Where are all the nature lovers? According to a new family travel poll conducted by Travelocity, parents with kids are visiting national parks and other nature sites a lot less often than their parents and grandparents did. The poll suggests: more than twice as many families focus on activities like shopping! Instead of camping, families are touring cities and going to theme parks.

I like to visit city museums and browse in shops on vacation as much as the next mom but some of our best vacation times have been outdoors — climbing to the top of a waterfall at Yosemite National Park, snowshoeing by a buffalo at Yellowstone last winter. I baited the kids’ fishing hooks in Minnesota and kayaked with them in Alaska. We camped in the rain in Maine. It wasn’t always fun, but it sure was memorable and I think nurtured their love for the outdoors as well as their concern for the environment.

Travelocity has created a website offering tips to parents who want to get their families up-close to nature this summer: www.travelocity.com/nature Also visit the website for the National Parks (www.nps.gov) to get some ideas.

Not only can back-to-nature vacations be fun (most of the time anyway) but they’re affordable. Think of all the gas you’ll save if you’re hiking or biking!