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In the '50s and '60s, the automobile was the focus of the American family's summer vacation. This was the era of Route 66 and discovering the American West, with its iconic billboards, ubiquitous motels, and roadside oddities (think alligator farms, life-size dinosaurs, and giant cowboy signs).
Thankfully, the West is a tad more sophisticated these days, offering elegant hotels and resorts with hints of rugged Western influence—but minus the kitsch. And this sort of close-to-home vacation destination is especially great for multi-generational families as a convenient way to get together and discover new frontiers. What better way to bond with the kids and grandkids than by exploring the back roads, hiking trails, and unique shops and art galleries of the West's Silver Rush towns and culture-filled cities?