Can you believe our summer break is already halfway over? A lot of folks have asked me whether our family has any trips planned this summer.
The answer is yes and no. We took a short cruise in May to celebrate our four graduates (not these four — they were just along for the ride):
But since then, we have been sticking pretty close to home. There are a lot of fun things to do in Tyler, which we’ve recently revisited. And we’ve also taken a couple of day trips to Dallas:
However, the majority of Doug’s partners need to take their family vacations in June and July while their kids are out of school, so Doug normally just works through the summer and lets his colleagues divide the those ten weeks amongst themselves.
That being said, we do have a fairly lengthy family road trip in the works which will take us up through Tennessee, DC, NYC, Boston, and Maine. Although we’ll be taking that trip while it is still technically summer, we won’t head out until many of our friends and neighbors are already back in school. The sightseeing stops are much less crowded that way — another great advantage of homeschooling flexibility and off-season travel.
That trip is in its final planning stages (I’ve written before about how I put together the travel itineraries for our road trips, so I won’t recap all that info here).
I’ve already mapped out the route and made [most of] our housing reservations. Now I’m planning which activities we’ll do at each stop. Then I’ll plan meals. Then I’ll start packing. 🙂
As for sightseeing, we like to do a mix of things we’ve done previously and really enjoyed (like the Smithsonian Museums and Capitol building in Washington, DC, the Stanton Island Ferry and Statue of Liberty in New York City, and the USS Constitution in Boston) as well as new things we’ve never tried before — which for this trip will hopefully include as many of the following as we can pack in:
- Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon – I understand it is REALLY difficult to get tickets for this show’s tapings, but we’re big fans, so I plan to do my best. Tickets are released one month in advance, and I’m hoping to snag five of them for Dad and the older kids (they won’t admit anyone under 16).
- On Location Tours – This tour company has been around for 17 years. Experienced actors take fans to the sites where their favorite movies-set-in-New-York-City were filmed. We’ll probably take either the TCM Classic Film Tour or the Central Park Tour. Use this coupon to save $3 per ticket.
- New York Hall of Science – This museum offers a hands-on approach that explains science, technology, engineering and math programming to children of all ages. Their permanent exhibit, Connected Worlds, is a fully immersive, digitally rendered, interactive display. Visitors can explore the interdependence of six environments and interact with creatures, trees and plants within each atmosphere. (Our ASTC membership will get six of us in for free.)
- The Ride – This tour gives guests a front-row seat to the streets of New York City in a multi-million dollar motor coach that comes equipped with state-of-the-art audio/visual technology, one-of-a-kind stadium seating, and huge panoramic windows. Tour guides, performers, and native New Yorkers alike will show guests a side of New York City they can’t see anywhere else. Use this coupon to save $50 off a group tour with The Ride.
- Madame Tussauds in Times Square – Voted as one of New York’s most unique attractions, Madame Tussauds is the only place with no ropes or barriers holding you back from getting photos with your favorite stars! Pose with over 200 figures of internationally renowned musicians, A-list stars, sports legends, world leaders, superheroes and more. Use
this coupon and save 15% off admission.
- Classic Harbor Line Cruises – See Boston like you never have on this 2 hour sail aboard the Adirondack III, a wooden 80-foot pilot schooner. Within five minutes of leaving the dock, you’ll forget the mayhem and noise of the city, and you’ll feel the relaxing breeze of Boston Harbor! Save 15% Off Classic Harbor Line Day Cruises when you book online and use Promo Code: Mom2015
- Edaville USA This is likely the last trip our family will take to New England while our kids are still young enough to get excited about Thomas the Tank Engine, so I’m planning a visit to this Top 3 winner for Best New Amusement Park Attractions (as chosen by readers of USA Today) while we are there. Edaville USA is home to Thomas Land, Dino Land (Seasonal), Christmas Festival of Lights (Seasonal), and over 90 rides & attractions.
I’m also working on the initial plans for another trip to Florida early next Spring. That trip will include a return visit to Legoland for “Homeschool Day” (they offer several dates to choose from). It was one of the highlights of our trip last time — and the tickets for those events are so low-priced! Other possible adventures for our next Florida road trip include:
- TreeUmph! Adventure Course – With aerial courses ranging in difficulty and height, visitors work their way through 76 intricate treetop obstacles that test your balance and ignite your passion for action and adventure. This exhilarating outdoor adventure spans 10 football fields in size and includes hanging nets, wobbly bridges, Tarzan ropes, and a triumphant 650-foot ZIP line.
- Bluefoot Pirate Family Adventures – Experience the magic of a pirate cruise sailing in South Florida in search of treasure. Come on a Bluefoot Pirate Family Adventures voyage as we take everyone into a world of treasure hunts and battles on the high seas! Use this coupon for BOGO Deal on Tuesdays and Thursdays – Buy one get one 50% off!
- Rebounderz – My kids love going to indoor trampoline parks, so I thought it might be fun to try out one a little further from home. Rebounderz of Apopka, Florida, is dedicated to providing a safe, fun, and exciting environment for friends and families to enjoy together.
- The Tallahassee Museum – This unique 52-acre outdoor Museum — featuring an 1880s farmstead, historical buildings, live collection of native wildlife, and scenic grounds — provides hands-on learning and entertainment for all ages. The internationally acclaimed exhibit, Jim Gary’s Twentieth Century Dinosaurs, also calls the Museum home. These vividly colored dinosaurs sculpted from recycled car parts evoke thoughts about art, science and sustainability. Tallahassee Tree-to-Tree Adventures, the Museum’s new zip line and adventure course, encourages visitors to explore the majesty of nature from high in the trees. Use this coupon to get $2 off Admission OR Tree-to-Tree adventures per person!
- Dolphin Research Center – See dolphins and sea lions up close at Dolphin Research Center in Marathon, Florida! A world-renowned nonprofit marine mammal education and research facility, Dolphin Research Center welcomes families daily to learn about their animal family. Educational narrated behavior sessions take place about every half an hour and inspire kids of all ages to care more deeply for marine mammals and the environment.
- Color Me Mine – Knowledgeable & friendly staff knows easy techniques & has lots of tips to help you create a masterpiece in this paint-your-own ceramic studio. Whether you are interested in making a special gift, learning a new skill, or just looking for a fun activity, Color Me Mine will help you create something unique using special glazes that are non-toxic, food-safe, and wash out of clothes! Use this coupon to save 15% off of your first visit!
I’ll blog after the fact to let you know which of these activities we actually end up doing and what we think about them. Until then, I’m having a fun time just considering all our options.
In fact, I read recently that planning a vacation causes an even greater spike in happiness than taking one. Isn’t that interesting? And it’s true, regardless of when you actually go, how long you stay, or how far you travel.
So visit a few of my favorite vacation planning websites and start planning a trip of your own. Whether you travel cross-country or try something new in your own hometown, your family — and your mood — are sure to benefit!