© Courtesy of Stocked House Studio - Fotolia.com
From kid-friendly sandy beaches in Florida, the East Coast and California to great adventure lodges in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Colorado and the Southwest, families get to choose from many wonderful weekend destinations in the United States. If you are looking for fun family getaways from specific cities, we've already written about amazing weekend escapes from New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta, San Diego, Los Angeles, Chicago and other cities.
More vacation ideas: Pink Sand beaches, Best Places to Visit, Colorado, Things to Do in Seattle, California beaches
» Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village
© Starwood Hotels & Resorts
The Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village offers vacationers a choice of 263 guest rooms and suites and is one of the best vacations for kids in Florida. The lagoon-style outdoor pool is sure to be a favorite with kids, along with the marina where families have access to an array of watersports. The resort has a fitness studio with cardio and strength training equipment. The Esterra Spa & Salon adjacent to the resort offers seven treatment rooms and a diverse menu of services.
Guest rooms are furnished with Westin Heavenly Beds, plush robes and White Tea Aloe bath amenities. Marker 92 Waterfront Bar & Bistro serves American cuisine in a resort casual setting. The hotel is 18 miles from Southwest Florida International Airport between Tampa and Naples. Nearby you will find Sanibel Island, Captiva Island, Fort Myers Beach, the Ding Darling Nature Preserve and many golf courses. Nightly rates start at $349.
5951 Silver King Boulevard, Cape Coral, Florida 33914, Phone: 239-541-5000
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» King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort
© King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort
What started in 1935 as a seaside dance club grew into the King and Prince Hotel in 1941. It served as a training and naval coast watching facility during the Second World War and reopened in 1947 as a popular island resort. The historical and lovingly renovated Mediterranean architecture buildings are today listed on the National Register of Historic Places and welcome thousands of guests to enjoy Georgia’s beautiful St. Simons Island in total comfort and luxury. The four buildings that comprise the resort have a range of comfortable rooms in different price ranges, all beautifully decorated and equipped with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and minifridges. Some rooms have ocean views, balconies and/or whirlpool tubs, while those staying in the villas enjoy full kitchens. There are three swimming pools, a business center, tennis courts, a gym, direct access to the beach, and a first-class golf course.
201 Arnold Rd, Saint Simons Island, GA 31522, Phone: 912-638-3631
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» The Crawford Hotel in Denver, Colorado
© The Crawford Hotel
Train travel is fun for kids - it gives them the freedom to stretch their legs and enjoy the changing view through the windows. Take a train trip to Denver, Colorado and check into the new Crawford Hotel located in an Beaux Arts building at Denver's Union Station. Kids can stay in one of the Pullman Guest Rooms which were designed to feel like a train sleeping car, complete with rich mahogany, neutral tones and art deco touches. Parents should book the stunning one-bedroom Crawford Suite with decor inspired by the Victorian era. The suite has soaring ceilings, a freestanding footed bath tub, a spacious master bedroom with a sitting area, powder room, Butler's pantry and separate dining and living rooms.
Guests receive free WiFi, a 46-inch TV, an in-room iPad, 24-hour Fitness Center, complimentary access to the Oxford Club, Spa & Salon, and complimentary Tesla car service within 2 miles of the hotel. The hotel has agreements with some of the best restaurants in Denver which provide a take-out style room service delivered in eco-friendly containers. You will be able to view unique Western art on display at the Crawford and at Union Station, including vintage family pictures, travel postcards and 1940s celebrity trading cards. Room rates start at $228 per night.
1701 Wynkoop Street, Denver, Colorado 80202, Phone: 720-460-3700
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» Family Getaways: Skytop Lodge in the Pocono Mountains
© Skytop Lodge
Skytop Lodge is set on 5,500 acres in the Pocono Mountains, offering families an active weekend escape from New York, Philadelphia or Washington D.C. Play golf on the Pocono Mountains Golf Course, get massages at the spa and head to the Adventure Center for a choice of activities, including a rock climbing wall, paintball course and a zipline challenge course. The resort has both indoor and outdoor pools, as well as a lake with a sandy shore, perfect for swimming and water sports from May through September.
