Just tell me where to go.

For years I have heard this comment from parents – directly and indirectly but in my attempt to be politically correct and socially sensitive, I dodge the issue with a question, no  several questions – age of kids, family interests, and how much time and money to you want to spend? When are you going and are you flying or driving (no one ever says they are taking the train even though it may be the perfect idea).

Drawing from two decades of traveling with kids, I always have suggestions but through experience I have learned to stop providing 10 ideas. While it is just the right number for a list, it is too much for a busy parent.

This year almost everyone is looking for a more affordable getaway. Really who doesn’t want to have more fun and spend less? We have begun compiling “Free or Almost Free” lists for select family vacation destinations.

Southern West Virginia -This area includes nine counties spanning the unspoiled wilderness of Allegheny Ridge along with the natural beauty of New River Gorge and the energy of New, Bluestone, and Gauley Rivers. This is the spot where you will find chill time, friendly people, and affordable fun.

Virginia Beach – A family beach vacation needs little more than sun, sand and water – all free. Spend long days on the sun-drenched beaches, boogie boarding, building sandcastles and splashing through the waves. Sit on the sand and watch the magical transition of colors as the sun sets; count millions of stars over the Atlantic or listen to music under the stars all free.

San Diego North – Southern California has awesome beaches, delightful climate and plenty of great family vacation activities including SeaWorld, LEGOLAND, Wild Animal Park, and Scripps. Fun right? But we found a slew of fun and free family friendly things to do that may not be on your family vacation radar screen. Our list includes guided nature walks, puppet making, culture quests, stargazing, owl prowls and art encounters.

Kissimmee – Nestled next door to Orlando’s mega theme parks, Kissimmee offers a quieter vacation base within a few minute’s drive from all the action. From weekly activities at Old Town and awesome nature trails to fishing spots and free museum days, everyone can use a free day once in a while and on vacation what could be better? Take a hike or walk above the marsh; grab your binoculars and count the birds; experience life in a cow camp; go fishing for free.

Washington DC – From pandas at the National Zoo and stars at Rock Creek Park’s planetarium, to soul food at Oohhs and Aahhs and historic landmarks like Arlington National Cemetery, DC offers activities for free and on the cheap for any visitor. With all of its fun family freebies Washington, DC is definitely a fantastic destination for families, now more than ever!

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2 thoughts on “Just tell me where to go.

  1. I think everyone forgets that there’s an inland part of Florida too. Lots of trails and beautiful scenery! You can still rent a place on the beach, you just don’t have to stay ON the beach the whole time.

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