The Best Travel Photos of 2017
As the year winds down, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the journeys we took during 2017. Most of our trips were to U.S. National Parks, since our 4th-grade son had a free Every Kid in a Park pass. Here are some of our favorite travel photos from the past year.
Agate Fossil Beds National Monument
The Nebraska site showcases mammal fossils from the Miocene Epoch and preserves the Lakota culture. Read more here.
Badlands National Park
This other-worldly landscape rises from the South Dakota prairie. As we drove through the 20-mile park, we often commented that we felt like we were on another planet. The landscape is stunning. Read more here.
Bandelier National Monument
We enjoyed climbing into the cliff dwellings carved out of tuff (formed from volcanic ash), Read more here.
Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site
The Colorado site was a trading fort on the Santa Fe Trail. Native America, Hispanic and Caucasian cultures met and formed bonds at the fort. Read more here.
Capulin Volcano National Monument
The volcano was a popular landmark on the Santa Fe Trail. Our kids love earning Junior Ranger badges at the National Parks, and are here sworn in after earning the Capulin Volcano badge.
Read about 4 Things to Do at Capulin Volcano National Monument.
Custer State Park
The South Dakota park is home to 1000+ bison, deer, elk, bighorn sheep and a small group of burros that are unafraid of human visitors and more than willing to eat carrots from your hand. Read more here.
Denver Botanic Gardens
We call the Front Range of Colorado home. This year we visited the Denver Botanic Gardens in summer. The gardens are amazing, but these ducks captured our attention.
Read more about our adventures at Denver Botanic Gardens.
Fort Laramie National Historic Site
We stopped at the Wyoming fort on our way to South Dakota. One of the stops on the Oregon Trail and the Pony Express, Fort Laramie was also one of the only U.S. outposts offering military protection around the region. The barracks preserve what life looked like in the 1800s. Read more here.
Fort Union National Monument
One of our favorite stops led us to the former military fort that was one of the last outposts of the United States and was also a stop along the Santa Fe Trail. Read more here.
Garden of the Gods Park
Colorado Springs is home to these massive red boulders. The camera cannot capture the majesty of the boulders. While Balanced Rock is arguably the most photographed spot in the park, I loved this candid moment with my son.
Great Sand Dunes National Park
The largest sand dunes in the U.S. are located in Colorado and are the perfect place for sand sledding. We went during the cool weather of spring, but the sand was still quite warm.
Read about our attempts at Sand Sledding at Great Sand Dunes National Park.
Mesa Verde National Park
Tucked away in the mesa, one finds the remnants of a lost culture which thrived in the harsh Colorado landscape more than 800 years ago. One of our favorite places to visit this year or any year. Read more here.
Find out how We Survived the Balcony House Tour at Mesa Verde.
Minuteman Missile National Historic Site
Who would have guessed that you could visit the silos of disabled minuteman missiles (a reminder of the Cold War)? At the South Dakota site, you can see the nuclear warheads at Delta-01 and Delta-09. Lucky visitors can also tour Delta-01, but you need to reserve the tour in advance. This was one of the most interesting and surprising stops of our travel year. Read more here.
Mount Rushmore National Memorial
The iconic memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota had been on our bucket list for some time. Make sure you stay for the nightly presentation and lighting of the memorial. During the evening presentation, active and retired military personnel are invited on stage to honor their service. Read more here.
New York City
I took hundreds of pictures in New York City. There is so much to see and do. My sister, however, took this picture of me from Liberty Island.
Read about our trip to New York’s Ground Zero and 9/11 Museum.
Scotts Bluff National Monument
One of the most recognizable landmark on the Oregon Trail, Mitchell Pass at Scotts Bluff National Monument saw more than 250,000 pioneers during the great American migration of the 1800s. Read more here.
Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
I went on a personal trip with my mom and sister to New York City. Many years ago, my grandfather, then a boy, left the Netherlands with his family and arrived in the United States via Ellis Island. My sister worked to get his name placed on a plaque at Ellis Island, and my mom wanted us to visit. It was a very moving time for the three of us. We also visited the Statue of Liberty where I got this picture. Read more here.
Wind Cave National Park
One of the largest and most complex cave systems in the world, Wind Cave is also home to bison, prairie dogs, ferrets, and coyotes. We captured a lot of wildlife photos at the site. Read more here.
Yucca House National Monument
a short drive from Mesa Verde, but a world away. This national monument is one of the least visited in the NPS. We were the only visitors the day we went. After driving through a cattle farm, you arrive at the monument and can walk through the field finding pottery shards and partially buried brick structures. One of the most unique, personal journeys we took this year.
Here’s to another great year of travel.
Which of our photos did you like best? Let us know in the comments section. Happy traveling.
51 thoughts on “The Best Travel Photos of 2017”
Really great photos. I can certainly relate to the joys of travelling with family. It’s great to share these experiences with our kids. As for photos, I love the selfie you captured while snapping a pic of the minute man missile. Happy Holidays!
