Summertime When the Livin’ is Easy

Summertime“Summertime when the livin’ is easy…” are lyrics that can grab your attention like no other song can about this chilled but hot, fun season. For some, the idea of going on a summer vacation fills you with unchecked joy. You’ve been fantasizing the months between June and August with the keen expectancy associated with a four-year-old who’s eagerly anticipating his turn at the merry-go-round.

Whether you’ve planned it, dreamed it or even mapped it, there are never enough choices as your dreams may set the tone in your search for the best summer vacation destination. Of course, a lot depends on factors like budget, weather, multi-generational appeal, kid-friendly accommodations, dining and lodging options. So in an effort to make your search that much easier, here are the top ten family summer vacations that will keep you talking about them way after your return from your summer getaway.

 

#10. Paris, France. The City of Lights is reported to draw millions of visitors every year. Its unforgettable ambiance, divine cuisine as well as vast museums, centuries-old churches and art galleries are just some of the highlights. The gentle River Seine rambles through the city, setting up the tone against cobbled stone streets crowded with blocks of Rococo- and Neoclassic-design architecture, further enhanced by charming trees and glowing old world streetlamps.

 

#9. London, England. Without a doubt, this is not the city to go if you are on a tight budget. But if you can afford it, you and the kids will never be bored in London. It is bursting with attractions, like the vibrant Portobello Road Market and the Tower of London. The English writer Samuel Johnson famously said, “You find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”

 

#8. Cape Cod. With Cape Cod’s numerous beaches and vacation cottages galore, you will feel more at home. Older kids will enjoy boogie boarding on the Atlantic coast while novice swimmers can splash around on the bay side.

 

#7. Lake Tahoe. The mild summer weather is a big draw for many families looking to maximize the great outdoors. Hiking trails, beaches and the lake itself offer plenty of opportunities to get active. Don’t forget to check the websites of the ski areas; they provide summertime entertainment, too.

 

#6. Disneyland. “The Happiest Place on Earth” has been wooing children for more than 50 years. Not to be missed are nearby Knott’s Berry Farm and Adventure City as well as Hollywood, which deserves credit for family fun, too. Also, Southern California beaches like Malibu and Santa Monica Beach are great places for the entire family.

 

#5. Galápagos Islands. Do you want to mingle with giant tortoises, iguanas, sea lions and penguins? Well, on this island chain you can! Your kids will love these critters, and you’ll appreciate the numerous photo ops.

 

#4. San Diego. This American great city has emerged as one of the premier family destinations in the country. The 1,200-acre Balboa Park, which is home to the famous San Diego Zoo, is a great place to let kids be kids, and burn off some extra energy.

 

#3. Walt Disney World. Summer is always a popular time to visit Walt Disney World. But that’s not the only attraction in this entertaining city. Also consider a visit to Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Sea World and Bush Gardens. During the summer, be prepared for steep admission prices, hot weather and long lines across the board.

 

#2. Yellowstone. The country’s oldest national park is a favorite place of people of all ages for a very good reason. With its unique features such as Old Faithful and Mammoth Hot Springs, and fantastic hiking paths, your adventure is right around the bend.

 

#1. Oahu, Hawaii. This exotic Hawaiian island mixes cosmopolitan luxury with breathtaking scenery. Its high-class restaurants, vibrant cultural events and nightlife further showcase this island as a “Gathering Place” of Hawaiian culture.

 

Budget friendly vacations

All that sounds great, you say. But how about if I don’t have an unlimited budget that may include any of the above top ten vacation options? Well, if you are like me, when it comes to taking a vacation, I often think that I don’t need to go too far. After all, we live in Florida, one of the hottest vacation spots in the country.

There are many things that you can do with your family in Florida that won’t set you back several thousand dollars and still enjoy a nice vacation. Florida offers some of the best beaches in the country, so the perfect family vacation doesn’t have to blow your budget when you have a plethora of beaches to choose from. It just takes a little planning and research.

Start by selecting a beach town with lower-priced hotel or resort options such as St. Pete Beach, Fort Myers Beach or the historical St. Augustine, where you can get a clean, comfortable, and safe hotel room for about $79 per night. In St. Augustine, history comes alive in red-brick lanes leading to centuries-old churches, and in forts where soldiers still walk the grounds. Head east and you will find 42 miles of pristine Atlantic beaches with lots of fun, family activities, so be sure to order a free Official Visitors Guide from the area you are interested in visiting. Most guides will include discount coupons, maps, tips on where to stay, and information on attractions and tours.

Well, there you have it. One thing to remember is that summertime is prime time for travel, especially for families with kids who are on summer break from school. The sun, the beach, the pleasant evenings — there’s nothing better than summertime when the livin’ is easy.

 

Maritza Cosano is a freelance writer and author. She also operates www.writers-circle.com, a site for aspiring authors. Contact Maritza at [email protected].

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