May 9, 2016
Is your family ready for some fun in the sun?
We know everyone’s schedule is jam-packed and every vacation day—every vacation minute—really counts. We also know you are seeking memorable adventures with your kids and grandkids. That’s why we’ve partnered with Family Travel Forum to offer you the best 2016 family summer vacation ideas, including some you might not have considered before. These ideas will help you take the kids—and the grandkids and any other kids in your lives—and not only give all of you the best bang for your vacation buck but lifetime memories. Make sure to get the kids involved in your planning. Figuring out where to go together can be a lot of fun too!
If you are driving –and AAA says because of low gas prices millions of us will be—it’s wise to get the car checkout out and make sure your safety seats are installed correctly. Many aren’t, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration can help and make sure you have the right seat for your child’s age.
Wherever you are going, consider purchasing travel insurance to cover the unexpected. We don’t want to think about it but what if someone gets sick or injured while traveling abroad; or has to cut a vacation short because of a family emergency back home? Or what if your wallet or passport gest lost or stolen? A policy like the Allianz Classic Plan covers kids 17 and under free of charge as long as there is one paying adult included, for trip cancellation or interruption, emergency medical needs, baggage damage, loss or delay and travel delay. It also and pre-existing conditions like a bad knee if you buy it within 14 days of departure.
Many consider summer in Florida the Caribbean family season because the rates and airfares are so much lower and many resorts offer special kids’ programs and activities. It’s hot but the ocean breezes will keep you comfortable!
1. Club Med has over 65 all-inclusive resorts around the world, including Club Med’s only resortin Florida as well as Mexico or Punta Cana. Providing a vast array of sports and activities on land, water and snow, as well as an unrivalled children’s club experience and plenty of opportunities to simply sit back, relax and unwind, Club Med offers a seamless experience for guests of all ages. The best part, kids under 4 stay free!
Spacious pools at the Azul Fives by Karisma on Mexico’s Riviera Maya
2. This summer, plan the perfect vacation with the Suite Summer offer at Azul Hotels by Karisma, and save up to 43 percent! Located in Riviera Maya, Mexico & Negril, Jamaica, these resorts are the perfect blend of luxury, Gourmet Inclusive à la carte dining and plenty of amenities—even extraordinary amenities—even beachfront Jacuzzi swim-up suites and private oceanfront villas. There are supervised daytime activities and clubs for teens, tweens and toddlers, allowing parents to enjoy luxuries such as cozy beach beds with beach butler service, adult pools, swim-up bars and Zen-inspired spas.
3. All summer long, the AAA Five Diamond Fairmont Scottsdale Princess turns into a beach getaway when it opens Sunset Beach, its sixth and largest pool complete with 830 tons of white sand and comfy cabanas. Join the Summer Beach Party at the Princess with cool rides down waterslides, Techno Glo pool parties, Dive In movies, the new 4-story Aqua Flyer inflatable waterslide, the new Mermaid University for ages 7-12 and weekend Fireworks.. You’ll find two pools just-for-grownups. The best part: The Sip, Savor & Sand Package starts from $179 per night with a $50 daily credit, May 1 – September 10, 2016. For details, call (480) 585-4848 or visit the website.
Mermaid Story telling at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess
Photographed by Jill Richards
On the ATLANTIC COAST, you have your pick of beach towns from Maine all the way to Florida where you can play on the beach, ride bikes, challenge the kids to a tennis match or hone your golf game.
4. We love Cape Cod with its chance for old-fashioned fun on and around the water. Take a sailing lesson, ride on the famous Cape Cod Rail Trail take in a Cape Cod Baseball League game with some of the best college players in the country, visit the National Sea Shore, and eat fresh seafood and homemade ice cream.
5. Virginia Beach has great weather, the chance to catch crabs off Chesapeake Beach and a three mile boardwalk and miles of shoreline. Kayak, fish, or take the kids to explore the marshes and wildlife refuge. Check out what Richmond has to offer.
