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The Epic Family Vacation: How to Take Your Trips Up a Notch

How do you make a family vacation more epic? Experience it all side-by-side.

This story was brought to you by Honda Talon, because Life is Better SXS.

No matter where you take your family on vacation these days, our eyes always seem to spend more time on our device screens than they do on the scenery. But a family in motion, side-by-side, traversing a beautiful backdrop in a Honda Talon is always tuned in to the moment at hand. Here’s an upgrade to three vacations — beach, mountains, and desert — by putting them on the trails of some of the country’s best Off-Highway Vehicle Parks (OHV Parks), natural wonderlands of off-road vehicle adventure and the new antidote to our culture of distraction. With the Talon, you won’t just be hash-tagging the adventure; you’ll be living it.

The Desert Getaway

Deserts are not all scorching sun and cracked earth — not by a long shot. Beautiful blooms, epic rock structures, sunsets, and a whole lot of open territory to maneuver. Conquering desert dunes, traversing rocky mountains and canyons, and carving a path through the cacti are why driving with a desert backdrop is so thrilling, and an experience to share with a co-pilot. The Talon 1000X will keep you maneuvering canyon trails, while the Talon 1000R will be a beast on inland dunes and speedy in deep sand.

When the sun goes down in the desert, celestial bodies take center stage, so be ready to embrace that: Bring a telescope, or a tripod and a good camera for some astrophotography — set a long exposure and you can capture the path of the stars across the sky. Also, have a physical star chart handy to track (and mark) your progress as you name the constellations across the sky.


Moab, Utah: Moab is one of the most jaw-dropping regions of the world, and can feel like you’re looking at the surface of Mars.

Mesquite, Nevada: Near the Grand Canyon, the trails around Mesquite are renowned for four-wheel riding, especially Elbow Canyon.

Imperial San Dunes: East of San Diego, the inland Glamis Dunes were used as the setting for the sand scenes on a certain planet called Tatooine. Need we say more?

The Mountain Getaway 

Mountainous regions are just teeming with epic adventures — from remote, winding fire roads to epic vistas, there’s no lack of fun for the whole family.

There is something primal about wanting to scale mountains, so let your primal self enjoy the benefits of the modern world, and scale those mountains not on foot, but on four wheels: off-roading under a canopy of lush green forest, navigating rocky mountain trails, or chasing waterfalls as they cut through canyons that cut through the mountains without missing a vista. The Talon 1000X’s precise handling, shorter wheelbase, and maneuverability make it ideal for mountain riding.

Nothing will bring your family together quite like roughing it in the woods. Cooking over a camp stove, eating s’mores and sharing stories around a fire… that’s some serious memory-building material. Maximize your view and rise above the critters with a pop-up rooftop tent, and if you want to take your little ones for a hike at a slower pace, a child-carrier backpack will let you do that without any backaches. Bring bathing suits in case your exploring leads you to a mountain stream — the best way to bathe this side of a hot spring.

Sponsored by Honda Talon
Life is Better SxS

To ensure a thrilling family vacation, you need the right wheels. The Honda Talon 1000X and 1000R are your rides, each bringing a new level of off-road excitement, precision, performance and quality. These high-performance vehicles offer an unparalleled way to explore the world, side-by-side with your family — because vacations (and life) are just better that way.


Hatfield-McCoy Trail System: Named for West Virginia’s famous feuding family, this trail system accommodates riders of every level over hundreds of miles of trails in the heart of Appalachia.

Paiute Trail: The 275-mile off-road vehicle trail loop in Utah offers stunning mountain scenery with no beginning and no end, passing through several towns along the way.

Anthracite Outdoor Adventure: This 6,500-acre trail system in Eastern Pennsylvania coal country is one of the top off-roading spots in the Northeast.


The Beach Vacation

Going to the beach shouldn’t just involve seashells, sandcastles, and sunburns — with the right choice of place, vehicle, and activities, a family beach vacation can easily become an epic getaway.

Shredding sand dunes is about the most iconic off-road activity imaginable, and all the better with your favorite co-pilot. The Talon 1000R, with its wider wheelbase, 4+ link rear suspension and over 20-inches of travel, excels at bump absorption and is ideal for sandy routes and climbing dunes.

You’re guaranteed a beautiful sunrise or a beautiful sunset depending on the coast, and both sights are even better when enjoyed side-by-side. Cool off after a day on the dunes with some bodyboarding in the surf — no actual surfing experience needed. You’ll be making enough new friends at the OHV area for some pickup beach volleyball, so why not bring the net. Sitting by a fire at water’s edge is the perfect way to end the night, with the sound of the surf roaring in the darkness.


Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area: Ride on dunes that rise up to 500 feet above sea level on the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America.

Pismo Beach: Oceano Dunes at Pismo Beach is beachfront paradise for off-road riding in the most extensive coastal dunes in California.

Cape Cod National Sea Shore: Traverse the beaches of Cape Cod via these extensive over-sand trails.

Rules of the Off-Road

  • If you’re going off-road, keep it off-road and never ride on public roads.
  • Become a savvy driver. First-time riders should complete the Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle (ROV) E-course, available for free at
  • All SxS drivers should read the owner’s manual before operating the vehicle.
  • Protect your head, and make sure the driver and passenger always wear DOT-compliant helmets, eye protection and appropriate clothing.
  • Make sure off-roading is a fit for the family. Passenger must be able to grasp the grab bar with the seat belt on and both feet on the floor.