I love that picture, and I also loved that site.
My favorite is Mesa Verde! The Cliff Palace is remarkable! I’ve been to many of these places and would love to go to the others!
Mesa Verde was a truly remarkable experience. Loved it.
Love all of your pics and your adventures in South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and more. I think of all the pics I love the one of your Daughter at Mt Rushmore in her uniform and the other of your son at God’s Park! Also, I do love as an honorable mention the Cliff Palace at Mesa Verde National Park. That is definitely on my bucket list to explore it.
Thanks. The picture of my son at Garden of the Gods is my all-time favorite of him. And it wasn’t staged. That’s how I found him. That was the only picture I got of my daughter at Mt. Rushmore. She was too busy running around, snapping her own pictures, to be slowed down to get pictures of her. Our “family picture” is without her for this very reason.
My favourite photo is the photo of your 2 kids preparing to sand sled. Just beautiful.
I love that photo. I love to take pictures of them with their backs turned to the camera, walking or climbing somewhere. Thanks.
I love the picture of the ducks in Denver. Solid composition and use of focal length. Most of all, I love how it captures the movement in the scene and draws me in visually.
Thanks. It was an amazing capture. All credit goes to my wife, who has a real eye for photography.
These are fantastic, I especially loved the burros from Custer (have you read about the devastating fire there and some of the poor guys got hurt?) and Bandelier National Monument. We stopped there this year too. We loved the drive out there and the site… very unique! Thanks for sharing and Happy New Year!
What a fantastic year of travel! Particularly love your image of the Statue of Liberty, and the ducklings!
I love the Mount Rushmore picture! It’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit, it’s on my bucket list at the moment!
It was on my list for a long time. It was definitely worth the wait.
Mesa Verde is my favorite. I love seeing how people lived before us.
Thanks. We loved the history of Mesa Verde.
What a great set of pictures. Looks like you had a fantastic 2017. Really loved your shots of landscapes and animals. So cute!
Thank you. I’m partial to the animal pictures too.
Oh I have a few! I really like the Duck reflection one and the SCOTTS BLUFF NATIONAL MONUMENT one but I think my fave has to be the New York skyline one!
Thank you. I have a difficult time picking just one. I guess that’s why I chose 20 pics.
Some really nice pictures. I love the way you incorporate your family into the frames to give it more context and meaning. Your son’s image in the Garden of Gods’ photograph looked especially remarkable for me.
I loved all of them, felt like flying to that ruined cliff palace but the duck picture is a perfect shot with the perfect light I must say.
Great photos. Since NYC is my favorite place, I think I will have to choose that one.
Good choice. It’s a great city.
Compiling the best travel pictures from a year just completed is such a great way to recap experiences and memories. It also lays down the canvas in capsule form. You seem to have had a great year travelling across diverse places.
We did get to journey to many diverse places.
I like all your photos! My favourites are the ducklings in Denver and Cliff Palace.
The duckling picture is amazing. Credit goes to my wife.
It’s been amazing travel year for you! Keep the positive vibes and collect more memories and photos during 2018!
Thank you for the encouragement.
These are some really stunning pictures that capture the spirit of your travels in 2017. I loved the one of the sand dunes and the one of the big apple the best. I am sure 2018 will see many more stunning travel pictures being captured through your lens.
Wow! Looks like 2017 was an eventful year for you!!! I think my favorite shot is of the burror eating carrots from your hand. Oh and the sand dunes are beautiful too!!! Can’t wait to see what adventures you will go on in 2018 🙂
My wife was so excited to have the burros eating from our hands. Thanks.
I think what I like most about these pictures is how you engage with the subjects. To pick a favourite isn’t relevant to me. Its the photographers style for the whole collection that I like. The approach and how you frame each work.
Thanks. That means a lot to us.
My favorite is Mom and duckling at Denver Botanic Gardens
Oh wow. So many amazing pictures! I can’t really pick a favorite since I like all of them. Honestly, it looks like a great collection
Other-worldly is the perfect way to describe Badlands National Park! I’d love to visit one day with my family. We just love being out in nature together so thanks for sharing 🙂
Pretty sure the kids would go for the photo with the burro, but I like the shot from the Agate Fossil Beds. Lovely light.
Thanks. I like Agate Fossil Beds too. What am I saying, I like them all.
Great pictures! We’ve been to some of those places and made great memories. I have a picture of my daughter with the burrows! Thanks for stirring the memories!
Awesome photos! I love the one at Scotts Bluff. We have plans for staying in a covered wagon later this year and your photo makes me even more excited for the trip.
That sounds like it will be an amazing experience.
My favorite is Custer State Park and the adorable friendly pony! I’ve never heard of that place, but I love animals so I am sure it would be a fun place to visit with the family!
Wow, these are all great places to experience! I haven’t been to all of them, but they look interesting. Like the one with the barracks and the volcano one in Santa Fe.