6. In FLORIDA, anchor your gang at a Palm Beach-area or Miami resort and hit the spa and view the alligators in the Everglades for a fraction of what it would cost in winter! Key Biscayne, at the very top of the famous Florida Keys, is a good bet for families a short drive from Miami over the Rickenbacker Causeway, on the island of Key Biscayne
7. On Mexico’s Pacific Coast, Riviera Nayaritoffers a plethora of all-inclusive resorts along with small hotels and bungalows. There are small towns to visit, fishing villages to explore and natural wonders to see, including some of the best bird-watching areas in the world. Read my travel diaries about a visit there. A family itinerary may include a visit to a turtle camp. Nesting season is from June through December. Or swim with the dolphins in a variety of areas. You can’t leave without enjoying a sailing sport because the Riviera Nayarit is one of the best spots on the planet to enjoy windsurfing, kite surfing, catamaran and sailboat tours on vessels large and small.
8. On the U.S. PACIFIC COAST, you can’t do better than San Diego—check out my Kids’ Guide to San Diego –with its world-class Zoo, SeaWorld, beaches and 15 major museums and entertainment venues at Balboa Park.
9. Santa Monica is an ideally located SOCAL beach destination—not too far from either from Disneyland or LA but with plenty of beach, the world-famous pier and the pedestrian-only Third Street Promenade. Kids love all the gymnastics equipment in the sand and the rides (especially the Ferris wheel!). Play volleyball — there are always games going on — or play in the surf.
10. In HAWAII, first-time visitors should not skip Oahu and Pearl Harbor as well as Waikiki teaming with activity that your tweens and teens will love. For an entirely different scene, visit quaint Haleiwa, about an hour north of Waikiki and the surf capitol on the North Shore. Maui is the island for golden sand, surf lessons, posh resorts and the beautiful Kaana’pali Beach. On Hawai’i, the Big Island, you can visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and see Kilauea Volcano, tour a macadamia nut plantation or a Kona Coffee farm, and get to know the real Hawaiian culture.
CITIES: FOR SHOPPING, CULTURE AND CUISINE
Let the kids help you plan a visit to a city near you with my KIDS GUIDES series (featuring, New York, Washington DC, Orlando, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Boston and Denver-Boulder). Go to a baseball game, a museum, a festival, a theatrical performance, a locally run restaurant; families with high school juniors can include a college tour or two on their summer vacation itinerary. Check each city’s official tourism website for the latest deals and to see what special family offerings are available. Let each child plan a day of the itinerary.
You can save big this summer with CityPASS , which offers discounted, prepaid admission to top attractions in 12 North American destinations: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Southern California, Tampa Bay and Toronto. In California, for example, a Southern California CityPASS admission cards saves nearly 30% off a package that includes a prepaid 3-Day Disneyland Resort Park Hopper ticket that allows unlimited back-and-forth access to Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park, plus one-day admissions to LEGOLAND California and SeaWorld San Diego.
11. You’ll find hotels offering special deals and family amenities. Get away at one of Omni’s nearly 60 properties, for example, and with their Escape and Save deal, you can get up to 15% off their best available rates when you stay two or more nights. At participating resorts, receive complimentary breakfast to start your day.
12. NEW YORK CITY reports more families are visiting than ever and it’s easy to see why — world class museums — kids’ favorite the American Museum of Natural History with its stand-out kids’ website , Broadway (Matilda the musical is the hottest ticket in town), Central Park, two major league baseball teams—the Yankee sand the Mets as well as the chance to see a minor league team play), great ethnic eats (who doesn’t love Little Italy and Chinatown) shopping and the 9/11 Memorial. Take advantage of the unique teen guide program at the 911 Memorial Museum, which opened last year. My The Kid’s Guide to New York City will help the kids to lead the way!
13. LOS ANGELES has everything from Hollywood—and the chance to see the magic behind the movies on the studio lot tour—to the chance to see the space shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center in Exposition Park. In San Francisco, see the Exploratorium’s new digs on the Embarcadero, the wonderful hands-on Children’s Creativity Museum or head north to see the Giant Redwoods in Muir Woods.
14. CHICAGO is at its best in the summer—just ask the kidsI interviewed for my Kid’s Guide to Chicago. There’s Chicago’s famous Lakefront where you can ride bikes, in-line skate or in Lincoln Park, visit one of the few free zoos in the country where kids especially love the polar bears.
15. WASHINGTON DC has more free attractions than just about anywhere else: monuments, all of the Smithsonian’s 19 museums (we love the kids’ website) , including the National Zoo and their famous pandas, visits to the Capitol or the Supreme Court, a walk on the African American Heritage Trail or a hike in the enormous (more than 1,754 acres) Rock Creek Park. Here’s what I wrote about a visit with teenaged boys. Even the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has free daily performances — at 6 p.m. on the Millennium Stage.. My Kid’s Guide to Washington, DC can help the kids — and you – plan. Look for a hotel with a pool!
