Whether your family craves magical adventure rides, learning from hands-on exhibits or tackling the great outdoors, you can find a city within the 50 States that will satisfy your hankerings. The friendly folks at HostelBookers.com have identified family vacation destinations that are chock full of adventure and yet have nearby lodging that’s easy on the budget!
Live the Fantasy
In Orlando, Florida, your family can really slip the bonds of the everyday world! Loaded with state-of-the-art theme parks, visitors can enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando, ride through the galaxy at Walt Disney World’s Space Mountain and explore the world beneath the waves at SeaWorld Orlando. Although land-locked, Orlando has water parks like Wet’n’Wild and the marshes around Gatorland provide lots of opportunities to cool down after burning off some steam at the Wonderworks’ Rope Challenge course or Lazer Tag arcade.
Unleash Inner Genius
A holiday to California’s San Francisco Bay opens doors of creativity for the whole family! For example, the new Pier 15 location of its world-famous Exploratorium is committed to “changing the way the world learns” with over 600 sophisticated interactive exhibits that spark healthy curiosity about art, science and human perception. At the Walt Disney Family Museum, the exhibits take your “down the rabbit hole” to understand how these masters of imagination create their fantastic realms. At Golden Gate Park, the Children’s Playground provides a delightful romp for kids with attractions like the Children’s Creativity Carousel and at the nearby California Academy of Sciences, the whole family can participate in fascinating research into the wonders of nature.
Experience Nature’s Delights
Set amid the gorgeous Texas Hill Country, Austin’s beautiful lakes, rivers and springs beckon your family to get outside and chill out at Barton Springs Pool, swim under the waterfall at Hamilton Pool or go tubing down a lazy river. Escape Texas summer heat underground at Inner Space Caverns where prehistoric animals once made their home or the Longhorn Cavern with its checkered past. Each evening during the summer, millions of bats emerge from under the South Congress Avenue Bridge over downtown Austin’s Ladybird Lake and this eerie spectacle can be viewed from the bridge walkway, neighboring restaurants and picnicking along grassy river banks or — for the ultimate ringside seat — aboard a private or tour boat that positions your family right underneath the spectacle.
Explore America’s Treasures
There’s so much to see in Washington, D.C. that the hardest part is choosing what to do first! The hands-on family themed exhibits at the Smithsonian Museum encourage learning by doing and at the National Zoo your gang can get up close and personal with the animal kingdom. A little known, but highly interesting, Washington family favorite is the International Spy Museum that delves into the lives of secret agents (both fact and fictional) and has some of the coolest souvenirs in town! Don’t forget to walk through the monuments like the Lincoln Memorial along the National Mall that are all free and open every day but Christmas.
Peeling the Big Apple
Just under the hard-score skin of New York City you can discover a bounty of sweet family friendly amusements! The Imagination Playground doesn’t have the standard swings and slides, instead it encourages make-believe scenarios with statues of dragons that spout water instead of flames and giant foam blocks that can be crafted into ingenious play forts. At the Children’s Museum of Manhattan, everyone is invited into the magical world of childhood. Climb aboard a real aircraft carrier for a fun and educational experience the whole family can enjoy at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum!
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