Best Spots for Night Adventures
August 26, 2016

Traveling fun doesn’t end when the sun goes down! Consider planning a trip to one of these destinations perfect for nighttime adventures.


Time for bed?

No way! When you’re on vacation, the fun is just starting when the sun goes down. But there’s a lot to do beyond sitting around the campfire; consider a unique evening experience before you roast up those s’mores!

There are all sorts of unique activities—night hikes under a full moon, kayaking on bioluminescent   water, watching a show or the fireflies.  Most National Parks have evening ranger programs. Just check their website or newspaper to see what’s happening when you are visiting.

Here are five places for memorable nighttime adventures:

  1. Introduce the kids to the arts at Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts in Vienna, VA just outside of Washington, DC at the 7,000-plus seat Filene Center that is operated in partnership with the National Park Service and showcases an array of different kinds of performances—stars like Dolly Parton, musical plays, the National Symphony Orchestra and the Children’s Theatre-in-the Woods. Through the new Young at Arts initiative you may get a free child’s ticket for each adult ticket (up to 10 tickets total) for select performances all summer.
  2. Picnic during a performance at Tanglewood Music Center in the Massachusetts Berkshires, the summer home of the revered Boston Symphony Orchestra. There are also Boston Pops concerts and your pick of much loved artists like Bob Dylan and James Taylor as part of the Popular Artist series. You can buy lawn tickets and spread out your picnic!
  3. Watch the bats emerge at Carlsbad Caverns National Park in Carlsbad, NM, home to hundreds of thousands of Brazilian free-tailed bats. In the summer, thousands of people gather in the evenings to watch them fly out of the cave on their nightly search for food. Each evening prior to the bat flight, there is a program given by a park ranger. (Get up early—between 4-6 am and you can see the bats’ spectacular dives as they re-enter the cavern flying as fast as 25 mph. The Carlsbad KOA Holiday is open all year and has cabins, free Wi-Fi, a heated pool and dog park.
  4. Head to a mountain top concert or festival. Most snow resorts in Colorado have summer concert series and some are free, like at Snowmass. Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year and is one of the best places in the state for star gazing and summer nighttime concerts. You’ll also find festivals across the state. Telluride, in the heart of the San Juan Mountains, is famous for having a different festival each weekend. You certainly have your pick of KOAs in Colorado, including in Ouray where you could take a dip in Ouray’s natural hot springs pool and opt to stay in a teepee.
  5. See the fireflies. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to synchronous fireflies, one of at least 19 species of fireflies that live in the country’s most visited national park in Tennessee. But this one species is unique because the fireflies synchronize their flashing light patterns, part of their mating display. Peak firefly season is mid-May through the third week in June but there are plenty of other fireflies to see!

Don’t forget your camera!

Best Spots for Night Adventures from KOA

Eileen OgintzEileen Ogintz writes the syndicated column and blog Taking the Kids and is the author if The Kid’s Guide series for kids to major cities across the United States.

Looking for more great ideas to get kids excited about travel? Checkout Eileen’s Kid’s City Guides for tons of tips, facts, games and fun from traveling kids in the know.




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