When you hear the words “family” and “destination” together, what places come to mind?
Often we think of the most popular or heavily advertised places. And these can certainly be fun. But where does a family go when they are looking for something off the beaten path, and desire a more unique destination?
Do you love animals? Have you seen them at the same places too many times? Perhaps you are also concerned with the way these animals are being treated at many facilities, and are wondering about the ethics of animals in captivity.
Maybe it is time for a visit to a wildlife sanctuary, where you can see animals living in a home where they are cared for and live as close to their natural habitat as possible. A wildlife sanctuary is a place where abused and abandoned captive animals are brought to live the rest of their lives with dignity. Visiting a place like this is contributing to the humane treatment and rescue of animals rather than using them for entertainment.
And don't think you have to travel far and wide for these places. I've visited two in my home state.
- Here's a list of refuges and sanctuaries by state at GreenPeople.org
Do you think that learning about history on your next family vacation will bore your kids to tears? Think again! The history of our country involves such a wide range of themes that there is truly something to please everyone.
From the Gettysburg National Military Park to the Old West feel of Tombstone, Arizona, to a tour of the White House… you are sure to pique at least someone's interest. You can visit St. Paul's Chapel, Parish of Trinity Church in New York City, which was filled with debris but not destroyed on September 11, 2001 and became a central point for Ground Zero recovery efforts. The great thing is that many of these historic sites are free (but not all) so it eases the often expensive costs of a family vacation.
This summer let your kids find out more about the state they live in.
Do you get to go overseas this year? Check out this list worldwide. Of course it's not comprehensive but it's a great starting point.
It's nice to run in the sprinklers in your own back yard but let's venture a little further out. Do you love the water but cringe at the thought of yet another theme park decorated with colorful plastic doodads? Then perhaps your next family destination should be one of our country's beautiful natural swim holes. Amazingly, these are more common than one would think. We have several in our city and just had the opportunity to take a dip recently.
Here's some national highlights. The Boiling River in Gardiner, Montana gives you a meeting of river and hot springs temperatures which combine perfectly. The Blue Hole in Santa Rosa, New Mexico stays at a comfortable 64 degrees year-round, allowing divers to enjoy it whenever they are in the area. Blanchard Springs Caverns in Fifty Six, Arkansas is a unique and amazing experience and known as living caves due to how the caverns transform over time.
- Check out SwimmingHoles.com and make sure you scroll down to the bottom national map.
Nothing is as relaxing and bonding as spending time together as a family in nature. Depending where you live, this can be hard to come by. Next time you are looking for a place to visit, why not try a nature reserve?
Nature reserves are areas of land protected in order to preserve what may be endangered habitats and their flora and fauna. Study and research may happen here, as well as observation. Find out what preserves may be near your area and be sure to spend at least a day in one of these beautiful areas.
So there you have it!
Deciding on a vacation destination for the family time doesn't have to be complicated, expensive, or even that far from your back yard. Look beyond the typical vacation spaces and find something new that you can all enjoy together.
This will surely be looked back upon as some of your greatest moments spent together.
Check out the Family Camping Handbook
Real Food in the Big Woods
It includes 20 activities for ages preschool through upper elementary, and it's the true antidote to “Mom, I'm bored!” for summer!
- 36 real food recipes – no hot dogs or white bread needed!
- Secrets to camping successfully with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. No need to wait until they're older!
- Rookie tips (but great for veterans too)
- Grocery, meal prep, and packing checklists to print
Family Camping Handbook by Kitchen Stewardship
And also check out The Summer Vacation Survival Kit
- 30 minutes to put your kit together, 20+ activities ready to go
- for ages 3-12
- parents don't need to be involved in every step!
- for the non-crafty parent
- engaged brains, enhanced creativity, independence, and enjoyment – all without screens!
- compiled by two teachers with a combined 7 kids
Get your copy of the The Summer Vacation Survival Kit here.
Well I guess you're all set for Summer Vacation!