Nothing screams vacation time like the last ring of the school bell, but as gas prices and airfares soar, where oh where to take the kids for summer vacation? We’ve gathered our favorites, by region, so you can take a quick driving trip to a resort that caters best to families, complete with camp-like programs for kids, pools and water sports, and outdoor fun galore.
What will it be: beaches or mountains? If you’re looking to hit the beach, Coastal Maine, Cape Cod and the Islands off the coast are all great bets. Our favorite resorts for the kids with the beach include the Wequassett Resort and Golf Club on Cape Cod, where a calm bay makes splashing in the ocean safe for little ones and a kids’ program and play area keeps all kids having a ball. The beach and pool bar is added bonus for mom and dad. Sebasco Harbor Resort on Coastal Maine is also a quiet place for families to sit back and enjoy the sun, surf and sand, and more adventurous families will love the nearby boating and hiking.
If the mountains are what you seek, who can beat Smugglers’ Notch in Vermont? Known for being a great place for families to ski, summers at the Notch are equally fun with many programs that keep kids busy and outdoors. Parents can enjoy the great outdoors, or take part in artisan classes. The Omni Mount Washington Hotel and Family Resort in Bretton Woods, N.H. also provides a number of outdoor programs, including equestrian fun, lift-serviced mountain biking, fly fishing and more.
Get out of the hustle and bustle of the Northeast’s cities and traffic-filled highways with a visit to the nearby mountains. New York state’s Finger Lakes feature lots of outdoor fun for families, and the Hope Lake Lodge & Indoor Waterpark provides adventure at the Greek Peak Mountain Resort as well plenty of splash-worthy fun at the resort’s water park. In the Poconos of Pennsylvania, Woodloch Pines is easy to get to from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and sits on one mile of lakefront property. When not swimming, boating or splashing in the lake, enjoy the wooded surroundings and many family-friendly activities organized from morning until bedtime.
More mountain or beach options are available to those in the Mid-Atlantic, where it’s an easy drive to the shores of Maryland through Virginia and the Shenandoah and Allegheny Mountains. Ocean City, Md., beckons with miles of beachfront and crab feasts to fill bellies, and the Francis Scott Key Resort remains a family favorite. West Virginia’s historic Greenbrier Resort in the Allegheny Mountains is a grand dame hotel straight out of the history books. The resort just received an $80 millions renovation and has outdoor activities for kids of all ages, including some more unique offerings like falconry.
The Appalachian foothills, the marsh-lined coasts of the Carolinas and Georgia and the sugar-soft sand of the Gulf coast make for perfect getaways for those in the Southeast needing a reprieve from the South’s scorching summer heat. The Cloister on Georgia’s Golden Isles is a luxury retreat offering families every type of fun under the sun, while the Grove Park Inn in Ashville, N.C., is a grand hotel high in the clouds of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
With three-quarters of the state surrounded by water, picking a place to visit just depends on the mood. Key West and its Hyatt Key West Resort resort is a laidback, fishermen’s paradise, while the sleepy West Coast comes alive at the 410-acre beachfront Longboat Key Club & Resort in Sarasota. In northern Florida’s dune-lined Amelia Island blocks out the modern world in a bygone environment filled with all the comforts of home at the
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