We spend our youth dreaming of traveling but somehow it never quite happens. By the time we have the money, we also have kids. So, vacations become little more than annual pilgrimages to the nearest theme park. And, after a while, that becomes a little stale.
So, it’s time to get out of your rut and travel somewhere exciting on your next family vacation! Even if it’s just for the weekend! There are cheap flights offered all the time which can take you anywhere in the country. All you have to do is pick a city. But in case you can’t decide, here are three that will make a perfect destination the next time you and your family want to get away.
San Diego, California
San Diego might be the perfect weekend getaway destination. With a near perfect climate and miles of beautiful beaches, no one would blame you if you just sat on the sand for 72 hours and then flew home. But, if you did, you would be missing some great attractions guaranteed to provide fun for the whole family.
So, instead of just watching the waves, get out and enjoy the sights. San Diego is home to one of the best zoos in the U.S., situated in Balboa Park. In addition to the zoo, the park is home to a variety of great museums and multicultural centers making for a fun and educational day for children of all ages.
Near downtown is an opportunity to learn about the history and culture of the area in a fun way. The San Diego Mission and Presidio preserve the history of the city from the time of Spanish colonization. Just down the hill lies Old Town, a small village where tourists can see how natives lived almost 500 years ago.
The city is host to numerous theme park attractions. Sea World has been showcasing marine wildlife for decades. The Penguin exhibit alone is worth the price of admission. The Wild Animal Park lets you experience the African Savannah as if on safari. A crowd favorite is the raptor show where birds of prey perform amazing feats daily. Legoland is another popular attraction, especially with kids between 2 and 12. But don’t worry, there is plenty to do for adults as well.
Of course, when in San Diego, the ocean beckons. Spend the weekend learning to surf at Pacific Beach. Or, try your hand at sailing in Mission Bay. Every possible kind of watersports equipment is available for rent at one of the many shops up and down the beach. Try one or try them all.
Pack your best backpack for air travel and take a trip to Washington, D.C. to show your kids the nation’s capital. There is no greater way for them to connect with U.S. history and begin to understand the country’s government.
If you contact your Senator or Representative at least 21 days in advance, you can arrange to tour the White House. Afterward, head over to the mall to see the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials and the Washington Monument. Better yet, view the monuments at night when the lights are shining, and the reflecting pool is at its most beautiful. Don’t miss the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, also called “The Wall.” Seeing it in person is a powerful experience.
Touring the capitol’s visitor center is free but requires reservations well in advance. If you want to see the House of Representatives or the Senate, you must obtain permission in advance from your Senator or Representative.
Washington D.C. is home to some of the best museums in the world. Many of the Smithsonian museums offer free admission, including the very popular Air and Space Museum. Another sight to see is the National Gallery of Art, offering free self-guided tours through both buildings.
As you can see, finding things to do in D.C. won’t be difficult. Odds are you will have to come back a few times to see everything.
New York City
New York City is an ideal weekend getaway for the entire family. It is an exciting city, and there is so much to do that no one will be left out, no matter their age. Start your trip with an elevator ride to the top of the Empire State Building. This iconic building is fun to climb, especially when you start remembering all the classic movies filmed on the observation deck.
The Statue of Liberty should also be on your list to see. There is a ferry which tours the statue and Ellis Island. If you are willing to skip the island, a free ferry goes directly to the statue and provides a nice view of the waterfront as a bonus.
The National 9/11 Memorial and Museum will make an impression on your children. It is a beautiful and tranquil place well worth visiting.
Make sure to visit Central Park on your trip. The park is massive, so you most likely won’t see it all. But, be sure to go to Bethesda Fountain. It is worth the effort. Times Square, Wall Street, and Fifth Avenue are other places to see if you have the time. Each has a rich history and is part of the culture of America.
Touring the great cities of America can be a fun and rewarding way to spend your family vacation. Avoiding theme parks will let you spend quality time with your children learning about history and the different cultures in the U.S. Sure, you might miss a log ride or two, but exposing your children to different people, food, and lifestyles will be an invaluable part of their education. One that is hard to get standing in line for a roller coaster.
Rebecca lives in USA, but loves hiking all over the world. Her favourite is Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal. It usually takes 16 days, but she likes to slow down, enjoy mountains, company of other adventurers and take more pictures, so it took her 28 days last time. Another of her passion is the ocean, so all short and long hikes along the ocean shore bring a lot of joy. She also writes for hikingmastery.com/.
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