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Summer is the season of getaways. You may have dreams of running off to a far off locale but that doesn’t fit into your budget or family situation. Don’t let the fact that you can’t jet away to the south of France keep you from traveling with your family. The United States is an amazing country with lots to see, and you can create some wonderful memories and open your kids up to incredible experiences just by taking weekend getaways that can be reached by car. These getaways can be budget and family friendly if you pick the right locations, activities and hotel. If you need a little inspiration, here are 5 fantastic family weekend getaways.
Lake Tahoe is a classic California getaway that can be reached by a drive along historic Route 395. What better location for a weekend getaway than one you can travel to by taking a road trip down a storied American highway? While Tahoe is a premier snow skiing destination, in the summer, Lake Tahoe is one of the best places in the country for water sports. Water skiing, boating, paddle boarding and more are very popular warm weather activities at Tahoe.
A trip to Lake Tahoe would not be complete without sightseeing, and the sights are unbelievable. Even the most grumpy of teenagers will be impressed by all there is to see here. Visit Van Sickle Bi-State Park. Here you can take an easy to moderate hike up to a waterfall and view Lake Tahoe basin. For the most famous view in all of the area, you have to visit Emerald Bay. The panoramic scene here is breathtaking. There are places to horseback ride around Tahoe or just taking a drive up the winding mountain roads that look down over the lake from different points is fun.
Wilmington, North Carolina
Wilmington, North Carolina is a wonderful beach destination for a family weekend getaway that includes surf and sand. The beach is perfect for a family getaway because everyone loves the beach whether they are one or one hundred! The Wilmington area is unique because of the variety of settings. You can walk along the historic Riverwalk on the Cape Fear River or visit one of the island beaches like Carolina Beach, Kure Beach or Wrightsville Beach.
This historic coastal area is easily accessible and family friendly. You can enjoy all the charm of a southern city with all the fun of the beach. Visit the sites by carriage or trolley. Go shopping and grab a bite to eat on the Riverwalk. Carolina Beach offers classic boardwalk fun, including fireworks on the beach this summer! Kure Beach is the place to go if you want a quiet, small town feel for your beach experience. You can also visit the Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher and Fort Fisher State Park here. Wrightsville Beach is action packed this summer with water sports, surfing competitions, concerts and more.
All the best spots in the Wilmington area are not too far apart and you can reach it all by staying at the Hampton by Hilton at Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach.
Huntington Beach, California
Huntington Beach is known as Surf City USA but this city is about so much more than surfing. The beaches here are some of the best in the world; wide and sandy, with perfect waves, palm trees and golden sunshine year round. If your family getaway includes some furry family members, you will want to check out the Huntington Dog Beach. The Huntington Beach Pier is a classic American destination located on the Pacific Coast Highway. So take a ride down the PCH and stop at the pier with your family. All summer long there are concerts near the pier.
Do you have a surfer in your family? Plan your getaway in time to witness the US Open of Surfing! For a little culture, there are world class museums in Huntington Beach, including the Bowers Museum and the Huntington Beach Art Center. In addition to the beaches, take in nature at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, the Shipley Nature Center, or the Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy.
You’re going to be happy in Huntington Beach. Make sure your family loves where they stay and book a room at the nearby Hampton by Hilton at Seal Beach.
For a family weekend that is packed full of enriching and exciting activities, Chattanooga can’t be beat. There is something for everyone and then some in this lovely southern city. This city offers activities of every type: natural, historical, adventurous and educational.
Chattanooga has natural locations like Ruby Falls and Rock City. See the Tennessee River by taking a river boat cruise. For a little Civil War history, you can visit the Battles for Chattanooga Museum. The rich railroad history of the city is on display at the Chattanooga Choo Choo and the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum. If you have adventure seekers in your family, rock climbing at High Point Climbing and Fitness is so much fun. For the best in educational experiences, don’t miss the Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga Zoo, and the Creative Discovery Museum.
With all the action in Chattanooga, you will still need a place to rest and recharge. Check out the Hampton by Hilton at Chattanooga/Downtown and Hampton by Hilton at Chattanooga West/Lookout Mountain.
If you are in Florida, skip the overdeveloped tourist attractions and plan a weekend getaway to Naples! This city in southwestern Florida on the Gulf of Mexico is just beautiful. Naples appeals to those wanting a luxurious experience including high end shopping and fine dining. It is also great for families who want to enjoy pristine beaches and nature.
For shopping (window and actual) and dining, you must take a stroll through the downtown district of Fifth Avenue South. If you are looking for an outdoorsy adventure, rent a boat or book a fishing expedition. Go on an Everglades tour. Marco Island, a barrier island to the south of Naples is perfect to enjoy white sandy beaches, sailing, golf and more. The Naples area is so gorgeous, especially the sunsets. We think it would be amazing to book a photographer and get some family photos taken on the beach in the early evening while you are there.
Keep your Naples stay family and budget friendly by staying at the Hampton by Hilton at Naples-Central. You will get exactly what your family needs to be comfortable and rested without paying for a bunch of ridiculous amenities you will never use.
This summer, Elena, Daily Mom’s managing editor, is part of the Ultimate Seekender team. Elena has a traveler’s soul. She just can’t stay in one place and takes off on adventures every chance she gets. While she does travel on her own, her passion is traveling with her daughter so she can experience as much as possible. As part of the Seekender Team, Elena will be bringing travel posts to motivate and inspire more family travel. Here you can learn more about the Seekender movement.
Follow the Ultimate Seekender Team with #seekender. What are you waiting for? Hit the road and share your adventures with us!
We hope this has inspired you to make the most of your weekends with your family and go seek adventure. Be a Seekender and seize the weekend! Book your first getaway here. Pack up the car and the kids and hit the road for as many weekends as possible this summer. You won’t regret it!
For more destinations, tips, places to stay and more, check out our Travel Section on Daily Mom.