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5 Classic summer vacation ideas

Christy Pogorelac is a marketing manager and freelance writer who likes to cover topics like entertaining, nutrition, fitness and lifestyle. Along with writing, her favorite past-times include date nights with her husband, jogging in the...

Time-tested family vacations

Spring break is over, and now is the time to begin planning a family summer vacation. If you're not sure where to begin, get a little getaway inspiration by considering a few of the most classic family vacations.

Family on summer camping trip

Plan a camping trip

Unplug and enjoy the great outdoors with your family. A few fun days of hiking, swimming, cook-outs and relaxing may be just what you need. There's plenty of room on a camping trip for everyone to get some space, but make sure to work in a few bonding activities during the trip, too. Try turning a nature walk into a scavenger hunt, looking for unique leaves, birds, stones, plants or landmarks. Bring a few board games or a jigsaw puzzle. You can even try making up a few unique campfire recipes as a family -- just be sure to bring along the reliable family favorites like s'mores and hot dogs as a backup.

Explore the open road

What's more memorable than getting your kicks as you travel down historic Route 66? Plan an open-road adventure for an exciting family vacation. Leave plenty of time between destinations to go off the beaten path. Explore unique roadside attractions, and stop at as many small diners as possible to sample milk shakes and French fries. If you're traveling with little ones, prepare for the drive by packing plenty of healthy snacks and on-the-road activities like crossword puzzles and coloring books.

Family on beach vacation

Hit the beach

A vacation at the beach is always a favorite getaway. Keep it simple and plan for a week of relaxing, sandcastles, reading and an occasional ice cream cone. You can head east or west and find amazing beaches. A few of our family favorites are: 

  • Stinson Beach in California
  • Myrtle Beach in South Carolina
  • Coronado Central Beach in Coronado, California
  • Clearwater Beach, Florida

Plan a theme park vacation

Disney World and Disneyland are synonymous with family fun and are classic vacation spots. There are plenty of other options that come packed with excitement and new experiences, too. With more than 200 amusement parks in the United States, there is a high likelihood that you can find one within a reasonable distance to your home. For example, Ohio is known for its amusement parks -- in particular, Cedar Point, located in Sandusky, Ohio, is known for some of the best roller coasters in the world.

Explore your surroundings

Sometimes you can "get away" in your own backyard and have just as much fun as if you were traveling to a new city. That's why staycations remain another classic family vacation. The key to a good staycation is preparation. Your time at home will not feel like a vacation at all if you end up staying at the house. Visit your local zoo, aquariums, museums and planetariums. Try new restaurants in town, and look for city festivals and events. Visit state parks, go hiking or go for a long bike ride. Enjoy the time, and approach your city as if you are a stranger. You may be pleasantly surprised with what you find.

Watch: 2012 Best beaches in the world

More summer tips and treats

Refreshing summer snacks to pack for an outing
Sweet indulgences: Favorite frozen treats
Tips for staying cool in the summer

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