“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Easily one of the most daunting questions ever asked. Those with strong imaginations would always answer pirates, princess’, or world rulers, while the more practical kids wanted to be doctors, teachers, and ballerinas. And although some of our lives may have taken different routes as we grew up (I’m looking at you accountants), we’ll always look back on the days where we could conjure up our craziest dreams without having to worry about the practicality, job security, or risk of having to move back in with our parents. 

But, not all hope is lost just yet. Now is the time to shine as parent of the year and plan your most elaborate travels yet. Live out your their wildest childhood fantasies of being cowboys, astronauts, pilots and more. The possibilities are only limited to their imagination.

National Parks for Little Explorers

Does your kid dream of being the next Indiana Jones and not just another Instagram influencer? Then ditch the beachside resorts and head to Mammoth Cave National Park, which holds the longest cave system in the world. Like the first visitors did in the 1800’s, explore some of the largest passageways in the cave using only the light of a handheld lantern. Learn about mummies discovered as you dive deeper through the trails and listen to stories of underground hospitals and Native American findings.

Real or stuffed, your child’s fascination with animals of all kinds can turn into something much more. With the animal kingdom at your disposal, skip the Lion King re-runs for a chance to experience real encounters with some of nature’s most majestic creatures. Mush a team of sled dogs across the Pennsylvanian mountains, swim with manatees in the Gulf coast, spot Orcas in the San Juan islands, or howl with the wolves in Seattle.

Rainforests for Park Rangers

It’s never too early to cultivate your child’s love for nature. Travel to Port Angeles, one of the best vacation spots for toddlers, and explore the rainforest and tidal pools that overlook the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Even the youngest hikers will be amazed by the colossal trees in Olympic National Park. Let your family’s imagination run free among the untended wilderness, learn about caring for our natural environment, and who knows, maybe one day they’ll be lucky enough to call this nature their home (and job).

Unleash the cowboy within as your family travels to the Old West and disconnects from modern day realities. Kids can embrace the spirit of Woody while parents live out the adventures of John Wayne as they ride horses across the open plains, dine under the stars, shoot clays, and learn to herd cattle. This authentic western experience combines the luxuries of modern day ranches with the simplicities of cookouts, fishing trips and rodeos.

The Clock's Ticking

Forget aptitude tests and take full advantage of your kids by making a trip out of their most outlandish requests! And no matter what career path they choose, just remember, it’s never too late to be a Doer (even for you).

Bonus Careers: 

Astronauts—Head to the NASA center to dine with a real astronaut and experience a shuttle launch simulation

Pilots— Fly a bi-plane across the Northeast, USA to gain your wings 

Surfers—Ride the Hawaiian waves in Oahu