We’re well into summer, and most of us have already enjoyed our fair share of backyard barbecues, adventure trips, short summer trails and food festivals that come with the season. But if you haven’t started planning your annual family holiday, take solace in the fact that it isn’t too late.
You can still take off on a getaway, even if it is for a couple of days. We chalk out a list of short trips that don’t require as much planning, and offer something fun and educative for kids and adults alike.
1. Theme Park Fun
Sure, you can pick any amusement park at a destination near you, but we’re particularly excited about Hershey’s Park, dubbed as ‘the sweetest place on earth.’ Located in Derry Township, Pennsylvania, it’s more than just roller coasters and water rides. Aside from taking a tour of their chocolate factory and learning about the history of Hershey’s, you can visit their 11-acre zoo, catch live dance and music concerts, and participate in an educational demonstration featuring hawks, falcons, and a golden eagle.
Don’t Miss: Avail of their ‘super saver’ summer ticketing packages, some of which also include free stays for kids.
Accommodation: There are three official resorts of the park—Hershey Lodge, The Hotel Hershey, and Hershey Park Camping Resort.
2. A Historic Holiday
Make your family trip an educational one by visiting Colonial Williamsburg in Eastern Virginia. There’s so much for kids to do here—discover intricate dollhouse designs, help the gardeners in the Colonial Nursery, dig a real archaeological site, rent historic costumes, hear about ghosts and legends, learn how to make bricks, enjoy a meal at the town tavern, and go undercover as a colonial spy. Adults can enjoy golf at the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club and tennis at the Williamsburg Inn Tennis Club, or visit the various art museums.
Don’t Miss: Their current ‘vacation package’ entitles kids under 12 to free stay, free meals, and free access to certain attractions.
Accommodation: If you book a package at Williamsburg Woodlands and Williamsburg Lodge, you can choose to stay at one of the six hotels here.
Details: Colonial Williamsburg
3. A Maritime Visit
Mystic, Connecticut’s seaside city is dedicated to all things maritime and is great for a weekend visit. Sail aboard the traditional sailing schooner Argia, and lend a hand steering the ship. Climb aboard Essex, the only steam train and riverboat connection in the US, visit a dinosaur theme park, or visit Ocean Beach Park to enjoy the clear waters. Pirate-loving kids can take a trip to the Mystic Seaport Museum.
Don’t Miss: The Mystic Aquarium, where you can touch a shark, feed a ray, cradle a crab or meet a beluga whale.
Accommodation: Spend the night at the Inn at Mystic, a 10-minute walk from downtown Mystic.
Details: Connecticut, Mystic
4. Enjoy Some Country Air
The all-inclusive Rocking Horse Ranch, Highland, New York, is a resort similar to an upscale camp and one that is filled with family activities. Choose from horseback riding, shuffleboard, bungee jumping, mini golf and waterskiing. Cool off at the indoor water park and splash down the giant water slide. Or work up a sweat playing softball and volleyball. Adults can unwind at the in-house spa, while the kids go nuts at the DIY sundae station.
Don’t Miss: Their summer packages include discounts of 50 percent, and free stay for children.
Accommodation: Choose from their lodges or building-style accommodation.
Details: Rocking Horse Ranch
5. Take A Cruise
There’s nothing more majestic than Alaska, especially for kids. The best way to discover the place is by cruise—view spectacular glaciers from the deck, or indulge in some cool shore excursions such as dogsledding and kayaking. On board, there is a Youth and Teen Center with game tables, movies, splash pools, ping-pong tables, juke boxes and the latest video games. And there’s so much more to do—whale watching, ice cream parties, and building and racing sailboats. For the geeky kids, the California Science Center hosts educational, interactive activities.
Don’t Miss: The tours of the Alaskan wildlife and national parks, especially organized by your cruise line.
Accommodation: Cruise-owned lodges and hotels are available.
Details: Princess Cruises
6. Visit The Mountains
In just one trip to Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee, you can visit America’s most popular national park, a major theme park, and encounter miles of trails and streams for fishing and hiking. There are a number of outdoor activities for kids including horseback riding, bicycling, caving, and a visit to a local farm. Kids can also check out ranger-led programs and get a chance to become Junior Rangers. For added thrill, you could spend a day at Dollywood for authentic Tennessee music, food, and thrill rides.
Don’t Miss: Visit the buzzing Harvest Festival at Sam Houston School House on August 22, and Mountain Magic—a Native American cultural festival on August 28-29.
Accommodation: DoubleTree by Hilton Gatlinburg
Details: Smoky Mountains