These are a Few of My Favorite Things!

Favorite Things
During a recent vacation, I was committed to experiencing something new every day.

I spent my time in Arizona hiking halfway down the Grand Canyon, stayed in a B&B in Sedona for two nights, hiked the trails around Phoenix, and enjoyed tons of other activities.

I have visited some beautiful places and this vacation inspired me to share a list of some of my favorite places to visit in the United States. It just might spark a few ideas for your own future family trip! Did you travel anywhere special over the holidays?

Let us know your favorite vacation destinations in the comments!

New England

Burlington, Vermont: Burlington has a bustling pedestrian-friendly downtown on Church Street. It is a great place to spend the day and as an added bonus it’s the home to Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. Skiing, snowboarding, or sledding are available just 30 minutes away in the picturesque town of Stowe. For fans of the “Sound of Music,” Stowe is home to the Von Trappe Family Lodge. (Yes, the actual Von Trappe family owns this!) If you want to tack on a small international trip, Montreal, Canada is just under two hours away by car!

East Coast

New York: Many people have heard about (or seen on TV) ice skating at The Rink at Rockefeller Center in NYC over the holidays. Of course, many people stay in New York City to watch the ball drop. There is much more to New York, however, than the city! Lake Placid is an Olympic town located in Northern New York that hosts the Whiteface Mountain Ski Resort. At this resort you can do so much more than skiing! Ice skating, bobsledding, dog sledging, and tobogganing are just a few additional winter family-friendly activities available. Check the schedule of activities.

Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia: This place is decked out for the holidays and is great for history buffs! Check out Williamsburg’s Holiday Events for ideas for next year. Williamsburg has carriage rides and people dressed in colonial attire along with homemade holiday food to warm your spirit!

Washington D.C.: Washington D.C. is amazing any time of year. It is especially affordable for families as the zoo is free and so are the Smithsonian museums! Check out a list of holiday activities! There are also decorated trees representing each state! Of course, you’ll have to visit 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue!

Southeast

Florida: Edward Ball Wakulla Springs State Park is located south of Tallahassee and includes an onsite lodge. Many movies in need of underwater and swamp scenes have been filmed at the state park because of its 350-foot deep cave! Be sure to go on the inexpensive riverboat ride to see gators and other wildlife and depending on the time of year, you may even see manatees! You can’t mention Florida without including Disney – the two seem to go hand in hand. Walt Disney World in Orlando pulls out all the stops during the holidays, but offers fun any time during the year for any age! Since we are “Florida” Virtual School here’s one more for the state: Founded in 1565, St. Augustine is the oldest continuously occupied European-established settlement and port in the continental United States. The city has a unique downtown with a very cool history, not to mention a fort and lighthouse the kids will enjoy!

Savannah, Georgia: The history of the city, decorations, and fabulous food combine to make Savannah a wonderful location to spend vacation time.  A trolley ride in downtown Savannah is a must do to get the full experience to learn how the city was designed as well as the role it played in history.  Shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes, and a multitude of seafood dishes just touch the surface in the city’s culinary selections.

Southwest

San Antonio, Texas: We have a large number of students in Texas, so I thought I’d highlight this state! When you combine the Alamo, fun shopping, and great dining on a pretty river you get the San Antonio River Walk! Texas is a huge state (just ask anyone who has had to drive across it) and I haven’t done much on the “other” side of Texas, so if you have recommendations be sure to leave a comment!

Utah: Pick your favorite activity and Utah probably has it! From winter sports in Park City to whitewater rafting and serious mountain biking in Moab, to hiking in Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon, and Zion, your family will have tons to do in Utah. Salt Lake City airport flies you right into the middle of the state!

Midwest

South Dakota: This may not be where you’d want to visit during the winter (let’s just say South Dakotans get their fair share of snow), but just put this on your bucket list! South Dakota is the home of Sturgis (the largest motorcycle rally in the U.S.), Mount Rushmore, and the Badlands! Mount Rushmore is a must see and you get the bonus of being right by Custer State Park where you can watch for herds of buffalo!

Colorado: If winter sports are your thing, you can’t beat Colorado! If you are in need of affordable airfare for a family, Denver International Airport is (generally) a lot less expensive then flying into Salt Lake City, Utah or Jackson Hole, Wyoming! Colorado has tons of ski resorts to choose from. For families, check out Winter Park. It can sometimes be a bit more affordable and fun for the family!

West Coast

San Francisco, California: San Francisco is a fun city for the family. From walking part of (or the entire) Golden Gate Bridge, to visiting Alcatraz, and eating at Fisherman’s Wharf, this city has lots to offer. Also, Muir Woods is a short drive over the bridge if you want to check out a stunning red wood forest!

Seattle, Washington: Not only is there tons to do in Seattle (you have to do Pikes Place), but you have access from the city via boat, train, or car to places like the San Juan Islands, Victoria and Vancouver, Canada, and even Washington’s wine country 30 minutes east of Seattle!

More options for families to stay busy:

1. Check out your local theatre. Many have low-cost plays going on!

2. Find a trail to hike or bike!

3. Check out LivingSocial.com and Groupon.com for discounts on events in your area.

4. Visit your local library and check out books, movies, or video games.

5.   Plan a trip to a college and walk the campus. School breaks provide great opportunities for students to scope out where they may like to go after high school.

6.  Visit a museum.

7.  Find an ice rink! Even warmer towns in the south sometimes have “fake” rinks or indoor ice rinks to enjoy!

8.  Bake cookies as a family. Decorating cookies can be pretty fun and cookies make great gifts!

9. Choose a cause that your family can participate in and volunteer. From picking up trash at a playground or organizing a food drive, options are limitless!

10. Check out destination hotels in your area – many offer free activities for guest and visitors.

We have students all over the world!

Leave a comment with things to do in your location! If you went somewhere over the holiday break, tell us what you did below. Be sure to share you favorite Florida locations so we can add them to our Florida Family Fun pinboard on Pinterest!

Post by Sarah Powers, Former Instructional Designer at FLVS



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