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Great Family Vacation Destinations
Family fun vacation things to do and places to see.
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Parent to Parent by Patti Hermes
I just enjoyed a peaceful week at the beach with my family … in the fall.
Sure, lots of the touristy type places are closed, but there's enough retirees and weekenders in this neck of the woods to keep a few choice restaurants and shops open through the fall season. And some are open year round anyway, just without all crowds and the lines.
I bet you think off-season travel, with the low rates and no waits, is just for homeschoolers and couples without children. Think again. With all the various school schedules, any family can grab an off-season vacation. It all depends on where you go.
With Disney World being on just about everyone's wish list, how does one go about finding an off time? Their latest promotion, enjoy a free dining plan for travel between October 2011 and March 2012 gives you a hint, but are the crowds really smaller during that period? Keeping an eye on the weather reports, also remember that most families are traveling to grandma's house for Thanksgiving and winter holidays. Who says you can't have your turkey and Mickey too?
And speaking of Disney, since when is the weather a factor when visiting Disneyland in California? And yet, there's an off-season there, too. From Labor Day up to the typical Christmas break, and again after the New Year up to Spring Break is all considered off-season. Plan ahead by checking for attraction closures and ride refurbishments so you won't be disappointed and miss out on any favorites.
Ever thought about winter travel to your favorite summer destination? Many resorts that are known for golf and hiking in the summer are prime for snowshoeing and sledding in the winter, even if they're not your typical ski resort. If peace and quiet are what you're craving on your next winter school break, then maybe a practically-deserted beach town is the way to go. Many areas have museums and nature parks that do not close, even after the summer tourists have gone home.
Is there anyplace you can get a nice off-season deal in the summertime? Since the weather is pretty close to perfect year round, Aruba never quite gets that off-season deserted feel, but the summertime hotel rates are part of the blame. Who can resist 20-50% off, with restaurants getting in on the discounts to attract more families as well?
Do you travel with your kids' sports teams to tournaments? Do your homework and you could end up with a mini-vacation that soon becomes a family favorite. And traveling with an entire team's worth of families will definitely get you all the best group rate. Does your school district throw in the odd day off here and there, seemingly for no reason at all? Plan ahead and take the family camping for the long not-holiday weekend.
While the two week period known as Christmas Break is generally not seen as off-peak for travelers, if you're up for a winter vacation outdoors, try one of our great national parks. Without the summer crowds, you actually get to see the spectacular scenery, with maybe a little snow to add color to your photos. While theme parks tend to close off some areas during the off season, the parks may have some secret trails or roads not usually open to hordes of private vehicles suddenly open for the low season.
There's no need to follow the crowd every time you plan a little family getaway. Just open your eyes, turn things upside down, or even consult a travel agent to get in on the secrets to off-season travel. A new adventure awaits.
Patti Hermes is living the dream with her high school sweetheart, raising their boys in the Midwest because it's a good starting point for epic road trips. While writing, reading and homeschooling take up most of her time, she still blogs at http://writesforchocolate.blogspot.com.