Are you ready for a getaway? Plan your own classic American holiday. Here are fun-filled ideas to help you create an iconic family vacation:
Take a Road Trip. A concept often parodied on television and in the movies, the family road trip continues to be a source of fun and happy memories for clans across the country. Play games, sing songs, tell stories along the way. Access the American Automobile Association’s plentiful and user-friendly information on road conditions, weather, deals, discounts, and gas prices. They can also help with roadside assistance, travel planning and maps. Contact: 1 (800) 332-6119; www.AAA.com.
Make your way to the Mountains. Fill your lungs with pine scented air. Raft the rivers, wonder at the wild life or travel by horseback into the backcountry. A visit to a mountain destination like Jackson, WY will offer you and your family the best of the great outdoors paired with a glimpse into our western heritage. Take in the rodeo, a cowboy cookout, visit the hot springs and the Grand Teton National Park. Contact: 1 (888) 838-6606; www.jacksonholewy.com.
Head to the Beach. You may have a family favorite or build sand castles on the beach closest to home. However, if you are looking for a new sandy spot, consider the list created by coastal expert Dr. Stephen P. Leatherman, Director of Florida International University’s Laboratory for Coastal Research. For the last 20 years, “Dr. Beach” has used 50 criteria, including water, sand quality, safety and environmental management, to rank seaside playgrounds. The 2010 top 10 include beaches in New York, Florida, California, Hawaii and North Carolina. Contact: www.DrBeach.org.
Relax at the lake. With more than 1,000 miles of shoreline, Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks is a family favorite. In addition to boating, swimming, fishing and a wide range of water sports, generations of lake lovers enjoy hiking in the nearby state park, biking, mini-golf and water parks as well as access to plenty of restaurants, music and other kid-friendly attractions. Contact: 1 (800) 386-5253; www.funlake.com.
Visit a National Park. Celebrate our freedom and the beauty of our land within one of our 392 national parks. With so many historical and natural wonders to discover, consider heading to the National Park Service’s web pages, specifically designed to help regular and first time visitors plan a meaningful trip. There you research park activities as well as camping, back country, lodging and educational options. Across America each day there are special events, institute and field schools as well as volunteer opportunities. Check for fee free days and Junior Ranger programs for the kids. Contact: www.nps.gov/pub_aff/plan_your_visit/index.htm
Get Sporting at the Wintergreen Resort. Wintergreen, VA. Parents can join their kids for group golf lessons and then head to the course to refine their skills. This is a family-friendly resort on the eastern edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers up a range of easily accessible sporting options. With 45 holes of championship golf as a cornerstone, families can enjoy a holiday that includes a children’s program at The Treehouse, hiking, fly-fishing and an award-winning tennis program. Contact: 800-926-3723; www.wintergreenresort.com