Ten long months of waiting and anticipating. At long last, it has arrived: Summer! Most families dream of the typical Disney vacation and spend years saving to make it there. I am firm believer that every family should have at least one such vacation. But, if long lines in extreme heat are not appealing to you, perhaps a traditional Disney vacation will not do. Explore these alternative travel destinations for summer family fun. Will one of these be the ticket to your best summer vacation yet?
- Disney Cruise Definitely NOT your typical Disney vacation, the Disney cruise lines offer several packages which can include theme park visits. The cool thing about this alternative is that you still get all the “magic” of a Disney vacation, but without all the lines and all the waiting, and all the bumping into people,… You get the idea. Parents will LOVE the fact that the ship affords plenty of freedom for kids to play, enjoy the characters, and do their own thing while mom and dad enjoy some alone time. Kids will enjoy feeling free to explore and walk around the ship, without their parents looming over their shoulders all the time! There are tons of fun, interactive, innovative activities for all ages and interests. Plus, the visit to Castaway Cay (Disney’s private 1000 acres island in the Bahamas) is a real breathtaking experience!
- Puerto Rico OK, so we are still in the whole traditional summer, beach and sun mode. But, Puerto Rico has many hidden treasures typical visitors don’t know about and rarely get to see. If you are the adventurous, outdoorsy type, then Puerto Rico might just be the perfect destination for you. First, Puerto Rico is home to the only real rain forest in US territory. Known as “El Yunque,” this incredible landmark is filled with unusual flora and fauna, beautiful views, breathtaking water falls, and can provide a full day of pure enjoyment. Make sure to register with the forest rangers for full access to hiking trails and other amenities! Then, there the Arecibo Observatory. Believe it or not, this facility houses the biggest radio telescope in the world. Definitely worth the 2-hour trip from San Juan. If that is not enough to entice you, then add to the list, eco-tourism, night kayaking trips in a bio-luminescent bay, camping at the beach, zip-lining, and a tour of dozens of incredibly beautiful lighthouses, and you might just have found your summer travel destination!
- Ecuador Now, if you are truly ready to get away from your typical summer vacation, consider visiting Ecuador. This beautiful, South American country offers culture, beauty, and natural surroundings made even better by the warm and welcoming spirit of its people. Ecuador has three distinct climatic zones: the coast, the Andes mountain range, and the Amazon. So, there is definitely no need to suffer the heat while visiting. The country is large enough to offer a wide range of possibilities for the traveler. From shopping, to outdoor adventures, to exploring nature in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador has something for everybody. Of course, make sure to get your picture taken right at the center of the world, with one foot on the northern hemisphere, and one on the southern hemisphere!