When planning a family vacation, there are several things one should consider. How much time off is required, expenses like lodging, food and gas, determining final destinations, time of year… It can become quite the headache. So instead, I’ll save you the planning pain (at least for one vacation), and give you a handful of reasons for a vacation’s worth of adventure that the whole family can enjoy. Where? At the NRA’s Whittington Center.
1) It’s (Kinda) Local
If you live in nearly anywhere west of the Mississippi River (and some places farther east) that’s part of the continental U.S., you’re within a day’s drive to the NRA Whittington Center. And while that may take a day out of your vacation, traveling anywhere else would result in similar amounts of time lost. And flying makes the trip even faster, as what might be the largest airport in the area, Denver International Airport, is roughly a mere three and a half hour drive from the Whittington Center. According to their literature, if one drew a 10-hour circle around the center, you’re half a day away from Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Kansas City, Dallas, or anywhere in between.
2) It’s Cheap
If money’s tight (it always seems to be), the NRA Whittington Center provides a low-cost vacation for several reasons. Hotels in Raton are fairly inexpensive, and if you want to stay at the Center and are up for a bit of camping, it’s a measly $12.00 per night (there are 26 onsite). Not up to roughin’ it? The Brownell Family Suites feature a full kitchen and are fully furnished, and daily housekeeping services are included for $150.00 a night. That’s not bad at all. The only other expenses? Food, gas and, maybe most importantly, ammo, which, if you’re doing the Whittington Center vacation right, should make up the majority of your budget.
3) It’s Got Something For Everyone
While Raton, New Mexico might not sound like an intriguing location to visit—the town, while charming and chock-full of friendly people, is much like any other smallish Western burg—the Whittington Center is essentially a distillation of everything wonderful about the Southwest. Shooting obviously takes precedence here (more on that later), but if poking small holes at long distances isn’t really your game, history buffs will greatly appreciate the Frank Brownell Museum of the Southwest, which shows the history of both the geographical region as well as a substantial portion of our country’s history as a whole. It also sits on the Sante Fe Trail. But maybe you just enjoy experiencing the great outdoors. If that’s the case, there are a myriad of species of animals to watch, including pronghorn antelope, mule deer, turkey, bear and elk, among others. Cimarron Canyon offers great hiking and fishing, too. Want to get a taste of Native American culture? Taos is home to a Native American Pueblo for those who want to immerse themselves in the Native American way of life.
4) It’s Shooting Oriented
Sure, the Center has other things to offer, but its primary raison d’être revolves around the shooting sports. And what’s more exciting for a family than to spend some long days at the range? Shotguns, pistols, rifles, muzzleloaders and archery all have their places at the Whittington Center. Want to develop some skills while you’re there? Plan your vacation around one of the several courses offered at various times of the year through Whittington U. From practicing self-defense to mastering the art of the long shot, there’s a class for nearly every firearm interest.
5) It’s Also Hunter Oriented
Okay, depending on who you are, you might be more interested in the shooting aspect rather than the hunting offerings provided by the NRA Whittington Center. But for those who want a world-class hunting experience, the hunts on the 52 square miles of land are second to none. While no one can guarantee success on any given hunt, the Whittington Center boasts a near 100 percent success rate, and that’s hard to beat. Not only that, but the animals taken are often of trophy quality. Hunters regularly take elk scoring 330 B&C every year. Want the hunt of a lifetime with the family? One of the NRA Whittington Center’s hunts could very well make the for outdoor family’s dream vacation.