions. Start in Buffalo with a visit to the Buffalo Zoo, the Buffalo Museum of Science, or the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. The Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park is also a great stop. Before heading to Niagara Falls, detour to Lockport to take a tour of the Erie Canal locks and enjoy a boat ride through the Lockport Cave. Conclude at Niagara Falls with a ride on the Maid of the Mist, exploring the Cave of the Winds, and visiting the Niagara Falls State Park.

Colorado had two other trip routes voted among the most sought-after by families:

  1. Denver to Rocky Mountain National Park

A family road trip from Denver to Rocky Mountain National Park offers diverse attractions. Start in Denver with a visit to the Denver Zoo, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, or the Children's Museum of Denver. Stop in Boulder to explore the Boulder Farmers Market or hike in Chautauqua Park. End at Rocky Mountain National Park with wildlife viewing, scenic drives, and easy hikes suitable for kids.

  1. Fort Collins to Steamboat Springs

A road trip from Fort Collins to Steamboat Springs offers a variety of family-friendly activities. Start in Fort Collins with visits to the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery or the Gardens on Spring Creek. Stop in Estes Park to explore the town or enjoy a scenic drive through Rocky Mountain National Park. End in Steamboat Springs, where families can enjoy the Old Town Hot Springs and Yampa River Botanic Park.