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Sun. Dec. 17, 10:00 AM ET

10 Top Destinations for Family Fishing Vacations

Family trip or fishing trip? If you’re debating whether vacation days should go toward a family outing or days on the water, you might be asking the wrong question. A better question is where to can take your family on a fishing-themed vacation this summer. If that’s the question you’re ready to ask, we’ve got the answers, and we’ve even considered that odd idea that everyone might not want to fish all the time!

Everglades City & 10,000 Islands, Florida

Tucked between the Florida Everglades and 10,000 Islands, Everglades City offers the best of both worlds to family fishermen. From the marina at Miller's World Resort in Everglades City, traveling one way leads to vast island-protected saltwater flats, where young anglers can cast for everything from snapper and sheepshead to higher profile species like snook and tarpon. Point the boat in the opposite direction, and you’re headed deeper into the Everglades, where wildlife abounds and you can fish for freshwater and saltwater species from the same spots. The resort offers waterfront cabins, bike, canoe and kayak rentals, airboat tours and a classic Florida oyster house for mealtime.

Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

For that family trip of a lifetime, head for the Last Frontier in search of giant halibut, majestic king salmon and various other sport fish. As you travel from Anchorage onto the Kenai Peninsula keep an eye out for moose, brown bears and other big critters. Fishing options range from wading rivers on your own for big rainbows, to taking a jetboat trip for salmon to chartering a bigger boat and targeting halibut that could turn out to be the size of your kitchen table. Speaking of tables, one reward of visiting this part of Alaska is the opportunity to bring home salmon and halibut for your own table!

Port Isabel, Texas

Shallow grassy flats and some of the clearest water along the Texas coast make the Lower Laguna Madre an ideal destination for stalking redfish and speckled trout. If you choose to wade, the water feels good on summer days, and the fishing is as simple as casting a grub or spoon, reeling it back and hanging on tight. Port Isabel, which is located about as far south as you can go along the Texas coast, provides great access to these fish-rich waters, and local charter boats offer everything from dolphin cruises to wading trips to offshore fishing adventures. The Port Isabel area also provides the full beach trip experience on South Padre Island, with plenty of sand to lie on, shops to explore and fresh Gulf seafood to enjoy.

White River, Arkansas

The legendry line of pink cabins at Gaston’s fronts the Ozarks’ most famous tailwater, where fisheries folks stock more than 1 million catchable-sized trout every year. Simple bait rigs provide fast action from feisty rainbows to anglers of all ages. Meanwhile, heavyweight brown trout lurks in deep holes, offering a “big game” bonus. Bank fishing, wading and boating are all good options. Gaston’s offers a fleet of rental boats and a team of guides who are used to catering to family groups. They also have a network of hiking trails that provide great photo opportunities, plus amazing food in a restaurant that hangs over the river.

Reelfoot Lake, Tennessee

Formed 200 years ago when earthquakes caused the Mississippi River to jump its channel and flood swampy bottomlands, Reelfoot Lake looks like a giant farm pond. More significantly, Reelfoot fishes like a farm pond, with jumbo bluegills, thick-bodied largemouths and always-abundant crappie and catfish all readily available and usually easy to locate. Most fishermen leave their fancy boats at home, knowing Reelfoot is a mine field of stumps and cypress knees. For that reason, Blue Bank Resort offers aluminum fishing boats and motors as part of their fishing packages. They also have guides and multiple guests on the water every day, so they can set you up with the right bait and tell you exactly what you need to know to catch fish.

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