Need to escape the city for a long weekend with the kids? It's not too late. You can still have a grand adventure this summer that is great for children and adults alike. Whether you and your family favor lounging at the beach, historical adventures or discovering wildlife, one of these three destinations can make for a summer vacation your kids won't forget.
Soak in history
Yes, it gets hot and muggy in our nation’s capital come the summer, but why wallow in heat when you can cool off in one of the kid-friendly Smithsonian museums scattered around the area? They are all free of charge, to boot, so you can skip around to the National Museum of Natural History, National Air and Space and National Zoo, which isn’t inside but well worth braving the heat for. You can also take the kids to see how money is literally made at the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Those seeking adventure can take the 30-minute trip to Marlboro, Maryland, and hit up Six Flags America for a day of rides for big and small kids alike. For lodging in D.C., the JW Marriott offers a package for families that includes free meals for kids 12 and under, with the menu designed by famous nutritionist and author Keri Glassman.
For sun, sand and surf
Pack up the kids and take that beach vacation you always dreamed of. For a seaside locale, book a room at the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa in nearby Hollywood, a large, 39-story complex that includes two pools, golf, tennis, a kid’s club, a great breakfast buffet and access to the beach — towels, umbrellas and lounge chairs included. Beyond the ocean, take the kids on a tour of the Everglades, the largest remaining subtropical wilderness in the world, which is ripe with alligators, turtles and rare birds. For night activities, head to the Wreck Bar for its mermaid show, MeduSirena — an underwater adventure that guests can witness from the confines of the bar while nibbling on pizza, cheeseburgers and fish and chips. Another bonus? Fort Lauderdale is three-and-a-half hours away from Walt Disney World, so Mickey Mouse is only an express bus ride or drive away.
Cool off and explore
Beat the NYC heat and revel in San Francisco’s crisp lower temperatures and comfortable weather. Pack a sweater and head to Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf to marvel at the lazy sea lions that litter the rocks, or visit the Aquarium of the Bay for more animal wonders. There’s also plenty for kids to do at the magnificent Golden Gate Park, from learning about plants at the San Francisco Botanical Garden, riding the Herschel-Spillman Carousal, taking in art at the de Young Museum and having a traditional Japanese tea party in the Japanese Tea Garden. For an easy day trip outside the city, head to Muir Woods, where the giant Redwood trees are sure to make your tot feel like you entered a fairytale. For a central location, book a room at Kimpton’s Argonaut Hotel in Fisherman’s Wharf. The hotel specializes in hosting children, providing cribs, child safety kits, kid-friendly dining options, contacts for accredited babysitters and hula hoops in the gym. You can even get a goldfish delivered to your room in case your child needs an extra friend.