Erin Gifford

I am a Washington, DC-based travel & outdoor writer. My writing has appeared in USA Today's GoEscape, Chicago Tribune,,, The Washington Post,, Parents, Family Circle,,, AAA Traveler Worldwise, Northern Virginia Magazine, and AAA World. I also write about hiking in Virginia at and have written three hiking guidebooks for Falcon Guides. When not seeking out new adventures, I'm crossing off the next state in my quest to run a half-marathon in all 50 states (so far, I've run in 33 states).

From Cartoon Characters to Farm Tours, Why Lancaster County, PA, Is the Perfect Fall Family Getaway

Sample a mix of modern and age-old experiences in this traditionally Amish area. Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, has long been known for its authentic Amish experiences — buggy rides, one-room schoolhouses, and shoofly pie. It’s a family destination, but now even more so thanks to the addition of the Cartoon Network Hotel and the expansion of the Lancaster Science Factory. In early 2020, the first-ever Cartoon Network Hotel opened in Lancaster. The animation-themed hotel amuses children and ad

On the Gulf of Mexico, Look to Gulf Shores, Ala., Over Destin, Fla.

Destin lures in sports fishermen, too. This seaside city has been dubbed the “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village,” thanks in part to its variety of fish species, such as snapper, grouper and mahi-mahi. In peak season, public access beaches are packed with families eager for a swim or a snorkel in crystal-clear waters. Many book a week at one of the myriad high-rise condos, and family vacation rentals get snapped up quickly, too. Okaloosa County, which is home to Destin and Fort Walton Beach, rep

10 Stops in Wacky and Wonderful Wytheville, Virginia

Wytheville offers small-town charm in the southwestern slice of Virginia, with West Virginia to the north and North Carolina to the south. This town of just 8,000 people, named for George Wythe, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and mentor to Thomas Jefferson, is rich in American history. Located at the intersection of two major highways—I-77 and I-81—Wytheville also has plenty of interesting roadside attractions, including a 100-foot-tall lookout tower, a tiny church, and a “world fam
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