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Great Family Vacation Destinations for the Summer

With summer approaching, you’re probably wondering what you and your family should do to make yours a memorable one. Such a goal can seem difficult to accomplish, especially if you have children with a wide range of ages, family members with varied interests, or family members of different generations on board. Here are a few vacation destinations that will please everyone from grandparents to toddlers in their own unique ways.

Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

For those in or near the Southeastern U.S., Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge have been, and remain, popular destinations for years. They’re well-known for several specific attractions, such as Dollywood and Splash Country, where amusement park rides and water parks provide lots of activity and fun. However, the area also has its share of quieter, more nature- or culture-focused activities, including some exclusively for adults. For example, Gatlinburg features “art crawls” through their many galleries, at which wines and hors d’oeurves are served. Quilt-making and plant identification classes are offered in and around Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and Pigeon Forge also hosts a variety of musical events, in several genres, throughout the year. You can visit to find activities specifically tailored to your group.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

As one of Pennsylvania’s biggest cities, Philadelphia is a wonderful spot for a family vacation. This applies not only to Philadelphia itself, but to the surrounding cities. For instance, the drive to Hershey is about an hour and forty minutes, but well worth it for the opportunity to have an all-chocolate spa treatment. Philadelphia and its surrounding cities are also paradises for any bookworms or scholarly family members, as it’s packed with attractions like the Museum of Jewish American History and the annual Science Festival. Yet, that doesn’t mean smaller children have to be bored. The Please Touch Museum offers lots of curiosities for younger kids, including the huge Dentzel Carousel.


All of Canada is a great place for you to take your family – you’ll get to experience new, vibrant cultures without the usual hassle of international travel. Also, Canada has some of the most gorgeous country in the entire world. From the Canadian side of Niagara Falls (the better side) to the mountain valleys of Saskatchewan, Canada has some great offerings. If you happen to be anywhere near Ft. McMurray, you might want to consider giving Best Canada Motor Inns as a hotel for one night.

Kennebunkport, Maine

Kennebunk and Kennebunkport, known as the Kennebunks to native Mainers, are great spots for quieter, less rushed vacations, but there’s still plenty to do. One of the biggest attractions is of course the beach, and Kennebunkport has several of them, as well as historic lighthouses. Families can also go on a two-hour cruise to learn about lobster harvesting, or actually eat authentic Maine lobster at Alisson’s Restaurant. Featured menu items include the lobster roll, clam chowder, and whole lobsters with butter. Lest you think Kennebunkport is all beaches and fish, however, your family will also enjoy the Seashore Trolley Museum, as well as Acadia National Park. As a final note, garden enthusiasts can visit a Franciscan monastery that, while closed to visitors, allows tourists to stroll beautiful gardens.

Williamsburg, Virginia

Williamsburg may be the most kid-friendly destination on this list. As a historical site, it boasts several reenactments, as well as a kid-friendly retelling of the Battle of Yorktown, complete with a demonstration on how to fire a cannon (kids get to simulate loading and firing, but no explosions occur for safety reasons). Merchant Square, particularly Rizzoli’s Bookstore, offers plenty of wonderful places to shop, all with a mom-and-pop feel and quaint brick sidewalks. Busch Gardens is also popular, not just for its amusement park rides, but for the themed areas of the park named for various foreign countries. In one day, you can attend a Riverdance-style show in Ireland and stroll cathedral-style attractions to walk off the carb-heavy lunch you had in Italy. Williamsburg also hosts a Sea World and a Christmas Town. Visit for more details.

Family vacations can be tough to plan because of the need to satisfy everyone while making memories. However, destinations like the ones listed above can easily do both. The attractions, shows, and locations listed here are only a few to consider, and any of them can give you a vacation worth the travel time.


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