Whether it’s a bucket list trip or the chance to show their kids a different culture, with a strong dollar, this may be the year to go—even if you want to avoid the crowds.
16. See your dollar stretch in Canada where a U.S. dollar is worth $1.29 in a Canadian dollar. You’ll feel like you are in Europe in Quebec City—the only walled city north of Mexico! Practice your rusty French and shop and eat till you drop in Montreal where you have your pick of museums, festivals (check out the Just for Laughs Festival) and outdoor fun. I’m a fan of British Columbia with so many options to hike, kayak, fish, bike ride, see wildlife and more. Stay at a guest ranch or a nice hotel n Whistler where you are guaranteed a bargain given the strength of the U.S. Dollar.
17. Go hiking in the Alps, perhaps staying in rustic mountain chalets or huts. Tirol, Austria offers lots of opportunity and spectacular scenery.
18. SOUTH AFRICA right now is increasingly affordable thanks to a favorable exchange rate and offers the chance to see “The Big Five” on safari, explore Capetown and for the grownups, sample great wine. African Safari Company is family owned and family trips can include activities like drumming lessons and child friendly wineries. Trips can start at under $2000 per person.
19. BERLIN offers a terrific mix of history and hipness—design, restaurants and museums. It’s also considerably cheaper than other European cities. Here’s what I wrote about our recent visit. Show the kids how families escaped to the West in a divided city at Mauer Museum at Check Point Charlie Of course, you can’t visit Berlin without considering the plight of the Jews and others during World War II who couldn’t escape. Germany’s capital city now confronts the horror head-on at places large and small.
20. In Peru, Mountain Lodges of Peru is offering a new multi-activity Lares Adventure to Machu Picchu, as an alternative to the traditional Inca Trail, offering hikes and daily activities through some of the most pristine and culturally traditional corners of the Peruvian Andes.
CRUISES COME IN ALL SHAPES AND SIZES
Cruise from a port near your home. You have more than two dozen to choose from. Cruises are good bets for families whether the kids are preschoolers (organized activities!) or teens (all they can eat! A safe place to roam!). See what line might be best for your family in our 2016 Cruise Guide.
21. For the first time in more than 50 years, a cruise ship has been approved to sail from the United States to Cuba—Carnival Corporation’s 704-passenger MV Adonia that is part of its newest brand Fathom, dedicated to immersive experiences. The ship also will be sailing to the Dominican Republic, where there are options for voluntourism experiences. The Fathom Cuba itinerary includes visits to Havana, Cienfuegos and Santiago de Cuba with opportunities to interact with artists, musicians, business owners and families. At the same time, cruisers, who are expected to include many families, will have the opportunity to experience the sights, sounds, tastes and of course, rhythms of this country: the architecture, classic American cars, traditional Cuban music and even Ernest Hemingway’s favorite fishing village.
Old Havana in Cuba, new port of call for Fathom Cruises
22. HOUSEBOATING is easy, economical, and a great option when you want to travel with family and friends. Share a boat and your houseboat vacation is even more economical. You can also houseboat elsewhere, of course. Some houseboats start at under $500 a week.
23. WINDJAMMER cruise in Maine is where kids have the opportunity to time travel back and explore the spectacular coast for a few days on a historic schooner. Imagine eating just-caught lobsters on a deserted beach, exploring tide pools teaming with sea life, berry picking and hunting for sea glass. The kids can help sail historic vessels and learn traditional skills like knot tying, steering, hauling sails, polishing brass, rowing, cranking ice cream. This isn’t luxurious though; windjamming is like camping at sea.
24. SAILING CHARTERS are great fun for adventure-loving families, whether in Maryland, Florida or the Caribbean. We’ve “bareboated” which means we’ve sailed ourselves around Caribbean islands although you can get a captain and crew to do all the work.
25. Consider a different kind of Alaska cruise—like I did on the 12-passenger Seawolf where we kayaked every day in Glacier Bay, or into the Alaskan wilderness on a 78-passenger boat.