If you are planning a winter trip with kids, you will be able to go ice skating, cross-country skiing, dog sledding and snowshoeing. During the fall season, visitors are treated to a stunning display of colors in the Poconos. Guests are accommodated at the Inn, Lodge and Cottages. Private porches, refrigerators and a shared washer/dryer facility make the Cottages a great choice for families. The resort offers elegant and casual dining options serving a variety of flavors. Rooms start at $219 per night.
One Skytop, Skytop, Pennsylvania 18357, Phone: 855-345-7759
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» Weekend getaways with kids: Stowe Mountain Lodge in Vermont
© Stowe Mountain Lodge
Stowe Mountain Resort in Vermont is one of the best family ski destinations on the East Coast and a great place to visit in the summer with kids.
Stowe Mountain Lodge is a luxury getaway with 312 guest accommodations and cabin rentals. Each guest room has floor-to-ceiling windows with scenic mountain views so that when you get back from the slopes you can relax and look out to Mt. Mansfield and Spruce Peak.
Ask for a room with a relaxation tub in the marble bathroom (some rooms only have a stand-up shower). Amenities include environmentally friendly bath products, eco-friendly microfiber bed linens and paintings from Vermont Fine Art Gallery.
Most guestrooms have a stone-framed fireplace, private balcony and a kitchenette with stovetop, microwave and dishwasher so that you can prepare some of your own meals if you so choose. The 21,000 square-foot spa at the lodge has a full-service fitness center, outdoor swimming pool with indoor access, water therapy, a relaxation lounge and 18 private treatment rooms. Kids over 6 years of can choose from treatments from the Kid Spa Menu and enjoy a customized spa session that allows them to relax. There is excellent skiing in the winter, as well as cross-country skiing, dog sledding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, horse-drawn sleigh rides and ice fishing. Room rates start at $179 per night.
7412 Mountain Road, Stowe, Vermont 05672, Phone: 802-253-3560
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» Fun Family Vacations: Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri
© Big Cedar Lodge
Snuggled deep in the magnificent Ozark Mountains of Missouri, Big Cedar Lodge is a secluded haven of beauty and tranquility that echoes a time gone by. Surrounded by an area steeped in history, this rustic resort epitomizes the American wilderness and offers guests a little slice of outback heaven. Big Cedar offers a variety of accommodations, ranging from cozy knotty pine cottages and log cabins in the woods to grand hillside cottages with spectacular views of the glassy Table Rock Lake below. Beautifully appointed for absolute privacy, guest accommodations are luxuriously furnished and boast private balconies, cozy fireplaces and modern amenities. Enjoy a variety of delicious fare at no less than four restaurants. Savor home-style fare in a historical setting at The Devil’s Pool Restaurant. For fine dining and breathtaking views, head to Top of the Rock, or try Buzzard’s Bar for light meals and drinks accompanied by cowboy singing. Guests have access to the full-service marina and an array of activities, such as horseback riding, fishing, golf, hiking and biking trails. Rooms start at $129 per night.
612 Devil's Pool Road, Ridgedale, Missouri 65739, Phone: 800-225-6343
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» Family Getaways: Hotel Irvine in California
© Hotel Irvine
Centrally located in the heart of Irvine’s urban hub, Hotel Irvine is a newly renovated contemporary-chic lifestyle hotel that epitomizes comfort and style. Designer decorated rooms and suites cater for both the leisure and business traveler’s needs with extra length beds, screen TV’s and complimentary wireless Internet being some of the additional room amenities.
If you are looking for fun family vacations in Southern California, the hotel offers an array of facilities, including a swimming pool, fitness studio, basketball court and bikes to rent, as well as a ‘Reach Me’ concierge text service. Excellent local and international cuisine can be enjoyed at Eats Kitchen and Bar, while the sophisticated Red Bar and Lounge has an extensive collection of fine champagnes and single malt whiskeys. The Marketplace offers freshly made ‘on-the-go’ deli food and snacks perfect for families. Visit the Pretend City Children’s Museum in Irving which offers fun interactive exhibits where kids can act, paint and learn about environmental conservation.
