Friday, August 16, 2013

Fun for the WHOLE family

As summer break is coming to a close, the last thing you're probably thinking about is NEXT summer's vacation. But maybe you should be. I mean, how was the trip? Stressful? All-Inclusive? Did everyone enjoy themselves? Here are the top 5, as recommended by Parents magazine:
1. San Diego, CA
2. Portland, OR
3. Washington DC
4. Orlando, FL
5. Chicago, IL

Now, I'm going to help you plan this out. Maybe next year will go a little smoother ;)

San Diego, what a city?! It's really beautiful. Take my advice and stay near the downtown (Gaslamp District) the trolly will take you everywhere you need to go. My choice for major highlighs would have to be the zoo, the USS Midway, and Balboa Park. Here's a great itinerary I stumbled upon. I couldn't have planned it better myself... other than to space it out! I would suggest this same trip but over 2days!

Portland is every Foodie parent's dream vaca! And while you're stuffing your face there are some pretty cool things to see along the way. A very good friend of mine lives here now with her young family and she suggested the following:  Spend an afternoon at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), including a tour of the USS Blueback Naval submarine. Drink a heavenly seasonal Burgerville milkshake, made with local huckleberries, caramel apples, or chocolatey hazelnuts. And finally,  get a bird’s-eye view from the Portland Aerial Tram.

Washington D.C. was a family favorite for my clan growing up. My dad lived there when he was in the Coast Gaurd so he knew all the tricks and tips. We went several times while growing and I've since been with friends. I know it as one of my homes! Here's the best part- It's CHEAP! All of the 17 branches of the Smithsoniam (this includes the ZOO!), there are several weeks worth of sights to see. Plus the area is steaped with rich revolutionary hiertage and military pride. I ALWAYS see the changing of the gaurds at Arlington- I remember doing this as a family, it really taught me so much respect for our armed forces. I also suggest picnicing on the Mall lawn. It really takes the rush out of a long day of exploring!

Orlando... well I live here, so you would think I would be it's biggest advocate. That would be wrong! But I know why everyone comes here, I work for that very company. That being said, there is more to Central Florida than a mouse and his 4 theme parks that couldn't possibly be covered in a single trip! My suggestion: Half the stay doing theme parks, half the stay at the beach- Clearwater is amazing, sometimes you can even see dolphins!

Chicago- My one true love! At least it is in this country. The heart and soul of this city is in it's communities. My favorite being Lincoln Park. I suggest staying there and taking the EL into the Loop area. It's a fun lesson on mass transit for the kids! Once in downtown you have so much you can see and do. Everyone picks the Shedd Aquarium and it is amazing, but head down the road just a bit and also check out the Adler Planetarium! They have really cool exhibits that should interest the whole faily.

Hope this makes next summer a little easier!

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