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June 2015

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Road trips are the ultimate, classic family vacation. Whether you’re stuck in a small station wagon with no air conditioning or rolling down the road in a custom RV, there’s nothing that can compare to the memories made on those close-quarters vacations.

Although you can make a road trip with any vacation route, there are also classic destinations worth exploring. Here are 3 of the best, attraction-packed U.S. road trips (plus an international bonus) to consider:

Coast to Coast

What better way to tour destinations in the U.S. than to travel the I-90? Starting in Boston, Massachusetts and ending in Seattle, Washington, America’s longest interstate will take your family on an amazing journey through 13 states.

 

travel the I-90

travel the I-90 – Source: https://flic.kr/p/8rT6nu

There is plenty to do and see both on and slightly off of I-90, so make sure to give yourself plenty of time. Enjoy the beauty of both the Great Lakes and the Great Plains. Detour to famous landmarks and natural wonders like Mount Rushmore and Niagara Falls. Enjoy the unique and haunting beauty of Badlands National Park.

For a somber educational stop, visit Wounded Knee Museum to learn about the massacre from the Native American perspective. For a fun and kitschy attraction, stop by Wall Drug. There are no admission fees to the 76,000 square foot blend of history, fiction and fun. Get your picture taken with or buy a souvenir jackalope. Enjoy five-cent coffee and plenty of photo ops and educational opportunities.

With two famous, vibrant cities as the start and end point, don’t forget to reserve a few days to see what Boston and Seattle have to offer.

Grand Canyon to Yellowstone

For the nature loving family, what could be better than a road trip between two of the United States’ greatest natural attractions?

Start in the Grand Canyon, where kids can become a Junior Ranger for free. After learning about and exploring that unforgettable natural wonder, head for Yellowstone National Park by way of Salt Lake City. Take a few days in SLC to research your family genealogy, play at theme and water parks, and visit the zoos, aquariums, planetariums and Olympic sites from the Salt Lake Games.

 

Grand Canyon to Yellowstone

Grand Canyon to Yellowstone – Source: https://flic.kr/p/nyUpLu

If you have time, take a drive to the Bonneville Salt Flats before moving on to Yellowstone. Watching Old Faithful is a classic Yellowstone must-see, but there are also plenty of other natural wonders, animals and trails to enjoy.

Route 66

Starting in Chicago and ending in LA, Route 66 is the classic American route. Filled with Americana and unique mom-and-pop roadside stops, Route 66 has served as a memorable travel route for decades.

Make time to enjoy a few of the many fascinating stops and detours. Kids will love exploring the Meramec Caverns in Missouri, especially once they learn the famous outlaw Jesse James used the limestone caves as a hideout. Visit the site of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s classic Little House books at her Historic Home and Museum. Eat your fill in Hamburger City (El Reno) and stop by Albuquerque and Santa Fe and view the wonders of the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest.

 

Route 66

Route 66 – Source: https://flic.kr/p/5v3AoS

For a fun new addition to the route, be sure the keep your vehicle steady at 45 mph as you drive past Tijears, New Mexico where musical rumble strips play America the Beautiful when driven at that speed.

London to Edinburgh

Want to start crossing off international travel destinations? A road trip of the UK is the perfect place to start. A shared language will make the visit more accessible to children (and parents), yet there are enough attractions and cultural differences to make for an exciting and memorable experience.

Start your trip in London and visit classic sites like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and the Tower of London. Let kids enjoy a bird’s eye view with a ride on the London Eye, then tap into their imagination with visits to the Peter Pan statue and Platform 9 and ¾.

 

Peak District

Peak District – Source: https://flic.kr/p/oEqm7i

Once you leave London, your route is up to you. If you love nature, detour through the Peak District and Lake District. Want a bit of classic England? Stop for a night in one of England’s picturesque towns like tiny Coxwold and dine (and lodge) at an inn like The Fauconberg Arms where you can enjoy a hearty English meal by the fire.

Are you a family of history buffs? Take your route through historic towns like Oxford and Stratford-upon-Avon before visiting the ruins of Hadrian’s Wall.