17900 Jamboree Road, Irvine, California 92614, Phone: 866-396-4201
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» Hotel Zephyr, San Francisco
© Hotel Zephyr
Located in the heart of San Francisco’s Fisherman's Wharf, a short walk from Pier 41, other prime tourist destinations, and ferries to Alcatraz, Angel Island, and Sausalito, Hotel Zephyr is one of San Francisco’s very few waterfront hotels. Modern and sleek, the hotel is decorated with colorful and cool nautical details and offers 361 spacious, sophisticated rooms and suites with all modern amenities such as free Wi-Fi, minifridges, HD TVs, and coffeemakers. Some rooms enjoy views of the city and the bay, and larger suites have sitting rooms and large floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the city’s skyline. The hotel has a gym, a cozy lounge, and a game room with a popular pool table and a large outdoor terrace with fire pits.
250 Beach St, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA, Phone: 415-617-6565
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» Fun Family Vacations: WaterColor Inn in Florida
© WaterColor Inn
WaterColor Inn is a family getaway in Northwest Florida, offering activities for families and couples. The resort is located the Grayton Beach State Park and Seaside, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Florida is a great place to visit with kids, home to some of the best family beach vacations on the East Cost. Visit the WaterColor Inn spa, play golf, relax on the beach and sample gourmet cuisine at the inn's restaurants. It's popular with families who want to spend a long weekend enjoying the beach and the sun.
The resort's flagship restaurant, Fish Out of Water, serves fresh seafood paired with delicious wines. Watch the water and the sand dunes while enjoying your breakfast, lunch and dinner. Room rates start at $275 per night. If you have the flexibility to travel midweek, the hotel is offering a packages that includes three nights including breakfast, lunch and beach chairs starting from only $885. Guests receive daily beach chair and umbrella set-up, lunch for two , nightly turndown service and a beach amenity.
34 Goldenrod Cir, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida 32459, Phone: 888-991-8878
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» Family Getaways: Grand Hotel Mackinac Island
© Grand Hotel Mackinac Island
If you are looking for weekend getaways with kids in the Midwest, Grand Hotel Mackinac Island, located in the center of the Great Lakes waterway, is an all-inclusive summer vacation destination, open from May through October. No cars are allowed on the island and there is plenty to do, from swimming in the pool to golf, walking and biking in the beautiful Mackinac Island State Park. Originally built in 1887, the property has 390 individually decorated guest rooms. Some of the rooms and suites are named after famous people. Six suites were designed in consultation with former first ladies. The Jacqueline Kennedy suite, for example, has gold-painted walls and features the gold presidential eagle.
Swim in the Esther Williams pool, detox in the sauna and have snacks by the pool. Activities the whole family can enjoy include tennis,
horseback riding, carriage tours and children's programs from Memorial Day to
Labor Day. Across the street lies the scenic Jewel golf course. The course is comprised of the Grand nine and the Woods nine, set in the interior of the island. The Grand nine was built in 1901 and redesigned in 1987. The Woods nine was added in 1994, designed by Jerry Matthews. Next read: Best Things to Do on Mackinac Island
The island is accessible only by boat or plane. Ferries depart from Mackinaw City and St. Ignace, Michigan. Assistance is provided for transferring luggage on and off the ferry. The Mackinac Island Airport has a 3,500-foot runway that accommodates private and charter aircraft. For more information about flying here, contact the concierge. Once you arrive, you can get around on foot, by bike or a horse-drawn carriage. This is a popular summer getaway from Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago and Detroit. Rates start at $221 USD, including breakfast. The property is open open from the last week of April through October.
286 Grand Avenue, Mackinac Island, Mackinac Island 49757, Phone: 800-334-7263
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» Fun Family Vacations: Cape Codder Resort & Spa in Cape Cod
© Cape Codder Resort
Kids will love the indoor wave pool at Cape Codder Resort & Spa in Cape Cod where they can splash around in two-foot waves and zoom down the water slides. If you are looking for family getaways with both indoor and outdoor pool options, the heated outdoor pool has a unique LED-powered night-time light show. Grown ups can relax in the oversized whirlpool, detox in the saunas and head to Beach Plum Spa for some five star pampering and rejuvenation. The spa offers a diverse menu of services for men, women and children, featuring natural and organic products. The popular Parent & Child Massage packages start at $190 for 60 minutes and let you get a massage in the same room as your child. Kids can try the Chocolate Ice Cream Manicure or the Strawberry Ice Cream Pedicure which consist of exfoliation, lotion and nail polish.
