The family vacation is an American tradition. Everyone grows up with stories about road trips down the coast and holidays spent camping and fishing in state parks. Unfortunately, that idyllic paradigm has been compromised in recent years. With work days getting longer and paychecks getting smaller, it’s becoming harder and harder to find opportunities to get away with the family. When those few precious vacation days do come around, you want to make sure you get the most out of them.
One of the best things about family vacations is that they don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Some of the most iconic American attractions are actually quite inexpensive. Before you give yourself a migraine trying to pinch pennies while keeping every member of the family content, consider these five time-tested activities for your next family vacation.
Five Fun Activities for Your Next Family Vacation
This is one of the best family activities. Hiking provides time for you to connect with your spouse and your kids and be at peace in nature. No matter what your level of fitness or the age of your children, you can find a hike that’s right for you. Not every family needs to get into a rigorous ten-mile hike up the side of Mt. Washington. For most, a simple stroll around a scenic waterfront can be just as fulfilling. If you want to add an element of adventure to your vacation, make a road trip out of it and drive out of state to a new and exciting locale.
And I don’t mean at the public pool. The United States is dotted with idyllic natural swimming holes like the Mt. Baldy Pools in San Gabriel, California, or the Bristol Falls outside rustic Bristol, Vermont. You and your kids can have fun splashing around in the current or diving in from the rocks. Just beware of water levels. Depending on how wet the season’s been, a swimming hole that was once prime for diving may no longer be deep enough. Always heed the warning signs.
Some of my fondest childhood memories were made on fishing trips in Florida with my father and brothers. Fishing and hunting are time-honored traditions – ancient arts passed down from generation to generation. If you already have the gear, you can find a place to do either activity wherever you are located. If you don’t, you can easily rent the right supplies for very reasonable rates. Just like hiking and swimming, hunting and fishing can be paired with camping for a truly memorable family trip.
4) Go-Kart Racing
Who doesn’t like speeding around a tire-lined track in a diminutive replica of his or her favorite NASCAR speedster? Driving gas-powered go-karts is fun for the entire family. The kids will love you for taking them, and I’m willing to bet even the adults in your party will end up having a blast.
5) Visit National Parks
The National Parks System has been described as “America’s Best Idea.” Take advantage by visiting as many of them as possible as often as you can. You don’t have to be a hiker or a camper to enjoy the one-of-a-kind scenery on display at Glacier, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore or Arches. Take your kids out there and see what all the fuss is about.