Finish up your UK tour in Edinburgh, Scotland and tour its castle, zoo and – if you’re brave enough – take one of its ghost tours.

More than any other vacation, road trips are the most customizable, family (and wallet) friendly trips you can take. With gas at a reasonable price, there’s no better time to start planning your 2015 family road trip.

Kayla Matthews is a blogger interested in self-improvement, traveling and personal goal-setting. Follow her on Google+ and Twitter to read more of her latest posts.

The truth is that you can have a lot of fun in Chicago, no matter what you want to do. However, whenever travelling with an entire family, there are limitations that appear. The great news is that there are so many interesting options that are available, ranging from visiting a pizza restaurant that has a huge menu to visiting some world renowned museums.

Family fun in Chicago

Family fun in Chicago – Source https://flic.kr/p/pnWZn

Based on the recommendations offered by Travel Tipsor, we can make some pretty interesting tips that you can take into account whenever looking for fun family activities to enjoy in Chicago.

Chicago Millennium Park

Millennium Park is open every single day of the year and is a top attraction for families. During the summer you can see kids enjoying the Crown Fountain and during spring you will definitely appreciate the Lurie Garden attraction. Winter brings in the Ice Rink and during every single season you can enjoy The Bean, an attraction that is pretty unique.

 

Chicago Millennium Park

Chicago Millennium Park – Source https://flic.kr/p/3cdcN

Chicago Navy Pier

Navy Pier is practically iconic in Chicago. It is a destination that should be on your must-visit list. You have access to various interesting rides that are attractive for children. Besides that, there are regular summer fireworks shows, Segway tours, a pretty good IMAX theatre, restaurants and a Wave Swinger, which is a type of attraction that is a little old fashioned but highly popular.

 

Chicago Navy Pier

Chicago Navy Pier – Source https://flic.kr/p/de2JDU

Visiting Museums With The Entire Family

Chicago is actually one of the best cities in the US for those that love museums. There are over 40 that are great and that you can visit. It is practically impossible not to find something that the entire family would love. You will want to seriously consider the Museum Campus. It includes the Adler Planetarium and the Shedd Aquarium.

 

Field Museum in Chicago

Field Museum in Chicago – Source https://flic.kr/p/dfdcjy

If the children love dinosaurs, you should visit Field Museum due to the fact that you can visit the most complete, best preserved and largest of the T Rex skeletons from all around the world. If there are members that love science, the Chicago Museum Of Science And Industry has to be put on the list.

We should also mention the Chicago Art Institute. The audio tour here is particularly great and since you are going on an art trip, the free admission at the Ryan Education Center is something that is great, especially in the event that there are some special events that are available. Many interactive workshops appear on a constant basis and there are many family programs that are offered.

Going Sightseeing In Chicago

Chicago offers some tremendous views from an altitude, more than many expect. Skydeck Chicago can be considered. It is located in the impressive Willis Tower and the reason why you want to visit is that there are some glass boxes that basically extend out of the building, at an altitude of 1,000 feet. The former John Hancock Observatory, now 360 Chicago, offers a 360 degrees view of 4 states, allowing views that compare lakefront views with the city skyline.

 

Sightseeing In Chicago

Sightseeing In Chicago – Source https://flic.kr/p/4TuGub

The Performing Arts Chicago Experience

The theatre scene in Chicago is really impressive, with shows and various activities that are perfect for the entire family. We can say that the best theatrics are available at the Lookingglass Theatre. If you want something more classic, like the work of Shakespeare, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater is where you need to be at.

 

The Chicago Theater

The Chicago Theater – Source https://flic.kr/p/gejr4g

Some of the theatres in Chicago offer shows that are particularly created for a young audience. For instance, you will want to go to Lincoln Park for the representations of the Emerald City Theatre. Obviously, the Chicago Children’s Theatre is also a popular destination for such shows.

You may already know that Chicago is renowned for its musicals scene. There is a show named Chicago that is played all around the world. Performances that are practically dazzling can be enjoyed on Broadway, with various stages you will love. Combine that with a dancing night at the Joffrey Ballet and you have quite an interesting performance art day ahead of you.