Other weekend activities to try with kids include volleyball, roasting marshmallows by the bonfire and evening movies. The complimentary Kid's Activity Program consists of workshops, crafts, face painting, Ping Pong and Magnetic Darts. Read on for more mini vacations.
1225 Iyannough Road, Hyannis, Massachusetts 02601, Phone: 855-861-4370
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» The Arrabelle at Vail Square
© The Arrabelle at Vail Square
The Arrabelle at Vail Square, Colorado is a luxury ski getaway offering access to Vail Mountain and a luxury spa. The hotel has 62 guest rooms and suites with alpine furnishings and a fireplace. If you and your kids need more space, take a look at the Private Residences. If you want to be right on the mountain, stay at The Game Creek Chalet which is located at 10,500 feet. In addition to spectacular skiing, other winter activities include snowshoeing and Nordic skiing, ski and snowboard schools for children, race clinics, dog sledding, sleigh rides, ice skating and more. If you are looking for family getaways in Colorado, rooms at this unique hotel start at $265 per night.
675 Lionshead Place, Vail, Colorado 81657, Phone: 970-429-5045
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» Le Meridien San Francisco
© Le Meridien San Francisco
Le Meridien San Francisco is a luxury hotel in the heart of San Francisco's Financial District. The hotel offers 360 guest rooms and suites many with scenic city views. Ask for a room on the top floors of the hotel for best views on your weekend trip.
The hotel has a stylish restaurant featuring elegant decor and scenic views. The restaurant serves market fresh cuisine accompanied by fine wines from local Californian vineyards. To help you plan your family visit, the hotel offers Les Clefs d'Or Concierges who have access to top dining and entertainment venues in the city. VacationIdea.com Tip: If you want to take your family to a special show on your weekend trip, get in touch with the concierge before you get there to make sure that you get the tickets you want. Room rates at the hotel start at $299 per night.
333 Battery Street, San Francisco, California 94111, Phone: 415-296-2900
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» Family Getaways: Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando
© Portofino Bay Hotel
At Portofino Bay Hotel in Florida you can get a taste of the Italian Riviera and enjoy fun rides at Universal Studios. The design for the resort was inspired by an Italian fishing village, complete with cobblestone streets, restaurants and sun-washed stucco facades. Relax by the pool, get an outdoor massage in a private cabana and dine at some of Orlando's best Italian restaurants. In addition to visiting Universal Theme Parks, kids can have fun sliding down the hotel's water slide. The hotel offers 750 guest rooms with Italian furnishings and opulent bathrooms. Bay View Rooms offer scenic views of old-world fishing boats and the harbor.
For families, Kids Suites feature a separate room for the kids with two child sized beds, a small table and chair set, separate closet, television, VCR and play area. From romantic dining at the upscale Delfino Riviera to the family-friendly Trattoria del Porto and Mama Della's Ristorante, the hotel offers its guests a choice of restaurants. Delfino Riviera serves Ligurian cuisine on Versace plates and features strolling musicians. More Florida weekend escapes.
5601 Universal Boulevard, Orlando, Florida 32819, Phone: 407-503-1000
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» Family Weekend Getaways: Gaylord Opryland
© Gaylord Opryland
Located on the banks of the Cumberland River in Nashville, Tennessee, Gaylord Opryland is a unique weekend getaway offering fun for kids, spa and fitness, and a choice of restaurants. Children will enjoy boat rides on the indoor river aboard a Delta flatboat, 9 acres of indoor gardens, cascading waterfalls and other attractions. No matter what the weather is like outside, you can have plenty of fun indoors at this unique hotel. Gaylord Opryland has teamed up with DreamWorks to bring Puss in Boots, Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Alex the Lion to life within its compound. The property offers an array of events throughout the year, such as the "Puss in Boots & Friends 'Purrrrrrfect Pajama Party" and the "Fun Night with Shrek & Friends." Check the calendar before you book your trip to see what events are coming up.
The lobby has been completely redesigned and now features a plush VIP check-in area. The 20,000 square foot spa and fitness center has 12 treatment rooms, indoor and outdoor pools. You can go shopping at the resort shops which sell an array of items. The resort has 2,881 guest rooms and suites. Rates start at $239 per night.
