Summertime! Part 4: Family Vacation Ideas
The anticipation of summer vacation is what keeps many of us going throughout the year. School is out and the workload is lighter, so it’s a prime season for travel with family.
Here are some fun ideas to consider:
- BEACH VACATIONS-no matter where you live, a beach trip is always a fun, classic option for families. From Maine to Florida, East coast and regional families have dozens of beautiful Atlantic beaches to choose from. The farther south you go, however, the better the weather and warmer the water.
- FLORIDA. When you think Florida you probably conjure up beaches, watersports and themeparks, and, why not? However, many people are not as aware of Florida’s extensive park system which features its natural wonders. These parks, located in central and northern Florida are family crowd pleasers. During summer 2017, Florida is home to a variety of events and festivals, including the Battle in the Bay Dragon Boat Festival on May 20; the Miami Performance International Festival, June 22-25; SharkCon 2017 in Tampa in July; and the Florida Festival of Chariots in Jacksonville on August 19. Find out more about Florida events at Visitflorida.com.
- GULF COAST FAVORITES The southern coast along the calm, clean Gulf of Mexico is one of the country’s top summer beach destinations, despite its typically steamy hot and humid weather. Save with midweek vacation rental deals or book hotels after mid-August, when locals go back to school and deals reappear. Choose from Destin and the towns along the Florida Panhandle, Gulf Shores, Alabama or western Louisiana. On the Mississippi Gulf Coast, which also has gambling, there’s 30 miles of white sand beaches, watersports, nature parks and Ship Island, where families will find historic Fort Massachusetts. If it’s too much beach for you, plan on voting up or down the Presley impersonators at the annual Elvis Tupelo Festival the first week in June.
- FARM STAYS-farm vacations are gaining popularity as more farms offer overnight lodging, meals and a peek into the agricultural lifestyle. Here’s your chance for the kids to see where their food comes from. Eggs are collected fresh from the hen house; carrots are pulled from the ground, berries from a bush. Go to Farm Stay U.S. for a directory with nearly 1,000 working farms and ranches across the U.S. (in all 50 states and U.S. Territories).
- HISTORY Build a trip around an aspect of American history the kids may be studying. The American Revolution is all the rage this year, with an amazing new museum in Virginia’s Historic Triangle of Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown — the place our system of democracy was born. The new American Revolution Museum at Yorktown just opened with immersive exhibits, experiential theater and more. . In Philadelphia, the new Museum of the American Revolution joins the Betsy Ross House, the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall among many great sites which truly engage kids and teens. Nostalgia is trending, so expect history commemorations, big and small, wherever you travel and take advantage of them to keep “school brains” active.
- DISNEY VACATION If the kids (or your partner) are begging to go on a Disney vacation – and we mean a theme park, cruise, resort or guided tour, save yourself time, money and grief with a specialty travel agent.
- COLLEGE TOURING Leave the other kids in the family behind and opt for some one-on-one time with your high school junior or senior. Stay in a B&B near the campus to pick up some intel from locals. Don’t try to cram too many schools into one trip. Check out GoSeeCampus.com, a free website offering an online college trip planner for high school students and parents. Don’t forget to ask your student to make notes after each visit, and to keep your own.
- COOL MOUNTAIN VACATIONS-Look for summer deals across the country at ski resorts from Maine to Colorado, Utah and California. Once the snow melts and the temperatures rise, you can enjoy hiking and biking on the slopes of Keystone Resort. At almost 10,000 feet, and with average temperature around 70 degrees, conditions are perfect for a cool summer holiday. Depending on the size of your group, choose from a studio condo to a four-bedroom townhome so you can save money on breakfast, and have somewhere to dry those bathing suits.
- COOKING CLASSES Whether you’re a toddler decorating sugar cookies or an adult trying to perfect your coq au vin, chances are there’s a local cooking class at your destination. Sites like Cozymeal.com pair local chefs with visitors who want to take a class or hit the markets; pizza making is a popular choice for families. For authentically Italian pizza, check out the family-oriented cooking tours in Italy by Cooking-Vacations.com. Adults traveling with with Tour-de-Friends.com learn how to pair wines while cooking the seasonal cuisine of four regions of France. Love tapas? Spend a day in Barcelona learning how to make your own with daily classes from Barcelona Cooking, a welcoming group of local chefs who welcome kids ages 4+ to attend classes, a fun way to make new friends while traveling.
- CRUISE THE HIGH SEAS (OR LOCAL WATERWAYS)-With major cruise lines now departing from 24 homeports, the majority of Americans can be at a cruise terminal with just one day of driving, bringing this already great value vacation into the reach of many more families. Remember, since there are no lifeguards on duty at waterplay areas, you’ll have to keep an extra vigilant eye on the kids. Since you’ll have to prepay the cruise, this is another type of vacation where getting travel insurance is highly recommended.
What are some fun family trips that you enjoy? Thanks for reading!