We're trying to plan a "big" family vacation for this summer, and having a hard time agreeing on where to go. My husband likes to be busy, I like to explore in nature, we need for dd to be entertained without being overstimulated, and we all burn out on crowds (and/or really hot temps) after a couple days. Are open to anything in North America, and would be happy to move around a bit around the area (rather than staying in one place the entire week). Some of the places I would love to see include Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, and Quebec City-- but dh thinks that dd is too young for any of those to be a successful trip. He would like to go to Williamsburg and visit amsusement parks and DC, but that sounds a bit too busy for me to relax, and is in an area that we've already visited a lot (I'd really love to go somewhere new!) Dd thinks Sea World and Disney sound fun- but our trip is scheduled for the end of June, which is likely to be very hot and crowded.
Suggestions, please!!! Where have you been on family trips that everyone might enjoy?
Did you marry my husband? We have the same problem. Dh's idea of a great vacation is a theme park. My idea of a great vacation is a beach and a stack of novels.
Several thoughts: We often plan a vacation where we stay 2-3 places. That gives dh the stimulation he craves. My only request is that we stay the same place 2-3 nights in a row so we're not packing and unpacking constantly. So, one of the places we go usually has more to do, and I'm OK with that. Then we'll go to someplace quieter, and less busy for a few days. We'll take a few hikes, sit on the beach, or swim in the pool. We'll take day trips from there on one of the days. Sometimes I let dh go off on a day trip by himself (or with his sister, as she often travels with us too).
We went to Sacramento and Yosemite a couple of years ago and that was a really nice combination. (We actually also went up to Squaw Valley near Lake Tahoe too -- you can get decent accommodations there for less because their major industry is skiing.) They have a really cool train museum in Sacramento and some other neat things to do. It's not so big that you feel too crowded. You could even do a San Fransisco-Sacramento-Yosemite loop. While it's hot in Sacramento in the summer, it's not humid and is much more bearable than the East Coast/SE type of sticky humidity. Yosemite is high enough not to get that hot, and SF just depends, but it's got to be cooler than Williamsburg!
I bet you could do a similar kind of combination with the Grand Canyon. A few busy days maybe in a city (Santa Fe or Albuquerque would be cool). I think it'd be harder to do that kind of combo with Yellowstone since there aren't many cities nearby.
You could also come visit the Pacific NW -- spend a few days in Portland (lots of cool things) or Seattle, and then a few days on the lovely, wild West Coast. (I'm biased, I think Oregon's beaches are nicer.) You can do the Newport Aquarium on one day to keep your husband happy.
San Diego is lovely and there are still one or two reasonable hotels on Mission Beach. It offers plenty of beach chill time, as well as an aquarium, Legoland if you so desire, a great zoo, and Balboa Park. Our vacation there was dreamy and there was plenty of down time. I loved waking up early every morning and walking down the beach to the coffee shop on the boardwalk.
We took my our 5.5 yo twins to a dude ranch in Feb and it was good for all (though none of us are amusement park fans). But there were lots of age appropriate organized activities for the kids, active things we could do together as a family, and a nice pool for hanging out. We went to Tuscon, which may be too hot in the summer, but there are some that look good in Colorado. There are also some fun towns to visit in Colorado (Durango comes to mind) if you did a CO trip.
Lake Winnepesaukee, New Hampshire is PERFECT for June. You can rent a cabin on the shore. There are mountains both small and large to trek up and around, beautiful paths to wander, and amazing flora and fauna to explore. PLUS it is the "oldest resort in America" so there are lots of historical sights to explore and lovely colonial old towns to visit around the lake.
There is water skiing, sailing, canoeing, swimming (it's a crystal clear cool glacial lake with a sandy bottom) fishing, berry picking (some of the best black raspberries ever, blueberry farms, and wild raspberries on the side of the road), and there is a town, Weirs Beach, filled with water parks, roller coasters, mini golf, bumper cars and hot dogs for if you want a day to just have fun and be crazy and do the amusement park thing. PLUS there is this place caled kellerhaus which is an ice cream and candy mecca. You can make your own sundaes with like the longest ice cream bar I have ever seen, then watch them make candy sticks and taffy and peruse the candy store...it's like a kids HEAVEN!
I spent almost every summer of my young life there and I think it is perfect. Warm in the day but cool enough for a fire at night, and you can easily do camp outs on the beaches of the lake.
It's just wonderful. A great place to do either self-catering (which I always prefer with kids so you are not dependent on a kitchen and limited menu) or stay in an all inclusive resort, or even a small family run inn or a B&B, or for that matter do camping (they have amazing campsites!).
I have been all over the WORLD, literally, and I still think it is far and away my favorite place on earth.