ECOTOURISM AND ADVENTURE TRIPS
26. ADVENTURE TRIPS are memorable as well as relaxing when you let an outfitter do all the work, whether you want to go to Costa Rica, the Galapagos or Alaska. AdventureSmith Explorations is one company that can arrange it all, , where off-ship activity in wilderness areas takes center stage. Company founder Todd Smith, who frequently travels with his two young sons, helped pioneer the concept of wilderness cruising that combines the comforts of a small cruise ship with the adventure of sea kayaking, hiking and exploring remote wilderness areas seldom associated with more mainstream cruise itineraries. The best part: Unpack once, and your family is set for a week of adventures together on small-capacity, adventure-oriented ships around the world from Alaska to Costa Rico, the Galapagos Islands, the Amazon and other family-friendly locales. The new Santa Cruz II will spend her first summer in the Galapagos Islands, offering one of the best family cabin options in the archipelago with 36 of its 50 cabins interconnecting. Kids can ride zodiacs, snorkel with sea lions and penguins, and hike among land and marine iguanas sunning on the shore.
On a small ship cruise with AdventureSmith Explorations
27. DUDE RANCHES: can be a different kind of all inclusive vacation with an emphasis on the outdoors. These days, they offer a lot more than horseback riding these days—hiking, fishing, even massages and cooking lessons. Ranches have a variety of programming for kids of all ages, with daily schedules that are so engaging kids won’t realize they’re learning along the way. Kids programs and activities, many of which are overseen by dedicated wranglers and staff members, are designed to educate and entertain with activities ranging from ropes courses, scavenger hunts, horseback riding, panning for gold, wildlife excursions, overnight camping trips, campfire sing-a-longs, capture the flag, hay rides and much more.
The whole family on a horse ride at a dude ranch
One of the best parts about our kids programs is that they really engages kids’ adventurous spirit and teaches them about many things they wouldn’t learn within the four walls of their classrooms, the experience has a lasting effect on the child. You can ask any kid the name of the horse they rode while vacationing at a dude ranch in a month or even a year and they will be able to tell you as well as the names of the kids and wranglers. It’s a unique memory that stays with them for many years.
To embark on your next educational adventure go to http://www.duderanch.org/listings_search.php and search for the kids program that is right for you and your kiddos.
28. FARM VACATIONS are well recognized in Europe, and they’re gaining popularity in North America as working farms offer overnight lodging, meals and a peek into their lifestyle. Here’s your chance for the kids to see where their food comes from! Eggs are collected fresh from the hen house; carrots are pulled from the ground, berries from a bush. Go to our directory of farm stays and choose your pick of working farms and ranches across the U.S. (in all 50 states and U.S. Territories). Here’s what I wrote about a farm stay with a city child.
29. Celebrate the National Parks Centennial this year on a family adventure vacation with O.A.R.S. Since 1969, O.A.R.S. has offered VIP access to Canyonlands, Grand Canyon, Grand Teton and five other National Parks and more than 10,000 families have trusted the company with their vacation in the last 10 years alone. Be one of the first to book your 2016 family adventure and save up to 10% on most trips! Request your free copy of the 2016 O.A.R.S. Family Adventures Catalog Here’s what I wrote about rafting on the Yellowstone River.
Rafting with O.A.R.S. near the Great Tetons in Wyoming
30. If you want to walk with dinosaurs, visit Dinosphere at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis filled with rare fossils including a mummified dinosaur. If you want to hear the wondrous creatures roar, listen to world-renowned paleontologists Dr. Phil Manning and Dr. Victoria Egerton, the newest Scientists-in-Residence at the world’s largest children’s museum, which means they’ll take families on real dino digs and share their expertise on select dates in the museum’s Paleo Prep Lab. If you would prefer blasting off into space, Another Scientist-in-Residence ( David Wolf) inspired the museum to create its newest exhibit Beyond Spaceship Earth – opening June 25, 2016. Families will experience space exploration in a whole new way by putting their hands on and walking through an amazingly realistic version of the International Space Station – and, they won’t have to leave Earth to do it.
Learning about dinosaur fossils at he Children’s Museum
31. Teach the grandkids (as young as five) a thing or two with a Road Scholar intergenerational You can search for dinosaur fossils in Utah, explore California’s High Sierra, go to “camp” in the Adirondacks or explore Revolutionary History in Bostons. There are dozens of trips to choose from, many less than $1000 for nearly a week.
