Best Family Vacation Spots
Our very biased pick of some of our favorite USA vacation spots
For the past 30 years we have had a chance to visit many vacation destinations with our extended family. But for some reason we keep going back to a select few. Listed below is our very biased picks of some of the best vacation spots in the USA. We have added some links to help you learn more about our picks. We invite you to add to our list. See below.
A super family trip. Most destinations are free. Although some advance planning is necessary. If you are planning on visiting be sure to write to your congressperson or senator in advance to arrange for VIP passes for tours of the White House, the FBI, passes to the Senate and House Visitors Galleries, and other tours and events. These offices can also provide you with helpful information on the Washington, D.C. area.
The Smithsonian Institution—the world's largest museum and research complex—includes 19 museums and galleries and the National Zoological Park. Remember there is free admission to almost all of the Smithsonian museums & the National Zoo.
But there is so much more for you to discover. Explore the past and celebrate the future at the National Archives or the Library of Congress, both made more popular with the younger set by the blockbuster National Treasure movies. At the Bureau of Engraving and Printing take a free tour and watch the money come hot off the presses. End your day with a free concert or performance on the Millennium Stage at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, offered nightly.
For more information about Washington D.C. via TripAdvisor Click here
Just a days drive south of Washington D.C. lies this exquisitely restored colonial capital of Virginia. There is something special about walking the Duke of Glouster street in the evening after enjoying 18th century dinner of spoon bread and seafood at Christiana Campbell's Tavern. One of George Washington's favorites. You will understand what we are talking about when you visit.
From the Colonial Williamsburg web site:
"Williamsburg was the thriving capital of Virginia when the dream of American freedom and independence was taking shape and the colony was a rich and powerful land stretching west to the Mississippi River and north to the Great Lakes. For 81 formative years, from 1699 to 1780, Williamsburg was the political, cultural, and educational center of what was then the largest, most populous, and most influential of the American colonies. It was here that the fundamental concepts of our republic — responsible leadership, a sense of public service, self-government, and individual liberty — were nurtured under the leadership of patriots such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, and Peyton Randolph
In 1926, the Reverend Dr. W.A.R. Goodwin, rector of Bruton Parish Church, shared his dream of preserving the city's historic buildings with philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr., and the restoration began.
Dr. Goodwin feared that scores of structures that had figured in the life of the colony and the founding of the nation would soon disappear forever. Rockefeller and Goodwin began a modest project to preserve a few of the more important buildings. Eventually, the work progressed and expanded to include a major portion of the colonial town, encompassing approximately 85 percent of the 18th-century capital's original area.
Mr. Rockefeller gave the project his personal leadership until his death in 1960, and it was his quiet generosity of spirit and uncompromising ethic of excellence that guided and still dominates its development. He funded the preservation of more than 80 of the original structures, the reconstruction of many buildings, and also the construction of extensive facilities to accommodate the visiting public.
In the preservation of the setting of Virginia’s 18th-century capital, Mr. Rockefeller and Dr. Goodwin saw an opportunity to ensure that the courageous ideals of the patriots who helped create the American democratic system live on for future generations."
So much for the family to see and do.
For more information about Williamsburg, Virginia via TripAdvisor click here
New Buffalo, Michigan
Just a stones throw from the Indiana border and a little more than an hour and a half drive from downtown Chicago, is New Buffalo.
A chance to relax on the public beach, and explore this Lake Michigan shore line community.
Discover the I love toy train store located just west of downtown on the Red Arrow Highway.
And be sure to stop for a hamburger at Redamaks.
For more information about New Buffalo, Michigan via TripAdvisor click here
For more information about Redamak's Tavern via TripAdvisor click here
Keystone is the premier family ski resort. See our Colorado family ski vacation package.
But surprisingly during the summer Keystone, Colorado is truely an unbeatable destination. Especially for family oriented adventure travelers.
Two award-winning golf courses wind along the Snake River and up through alpine meadows. Nearly sixty miles of trails - from scenic singletrack to screaming downhill runs - provide some of the best mountain biking in the country. And then, of course, there’s all the hiking, horseback riding, fly-fishing, kids programs, whitewater rafting, festivals, films, concerts, and so much more to do.
For more information about Keystone, Colorado via Trip Advisor click here
Yellowstone National Park
Be prepared to see things you have never seen before at our country's and in fact the world's first National Park. Geyers. Mud pots. Bear jams. Bison. Jaw droppin scenery.
Yellowstone National Park has an official Junior Ranger Program open to children ages 5 - 12. The goal of the program is to introduce children to the natural wonders of Yellowstone and their role in preserving them for the future.
To become a Junior Ranger, families pay a $3 fee for the 12-page activity paper, Yellowstone's Nature, available at any visitor center. After completing the age appropriate requirements described in the paper and reviewing their work with a ranger at any visitor center, participants are awarded an official Yellowstone Junior Ranger patch. Modeled after the National Park Service patch, Junior Ranger patches feature a stylized bear track for 8-12 year olds, a wolf track for 5-7 year olds, and a snowflake for all winter junior rangers.
Requirements include attending a Ranger-led program, hiking on a park trail, and completing activities on various park resources, issues, and concepts such as geothermal geology, park wildlife, and fire ecology.
Yellowstone is one of the most popular national parks in the United States. Since the mid-1960s, at least 2 million tourists have visited the park almost every year. In 2010, a record number of visitors came to the park in July: 975,000. July is the busiest month for Yellowstone National Park.
Concessionaires manage nine hotels and lodges, with a total of 2,238 hotel rooms and cabins available. They also oversee gas stations, stores and most of the campgrounds.
For more information about Yellowstone National Park via TripAdvisor click here
It bills itself as the roller coaster capital of the world. Located on the shores of Lake Erie in Sandusky, Ohio, Cedar Point dates back to 1870. Opening first as a beer garden, bath house and dance floor it didn't introduce its first thrill ride until 1892 with a switch back railroad.
Today Cedar Point has been named “Best Amusement Park in the World” in the prestigious Golden Ticket Awards presented annually by Amusement Today newspaper. It has received this award for 14 straight years.
If you are a roller coaster fan this is the place to go. This park is just amazing when you consider the amount of coasters they have at one park. Cedar Point has more than a dozen. Can you believe that. Not only do they have the quantity, but they have the quality.
They have some of the tallest, fastest, steepest, longest...(you get the point) coasters in the world. They also have variety, with wooden, metal, feet dangling, stand up and straight free fall. We will just say that this is one of the best collection of roller coasters there is.
Although its primary attraction is the assortment of coasters, the park has rides and other attractions, including kiddie rides, water rides, a traditional arcade, award-winning musical shows, and a PEANUTS-themed ice skating show, etc. The park also offers access to the lovely beach on Lake Erie.
Two separate attractions are part of Cedar Point but not included in the general admission. Soak City is an outdoor water park; Castaway Bay is an elaborate indoor waterpark. Challenge Park features four attractions: 'Ripcord,' 'Skyscraper,' 'Challenge Racing' go kart tracks, and 'Challenge Golf', a fantasy miniature golf course.
One can easily spend a full day at the main Cedar Point by itself. If you plan to take in all the attractions, you should buy the 2-day "ride and slide" pass and to spread your enjoyment of Soak City and Cedar Point over two days.
For more information about Cedar Point via TripAdvisor click here.