2800 Opryland Drive, Nashville, Tennessee 37214, Phone: 615-889-1000
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» Family Weekend Getaways: Walt Disney World Swan
© Walt Disney World Swan
At Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin in Florida, families can choose from an array of activities, accommodations and family-friendly dining options. There are five heated pools, whirlpools, fountains and waterfalls. The Kiddie pool provides hours of fun to younger guests. There are also two sand volleyball courts, a beachside playground, spraying seal fountain, a giant checkers game and more. When deciding which room to book, consider your family's needs. If you have kids, having a bedroom with a door and a separate living room can be a big perk for parents. The resort offers 169 suites with different layouts. Executive Suites, Grand Suites, Hospitality Suites and the Governor's Suite all offer separate living areas. Whether you are planning a weekend vacation to Florida or a longer getaway, these suites give you plenty of flexibility.
Spend a few hours relaxing and getting pampered at Mandara Spa, play golf and go shopping. Since kids seem to be hungry all the time, the hotel offers the SPG Kids Pass, an all-inclusive dining program for kids. For $25 per day, kids ages 12 or younger receive all-inclusive access to a variety of dining options, including children's menus, buffets (where available) and beverages at Cabana Bar & Beach Club, Todd English's bluezoo, The Fountain, Picabu buffet, and Fresh Mediterranean Market. You have to be a Starwood Preferred Guest member to receive this offer, so be sure to join (membership is free). Room rates tart at $160 per night.
1500 Epcot Resorts Blvd., Lake Buena Vista, Florida 32830, Phone: 407-934-4000
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» Family Getaways: Red Mountain Resort
© Red Mountain Resort
Spa goers and outdoor enthusiasts alike will appreciate the beautiful setting of Red Mountain Resort near St. George, Utah. Surrounded by mountains and canyons, this spa resort can be a starting point
for exploring the nearby Zion National Park, Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon with kids. Outdoor adventure activities in the area include hiking, jogging, climbing,
biking and swimming.
The hotel has an indoor and an outdoor swimming pool. Once you are done exploring the natural surroundings, lounge by the pool and visit the spa. Try one of the Sagestone Spa signature treatments, enjoy a relaxing massage, or get a facial on your spa vacation. The resort offers health education, weight loss and detoxification programs. The resort has just recently renovated its 82 guest rooms in contemporary style. Families can book one of the 12 luxury Villa suites which offer the most space.
The hotel offers healthy dining options and cooking demonstrations. More great weekend ideas in the Southwest.
1275 E. Red Mountain Circle, Ivins, Utah 84738, Phone: 877-246-4453
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25 Best Family Weekend Getaways
- Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village, Photo: Starwood Hotels & Resorts
- King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort, Photo: King and Prince Beach and Golf Resort
- The Crawford Hotel in Denver, Colorado, Photo: The Crawford Hotel
- Family Getaways: Skytop Lodge in the Pocono Mountains, Photo: Skytop Lodge
- Weekend getaways with kids: Stowe Mountain Lodge in Vermont, Photo: Stowe Mountain Lodge
- Fun Family Vacations: Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri, Photo: Big Cedar Lodge
- Family Getaways: Hotel Irvine in California, Photo: Hotel Irvine
- Hotel Zephyr, San Francisco, Photo: Hotel Zephyr
- Fun Family Vacations: WaterColor Inn in Florida, Photo: WaterColor Inn
- Family Getaways: Grand Hotel Mackinac Island, Photo: Grand Hotel Mackinac Island
- Fun Family Vacations: Cape Codder Resort & Spa in Cape Cod, Photo: Cape Codder Resort
- The Arrabelle at Vail Square, Photo: The Arrabelle at Vail Square
- Le Meridien San Francisco, Photo: Le Meridien San Francisco
- Family Getaways: Portofino Bay Hotel in Orlando, Photo: Portofino Bay Hotel
- Family Weekend Getaways: Gaylord Opryland, Photo: Gaylord Opryland
- Family Weekend Getaways: Walt Disney World Swan, Photo: Walt Disney World Swan
- Family Getaways: Red Mountain Resort, Photo: Red Mountain Resort
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Stocked House Studio - Fotolia.com
More Family Weekend Trip Ideas
With fantastic weather year around, almost ten miles of finest sand beaches and world-class surfing, Huntington Beach is all about sun, sea and the great outdoors. Stroll along the iconic 1,850 feet long Huntington Beach Pier to the Ruby's Surf City Diner and watch the surfers, sunset or passing dolphins. Visit picturesque Huntington Harbor with its beautiful million-dollar yachts and scenic waterways or rent a Sunset Gondola for a romantic cruise.
