A Mother’s Day Getaway with Mother Nature

May 9, 2017Travel Ideas
Two women sitting on a rock overlooking where the forest and blue water of Isle Royale National Park meet.
Marilyn Cook, Share the Experience

Let’s be clear: every day is Mother's Day, but if you’re looking for something special to do in May with mom, we’ve got a few idea starters for you. Sure, you could just buy some flowers, but why not take mom somewhere nature is in full bloom, adventures abound, and relaxation is right around the corner?! Mark your calendar for Mother’s Day, because it's the perfect opportunity to give Mom a getaway with Mother Nature at one of these beautiful national parks. 

Isle Royale National Park

Michigan

Beyond the shoreline rocks, bright blue water rests in Hugginin Cove at Isle Royale National Park.
Daniel Hosie, Share the Experience

Nestled on a rugged, isolated island surrounded by the waters of Lake Superior, Isle Royale National Park is perfect if your mom is the adventurous type. She’ll have fun choosing from a wide variety of activities like hiking, wildlife viewing, kayaking, and backcountry camping. If she prefers to explore beyond this remote, undeveloped wilderness, she can find more Midwest adventures within a day's drive at Keweenaw National Historical Park or Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

Hot Springs National Park

Arkansas

A magnolia bloom hangs from a tree near a steaming fountain in front of the visitor center at Hot Springs National Park.
Deborah Kutner, Share the Experience

For the mom who would rather be in a bed than a sleeping bag, Hot Springs National Park offers a considerably more pampered Mother's Day option. The park surrounds the north end of the city of Hot Springs, with access to the city's famous naturally heated spring water – a perfect place for soothing all Mom’s aches and pains. Several hotels are within walking distance of most park features, including the traditional bathhouses along Bathhouse Row, where Mom can take a soak and even fill a bottle with some Hot Springs water to bring home. 

Mississippi National River and Recreation Area

Minnesota

Over a grassy bank with yellow flowers, kayakers glide near the St. Louis North Riverfront buildings at Mississippi National River and Recreation Area.
NPS

A wild oasis in the heart of the Twin Cities, Mississippi National River and Recreation Area offers limitless options for outdoor recreation a stone's throw from all the amenities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. With the arrival of springtime, your mom will be able to relax and enjoy the vibrant wildflower blooms and excellent birding opportunities along the park’s many miles of hiking and biking trails. If she’s looking to enjoy the Mississippi waters firsthand, she can glide down the iconic river through a Paddle Share program.

Fire Island National Seashore

New York

Below a multicolored sunset sky, a boardwalk at Watch Hill reaches the sand where waves gently roll in at Fire Island National Seashore.
NPS

This picturesque seaside park offers historic lighthouse tours, great stargazing conditions, miles of trails, and sweeping views of the Long Island Coast. If you know your mom would be head over heels at the prospect of a shopping spree or a day out on the town, 17 communities near Fire Island offer a wide range of shopping, dining, and accommodations. As a plus, Mom can take on New York City if she’s looking for some more adventure, as Fire Island National Seashore is only about two hours away from the Big Apple.

Independence National Historical Park

Pennsylvania

The Merchants’ Exchange Building is made up of gray stone with stunning pillars and windows rounding the front of the building at Independence National Historical Park.
NPS

For all those history buff moms out there, Independence National Historical Park is a great option. If your mom’s looking to bring the whole family along, this destination will have something for everyone. This park includes numerous sites in and around Philadelphia that played a crucial role in the American Revolution and the founding of our nation. Highlights include Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell Center, and the Benjamin Franklin Museum. Even if the family’s in tow, Mom won’t have to worry about creating an entertaining itinerary thanks to the park’s top 10 things to do list.

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

California

Lit up by the sun, Balanced Rock sits along Mishe Mokwa Trail near Circle X Ranch at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
NPS

Encompassing wide mountain overlooks, rugged canyons, sunny beaches, and some of the darkest night skies in the L.A. region, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is one of the best options for a weekend Mother’s Day getaway in southern California. The Circle X Ranch Group Campground provides rustic camping accommodations in the park. Its close proximity to Santa Monica allow you to stay in the city and drive into the park in a half-hour or less. 

Oh, and if Mom loves a good movie or television show, don’t forget to surprise her with a trip to Paramount Ranch, where Paramount Pictures has shot numerous masterpieces including HBO’s “Westworld!”

Big Thicket National Preserve

Texas

Kayakers glide through swampy water below towering trees within Cooks Lake Paddling Trail at Big Thicket National Preserve.
NPS

Located under the path of two major migratory bird flyways, Big Thicket National Preserve offers some of the best bird-watching in America. More than 180 bird species call the park home as either migratory species or full-time residents, including rarities like the red-cockaded woodpecker and the brown-headed nuthatch. Peak birding season lasts from March until May, so you can catch it just in time for Mother’s Day. If Mom’s interested in a peaceful paddle through wildlife, treat her to a relaxing canoe or kayak ride down Village Creek or the Neches River.

We’d be hard-pressed to name a better occasion than Mother’s Day to visit a national park. This year, treat your mom to an unforgettable experience that you can share together!

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