Summertime Fun Adventures
by Doreen Hanna
Summer is usually the time when booked calendars and busy schedules are hopefully lessened for you and your children. The realization of freedom from the early morning alarm, carpooling, sports activities, music or dance classes, homework and volunteer commitments brings a sigh of relief.
Then comes the annual question, “What are we going to do this summer?” Initially this sounds like fun as you secure your thinking cap with some time on your hands. However, the pursuit begins to feel daunting, like the busy schedule you left behind. Isn’t it great when something comes across your path that assists in one less Google search and is exactly what you were looking for? Here’s hoping that the following vacation suggestions will free you from one more anxiety-driven moment and ignite the spirit of excitement. Let’s get started!
A ONE- OR TWO-WEEK VACATIONS
Following are suggestions for one state in the North, South, East and West of our USA
Northern USA: Montana is known as one of the most beautiful states in America. Enjoy Montana’s beauty while hiking along stream-side trails and meadows carpeted in flowers in Yellowstone’s quiet backcountry. Explore magical Fountain Paint Pots, Old Faithful and neighboring geysers. Enjoy a scenic bike ride around Grand Prismatic Spring and through one of Yellowstone’s thermal hot spots. Ride horseback high into the Absaroka Mountains alongside a real-deal fourth-generation cowboy. Raft a playful stretch down the Yellowstone River. Relax and recharge with a soak in a soothing hot spring and a candlelit dinner at the historic Chico Hot Springs Resort.
Southern USA: Tennessee
Visit the 10 best kid-friendly adventures in the state! Here is a sampling of several of them.
- Bays Mountain Park and Planetarium – Kingsport
Explore the park’s 3500 acres along beautiful hiking trails and mountain bike trails. See artifacts from the earliest families who settled on Bays Mountain in the mid-1800s.
- Dollywood – Pigeon Forge
Home to the world’s fastest wooden roller coaster. Breaking coaster barriers is what Dollywood does best as the theme park is also home to Wild Eagle, America’s first wing coaster, and Fire Chaser Express, America’s first dual-launch family coaster.
- Museum of Appalachia – Clinton
Home to three dozen historic log structures, exhibits filled with thousands of authentic Appalachian artifacts, gardens and free range farm animals keep kids of all ages entertained for hours. Learn what life was like for the first Tennessee settlers.
- Museum of Scott County – Huntsville
A museum built, curated and maintained by students, for students is making its mark on Scott County. Exhibits are vast, including a Pioneer Playroom where children can dress up and participate in “hands on” experiences. Couple that with historic structures and farm animals for a uniquely educational visit.
- Discovery Park of America – Union City
An immersive experience of a wide range of topics is just inside this multi-million dollar museum. Experience the historic 1811-1812 earthquakes that formed Reelfoot Lake; take a 40-minute interactive ride through outer space in the Starship Theater; and see West Tennessee from new heights by climbing up to The Tower.
The East Coast: Consider a trip to visit the top lighthouses along coastal states. Driving along the beautiful East Coast provides many views of the Atlantic Ocean, and the quaint, small communities provide some of our founding fathers’ residences and most important highlights of our country’s history. Below are a few details on several lighthouse locations.
- Portland Head Light – Cape Elizabeth, Maine. On a clear day, from the base of the rubble-stone-and-brick Portland Head, you can see four more lighthouses. There’s a museum in the keeper’s quarters.
- Race Point Light Station – Provincetown, Massachusetts. The cast-iron beacon is solar-powered, while the keeper’s house and neighboring whistle house operate off solar, thermal and windmill power. You can rent a room overnight in the keeper’s house and by the week in the whistle house.
- Stonington Harbor Light – Stonington, Connecticut. Only a five-minute drive from Mystic Seaport, this octagonal granite light, designed to look like a castle, offers a panoramic view of Little Narragansett Bay. Deactivated in 1889, it boasts the country’s oldest lighthouse museum, opened in 1925.
- Scituate Lighthouse – Scituate, Massachusetts
- White Island Lighthouse – Off Rye, New Hampshire
- Wood Island Lighthouse – Biddeford, Maine
- Nauset Light – Eastham, Massachusetts
- Block Island Southeast Lighthouse – Block Island, Rhode Island
- Colchester Reef Lighthouse – Shelburne, Vermont
The West Coast: A trip along the California coast can be an educational trip visiting the Spanish Missions. There are 21 historic missions, built between 1769 and 1833, along the coast on modern-day Highway 101. Most of the missions are just inland for various beach cities that provide the pleasure of stopping for a swim in the Pacific Ocean or enjoying the beautiful sunsets, great seafood and other popular California restaurants visited by Guy Fieri, the host of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
- Take time to visit a relative who lives just an hour or two away and interview him or her about your family history.
- Go biking on a new bike trail or path in another city.
- Plan a picnic in a park you haven’t been to before.
- Volunteer for the day at an animal adoption organization.
- Visit a retirement home and read stories or sing to the residents.
- Assemble a family cookbook with all your favorite recipes.
CLOSE TO HOME ACTIVITIES
- Create a simple gift, like paper flowers or a personally designed card, and distribute to your neighbors, telling them how much you appreciate them.
- Take a free kid’s workshop at a home improvement store.
- Write a newsletter together as a family, then send to extended family and friends who aren’t on social media.
- Call friends you haven’t seen in a while and arrange to meet for a swim or play date.
- Serve at a local homeless shelter for the day, cleaning, serving meals, etc.
I pray this summer will be a memorable one for you and your family.
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