Small Town, America Family Adventures Volume 1

Sometimes, it’s not where you go, but what you do while you’re there.  If you were to petition a vote of where most American children want to spend their family vacations, Disney, Universal Studios and Cedar Point would most likely be in the mix.  But, after spending days at the crowded theme parks, your child’s best memories might not be of riding a rollercoaster or taking a picture with Mickey.  When my niece recently returned from a trip to Walt Disney World, I asked what she liked best.  Her answer: “The most fun was swimming in the hotel pool; the second best was free breakfast!”  If you don’t want that to be your child’s reaction, consider some lesser-known family friendly alternatives across Small Town, America.  They’ll save you money and be something the whole family can enjoy.

View from Alamo Square at twilight, San Francisco

View from Alamo Square at twilight, San Francisco - stock photo

Cave Junction, OR

Every kid wants to stay in a treehouse, but few get the chance.  So, deprived adults and their kids can choose one of 19 Treesorts treehouses to stay in.  The Treesort is the largest collection of rentable treehouses.  What you get is a rustic, well-outfitted treehouse and access to some memorable activities.  Daily breakfast is included, and there are towels and bedding.  Not all Treesort rooms have full plumbing, but a central amenities area has clean bathrooms for showers, a central kitchen free for you to use and a laundry facility.  Store runs to Cave Junction are easy, as the town is only 10 miles from the Treesort.  If you are expecting room service, richly furnished rooms, and turn-down service, Treehouse Resorts is not for you.  Activities at the Treesort include extensive zip lining facilities, rafting, horseback riding, arts and crafts, and tree climbing, hiking, swimming and bicycling.  Also nearby is Oregon Caves National Monument and the Great Cats World Park.

Wisconsin Dells

Wisconsin Dells, WI

Home to more than 20 indoor and outdoor water parks, the Dells is a great place for a family vacation, with activities for everyone.  During the day spend your time at one of the many water parks, and at night head downtown for shopping at the many antique stores and little boutiques.  Downtown Dells has rides, attractions and souvenir and gift shops.  Besides waterparks, the city boasts fishing, zipline tours, national landmark caves, golf and more.  Lodging is not a problem—there’s something in everyone’s range, from camp sites to luxury resort vacation packages.

San Antonio, TX

Let history tell its story with a few days in San Antonio.  Cruise down the River Walk that meanders along the San Antonio River and continues through to the city’s center.  Here you can find Brackenridge Park and the San Antonio Museum of Art.  The River Walk has numbers of street performers and loads of restaurants, including many excellent spots for Mexican food.  While here, be sure to take the kids to visit the Alamo—it’s free and open every day except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Blue Sky Sea Oats

© Emerald Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc.

Destin, FL

Destin, FL, is one of the most affordable family vacation spots in the United States, according to U.S. News & World Report.  Located in the Florida panhandle, the fine-grain sandy beaches consist of 100 percent Appalachian Quartz, meaning they don’t get as hot as regular sand beaches (the quartz reflects heat).  Nature lovers won’t want to miss a trip to Gator Beach, where experts explain the Florida ecosystem.  Plus, it’s a great opportunity to see alligators!

So how about you?  Do you have some favorite Small Town, America family adventures?  Please share in the comments below.  For more family travel news, reviews, and trip reports, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on twitter and “like” our facebook page too.

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