When I start to plan my travels for the winter, I don’t often think of going to one of the National Parks. But when I saw some of their great Hispanic Heritage Month coverage this past October, I couldn’t wait to go back.

And just in time, too! The National Park Foundation is now doubling their efforts to document Latinos’ presence in US history. Since I love to keep my vacations both fun and educational, these are the ones that spoke to my sense of adventure and learning.

  1. 1. Pilsen Historic District in Chicago, Illinois. Part of the Parks and Travel Itineraries for Hispanic Heritage, this beautiful neighborhood is comprised of 93% Mexican Americans and has many beautiful buildings reminiscent of Aztec culture.  
  2. 2. Art at the Chamizal National Memorial in El Paso, Texas. The galleries here feature artists that reflect on the history and landscape of the border region and commemorates an amicable atmosphere between the U.S. and Mexico.
  3. Explore the Freedom Tower in Miami, Florida. Ellis Island may be the most famous point of entry for immigrants in the U.S., but from 1962 to 1974 thousands of exiled Cubans passed through this refugee center that’s now a historic landmark.
  4. Learn about preservation efforts at the Spanish Colonial Research Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. With sites ranging from Alaska to Puerto Rico, these are the folks responsible for keeping our cultural heritage alive and well.
  5. Take photos at the Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego, California. Set at the edge of a peninsula, this is the first time a European, Portuguese explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo in 1543, set foot on what would later become the West Coast of the U.S.

What is your favorite winter time vacation to take with your family?

Image via Urban Woodswalker/flickr