It’s tough to get two teens and one husband to agree on a family vacation destination. Our best trips have been accidental ones. And the best of those was the stop at Mammoth Cave in western Kentucky.


We were meandering our way home from a spring break trip to Disney World in Orlando. (We’ve been several times and I definitely recommend NOT going on spring break. It was so crowded that at times we couldn’t even move, much less get on the rides.)

I just happened to look at the map and realized we were just a short jog away from Mammoth Cave.Perhaps it says something about my family, but we love going underground. We’ve been to three types of caves–young ones, such as the Squire Boone Cavern (he was Daniel’s brother) in southern Indiana have rivers that still rage through them; middle-aged ones such as nearby Morengo Cave have water that still seeps and ancient caves such as Mammoth in Kentucky are completely dry, having long outlived the water that forged them.

Mammoth Cave is a wonder of nature and a fascinating place to take kids. It doesn’t matter what the weather is like above ground. Underground at Mammoth Cave, it’s always a steady 54 degrees Fahrenheit. The U.S. Parks Service operates the national park and runs several tours daily.

Just beware: Babies must be carried. No strollers or backpacks are allowed. The strollers simply won’t work inside the caves, with their uneven surfaces and many stairs, and backpacks are banned because of the many places where walkers have to bend over to duck low hanging rocks, only to have the baby take the hit.

And when your park ranger guide warns that a tour includes 233 stairs and may not be appropriate for some people, pay attention. They’re not kidding.