Summer Family Travel Suggestions

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Golden Gate Bridge

When you are in the planning stages of your vacation, sit down with everyone and figure out what kind of vacation each person wants. Selecting a vacation that suits everyone isn’t easy, but if you let the whole family make suggestions as to their wishes, perhaps it will be easier in the long run to experience.

Teens are probably the most difficult to please. If you want to relax on the beach, your teen wants to hang out in an arcade. Teens just don’t want to sit in a nice spot for several days.

Perhaps this is the year to explore the possibilities of a family cruise. Several cruise lines cater to everyone. Look at Royal Caribbean International and their programs at sea. They offer many activities for young people of all ages and that’s all on the same ship.

Disney Cruises also please everyone. The parents can relax and do their thing, while the young ones of various ages may participate in the many activities planned for each age group. I understand Disney Cruises really can’t be beat in this area. I have not cruised with them yet, but will in early October when we take two young grandchildren with us in the Caribbean.

NCL (Norwegian Cruise Lines) have a fine young people’s program and you can check these out on the web or request a brochure from you travel agent.

Carnival Cruise Lines also cater to the young ones in their own way with plenty of activities each day at sea.

The higher-end cruise lines do little to cater to the young people and I would suggest those lines mentioned above for the entire family. Holland America Line may be the exception.

If it’s going to be a land vacation, choose your destination wisely. If the young ones are looking for adventure, consider one of the National Parks.

Yellowstone may be the best because it offers geysers, natural wildlife such as buffalo, elk and the occasional bear and beautiful scenery. You might even consider camping for part of your trip.

If you have a single teenager, perhaps you might allow him or her to bring along a friend of the same age group. That may keep the situation more peaceful.

Los Angeles is only a day away from Arizona and offers so much to do and see. There are the movie studios where you are allowed to see inside the sound stages as well as the back-lot where there are faux city streets as well as western sets, downtown scenes and more. Many acres are devoted to outside sets for the filmmakers. You may even watch as a scene or two is actually filmed.

There are tours to movie stars’ homes. It’s fun and will beget a lot of family conversation.

You will want to drive down Hollywood Blvd. and stop at Grumman’s Chinese Theatre to see the foot and handprints of movie stars in cement in front of the theater and also visit the television studios and perhaps watch a program being recorded for later network viewing.

You should also visit Griffith Park and the fine zoo.

There are the La Brea Tar Pits on Wilshire Blvd. where monsters of many thousands of years ago came to drink water and became stuck in the tar. A museum is also available nearby.

Long Beach is not far away and here you can board the famed Queen Mary, which is now more than 75 years old and walk around the ship and even have lunch.

There is Disneyland in Orange County with all of its offerings for the entire family; Knotts Berry Farm is not far away; and of course the many fine beaches on the Pacific Ocean. You can take coach and helicopter tours showing greater Southern California and perhaps even book seats on a blimp ride over the city.

Stay near Malibu and see the movie stars in their everyday setting of shopping, sunning, eating and being regular people. You can even do Tandem Paragliding here.

You could drive south to San Diego and stay for a couple days in order to visit the many sights and events of this fine city. Namely, the Navy exhibits, Sea World, and fine beaches and resorts, old town and nearby is Mexico.

From Los Angeles you can also head north to Santa Barbara, San Louis Obispo and nearby is the famed San Simeon which once belonged to newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst. San Simeon is about 60 miles northwest of San Louis Obispo located on the Pacific Coast. Today, it is a California heritage site and open to the general public. There are four tours you may take. Plan to spend at least three hours here. It is somewhat out of your way, but well worth the time.

As long as you have the time and money, you perhaps want to continue north to the greater San Francisco Bay area. Here is a cooler climate and beautiful city by the bay. San Francisco’s neighborhoods are true communities in themselves. It’s fun to just drive the many streets of this city to admire the various architecture and businesses. You’ll want to visit Chinatown and perhaps have a meal here.

Also, you should visit Golden Gate Park, Fisherman’s Wharf, and the old Ferry Building, which is now an interesting shoppers’ mall loaded with wonderful items.

Just for fun, take a walk across Golden Gate Bridge and take some photos. Perhaps a large ship will be crossing under the bridge while you are on it.

Alcatraz Island is the site of the infamous federal penitentiary where the likes of Al Capone and others were imprisoned. You can now tour here.

Be sure to ride one or two of the cable cars. It’s fun and also great for picture taking. You can even visit the Cable Car Museum and Powerhouse Viewing Gallery.

North Beach is the city’s Italian district and its fun to browse the shops and hangouts of the locals. Try having dinner at the old-school Italian North Beach Restaurant. You’ll love the atmosphere.

There is so much to do here you will require at least three days for exploring.

If you would rather choose a resort hotel and just stay put for your vacation, the popular family resorts are: Beaches, Negril, Sheraton, South Padre Island, Half Moon Bay, Jamaica, Four Seasons, Costa Rica, Marriott Harbour Lake, Caribbean Family Vacations, Great World Lodge, Williamsburg, Tamaya Resort, New Mexico, Beaches, Turks and Caicos, and Great World Lodge in the Poconos.

By checking the Internet you can acquire information regarding active vacations, theme trips, amusement parks, cruises and so much more. Also, a travel agent is trained to know the various locations that may interest you and the entire family and ask them for brochures. They can also do all the bookings for you.

A family vacation is so important and it needs to be carefully planned. If it goes sour it can be terrible. First, plan a budget and the number of days you wish to vacation, and then contact a travel agent who can help you choose where and what to do.

Have a wonderful time, all of you.

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