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One of the many joys of being a grandparent is doting on your grandkids, which can be as simple as buying them an ice cream treat. But as your grandchildren grow, why not think bigger? Before or after you retire, take advantage of your well-earned resources to treat them to a grand adventure that neither of you will ever forget.
Here are five adventurous experiences sure to spoil your grandchildren (and you) in all the best ways.
Awe Them with Natural Wonder
It doesn’t get much more impressive than a trip to the Grand Canyon—the only one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World located in the contiguous U.S. Imagine sharing the jaw-dropping beauty of this ancient, mile-deep gorge with the people you love most.
You can make it even more memorable by choosing accommodations that offer personalized tours of the canyon, such as private helicopter or plane excursions. Options nearby include the Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon, or you can stay about two and a half hours away in Sedona, Arizona at the Enchantment Resort or the Adobe Grand Villas, both five-star resorts.
The Grand Canyon isn’t the only awe-inspiring national park to visit with your grandkids. Maybe you’d like to be the first one to take them outside the Lower 48 by heading to Alaska’s Denali National Park to see the taiga and tundra they’ve learned about in school.
Many states have multiple national parks that are close enough to each other that you can double the wonder by visiting two in one trip, such as:
- Yellowstone and Grand Teton, about 30 miles apart in Wyoming
- Bryce Canyon and Zion, a little over 70 miles from each other in Utah
- Yosemite and Sequoia, separated by less than 150 California miles
Bring in a Big Catch
When you want to go big with your grandkids, take a favorite pastime, fishing at your local pond or creek, up a major notch. What’s more iconic than flyfishing in Montana? Anyone who’s read A River Runs Through it, Norman Maclean’s semiautobiographical story, or seen the Hollywood version starring Brad Pitt has been intrigued by this unique method of fishing.
There’s an entire industry devoted to making your family’s flyfishing trip an unforgettable adventure no matter your group’s experience level. Several guide companies, including Montana Angling Company and Montana Angler, offer all-inclusive packages that combine luxury accommodations with a variety of guided fishing experiences. Or, you can start with quintessential accommodations that offer fly-fishing tours, such as Grey Cliffs Ranch, Spotted Bear Ranch or the Montana Fly Fishing Lodges at Quaking Aspen Ranch.
If the angler in you prefers a salt-water experience, take your grandkids on a deep-sea fishing adventure off the Florida Keys. Between Key West and Marathon, dozens of off-shore fishing guides offer private charters that can help your family reel in a big catch. And of course, luxury resorts abound in the Keys, including Isla Bella Beach in Marathon and The Marker or Ocean Key in Key West.
Take Them Along for a Classic Ride
Your grandkids are no different than your own kids were when they were young. For some reason, teens and tweens open up more in the car. What better way to spend some quality time listening to your grandkids—and occasionally imparting well-timed advice—than on a road trip in a classic car, either yours or a rental from a drive-sharing community like Hagarty’s DriveShare.
The options are endless. It could be a summer cross-country drive, a spring-break trip along designated All-American Roads or a palate-pleasing tour of various Food Trails. You and your grandchildren can enjoy the scenery and each other on the ride of a lifetime.
If you’re a serious car afficionado who wants to share that passion with your progeny, invite them to attend a classic car show or event, such as the Concours d’Elegance in Amelia, Greenwich or Pebble Beach. These famous car parades will introduce your grandkids to your version of art on wheels.
See a Championship in Person
Want to be the hero in your grandchildren’s eyes? Snag tickets for the biggest of the big games or races:
- The Superbowl
- The World Series
- The Stanley Cup Finals
- The NBA Championships
- The NCAA Final Four
- The World Cup of Soccer
- The Indianapolis 500 or Coca-Cola 600
- The Kentucky Derby
- The U.S. Open (golf or tennis)
You’ll earn extra grandparent points when their favorite team or player is involved.
Introduce Them to Their Ancestors
Perhaps you’d like your grandkids to learn more about your hero, the ancestor who came through Ellis Island to make a new life in the U.S. for themselves and their descendants. Take them on a grand trip to New York City to visit all the famous sites: Central Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, Grand Central Station, Madison Square Garden, the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Plaza and more. Then, reserve a special day of the trip to tour the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island to help them understand the roots of their family tree.
Grand adventures like these create lasting memories that your grandchildren will lovingly tell their own grandchildren about one day.