6 No Fly Vacations for Families

See recent posts by Lissa Poirot

With airfare seemingly through the roof these days, we’ve got vacation ideas that are within a hop, skip and a jump from your house (meaning: it’s not going to cost you an arm and a leg to fly away). Whether you’re in New England or New Mexico, these jaunts will give your family time together and fill the days with fun.

1. If You Live in New England: Cape Cod, Massachusetts

You could spend entire summers exploring the arm-shaped land and waterways surrounding Cape Cod’s 15 distinctive towns, and many New England families do just that. But even weekends are ripe for a visit to the Cape’s sand-duned beaches. Bring your bikes (or rent them) for long, picturesque rides through the National Seashore and along the Rail Trail, pull up a picnic blanket and catch a Cape Cod League’s baseball game (witness future pros at bat), and be sure to sample ice cream from the dozens of shops selling homemade treats.

Recommended Resort: Wequasett Resort and Golf Club

2. If You Live in the Mid-Atlantic: Washington, D.C.

All points in the Mid-Atlantic lead to our nation’s capital, and it’s an ideal place to take the kids, offering more free, fun and educational attractions than there are members of the Senate. Chock full of monuments, museums and distinct neighborhoods — with all of the Smithsonian’s museums offering free admission — the city also boasts professional sports, a fantastic art scene, and parks aplenty for outdoor R&R. You might not see all of Washington, D.C. in one week, which leaves you plenty of reasons to make another escape.

Recommended Resort: Willard InterContinental Washington

3. If You Live in the Southeast: Charleston, South Carolina

Whether you’re in need of a sandy beach or are looking to stroll through the sands of time, Charleston provides both to its Southeast visitors. School-aged children will see their history books come to life at the city’s forts, plantations and attractions, while a stay at neighboring Kiawah Island or Isle of Palms will provide amenities galore at a beachfront resort in which to soak up the Southern subtropical climate, soft sand and warm Atlantic Ocean.

Recommended Resort: Kiawah Island Resort

4. If You Live in the Southwest Grand Canyon and Yellowstone

Thousands flock to the Southwest every year to take in the beautiful scenery of the Grand Canyon and nearby National Parks, such as Yellowstone. Located in northern Arizona, the Grand Canyon is 277 miles long and as much as 10 miles wide, so surely you have yet to explore all of its trails and wonders. Further north awaits Yellowstone, the country’s most oft-visited National Park. At 3,472 square miles in size, this park begs for adventures like horseback riding, boating, fishing and hiking.

Recommended Resort: Old Faithful Inn Hotel

5. If You Live in the West Coast: San Francisco, California

Leave your hearts in San Francisco, the City by the Bay. West Coast kids will have fun running the cable cars, catching the seals at Fisherman’s Wharf, roaming the storied halls of Alcatraz and taking in the views of the Golden Gate Bridge from one of the city’s beaches or parks. And mom and dad will really love the food — some of the country’s best — with fresh-from-the-sea seafood dishes and locally grown and organically produced produce, not to mention a glass of wine from nearby Napa Valley.

Recommended Resort: Hyatt Regency San Francisco

6. If You Live in the Midwest: Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

The self-proclaimed “water park capital of the world” boasts 21 indoor and outdoor water parks and more than 200 water slides in which visitors from the Midwest can splash. (To this day, I fondly remember a weekend at the Dells when I was no more than 8 as one of the best family vacations I have ever taken.) Tucked away in central Wisconsin, the Dells also features boat tours, land-based attractions at many amusement parks, live entertainment and more than 8,000 hotel rooms to rest your weary heads after a day of fun.

Recommended Resort: Kalahari Resort

For more drivable travel ideas, check out:

  • 7 Sensational Drives for Families
  • 10 Best (and Sweetest!) Factory Tours
  • Family Car Travel Tips

    Visit our Forums for more discussions on Family Road Trips and Cross-Country Travel.

    Visit our sister site, Independent Traveler, a comprehensive online travel guide, for ideas on weekend getaways for under $500.

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