Exploring Nature In Chicago

Children, teenagers and adults alike love nature explorations. The animal lovers will want to visit the Brookfield and Lincoln Park zoos. Both of them are always open. As two extra recommendations, you will want to also consider the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and the Garfield Park Conservatory.

 

Chicago Lincoln Park Zoo

Chicago Lincoln Park Zoo – Source https://flic.kr/p/8oALkw

Having Fun At The Beach

There are some really great lakefront beaches in Chicago that you would love, together with parks that will allow you to have a lot of fun in the sun during every single summer season. Lake Michigan is normally lined up with family beach towels and children use their sand toys to build castles. You can be a part of various water activities at Ohio Street Beach and the Navy Pier. Families can choose out of 23 swimming beaches. All of them are free for the public and open from Memorial Day up to Labor Day.

 

Chicago Lake Beach

Chicago Lake Beach – Source https://flic.kr/p/6XGLRk

Visiting Toy Stores

This is particularly great for smaller children. Little girls should end up visiting the American Girl Place since it is the first toy store of this particular kind in the country. If you are visiting the Water Tower Place, make sure that you also go to the LEGO Store. Chicago has a very interesting LEGO experience for children that love such toys. You can even go to the LEGOLAND Disney Center. It is a huge indoor playground found in Schaumburg.

 

Taste of Chicago

Taste of Chicago – Source https://flic.kr/p/cwMDFh

The last recommendation that we have to make is for those that want to go to Navy Pier. Here, you can visit Build-A-Beer Workshop. Also, the Disney Store In Block 37, located on State Street, is perfect for little girls.

Activities For A Fit Family

If your family is fit and enjoys exploring in a more athletic way, you can take the Chicago tour via Segway, bike or even Trikke. Such excursions are better than the walking tours as they cover more attractions. Alternatively, you can go on a really interesting kayak tour that is perfect for kids as well as adults.

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year: School’s out, and kids across the country are bouncing off the walls and shouting about summer break. If you’re on the hunt for ways to keep kids entertained during the lull, a trip to Southern California should be at the top of the list. While there are countless amazing adventures waiting, San Diego is home to some of the best kid-friendly activities. After booking a flight and hotel, sit down with the kids and run through this list to plan the perfect itinerary.

  1. Adventure Water Sports: The first ingredient for an amazing summer adventure is some beautiful blue water. San Diego is home to Adventure Water Sports, which offers paddle-boarding, paddle-boating, water-skiing, wakeboarding, kayaking and more. Take your vehicle of choice out on Mission Bay — a man-made “aquatic playground” featuring 27 miles of shoreline and a fun network of inlets and islets to explore — and let the physical summer fun begin!
    San Diego Water Fun

    San Diego Water Fun – Image credit: hhttps://flic.kr/p/5TbmQ7

  2. LegoLand: If the name of this next attraction doesn’t speak for itself, a quick look at the map will. LegoLand includes a head-turning hotel, a plethora of rides and, for the cherry on top, a water park. Before you go, be sure to read about all the nitty gritty details, including shows and events at the park and a great list of pro tips. A few notable ones to keep in your back pocket: “Skip long lines by arriving before noon and starting in the back of the Park and enter the Water Park before 11am or after 3pm to avoid long entry line.
    LegoLand California

    LegoLand California – Image credit: https://flic.kr/p/ppQk4

  3. Balboa Park: If you don’t want to shell out big bucks on amusement park tickets, head to Balboa Park, where any kid or adult can find hours of affordable entertainment. For example, there is a laundry list of museums — including options for the science-lovers, wannabe artists, or kids whose eyes light up for fast cars — on top of a carousel, miniature railroad and countless gorgeous gardens. Peruse the seemingly endless options on the full calendar. Insider tip: There are also off-the-beaten path gems, like juice vendors offering amazing fresh-squeezed options to sip on in the sun.
    Balboa Park San Diego

