Unique Vacation Ideas

Many families and couples long for an inspiring vacation that cultivates a new world perspective, channels a creative vein, educates about our history and culture, requires a compassionate approach to the community or satisfies the longing for adventure. Unique vacation destinations in the United States are abundant--tourists need only evaluate their options and plan their vacation.
Service-Based
Home building in New Orleans offers a meaningful vacation experience.
Home building in New Orleans offers a meaningful vacation experience.

Newly coined as "VolunTourism," vacations with a specific purpose--such as benefiting the community--linger with travelers long after the experience is over. Consider spending a weekend at Hands On New Orleans, a volunteer-based center that provides free housing and meals for visitors who spend their time volunteering at one of their service projects. Hang out with the residents at St. Margaret's, help with home building for low-income residents and work to improve the global warming effort throughout the city. Animal lovers may enjoy a holiday at the Best Friends Sanctuary--famous for its exposure on The National Geographic Channel's "Dogtown"--to spend time rehabilitating and caring for unwanted animals. Nestled in the captivating landscape of southern Utah, volunteers spend time caring for bunnies, feathered creatures, dogs, cats and pot-bellied pigs, and learning about adoption programs, animal health and the rising influx of homeless pets in our society. Creative travelers may find their calling by volunteering with the Mural Arts Program in Philadelphia. This organization provides community art education, revitalizes run-down neighborhoods and produces building murals that reflect the essence of the community. Interested in more service-based travel options? Seek out personal resources--such as your church, college or workplace--and visit VolunTourism.org.

Outdoor Adventure
Experience traditional Alaskan travel by mushing.
Experience traditional Alaskan travel by mushing.

Thrill-seekers may find adventure vacations the right fit for their personal escape. Contemplate a five-day, late-summer excursion in the northwestern United States with a llama carrying your pack. Discover natural wonders such as magnificent mountain views and trout-stocked rivers, and enjoy the rural solitude. Looking for a distinct water experience? Consider white-water rafting the Colorado River. Dwarfed by the magnificent Grand Canyon, the Colorado River exposes 2-billion-year-old rock formations and canyon color variations. Join a guided group in the summertime, and enjoy cool temperatures and a thrilling ride in one of the most tranquil environments in the world. Additionally, outdoor enthusiasts may enjoy an Alaskan dog-sledding adventure along the foothills of the South River Mountains. Prepare to encounter natural wonders and local animals (such as moose, caribou, seals, minks and snowy owls) while mushing along Eskimo trails of long ago.

Historic Encounters
The Cape Lookout Lighthouse was pivotal in preventing shipwrecks off the North Carolina coast.
The Cape Lookout Lighthouse was pivotal in preventing shipwrecks off the North Carolina coast.

America's rich history is visually revealed through famous battlegrounds, ghost towns, museums and structures. Discover the American West by following the westward trail of Lewis & Clark, or witness a gunfight show in famous Tombstone, Arizona. Learn about the Civil War's bloodiest battle that took place in Gettysburg in 1863. Watch a war reenactment, tour the outdoor Monument Walk and discover more about this turning-point event in our nation's great history. Trace the journey of Martin Luther King Jr.'s life by visiting the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery and the place of "The Letter from the Birmingham Jail" in Alabama. Hug the coastline with a tour of America's historic lighthouses, including the Portland Head Light (Maine), Cape Lookout Lighthouse (North Carolina) and the 1783-built and still-active Boston Light on Little Brewster Island.

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