Flowers are always appreciated on Mother’s Day. But for that mom who loves being outdoors and quality time with her kids, there’s no better gift than a weekend of camping and adventure.
Spending family time outside, away from the pressures of work, school, peers and technology, is a healthy way to reconnect. Even the most time-crunched parents, moody teenagers and fidgety toddlers relax with a hike or a bike ride. The added exercise lowers stress, improves mood and energy level, and guarantees a good night’s sleep for the whole family.
Get away over Mother’s Day, or pick another weekend to give Mom the royal treatment. If Mom always handles trip planning, surprise her with a weekend itinerary that includes her favorite sports and campgrounds. Pamper her with breakfast by the campfire and dinner by lantern-light. Include a scenic waterfall hike, exhilarating mountain bike ride, relaxing flatwater paddle or some other adventure that your mom will be recounting for friends and relatives for months to come.
Plan the perfect Mother’s Day campout at one of these state park campgrounds.
1. For the Cycle Sensation Mom
Wasatch Mountain State Park, Midway, Utah
Camp at close to 6,000 feet in the modern Pine Creek Campground, or go off-road to the more secluded sites at Little Deer Creek in Utah’s historic Heber Valley. Watch for mule deer, elk, moose, sandhill cranes, red-tailed hawks and golden eagles on the 19-mile Dutch Hollow Mountain Bike Trail System. Ride the beginner-to-expert singletrack through high elevation forest to pioneer homesteads, aspen groves and a 130-year-old orchard. When you’re done, check out the Heber Valley Railroad or hike the easy trail to Cascade Springs. Book now.
2. For the Sun & Surf Mom
Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin, Florida
If Mom likes the feeling of sand between her toes, she’s going to love boat camping on this pristine barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico. Floating docks in the park marina have electric and water hookups, a covered picnic pavilion and grill, playground, snack bar and gift shop. You can also anchor offshore in fair weather. Rent a kayak or canoe, fish for snapper or swim at designated beach areas. Book now.
3. For the Mountain Madness Mom
Tallulah Gorge State Park, Tallulah Falls, Georgia
Peer 1,000 feet down into the two-mile river gorge to watch expert whitewater kayakers navigating the rapids, or get a permit, one of only 100 issued each day, to hike to the gorge floor, five spectacular waterfalls and natural rock water slides in the river. Moms who love to climb peaks and hike valleys will enjoy the 10-mile trail and rock climbing on the gorge’s sheer quartzite walls. Set up your tent or RV for frontcountry camping near the river, or backpack to primitive sites and Adirondack shelters. Book now.
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4. For the Wildlife Watcher Mom
Whitefish Lake State Park, Whitefish, Montana
Pitch your tent on the shores of Whitefish Lake to hike, bike, paddle and swim in the Northern Rockies on the edge of Glacier National Park. Take Mom on a wildlife tour of one of the most intact ecosystems in the lower 48, where bighorn sheep and mountain goats hop across rocky ledges, herds of bison, elk and deer graze in the meadows, and grizzlies, wolves and black bears are known to roam. Bring binoculars to search out over 200 species of birds, including bald eagles, golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, coots, chickadees, warblers and woodpeckers. Book now.
5. For the Kayak Loving Mom
Cane Creek State Park, Star City, Arkansas
Paddle the 2.5-mile Cane Creek Kayak Trail through stands of dead trees and live cypress groves along the border between Gulf coastal plain and the Mississippi Delta. Water lilies and American lotus bloom as summer approaches, with great egrets, heron, kingfisher and osprey nesting in the trees above. Rent a kayak to paddle the yellow-blazed trail and explore Bayou Bartholomew, the world’s longest bayou. Tent camp near the lake or rent an RV site, complete with everything you need to experience trailer camping for the first time. Book now.
6. For the Desert Diva Mom
Cimarron Canyon State Park, Eagles Nest, New Mexico
At over 8,000 feet, the eight-mile-long Cimarron River Valley is arid, high altitude prairie, chaparral and forest that looks like it came straight out of a classic Western movie. Moms who love the Wild West landscape will be especially impressed with the sheer granite cliffs of the Palisades Sill looming above the fast, shallow river. Tent or RV camp in three non-electric campgrounds on the river. Book now.
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7. For the Waterfall Wanderer Mom
Hanging Rock State Park, Danbury, North Carolina
Hike to five of the most scenic waterfalls in the southeast on 18 miles of trails in the Saura Mountains of North Carolina. Trails range from easy half-mile strolls on paved roads to an all-day trek of over 15 miles to see all five cascades. The rocky terrain is interlaced with creeks and moisture-loving vegetation, like hemlock, mountain laurel and rhododendron thickets, and wildflowers like fire pink, lady’s slipper and turkey beard. Camp near the park lake in tent and trailer sites with modern bathhouses. Book now.