November 24, 2017

Top 5 Great U.S. Destinations for Families to Discover

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TripAdvisor came out with a survey yesterday awarding two cities in my home state of Virginia – Williamsburg and Virginia Beach – as the top-two “Great U.S. Destinations to Discover.” Now I love this list of cities because they aren’t typical family vacation destinations, like Orlando (Walt Disney World) or Los Angeles, but these are great places with history and culture (and your kids will have fun too). Take a look at the top five on the TripAdvisor list:

#1 Williamsburg (VA): Check out Colonial Williamsburg to march in musket drills, watch a mock witchcraft trial, take candlelit tours and hear ghost stories from “character interpreters” in period costume. There are even crafts, like decorating wooden toys, for little ones. Everyone role plays and speaks in character in Colonial Williamsburg. For more fun, rent 18th century costumes at the Visitors Center or Market Square in the center of town.

#2 Virginia Beach (VA): Before you hit the beach, stop in the Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center for an open-ocean aquarium, a turtle-hatching lab and a 3D IMAX theatre. They also offer excursions to see bottlenose dolphins in their natural habitat. Check out even more habitates in the dunes, woodlands and marshes at the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

#3 Lake George (NY): Hop aboard the Minne-Ha-Ha, an authentic paddlewheel steamboat, with the Lake George Steamboat Company to explore the large historic mansions on the southern half of Lake George. Learn about the French and Indian Wars, as well as the American Revolution (both Lake George and the Adirondack area had key roles in each).

#4 Pigeon Forge (TN): Every kid loves dinosaurs, so stop in the Dinosaur Walk Museum, or even pop by the Pigeon Forge Gem Mine for an afternoon of discovering ancient rocks, fossils and gems. You can also offer your kids a glimpse into the last days of the world famous Titanic as Titanic Pigeon Forge recreates the maiden voyage with interactive displays and interviews with survivors.

#5 Branson (MO): The World’s Largest Toy Museum is a fun place to check out thousands of toys, some that date back to the 1800s. Check out crystal cave formations at Talking Rocks Cavern or head to Table Rock State Park for hiking, biking, boating and camping. They also have a great Ride the Ducks tour that lets you see the scenic Ozarks from land and water.

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