    Balboa Park San Diego – Image credit: https://flic.kr/p/kThzNK

  4. San Diego Zoo: For the animal-lovers out there (so basically for any kid), don’t miss out on some old-fashioned fun at the San Diego Zoo. A few must-see attractions includes pandas, cheetah and elephants — enough said, right? If the kids will be in town for more than just a couple days, check out some of the cool camps offered as well. If not, the Safari Park is a great option for spicing up a zoo visit with caravans, ziplining and a jungle ropes course. Of note, San Diego Zoo is located in Balboa Park, so you may be able to streamline your itinerary if both are of interest.
    San Diego Zoo

    San Diego Zoo – Image credit: https://flic.kr/p/dQZP6o

  5. Coronado Beach: A Southern California activities list wouldn’t be complete without a little sun and sand. Coronado Beach is downright gorgeous, and the perfect destination for some quiet relaxation with the kiddos. Reviews of the beach rave about the soft sand, lack of crowds and general chill atmosphere. Strike up a beach bonfire, check out some of the local shops and restaurants and — a little plug for the supervising adults — swing by the Hotel del Coronado, where Marilyn Monroe shot Some Like it Hot. Everyone wins!
    Coronado Beach San Diego

    Coronado Beach San Diego – Image credit: https://flic.kr/p/dTTGgN

  6. Historic Gaslamp District: Just a little ways south from Balboa Park and the San Diego Zoo sits San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, which the city itself describes as “a veritable playground” featuring restored Victorian buildings and plenty of places for shopping and snacking — a great activity for pleasing the old and the young. This option is a bit less kid-centric than others on the list, but that’s part of its charm. Let the kids feel like adults as they ride the Trolley, pop in and out of stores and dine outside alongside folks of all ages. With that in mind, though, opt to make the Gaslamp District a part of the day-time itinerary — and if you put the kids bed or maybe make an accompanying grandparent play babysitter, be sure to check out the district’s nighttime selection or rooftop bars, live music, and more.
    San Diego Gaslamp Quarter

    San Diego Gaslamp Quarter – Image credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaslamp_Quarter,_San_Diego

  7. USS Midway Museum: School might be out for summer, but that doesn’t mean kids can’t still learn something new here or there. In San Diego, a prime destination for learning disguised as fun is the USS Midway Museum, which is located in the aforementioned Gaslamp District. The USS Midway is the longest-serving Navy aircraft carrier of the 20th century, featuring 60 exhibits — from crew’s sleeping quarters to flight control — and 29 restored aircraft. Let’s cut to the chase, though: The best part simply has to be the flight simulators, although it’s important to note kids must be at least 42″ tall to come along.
    USS Midway Museum San Diego

    USS Midway Museum San Diego – Image credit: https://flic.kr/p/coMXpN

  8. La Jolla Cove: Oftentimes simple is better when it comes to the perfect vacation. La Jolia Cove is the perfect destination to kick back on a beach with kids. Besides it gorgeous views, it’s also home to gentle waves, beginner scuba diving classes and plenty of surfers. You can’t put a price on a dip in the ocean and a gorgeous view!
    San Diego La Jolla Cove

    San Diego La Jolla Cove – Image credit: https://flic.kr/p/omFdeY

  9. New Children’s Museum: Another fun and educational option in San Diego is the New Children’s Museum — also accessible by trolley and in close proximity to Balboa Square and its other attractions. If your kids roll their eyes at the word “museum” — like I used to as young-un — simply tell them you’re going to a huge building featuring a Bubble Balcony, Spy Agency, Sandbox Gallery and cooking classes … as just a quick sample. Put another way, “I’m bored,” definitely won’t come out of your kids’ mouth (whether they’re toddlers or teens) at this attraction.
    San Diego is the New Children’s Museum

    San Diego is the New Children’s Museum – Image credit: https://flic.kr/p/cLtPDE

  10. San Diego Padre’s Game: Take me out to the ballgame! Last but not least, squeeze in some time for America’s favorite pastime while you’re in San Diego. Visiting new baseball stadiums like Petco Park can be a perfect tradition for a traveling family, as the game offers an ideal mix of sports, snacks and sunshine … and it’s a consistent activity you can find nationwide. Any sports lover will be thrilled at the prospect of catching a game and hopefully a foul ball, on top of collecting baseball cards or caps from the various stadiums — especially if you make time for a stadium tour (which is just $8 for kids under 12) while in town.