32. The Virginia colonists never had it so good — Busch Gardens, Colonial Williamsburg, Water Country USA and more in Virginia’s Historic Triangle.
33. Learn more about the Civil War in Gettysburg. PA. and in Richmond, VA, [ once the Confederate capital and filming location of the movie “Lincoln.”
34. Learn about the 18th century slave culture at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello or 19th century boat building at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. Here’s what I wrote about a day at Mystic and what one of our correspondents wrote about Mount Vernon.
35. Explore a museum devoted to sport like the Baseball Hall of Famein Cooperstown, New York, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts where the game was first invented; music (the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, OH) , or journalism at the Newseum in WASHINGTON, DC. Focus a visit to an art or science museum around your kids’ current passions—mummies, dinosaurs, photography. Here are five places to get up close and personal to dinos.
36. THE APPALACHIAN MOUNTAIN CLUB offers a variety of opportunities for families to get outdoors and explore whether staying at their famous huts along the Appalachian Trail, or their lodges in Maine and New Hampshire. We love that there are guided activities every day and that you can borrow whatever gear you need without charge
37. The National Ability Center in Park City, Utah and the National Sports Center for the Disabled in Winter Park, CO offer many different summer outdoors programs for children with special challenges and their families—everything from horseback riding to kayaking to cycling to special camps. Read my recent column.
38. Autism on the Seas helps arrange vacations on land and sea for families with Autism, Asperger Syndrome and other Developmental Disabilities..
39. Orlando is home to an entire resort to Give Kids the World, where kids suffering from life-threatening illness and their families can take a break from treatment, hospitals and doctors and just enjoy themselves for a week.
40. Especially if your kids are older. The website Together for Good lists over 90 places that families can give back—even just for a day– on a land-based vacation or cruise in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America. Organizations like Cross-Cultural Solutions,Earthwatchand Global Citizens Network among other non-profit organizations can help you find a family volunteer opportunity; Greenloons, the company that helps families make sustainable vacation choices, lists volunteer options on its website.
NATURAL WONDERS AND THE GREAT OUTDOORS
HIT THE SLOPES—IN SUMMER. Locals joke they came to a ski town for the slopes and stayed because of the summer. Look for summer deals across the country at ski resorts from Vermont to Colorado, Utah and California.
41. In summer at Colorado’s Keystone Resort, less than two hours from Denver and with average temperatures around 70 degrees, lifts carry mountain bikers, hikers and families seeking mountaintop summer adventures. There are free Friday night concerts, golfers have their choice of two courses and there’s paddle boarding across Keystone Lake. Keystone’s summer Kidtopia program features free daily family-centric activities –nature hikes, dodgeball games and interactive kite building workshops, among others. Another plus: The wide array of on-site lodging s, including condos and townhomes ranging in size from studio to four-bedrooms. The best available lodging rates can be found at com. Stepping outside and enjoying the Rocky Mountains has never been easier!
Keystone’s Lakeside Village offers stand-up paddle boarding, paddle boats, kayak and canoe rentals – all with a view of the Continental Divide
42. You’ll find concerts in ski towns all summer long as well as festivals. Here’s what my daughter wrote about Telluride’s BlueGrass Festival.
43. Many traditional camps open their doors to families during specific weeks at the end of the summer, including Camp Nebagamon in Wisconsin which my son attended for many years. ] Find a Camp database lists over 400 family camps that are searchable by location, cost, activities offered, and more. (Start the search by selecting the 4th option, “Family Camps or Camps for Adults)
44. The YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park and Snow Mountain Ranch in Colorado are so popular for family reunions that they have an entire staff just to plan activities for reunion groups — horseback riding, crafts, archery, fishing, mountain biking and even a zipline. YMCA Camp Du Nord in Minnesota has been providing outdoor experiences for families more than 50 years on the edge of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area—sailing, kayaking, canoeing, cook outs and more.
45. There are 397 National Parksto choose from and the biggest and best known—as wonderful as they are—aren’t the only places where you can have a stellar experience with your family, whether you want to explore a cave (see the bats fly out at night in Carlsbad Caverns, NM) compare your size to giant trees (Sequoia & Kings Canyon in California), peer into ancient cliff dwellings like we did (Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado), or see amazing sea life in tide pools (Olympic National Park in Washington, State). At all of these parks you will find rangers eager to help you make the most of your family’s time there with special activities, including the Junior Ranger program.
