Saturday, May 8, 2010

Best Family Vacation Destinations

Throughout my childhood, we went on family vacations every summer. My parents had a "thing" where they never wanted to go to the same place twice. They wanted to make sure we got to see different areas of the United States, not just the same old, same old. As a mom of 4 myself... I can understand and appreciate this mentality. I want the boys to see many different areas and places... and learn from these areas. It's important to me. So... as we're embarking on the planning of our first family vacation of the summer, I came across an amazing article written by it mentions (in their opinion) the top 10 Family Destinations. I thought it was very interesting to share... Have you been to any of these!?

By Erin Pagel 1. Branson, Missouri
This town is known for it's family friendly attitude. From live music shows to family fun centers to theme parks from the past, Branson, Missouri is the ultimate family getaway. The Branson strip is the family-friendly version of the Las Vegas strip with hundreds of theaters including renowned violinist Shoji Tabuchi, comedian Yakov Smirnoff (who boasts he's so funny you'll laugh your yak off), family act, made famous on America's Got Talent, the Duttons and Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede dinner and show. Don't forget Branson's family theme park and landmark, Silver Dollar City. The park, which takes visitors 100 years in the past, features 20 thrilling rides and attractions in addition to 40 shows and hundreds of shops selling old-fashion Ozarks craftsmanship.

2. Colorado Springs, Colorado
With awe-inspiring vistas for the adults and thrills of a suspension bridge, skycoaster and incline railway for the kids, the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park in Colorado Springs is a destination for the entire family. Rock climbing adventures and hiking and biking trails abound for the family looking for an active getaway and for those looking to simply relax, Colorado Springs offers pristine fishing spots, ornamented golf courses and one-of-a kind shopping centers.

3. Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge Area, TN
For the family seeking adventure, Gatlinburg-Pigeon Forge is the premier destination. From white-water rafting on the Pigeon and Nantahala Rivers to monster truck rides to horseback exploration in the glorious Smoky Mountains to wild twists and turns at two amusement parks, Gatlinburg never disappoints thrill-seekers. When it's time for a breather, Gatlinburg offers a myriad of family-oriented shows, museums and restaurants.

4. Washington D.C.
Our nation's capital is a popular destination for families who desire an educational adventure. From monuments to museums to movie tours, Washington DC has much to offer. Give your children a chance to see where bills become laws and where history is made. DC isn't all learning however. Enjoy unique dinner shows and exciting schooner rides. Washington DC is a vacation you won't soon forget.

5. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Sit back, relax and absorb the rays on Myrtle Beach's sandy shores. Play a few rounds of golf at one of the 120 courses in the area. Take in a music show or treat yourself to an exciting dinner show. If you're up for a low-key vacation, Myrtle Beach is the destination for you. The kids and adults will love spending days on the beach and nights enthralled in family-fun entertainment.

6. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphians know how to get, how to get to Sesame Street. At the only theme park dedicated to the lovable inhabitants of one of America's favorite streets, Sesame Place, children and adults can play and laugh alongside their favorite Sesame Street characters. After fun with numbers and letters, you can hop aboard a double decker bus to tour the city or Ride the Ducks--an amphibious vehicle which allows you to see the city from both land and water!

7. Salt Lake City, Utah
Ready for a snowy adventure? Take the family to Salt Lake City for extreme winter fun. Located in a triangle of top skiing destinations (Park City, Snowbird and Salt Lake City), the experienced and inexperienced alike will be able to enjoy the slopes. And, what better way to bond than over hot chocolate after a tiring day in the mountains?

8. San Diego, California
While warm weather and gorgeous beaches could sell San Diego alone, the city also has several famous attractions including the San Diego Zoo, Legoland and SeaWorld. Perfect as a winter getaway or as a summer vacation, San Diego has plenty of variety and is close enough to Mexico to take a leap over the border for some cultural fun and learning!

9. Snowbird, Utah
Take the family for a winter sporting adventure. Take skiing lessons together as a family and then hit the bunny slopes as you try to remember everything you've just learned. Relax together after a long day and plan to do it all again the next! While the name itself suggests a winter haven, Snowbird is just as much fun in the summertime. The Alpine Slide and the ZipRider are two of the attractions that make summertime Snowbird so much fun and not at all for the faint of heart.

10. Virginia Beach, Virgina
Experience this charming oceanside city by walking the bustling boardwalk, taking a day cruise or just by relaxing in the sand. There is plenty to do to keep everyone busy from the Air and Space Center to excellent shopping to Mystery Dinner theater. Virginia Beach is also only a hop, skip and a jump away from historic Williamsburg so together these make the ideal family vacation full of learning and relaxation.

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