When school lets out, parents start planning. Here are some great family friendly getaways to help you survive the summer break.
With abundant beaches, beautiful weather and great family attractions that include LEGOLAND California, the Birch Aquarium, and USS Midway Museum, San Diego is a solid choice for families.
Stay: Paradise Point Resort & Spa, a family friendly, 44-acre island resort featuring bungalow villas on the beach, swimming pools, beach bonfire pits, family bicycles and a marina.
Eat: Corvette Diner, a 50s style restaurant that embraces the era with costumes, music and performance—and waitresses with bouffant hairdos. The burgers and shakes are top notch, but a visit here is as much about the atmosphere as the food.
Must Do: Balboa Park, the “Smithsonian of the West,” offers 16 museums ranging from the San Diego Museum of Man to the San Diego Model Railroad Museum; the park—currently enjoying a centennial celebration—also houses the San Diego Zoo and 12,000 acres of beautiful parkland.
Phoenix and Scottsdale is a great choice for a family vacation; kids will soak up both the sun and the cowboy culture, and there’s good food and pampering for mom and dad. Plus, the whole family can enjoy Arizona’s gorgeous outdoor recreation.
Stay: The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess has waterslides, play areas and a lavish series of pools. If you plan ahead, you can book your own cabana for the day, complete with fruit basket, TV, overhead fan and comfy lounge chairs. In Phoenix, check into the all-suites Pointe Hilton Squaw Peak Resort; its “Old West” themed pool area has a lazy river and more than four acres of pools and waterfalls.
Eat: Head to the Phoenix Public Market in downtown Phoenix for Food Truck Fridays, where you can have your choice from dozens of delicious offerings.
Must Do: Plenty of pool time is always going to be on the menu, but be sure to get away from the resort at least one day. For a taste of old-west Arizona, drive the Apache Trail route from Phoenix or Scottsdale to Goldfield Ghost Town for a day of gold panning, gun-slinging and bank robbing fun.
You’re pretty much at the epicentre of kid fun in Orlando, from Walt Disney World Resort to Universal Studios Orlando to massive waterparks and the impressive Florida Mall.
Stay: If you’re planning to have the Disney or Universal experience, your best bet is to stay on site at one of the resort properties. The time you’ll save on commuting in sprawling Orlando, and the perks (early entry, for one) are worth the extra cost of a stay. The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground add a bit of fun to the experience—some include a full kitchen to save on your food budget. At Universal, the Cabana Bay Beach Resort is a budget-friendly, fun ’50s retro-themed resort with lazy river, pools and on-site bowling alley.
Eat: While at Universal Studios Orlando, stop in for some bangers and mash at Diagon Alley’s Leaky Cauldron, based on the infamous fictional pub in Harry Potter.
Must Do: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is not to be missed. With a second theme park now connected by Hogwarts Express, the whole Harry Potter experience is a highlight at Universal Studios Orlando. After, make sure to check out the new I-Drive 360 entertainment area, featuring a celebrity wax museum, aquarium and the 400-foot tall ferris wheel, the Orlando Eye.