Oh no! School’s almost here,
marking the end of summer and taking a trip whenever you want to. For a last hurrah, we’ve gathered five exciting, family friendly cities to visit before you have to settle into the monotonous grind that is the school year.
San Diego, CA
San Diego’s days of being some sort of low-rent Los Angeles are far behind her. The beaches are some of the most divine in the country, and the food scene is varied and amazing. Wander the streets with your family in the 1200 acre Balboa Park and walk into whichever museum, theater, or garden piques your interest. Visit the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park to look at interesting creatures from around the world, or visit SeaWorld for some old-fashioned family amusement park fun. Try hiking along the sandstone cliffs at the Torrey Pines State Reserve and enjoy the perfect weather. Additionally, learn about the rich military and maritime history at the USS Midway Museum. [photo credit Active.com]
An exciting, educational trip for people of all ages, the capital city provides a slew of things to do year-round. Thanks to the warm weather, you can take full advantage of the walkable nature of the city to visit monuments, take tours, and have fun! Some places to visit other than the monuments are the Smithsonian Museum, with thousands of exhibits to appeal to everyone, and the National Zoo, whose baby panda, Bei Bei, was born in January this year. The botanical gardens and the roof of the Kennedy Center are also beautiful places to stop by. [photo credit Benach Callopy, LLP]
Contrary to popular belief, there’s a lot to do here other than eat cheese and pet cows. Madison is a college town with a beautiful campus and Midwestern charm, but a little known fact is that Madison is within driving dostance to some of the best amusement parks in the country. You can visit Noah’s Ark, America’s largest waterpark, coincidentally also home to America’s largest waterslide, for a fun time for the tamer people and thrill-seekers alike. Wilderness Resort is also a lot of fun- boasting a four star hotel and a waterpark both indoor AND outdoors. Additionally, they have a world-famous Six Flags. [photo credit lacremenannies.com]
A legitimately cool town not only known for it’s impeccable beaches but also it’s burgeoning art scene, this makes a great place to enjoy the warmer weather before the end of summer. You can lounge on some of it’s own beautiful beaches or visit nearby Fort De Soto Park for a less crowded, closer to nature experience, or even visit the world-famous Clearwater Beach for it’s fun atmosphere and daily all-ages Sunset Festival on the pier. You can take a day trip to nearby Orlando for Disneyland for the kids if the beach isn’t your style, and if you want to explore the art scene, check out the close-by Dali Museum, which is the world’s largest collection of the late master’s works. For those with more contemporary tastes, the Chihuly Museum serves as the workplace and the gallery for the famed glass-blower, Dave Chihuly. [photo credit islanferry.biz]
The town’s famous “Keep Portland Weird!” campaign has definitely succeeded in keeping this quirky hipster haven completely intact, and, yes, weird. Oregon’s biggest city boasts a hodgepodge of New York-esque clusters of shops and boutiques juxtaposed with smaller, quieter suburbs. With plenty of strange attractions such as the Shanghai tunnels, an echo of the city’s criminal past, or the self-explanatory Freakybuttrue Peculiarium, or the Witch’s Castle, or the Zymoglyphic Museum, a private collection inspired by curio cabinets around the world, there’s plenty of things to see while you and your kids explore the city. Portland is also known to be a foodie paradise, so be sure to eat as much as you can at the small specialty restaurants scattered around the city, such as the sweet spot that is Voodoo Donuts and Wedding Chapel. You can also admire the view of the hills at the beautiful Cathedral Park, with it’s beautiful stone arches. The walkable nature of the Downtown area means that little feet can easily cover the distance between attractions.