Archive for the ‘Family-Friendly Destinations’ category

Enjoy The Great American Campout in Myrtle Beach

July 4th, 2015

Head to Myrtle Beach this year to celebrate the annual Great American Campout. The summer-long event, sponsored by the National Wildlife Federation, is encouraging families of all ages to get outside and camp now through Sept. 7, 2015, and there’s no better place to do it than at the Ocean Lakes Family Campground.

Aerial view of the Ocean Lakes Family Campground in Myrtle Beach

As the largest campground on the East Coast, and one of the largest in the U.S., the Ocean Lakes Family Campground in Myrtle Beach offers 310 oceanfront acres for families to park their tents or RVs. There are 893 campsites, complete with water, sewer, electric, cable TV and phone hookups, free Wi-Fi, daily trash removal and picnic tables. And for those who don’t own an RV or a tent, the property has nearly 300 rental houses and trailers that are fully furnished to feel like home.

While camping at Ocean Lakes, families will enjoy direct beach access. For those who need a break from the sand, the Ocean Lakes Sandy Harbor Family Fun Center offers an arcade, a mini-golf course and a swimming pool, and a new water park is set to open in 2016. Kids may also like exploring the Ocean Lakes Nature Center Discovery Lab, with its 10,000-plus shells and fossils on display.

For families who still don’t think camping is for them, Ocean Lakes also offers a Camptown Center that features conveniences like dining options and a Laundromat. The Sandy Mart sells snacks, groceries, souvenirs and more, while Sandys Meet n’ Eat serves up breakfast, lunch and dinner with indoor and outdoor seating. Sandy’s Center Stage is also located here; it plays host to magicians, singers, storytellers and other entertainers.

If your family can’t make it to the Ocean Lakes Family Campground, then plan a night of camping in your own backyard in honor of the Great American Campout. Take the pledge on the National Wildlife Federation’s website now to help raise money for nature and wildlife. Supporters have agreed to donate $1 for every person who pledges to camp this summer, hoping to raise up to $100,000 to help protect the great outdoors.

For more information on the Great American Campout, visit the National Wildlife Federation’s website.

— Hilarey Wojtowicz

8 Outdoor Summer Events in Vermont

July 2nd, 2015

Everyone knows that the beautiful Green Mountains of Vermont are the ultimate place on the East Coast to play during the winter, but don’t overlook this magical New England state for summertime fun. From outdoor adventures to fabulous festivals, the Vermont ski resorts have you covered all summer long.

Killington's Dirty Girl Mud Run
Adventures in the Great Outdoors

Here’s an event where Mom can get down and dirty and the family can cheer her on. At Killington’s Dirty Girl Mud Run, participants ages 14 and older will run, jump, hop, bounce and splash their way to the finish line through challenging and fun obstacles. After conquering the course, plan to celebrate at an awesome after party. Most of all, expect to leave with an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. This year’s Dirty Girl Mud Run happens on July 11, 2015.

Have a pair of kids angling for some serious fun? For the second year running, the Kids Adventure Games are returning to the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Vermont. Kids ages 6 through 14 team up and enjoy the thrill of an adventure race that encourages teamwork, problem solving, sportsmanship, environmental awareness and fun. The Trapp Family Lodge is situated on 2,500 acres just outside of the charming town of Stowe and is a veritable outdoor playground for families. This year’s games will be held July 11 and 12 , 2015

Never had the opportunity to go to camp as a kid? Here’s your chance. Now in its second year, Mount Snow’s popular family camp offers families the chance to unplug and reconnect through activities like hiking and mountain biking, high ropes course adventures, capture the flag and evening bonfires. Big, family-style meals, pool time and comfortable, spacious accommodations round out three-, four- and seven-night all-inclusive packages. Family camps begin on either July 26 or August 2, 2015.

The Jackson Gore Summer Music Series
Musical Celebrations

Head to Okemo Mountain every Friday throughout the summer for what Yankee magazine considers the best free music series in New England. The Jackson Gore Summer Music Series brings a variety of local and regional bands to the courtyard of the Jackson Inn to kick off the weekend from 6 to 9 p.m. each Friday. Bring lawn chairs or picnic blankets and enjoy the evening. Jackson Gore Village is full of summertime action for families. Spend the rest of the weekend bungee jumping or zooming down the mountain coaster at the Adventure Zone, play golf or hike the nearby trails.

Pack a picnic and relax with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra at Woodstock’s Ski Resort. Soft green grass and flitting fireflies provide the backdrop for an evening with the symphony under the stars. The theme of this season’s concert is one of enchantment and whimsy — perfect for a magical night in Vermont. The concert concludes with the spectacular 1812 Overture, marches and fireworks. Woodstock is another quintessential Vermont village. Spend a few days strolling through town, visiting the Billings Farm and Museum, hiking in the National Historic Park, and indulging in a stay at the Woodstock Inn. The concert will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 9, 2015. Grounds open at 5 p.m.

For a different kind of musical celebration, don’t miss Quechee, Vermont’s Ottauquechee MusicFest. Now in its second year, this festival is held in an amphitheater set up at the Quechee Club’s ski area. Theatrical vocal and dance performances feature well-loved hits by artists like The Eagles, Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire, Maroon 5, and Supertramp. This year’s performances take place on Friday, Aug. 7, 2015.