For the DIY perfect family road trip, we recommend that anyone with preschoolers drives during morning and afternoon nap hours, and sets daily goals before departure. With older children your route can be more serendipitous (filled with missed exits and unusual must-stop roadside attractions), but you must include some activities just for them. And always remain old-fashioned backseat car games make the time fly by for everyone. For a different kind of adventure, consider renting an RV. Here’s what I wrote about RVing With Kids in Colorado.
46. Among our favorite routes: Conquer the states of Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee on The Blue Ridge Parkway, or drive the classic Grand Canyon to Las Vegas If the heat sounds like too much, opt for the summer fog and chill winds along California’s famous Highway 1, the Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to Los Angeles. For scenic beauty, nothing beats the coastal road that connects them.
THEME PARKS AND WATER PARKS
You will have your pick this summer when nearly 300 new rides and attractions open at theme parks, water parks, family fun centers, zoos, aquariums, and museums in the United States and Canada, according to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.
47. With 13 resorts in North America, Great Wolf Lodge is the perfect drive-to destination for families seeking a quick getaway or to use as homebase during longer vacations. (Special Deal: Save up to 30% off a two night stay when you use promo code SAVEMORE ) New this year, Great Wolf Lodge Southern California opened in Garden Grove, California less than 2 miles from Disneyland. The 603-suite resort features a 105,000-square-foot indoor water park, indoor mini golf, bowling and Scooops Kid Spa and MagiQuest, the live action interactive scavenger hunt throughout the resort. At all of the resorts, kids can enjoy morning stretches with Wiley the Wolf at Yoga Tails, special daily events during the Lunch Time Line Up and an evening PJ Party at no extra charge. This November, Great Wolf Lodge Colorado Springs will open its first location in Colorado.
48. The Wisconsin Dells boasts that it has more water parks than anywhere in the country including the largest outdoor water park in the country, Noah’s Ark Waterpark. Think over 200 water slides and plenty of water play areas for the littlest park goers.
CALIFORNIA AND FLORIDA
When you’re planning your first trip to Orlando, you’re bound to feel intimidated. That’s where a travel agent like Mickey’s Travel can help. Their specialized knowledge of all the different Disney options enabled them to be recognized by Disney as an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner for the parks, Disney Cruise Line and other Disney destinations. The Best Part: you don’t pay for all this expertise that provides you personal vacation planning, including for those with a family member who has special challenges. They extend special promotions and discounts too.
49. ORLANDO of course is theme park central with plenty for little kids as well as older ones. Because it can be hot and crowded at the parks in the middle of summer, consider a trip in May or June. Active duty military get in free to LEGOLAND Florida, which is expanding it’s park with the opening of Heartlake City and the new LEGOLAND Hotel in summer 2015. Experience a unique flying coaster when you ride SeaWorld’s Manta. Universal Orlando Resort Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ now spans across two parks. My Kid’s Guide to Orlando can help kids lead the way. Orlando is touting new experiences at all its parks– including Frozen Ever After at Epcot, Skull Island: Reign of Kong at Universal Orlando Resort and Mako at SeaWorld Orlando while for the first time, Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort is open at night. Families are excited about Disney Springs , the newly imagined Downtown Disney with scores of new restaurants, shops and outdoor entertainment.
50. If you are on the West Coast, you can enjoy the continuing 60thAnniversary Diamond Celebration at Disneyland Resort beginning May 22, and continuing until September 5 with after-dark shows, including a fireworks show that surrounds land park guests with pyrotechnics overhead and special digital projection on surrounding buildings. And new Frozen and Star Wars experiences and The “Paint the Night” parade .
51. Locals in Southern California say you’re missing a lot if you skip Knott’s Berry Farm with its roller coasters (including the family Coast Rider), Camp Snoopy for younger kids and new Boardwalk family attractions this summer. Teens especially love Magic Mountain—with some of the fastest, tallest rides in the country, just outside Los Angeles.
52. CEDAR POINT in Sandusky, OH bills itself as the roller coaster capital of the world with more than a dozen coasters including Millennium Force which has been voted the best steel roller coaster in the world (think plummeting down a 300 foot drop at speeds more than 90 mph!) But Cedar Point also has plenty for those who don’t want such thrills including four kids’ areas, plenty of live entertainment, a traditional midway arcade, and the Soak City Waterpark with dozens of water attractions.
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