If you are interested in surfing, you are in the right place. Known as a ‘surf city’, Huntington Beach has wonderful opportunities for world-class surfing. Let the professionals from the Surfriders Academy show you the secret of riding the waves. Stop by the Surfer’s Hall of Fame or the International Surfing Museum to learn about the legends of this fun sport. Learn about the local plants at the shaded Shipley Nature Center or at the wild and unspoiled Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. Where to stay: Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach and Langham Huntington Hotel & Spa.
Weekend Getaways with Kids: Portland, OR
Surrounded by millions of acres of magnificent ancient forests, Portland has almost as much green space in its heart. Stroll through the Portland resident’s favorite – Forest Park, with 80 miles of hiking, biking or riding trails and spectacular views of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers. Visit Oregon Zoo with more than 2000 animals, native and from all over the world, and explore World Forestry Center, which explains the importance of trees in our lives.
Travel 3,300 feet on the Portland Aerial Tram up to Marquam Hill to see the whole city spread out below you. Kids will love the interactive, hands-on Portland Children’s Museum with permanent exhibits such as the Pet Hospital, Building Bridgetown and Water Works exhibits. Or let your go wild at the Oaks Amusement Park which has than 30 rides, a carousel, bumper cars and much more.
Visiting Washington D.C. is like a trip through the country’s history to discover its origins, challenges and victories. Visit the interactive and engaging Newseum, which explains, using different media, the importance of the First Amendment and its effect on the freedom Americans enjoy today. Stroll by the 555-foot marble Washington Monument, which honors George Washington, the first President of the United States of America.
Take a guided tour of the Capitol from the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center. Kids will absolutely love a visit to the National Museum of Natural History with its fossils, meteorites and 126 million specimens. Let the experienced native guides of Bike and Roll DC show you the city on a bicycle or Segway and tell you the stories of the city’s past and present.
Modern and vibrant, Houston is always buzzing with activities. Miller Outdoor Theatre has a range of different performances in Hermann Park from March to November, including classical music, ballet, films and theater. If you cannot catch an Astros game, take a tour of their home stadium Minute Maid Park.
The Children's Museum of Houston is bursting with activities such as learning about an Oaxacan mountain village in Mexico or exploring environmental issues in the EcoStation. The Houston Zoo is a delight for all animal lovers with more than 6000 animals. The Houston Museum of Natural Science has a range of fascinating permanent and temporary exhibit and exciting astronomy shows at the Burke Baker Planetarium. Don’t miss the Space Center Houston, the home of International Space Station Mission Control, NASA Mission Control and astronaut training.
Family Getaways: Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach is one of those places where you can spend days doing absolutely nothing in your lounge chair on the beach, or you can keep hopping from one exciting activity to another. Take a stroll along the popular Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, a 1.2-mile walkway along the ocean, to get the vibe of the city.
Take an adrenaline-pumping ride on the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel, a 187 foot tall Ferris wheel, and see views of the city and ocean that will take your breath away. Learn to surf or try paddle boarding with experienced trainers at Downwind Surf & Paddleboard Company. Let the kids go wild at Family Kingdom Amusement Park with its 37 exciting rides or take a tour of the Myrtle Beach Safari wherethey can see wild African animals up close. If you want more action, visit The Pavilion Park which is home to a whole bunch of thrilling rides.
Virginia Beach is the place where fun meets history. Start your exploration at First Landing State Park, the spot where the first English colonists landed in 1607, which is a lovely beach today. Learn more about the history of Virginia Beach at the Adam Thoroughgood House, the oldest surviving colonial home in the city which was built in the 1680s.
Enjoy leisurely Rudee Flipper Dolphin Tours to see the playful dolphins and the city from the water. Take the kids to Ocean Breeze Waterpark, a Caribbean-themed Park with 30 exciting rides, water slides, a pirate ship, river adventures, and a huge wave pool. Children will also love seeing all the antique planes at the Military Aviation Museum and 12,000 underwater creatures at the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center.