Family hiking through Vermont
Fun Family Festivals

Few things say summer like a handful of plump, juicy blueberries and Okemo Mountain Resort has a whole day dedicated to celebrating these sweet, blue orbs. On Sunday, July 26, the resort is celebrating everything blueberry at the Okemo Blueberry Fest beginning with a pancake breakfast in the Jackson Gore courtyard. Spend the day enjoying live music and games, try your luck in the pie eating contest, and pick-your-own blueberries on a nearby farm.

Make your way north to Jeffersonville for the town’s annual Festival of the Arts. A highlight for area visitors, enjoy a day strolling along Jeffersonville’s charming Main Street and viewing the works of dozens of talented regional artists. Beyond the artwork, family activities include music by the Green Mountain Swing Band and Eames Brothers, games and fun for the kids, and plenty of food offerings. Jeffersonville is a short drive from Smugglers’ Notch resort, a haven for classic Vermont-style summer adventures. This year’s festival takes place on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015.

— Gina Vercesi

Gina Vercesi is a freelance writer with a passion for exploring nature and the outdoors. Gina features off-the-grid family travel adventures on her blog, Kids Unplugged, and writes as the “Unplugged” Traveling Mom for the Traveling Mom Writer’s Network.

6 Places to See Fireworks in the Poconos

June 29th, 2015

With less than a week until Fourth of July, families most likely have their celebratory plans set. A BBQ with the family during the day and a fireworks spectacular at dusk. However, if you don’t have plans to view the brightly colored explosions in the sky yet, no worries. If you live in or around the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, you can easily see one (or more!) of six different displays taking place this coming weekend.

Family watching fireworks

Honesdale Fireworks Celebration
The party starts at 5 p.m. on Friday, July 3, in Central Park, with food, music and fun for all ages. Children can enjoy games and activities just for them, too. At dusk, the town sets off fireworks over Irving Cliff. Admission is free. Rain date is Monday, July 6.

Shawnee Fireworks Display
Visit the Shawnee Mountain Ski Area on Friday, July 3, for outdoor fun before the fireworks display at night. Enjoy a DJ, stilt walkers, a magic show, food and craft vendors and more. Fireworks will shoot off around 9 p.m. Admission is $10 per car. Rain date is Sunday, July 5.

Fireworks Over Lake Wallenpaupack
Enjoy lakeside fireworks in Hawley, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, July 4. Parking and seating is available at Wallenpaupak High School and fireworks will begin around 9 p.m. Admission is free. Rain date is Sunday, July 5.

Fireworks in Jim Thorpe
Memorial Park will host an old-fashioned Independence Day Celebration on Saturday, July 4, and families are invited to attend. Festivities kick off at 3 p.m. and kids will enjoy rides and games, as well as food and live entertainment. Fireworks begin at 10 p.m. Admission is free. Rain date is Sunday, July 5.

Fireworks at Mount Airy Casino
Mount Airy Casino in Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania, is hosting a Pat Benatar concert on Saturday, July 4. If you don’t have tickets, don’t worry – you can still have fun watching the fireworks display after the show! Fireworks begin around 9:45 p.m.

Camelbeach Fireworks
Families can slip and slide all day, and then enjoy a concert and fireworks at night on Saturday, July 4, when they purchase tickets to Camelbeach Waterpark or the new Camelback Lodge & Indoor Waterpark. The Maybabies will perform at 7 p.m. and fireworks will begin around 10 p.m. Full-day admission is $39.99 for adults and $29.99 for kids. Twilight admission is $24.99 for adults and $19.99 for kids.

For more Fourth of July celebrations and displays, read about the 7 Best Fireworks for the 4th!

— Hilarey Wojtowicz

Adventure Activities at the Omni Homestead Resort

June 28th, 2015

Hot Springs, Virginia, is pretty, well, hot this summer, especially at the Omni Homestead Resort. The expansive, mountainside retreat is offering an array of outdoor activities for families this year, many of which are included in the seasonal Adventure Package.

The resort’s Adventure Package includes one activity per person, per day, plus parking for one vehicle, a 50-percent discount for children at the KidsClub and 15 percent off additional outdoor activities.

Waterslides at The Omni Homestead Resort

Alleghany Springs
It may be difficult to drag children away from Alleghany Springs, the resort’s 2-acre water park, complete with two, 100-foot waterslides, a 400-foot lazy river, sandy beach and kids’ water play zone. There is also a large family pool, hot tubs and cabanas for rent, which can hold up to six people and come with mini-fridges, flat-screen TVs and sofas.

With eight stationary targets of varying distances, both kids and adults can try their hand at archery at the resort. If you’re already a pro, try a more challenging experience at the 10-station, 3D archery range onsite. One-hour sessions are available with equipment for both adults and kids.

Fly Casting Clinic
Have you always wanted to learn how to fly fish? Now you can in the Cascades Stream at the resort with trained guides. One-hour lessons are available with equipment included. Reservations must be made in advance.

Homestead Shooting Club
The Omni is known for its sporting clay courses, which extend nearly a mile into the woods. Families can enjoy two sporting clay courses, four skeet fields and trap and five-stand courses along the way. Group and private lessons are available and equipment is provided. Reservations must be made in advance.

Horseback Riding
Take in the scenery during a 30-minute horseback trail ride through the resort’s wooded areas. Riders must be at least 54 inches tall to ride alone. Kids under 54 inches can enjoy a hand-led ride.

Additional activities offered at the resort during the summer include falconry, golfing, Segway tours, tennis and a KidsClub.

The Adventure Package starts from $295 per night and is available seven days a week. For an additional cost, families can add on a breakfast plan to the package.

— Hilarey Wojtowicz