Amazing adventures for bonding with your mom

You know she's dying to spend more quality time with you!

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Created by IntoTheWild - April 27th 2017

If your mom is anything like mine, all she wants for Mothers' Day, or her birthday, or in general is "to just spend some time with you!" Which is sweet and all... but seriously, Mom, tell me what you want! If you're looking to spend some more quality time with your mom, make some totally unforgettable memories with these unexpectedly epic adventures!

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Portland, OR

Every mom can use a little bit of relaxation, and a quiet, peaceful, meditative walk around the Portland Japanese Garden will do just the trick. Explore the tea garden to discover the tea house, spend a moment soaking in the views from the Strolling Pond Garden's Moon Bridge, get inspired by the zen and unique Sand and Stone Garden, and admire the impeccable trees, flowers, and landscaping. The garden now features a library, art gallery, Japanese arts learning center, and a cafe where you and mom can enjoy traditional Japanese treats like matcha tea and mochi ice cream.

Muir Woods National Monument

Drive across the Golden Gate Bridge and out of the city on your way to Muir Woods National Monument. The park offers some great hikes, and you can find even more trails in the adjoining Mt. Tamalpais State Park, so no matter if you're looking for a quick walk among the towering redwoods, or you want an all-day hike, you'll find something. As the monument's namesake, John Muir, once said, "In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks," so hopefully you and mom find more than just some quality time together. Plus, you can stop in Sausalito or Mill Valley for a nice dinner or drink or some shopping on your way back into the city.


Phoenix, AZ

South Mountain Park's 16,000 acres offers 51 miles of trail for exploring. You can see Hohokam Rock Art on many of the trails, and you can bike or horseback ride on several of them as well. End the trip with a cruise up the scenic drive to Dobbins Lookout... it's especially breathtaking at sunset. Remember to bring plenty of water, though, as it's pretty sunny and hot and there aren't many places to refill bottles on the trails.

Granite Hot Springs

Treat your mom to complete relaxation with a soak in the rejuvenating waters of a geothermal hot spring. They can be found all across the country, and while some are more developed (with spas and pools built around them) and others are completely natural, Granite Hot Springs is a nice middle ground. There's a man-made pool built around the spring, but it's only a few bucks for a soak. If your mom is into camping, there's a campsite here as well, and you can easily make a weekend of it; hiking and fishing can be found nearby as well.


Regent, ND

For a totally quirky activity, take a cruise down North Dakota's Enchanted Highway. The two-lane road is pretty much in the middle of nowhere on the rolling, sweeping prairie, but for 32 magical miles, you'll pass by massive artsy sculptures. You can hop out and take pictures at each one. Plus, right nearby, you'll find the Enchanted Castle, which has a hotel, and a medieval-themed tavern and steakhouse attached. The artist behind the sculptures also runs a gift shop in Regent, so treat yourselves to ice cream and a souvenir.

Pikes Peak Cog Railway

Give mom an experience she won't soon forget with a ride up the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. You can always drive, but the train up lets you both relax and enjoy the views. Plus, you can say you went on the world's highest cog railway! The whole experience, including half an hour atop Pikes Peak, is about three hours. Make sure to get in line right when you get to the top to buy one of the Summit House's famous magic donuts. They're made with a special high-altitude recipe that can't be recreated anywhere else below 14,000 feet, and they're delicious to enjoy on the ride back down the mountain!


Austin, TX

If you take mom to Zilker Park, there are tons of activities she can choose from. Cool off with a dip at the perfectly cool Barton Springs Pool, take a ride on the mini-train through the park, check out the massive, hands-on Umlauf Sculpture Garden, rent canoes or kayaks to take out on Lady Bird Lake (or walk around the reservoir), see the koi ponds and dinosaurs (yes, for real) at Zilker Botanical Gardens, fly kites on the hillside... the opportunities are endless. There are tons of restaurants nearby where you can enjoy a nice lunch or dinner to round out a fun day.

Thorncrown Chapel

If your mom is into architecture, nature, or is just in need of some peace and quiet, head to Thorncrown Chapel. E. Fay Jones, a native of Arkansas and apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright built three glass chapels in the Ozark forests of Arkansas, and Thorncrown was the first. It's mostly made of glass, giving the impression that you're in a cathedral of trees, and the rest of the building materials were all small enough that they could be carried to the woodland site by two men. Take the tour that provides insight into the story of the chapel and a little concert put on by one of the singers, attend a service, or just grab a seat and revel in the natural beauty.


De Leon Springs, FL

For a perfect day for the whole family, head to De Leon Springs State Park. Start with the make-your-own pancakes at the Sugar Mill Restaurant ($5 a person gets you a pitcher of batter and the tools to make your own pancakes at the griddle built into your table). Then you can swim in the spring, rent canoes or kayaks, hike the trails, fish, or take the guided Fountain of Youth Eco/Heritage Boat Tour through Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge. Wind the day down with a picnic or grill-out at the park's pavillion!

Rock City Gardens

Rock City Gardens is a cute attraction that offers a few things to do. Check out a view that stretches into seven states from the Lovers' Leap, meander through the storybook scenes in the Fairyland Caverns, and, if you and mom have the guts, cross the swinging 180-foot suspension bridge.

For a fun mother-kid bonding adventure in Detroit, start at Eastern Market, where you can browse a vast array of local foods and goods. Grab coffee at Trinosophes or pizza at Supino's, or browse the offerings at all of the spots. Then, walk from the market along the 1.5-mile Dequindre Cut Greenway down to the Riverfront. At the Riverfront, you can stroll through Milliken State Park and Harbor, the state’s first urban state park, and take in some great views of the Ambassador Bridge and Canada. If you're with kids, there is a ton for them to do here, otherwise, bike or walk around and enjoy the skyline and lighthouse views.

International Mother's Day Shrine

This church is where the country's first Mother's Day celebration was held. It all started in 1908 when a girl named Anna Jarvis requested a service be held in honor of her mother at the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, WV. A few years later, in 1914, Woodrow Wilson declared Mother's Day a holiday, to occur on the second Sunday in May. Anna Jarvis is buried in a cemetery down the road, and there are statues and plaques around the church and town commemorating the history here.

New Windsor, NY

Not too far from NYC is the Storm King Art Center, a stellar day trip for anyone with a mom who appreciates art. It's one of the country's premier outdoor sculpture gardens, set among the hills and woods of the serene Hudson Valley. The whole place is 500 acres, and contains over 100 sculptures and artworks to view. It's especially fun to tour via bike, which you can rent there. Grab lunch at the Storm King Cafe and make an afternoon of your trip.

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Whether you're on a hike, pampering mom at a hot spring, or admiring some ingenious art, you can find a fun adventure that's perfect for you and your mom. Now, get out there and make some memories!


Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books. -John Lubbock

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