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Plan a last blast summer vacation

From a mountain hike to a Disney getaway or trip to visit family, now's the time to plan a summertime family vacation
From a mountain hike to a Disney getaway or trip to visit family, now's the time to plan a summertime family vacation
Sandy Wallace

The days of summer are slowly melting away. With school supply racks in the stores, this is the perfect time to plan a last blast summer vacation with your family. More families plan vacations during the summer than any other time of year.

The beach is a favorite summer vacation destination for many families
Virginia Tourism Corporation

Whether your family prefers the beach, the mountains or the wide open road, there's a last blast summer getaway that's just your style. Here are 10 great family getaway ideas to get your planning gears in motion.

The Great American Beach Getaway

What's not to love about the beach? White sand, sunshine and waves make up the perfect summer getaway for many families. Trip Advisor offers their Top 25 U.S. Beaches list to help families pick a beach. Most of this year's choices are in Florida or Hawaii. The Grand Strand of Myrtle Beach, the Outer Banks of North Carolina and the miles of shoreline at Virginia Beach are our family's favorites. Although the East Coast offers a wide variety of beach choices for families, there are plenty of great West Coast beaches too. Try Santa Cruz or Laguna Beach in California or Seaside, Oregon.

Enjoy a Magical Summer Getaway

Nobody does vacation like the Disney folks. Whether you choose Disneyland or Disneyworld, you will enjoy the best that Disney offers. From classic rides to favorite Disney characters, your kids will love the magic that is Disney. Don't forget the late night parades with lights and sparkle. Although there are amusement parks from coast to coast, Disney will spoil you for all of the rest.

Plan a Patriotic Getaway

Visit Washington D.C. and see all of the war memorials, including the World War II Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Korean War Veterans Memorial. Visit famous landmarks including the Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. Be sure to allow time to visit Arlington National Cemetery and watch the Changing of the Guard.

Pick a Big City to Explore

New York, San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, Denver and Chicago all share something in common. Everyone knows where they are and they are filled with many tourist attractions. Visiting a big city can be a lot of fun for families with older kids, but a bit overwhelming with toddlers. Plan to walk a lot and enjoy days filled with activities. Pick up a guide to your favorite city at your local bookstore or put together an itinerary using a travel app on your smartphone.

Explore the Mountains on a Family Hike

The Appalachian Trail is America's favorite hiking trail. The AT stretches for over 2,000 miles through the mountains. Thru-hikers set out in early spring from Georgia to hike to Maine, finishing in the fall. Section hikers hike the AT a section at a time over a period of years. Whether you plan to hike the entire AT or just a portion, a family hiking trip is a great way to enjoy nature and one another. For West Coast families, the Pacific Crest Trail is one of the best trail experiences you'll find. The Continental Divide Trail, the AT and the PCT make up the triple crown of hiking.

Visit a Museum and Share History Together

From the Smithsonian Museums in Washington, D.C. to Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry, you will learn a lot on a historic museum getaway. Pick a theme or a section of the country to explore. Online searches will help you find the best of local sites. You may decide to take a walk through the days of the Civil War or find out more about space. Whatever your children's interests, museums are great places to educate and entertain the entire family.

Visit Family Far or Near

Do your parents or grandparents live in another city or state? Your perfect family getaway may include a trip to visit them. Visit the local sites in the area while you're there. Potluck dinners, special dinners, late night family gatherings and more await as you catch up on the year's happenings.

Plan a Family Camping Trip

Families across the country enjoy spending time together outdoors at campgrounds of all sizes. Located in every state, a family campground offers a quiet getaway with a few perks. There are often group activities included each night. Campfires, fishing, whitewater rafting and the sound of crickets chirping in the dark may be your family's favorite way to reconnect.

Take the Trip of a Lifetime

This may be a red-letter year for your family. Maybe your oldest or youngest child will get married or go off to college in the fall. Maybe this is the summer to take a once in a lifetime trip to London, Paris or Rome. Another option may be a family cruise or a trip to an exotic island destination. If your family plans include trotting around the globe, an exciting adventure trip may be just right.

Enjoy a Cross-Country Getaway

If you've never driven across America, a cross-country getaway may be just right for your family. There are so many sites to see right here in the good old U.S.A. that you could visit a different state every month and not see it all. Travel coast to coast over a few weeks and you'll learn a lot about this country we call home.

There's still plenty of time to plan a great last blast summer vacation with your family. Whatever your family's perfect idea of a summer getaway involves, planning ahead is the key to a summer vacation you will remember long after summer fades away.

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