With beaches, tall ships, fabulous museums, exciting amusement parks, zoos and aquariums, Galveston, Texas offers family fun for all. Stroll along the beach at Seawall Urban Park, which is hone to the longest sidewalk in the country. Stop for some fun at the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier amusement park.
Climb the decks of the magnificent 1877 Tall Ship Elissa.
Visit the Bishop's Palace, a spectacular, over-the-top Victorian architectural jewel adorned with dragons, rare woods, colored stones and just about everything else. Give the kids the time of their lives at the Schlitterbahn Galveston Island Waterpark, with the famous Torrent Tidal Wave River and the Soaring Eagle Zip Line. Experience the feel of the lifestyle of offshore drillers at the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum.
Visit lovely Pelican Island with its fantastic Seawolf Park which is full of naval history items such as the USS Stewart and the USS Cavalla, a WWII submarine. See the gentler, more romantic side of Galveston at the East End Historical District with its beautiful ornate historic homes.
Historic and modern, artsy and exciting, Fort Wayne offers fun for the whole family. Visit Old Fort Wayne to learn about the lives of pioneers the fort was built to protect. Check 130 exciting exhibits at the Science Central where the kids can learn to identify minerals, rocks, fossils, and seashells, or play on the giant piano keyboard.
Travel around the world at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo where animals from all continents can be found home. See what American artists from diverse national and ethnic backgrounds are working on at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. Enjoy fragrant world of the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory with its 1200 plants. Catch a show at the historic 1928 Embassy Theatre where Doris Day and Duke Ellington once performed.
Family Getaways: Orlando, Florida
Orlando is practically synonymous with complete and utter excitement as visitors fly in from all over the world to relive their childhood or let their kids go wild at the city’s top attractions. It’s impossible to visit Orlando and not go to at least one theme park. One of the top on the list of world favorites is Walt Disney World as it’s largely regarded by people of all ages to be the place where dreams come true. Make sure to visit the iconic Cinderella Castle for the ultimate Walt Disney experience. Epic rollercoasters and heart-stopping rides can be found in every corner of Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Thrill seekers and fun lovers are bound to have the time of their lives. Don’t forget to let the magic live on with a trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
For kids between the ages of 2 and 12, some of the most exciting and memorable moments are waiting to be had at LEGOLAND Florida. With 11 themed zones, there definitely won’t be any shortage of fun. People with a love for the ocean and all of its colorful inhabitants can interact with sea animals, walk on the ocean floor, and enjoy an encounter with dolphins at the Discovery Cove. Similarly, more marine life encounters are waiting at the three parks of Sea World Orlando.
There is more to Norfolk than the world’s largest naval station. The Chrysler Museum of Art showcases thousands of years of art history art with 30,000 art objects. Norfolk Botanical Garden has forty thematic gardens such as the Enchanting Forest and Japanese Gardens. Virginia Zoo is in fact a beautiful garden that is home to more than 500 animals and a location where you can spend a night to see what animals do in the dark.
Take a tour of the Nauticus National Maritime Center and visit The USS Wisconsin, the shark lab, Hampton Roads Naval Museum and much more. Take a cruise on the charming American Rover to see Norfolk, and its ships, from the water. Let the kids create their own souvenirs at the Mermaid Factory, a craft and art store where they can paint their own china mermaids.
Baseball lovers know Louisville for its famous baseball bats, horse racing enthusiasts for the world-renowned races and boxing fans for being a home of the unbeatable Muhammad Ali. Visit Muhammad Ali Center, a museum devoted to this great boxer. Catch a horse race at the spectacular Churchill Downs, best known for the great Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Oaks races. Stroll along Historic Frankfort Avenue, the heart of the charming Louisville old town with galleries, boutiques and beautiful historic homes.
Explore Louisville Mega Cavern, a zip line course located a part of the mine that used to run under the city. Walk across the Ohio River to Jeffersonville, Indiana, on the beautiful Big Four Bridge.. Spend some time at the Kentucky Science Center with a range of interactive exhibits and the four story digital theater. Catch a baseball game at the Louisville Slugger Field and stop by the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory.
Beach Getaways for Families
In Florida, many full-service resorts like Doral and the Turnberry Isle Resort offer beautiful pools, water-based activities, golf and spas. You'll be able to combine a family weekend getaway with relaxing at the spa and a round or two of golf. Visit Florida with the family in the winter, spring and fall.
