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.
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.