What to buy Mom for Mother’s Day. Where to take her.
Questions that crop up every year and which, sadly, often end with breakfast in bed, a card, and a carnation.
Come on: Mom deserves better. Take her to one of America’s national parks. Herewith, this Examiner’s nine nice picks for Mummy this Mother’s Day:
- Yosemite: If you are lucky enough to be in California, take advantage and head out on the road to this very special park, just 5-1/2 hours northeast of LA. Whether you’re hiking to the waterfalls or rolling around the meadows, enjoying a swim or a wine tour, Yosemite has something for every proclivity. Ask Mom what she would enjoy and I’ll bet she’ll say she’d like to sleep in, enjoy a good meal and then a delicious moonlit hike with Dad. But try introducing her to a new sport or activity and she’ll thrill: from archery to horseback riding to biking up the 15-mile Briceburg Loop.
- Bryce Canyon in Utah is all spires and bizarrely shaped red rock crevices formed seemingly by geologic magic. However, the park is a great history lesson for hikers, who can learn about how natural water formations shaped the colorful limestone rock.
- Lassen Volcanic Park offers stunning vistas and mesmerizing trails. You’ll love hearing about how the volcano could erupt at any minute, especially if you’re with a slow walker. Kidding aside, with the last eruption having occurred in 1915 — and eruptions being very, very infrequent here — you’re safe with Mom. Fly into Reno or Sacramento and rent a car for easiest journey.
- Grand Canyon is the kind of iconic wonderland that never gets old. If Mom is outdoorsy, she’ll enjoy a river trip that wends through this colorful geologic masterpiece. If she’s a girly girl, she’ll still enjoy the postcard-perfect views at every turn, the invigorating air, the melon and fuchsia sunrises bouncing off the cliffs. Lodging is ample, from modest tents and campgrounds to more cushy Mom-worthy hotels.
- Yellowstone was America’s first National Park when it was established in 1872, and now over a hundred years later you’ll take a hike back in time. Bears, bison, wolves, elk and Old Faithful will punctuate a Mom-worthy trip you’ll write home about. Even if Mom prefers baring her soul to soulful bears, she can enjoy everything here from picnicking to ranger-led hikes. Sciency moms can enjoy field seminars with a geothermal scientist, a wolf biologist and an animal tracker. Examiner tip: Wyoming is not only a stunning state replete with red rock topography, but it’s the least populated in the Union. Make sure to check out Cheyenne.
- Mount Rushmore, in the Black Hills of South Dakota, will resonate with moms who go all giddy and delirious on the Fourth of July. It’s the place for real Patriots as well as anyone who digs the site of four presidents etched into the natural landscape. Washington, Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Lincoln before he became a movie are all here. Camp, hike, fish, photograph and marvel. Fly into Rapid City from LAX, then rent a car for the 35-mile drive to the park.
- Great Basin National Park, in Nevada near the Utah border, touts 5,000 year-old bristlecone pine trees that rise above a glacial landscape. Highlights include the Lehman Caves, which offers tours for Mom, showcasing stalactites, stalagmites, helictites, and myriad other natural formations. If you’ve never walked inside a cave, pick up your mouse right now and book the trip. Flying into either Vegas or Salt Lake City is a long haul (over 200 mi.) so if you can, jaunt on over to Ely, only 70 mi. away. Then rent a car.
- Big Bend, in far west Texas, boasts hundreds of bird species amongst a surreal landscape of cacti and laccoliths. If you’ve never been to the Lonestar State, try to make a week of it and also enjoy the many other tastes, accents, Armadillos and ‘eye peas you’ll find here in the land “The Client List” made famous on Lifetime. Big Bend boasts multiple habitats and supports the kind of ecosystems that remind you why you just donated to the National Wildlife Federation. Fly into El Paso or San Antonio and then rent a car. For a map, click here. And finally …
- Hawai’i Volcanoes will give Mom the kind of explosive Mother’s Day experience only the Big Island can offer. Best points for potential eruption sitings are the Jaggar Museum and other designated spots at Kīlauea’s summit for views of Halema’uma’u Crater. Some 3,000 feet in diameter, this tourist draw often spits a plume of sulfur dioxide smoke. Cool note: the earth here is constantly evolving due to eruptions; in 2008, an eruption widened the crater by up to 30 feet. Cost of a round-trip ticket to Honolulu from LAX if you book today is about $425.00 on Delta if you fly out on Fri. before Mother’s Day and return the following mid-week.
Have a happy Mother’s Day!