The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida offers great rooms, a private beach, an oceanfront spa, 36 holes of golf, and 10 tennis courts. There is a childrens program, children under 16 stay free in their parents room and, for families with kids under 3, they will take precautions to childproof your room before you arrive.
There is a 6,160 square foot family entertainment center with a children's movie room, a toddlers' playroom, and a computer room. There is also the Coconut Crew Interactive Camp that hosts kids from age 3-12 in two different groups; the Parrots (3-6) and the Coconuts (6-12). The Coconut Crew Interactive Camp is flexibly scheduled and priced per session. Room rates start at $285.
San Diego is a popular weekend getaway, offering the famous zoo and proximity to many fun kid-frindly activities. Stay at Hotel del Coronado which has a sandy beach, kid's programs and many family-friendly activities, ranging from Bocce Ball to Ping Pong. Hotel del Coronado is located right on the ocean, giving families the opportunity to enjoy the beach and the sun on vacation. Take a bike tour of historic Coronado, or rent a kayak and explore the shore. If you want to visit the spa or play golf, Hotel del Coronado offers diverse programs for kids. Choose from historic rooms and suites, or contemporary accommodations. Room rates start at $285 per night.
Lakeside Vacation Ideas
On the shores of Lake Sydney Lanier lies Lake Lanier Islands, a 1,100 acre resort just 30 minutes from downtown Atlanta. Stay at the 216 room Emerald Pointe Resort or try one of the 18 private lakeside cottages. The resort has a golf course, an equestrian center and a fleet of rental boats, however, the main attraction for families is the beach and waterpark. Lake Lanier Islands' Beach and Waterpark features rides, slides, and water attractions with names like the Intimidator, the Twister, SplashDown, and Triple Threat. The waterpark is open from May to September. Rates Start at $139 per night.
On the East Coast, head to the Sagamore on Lake George where weekend activities include fishing, swimming in the lake, sailing, golf and pampering at the spa.
If your family likes exploring a big city, head to New York City where hotels are offering some great deals on weekend stays. You can visit the Museum of Natural History, see a show at the Planetarium, and play in Central Park.
The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park is a luxury New York City getaway with great views and family-friendly service. Whether your family decides to enjoy an outdoor day in Central Park, or visit the American Museum of Natural History while on vacation, the hotel offers a great location for exploring the city. Kids will love the telescopes and bird watching books available in park view rooms.
Enjoy central location and historic ambiance at the Westin St. Francis when you travel to San Francisco with the family. This Union Square hotel features classic elegance with its ornate balconies and detailed woodwork. Visit Union Square Park, ride a cable car, or relax at the hotel while your children are entertained at the Westin Kids Club. The hotel is just minutes from Chinatown and Fisherman's Wharf. Ask for one of the rooms with views of the bay. Doubles start at $179 per night.
More Resorts for Families
Club H for teens ages 13-17 at the Homestead Resort in Virginia provides a fun place to socialize and play games. Club H, located on the tenth floor, offers activities that appeal to teenagers, such as arcade games, billiards, snacks and music. There is a choice of indoor and outdoor activities lead by Club H counselors, including hiking, biking, caving, kayaking, mountain boarding, canoeing and paintball. Cookouts, hayrides and dinners at Club H give kids the opportunity to meet new people. Doubles at the Homestead start at $131 in the winter; from $211 in the summer.
Take the family to the Horseshoe Bay Marriott in Texas and let the kids enjoy tennis, an 18-hole putting course, and three different swimming pools. Rent a pontoon boat at the Horseshoe Bay Marina and spend the day on the lake. In the afternoon, you can water ski on the Marina's ski boat, an inboard 2002 Master Craft complete with a great sound system and wakeboard tower. The best part about the ski boat is that it comes with a driver, so that's one less thing to worry about. If you don't feel like actually going out on the water, you can always relax in a cabana on the lakeside beach.
La Quinta Resort in Palm Springs offers an array of activities for the whole family, including great pools, golf, spa and a year-round program for kids. Ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, take a jeep tour in the desert, or go horseback riding on your family vacation. Choose from casitas, suites and Spa Villas.
Rates start at $300 per night plus tax and resort charge.