7 destinations for trailblazing women

Trailblazers. Visionaries. Superheroes. To celebrate International Women’s Month, we’ve selected 7 destinations and paired them with a pioneering woman who made an impact there. Use this as a start to plan a trip with your daughters (and sons) — so they can see it, to be it.

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Washington, DC

Pioneering Women: Dorothy Vaughan, Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson

In the 1950s, these three women worked at NASA as “human computers,” calculating orbital trajectories to the moon. Though their song went unsung for many years, a recent motion picture finally brought their accomplishments to public light. Start your journey in DC with a visit to the National Air and Space Museum. Then, drive the 3-hour trek to Hampton, VA, home of NASA’s Langley Research Center and the Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility. Celebrate Vaughan (the first African-American woman to supervise a group of staff at NASA), Johnson (awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015) and Jackson (NASA’s first black female engineer) as you tour the campus. And make sure your brainy, analytical girl knows that when it comes to STEM, there is nothing she can’t do.

And with 2019 seeing a record number of women serving in Congress, there’s no better time to honor the achievements of women in Washington, past and present.

Accommodations from $25Women-led restaurants in Washington, DC

Sacramento, CA

Pioneering Woman: Sally Ride

Without the three ladies above, Sally Ride’s path — as well as that of astronauts before her — may never have happened. Born in LA, Ride was the first American woman in space (and 3rd woman overall). After her career as a physicist and astronaut, Ride championed STEM programs for girls until her death in 2013. She is famously known for saying that “you can’t be what you can’t see,” meaning if girls don’t see women like her excelling in STEM, they are less likely to pursue those careers. And while you can see Ride’s in-flight suit at the Moving Beyond Earth exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum in DC, we suggest going back to her roots in California. The California Museum in Sacramento has a signature exhibition called “California’s Remarkable Women.” Ride is a big part of it. Plus, it’ll give you and your girl the opportunity to see the many other amazing women that shaped California — and American — history.

Accommodations from $33Restaurants in Sacramento


Pioneering Woman: Jane Goodall

After a childhood spent in England dreaming of working with animals in Africa, Jane Goodall made that a reality when she was just 26. In 1960, she first went to Tanzania to study the behavior of primates, where she spent a good part of her 60+-year career as a researcher, scientist, animal behaviorist, philanthropist and preeminent scholar. Her studies in the Gombe Forest gave us some of the deepest insights into primate behavior — and led research into our evolutionary connections. Indulge your adventure-girl’s love of the wild with a safari in Tanzania. As Gombe National Park is a UNESCO Heritage site, look for tour companies that advocate for Sustainable and EcoTourism.

Accommodations from $31

Mexico City

Pioneering Woman: Frida Kahlo

Fiery, passionate and a contrarian at heart, girls who go against the grain will find a kindred spirit in Frida Kahlo. After a devastating bus accident left her in perpetual pain, Kahlo put her emotions and thoughts to canvas. Her colorful strokes, intimate self-portraits and bold personality made her an icon for generations of artists to come. Travel to Mexico City where you can see the artist’s most important works. Start at the Museo Frida Kahlo, located in her lifelong home, to see famous pieces like Viva la Vida as well as artifacts from her daily life. Then, head to Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo, the former studios of Kahlo and her husband, Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. Finally, stop at the Museo Dolores Olmedo for the largest collection of works by Kahlo under one roof.

Accommodations from $8Women-led restaurants in Mexico City

Salmon, Idaho

Pioneering Woman: Sacajawea

It’s a fact not exclaimed loudly enough in history books: without Sacajawea, explorers Lewis and Clark would have never made their incredible journey across the Rocky Mountains. Sacajawea was able to identify edible plants, communicate with local tribes and saved essential navigational tools when her husband — a French-Canadian trader hired as Lewis and Clark’s guide — managed to nearly capsize their boat. For her expertise and work, she received nothing. Take your savvy survivalist to the Sacajawea Center in Salmon, Idaho. There, you can take part in day hikes, learn about native women’s history and visit the exhibits in the Interpretive Center. Families can also sign up for “Outdoor School,” a camp that teaches some of the skills Sacajawea used to lead the expedition.

Accommodations from $64

Pigeon Forge, TN

Pioneering Woman: Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton’s legendary voice and pursuit of giving all children a headstart with reading is something your spunky, entrepreneurial bookworm can be inspired by. Parton is the most-honored female country singer of all-time and has written more than 3,000 songs. She’s built a career as a songwriter, singer, actress, entrepreneur and philanthropist. Of course, to see the full reach of her legend, Dollywood is the goal. Parton’s theme park is nestled in the Smoky Mountains, an area known for high unemployment and low wages. Dollywood brings over 3,000 jobs to the region, as its biggest employer. So show your girl what a bit of grit, gumption and creativity can turn into. (KAYAK Tip: To get to Dollywood, you’ll need to fly into Knoxville’s regional airport or to Asheville’s larger one).

Accommodations from $39Restaurants in Pigeon Forge

Warsaw, Poland

Pioneering Woman: Marie Curie

Modern science is forever indebted to Marie Curie. Her theory of radioactivity was ground-breaking and is the basis for much of what scientists today study and test. Curie was also the first woman to win a Nobel Prize (1903) and remains the only woman in history to win two Nobel Prizes. But your little girl is going to change that. Though Curie spent much of her adult years in France, Warsaw was where she was born and raised. Take your budding scientist to Curie’s childhood home, now the Marie Curie Museum, to honor this woman’s remarkable discoveries.


Of course, this is only a small sample of destinations and the amazing women that changed them for the better. Wherever you travel, be sure to discover the trailblazing women who have gone before and keep adding to that powerful legacy. 

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