From road trips, to exploring different parts of Canada and the USA, to jetting off to Paris or Australia, summer vacations are the time to create memories to last for years. Card games in the back of the car, fighting over the last Oreo cookie — which, as a rule, should always go to mom — falling into a comfy mattress, or crawling into a tent at night; these are moments we all wish could last forever during endless, summer days and nights filled with stars or city lights. What are your travel plans this summer?
HISTORY, BASEBALL & ROLLER COASTERS
Robin Edwards and her family love road tripping through the United States and always include a sprinkle of history, a baseball game at a classic ballpark, and heart-dropping thrills at the biggest, baddest coasters they can find. “There are only three of us, so that makes it rather easy as far as numbers go, but less so in keeping my now 14-year old son entertained and enthusiastic. We try to combine something that will be educational with something fun.”
Two years ago they visited Boston to catch a Red Sox game at Fenway Park, they walked the Freedom Trail, and stopped in at Six Flags New England. Last year it was a similar trip to Chicago and its famed Wrigley Field, a tour of the city by double-decker bus for the full tourist experience, and then onto Six Flags America. There’s a theme running through this family’s trips and it works for them.
Atlantic City is Christopher Anthony‘s perfect getaway. Although flashy casinos line the boardwalk, there’s more to Atlantic City. It’s the ocean waves crashing on shore, the warm sea air, and the great food that makes it a favourite place to visit any time of year. “While everyone seems to prefer Vegas, my heart belongs to ‘America’s Favourite Playground’ and I get away to Atlantic City several times a year. This summer will be no different.”
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
Laureen Farnam left her heart in Prince Edward Island, and no matter how many times she and her family make the trek to the Island, they always leave wanting more. Regular road trips to visit family take them to PEI, and no matter the distance travelled or the cramped quarters during the drive, once the Farnam family arrives at their destination, it’s time to relax and soak up the Island vibe. Bay Vista in New London is their ideal place to stay; it’s small and located near Cavendish. Breakfast is included, there’s a pool to splash around in, and enough of a yard to enjoy sitting under a tree with a coffee and a book while the kids play nearby.
“We always try to do things a bit different each time we visit, so no two trips are the same. There’s so much to see and do on PEI, and it lives up to its name ‘The Gentle Island’ so well that simply sitting and enjoying feels like doing something.” A few favourites that have become regular must-dos: the Sandpit Amusement Park in Cavendish, a meal at Prince Edward Island Preserve Company — go for the PEI potato pie and the raspberry cream cheese pie — a stop at a local art gallery and pottery studio, Village Pottery, and a day at Cavendish Beach followed by an evening to drink in the sunset. PEI is always a treat.
Candace Derickx has visited Disney World so many times she’s lost count. Not really, but she’ll get there soon enough because Disney is one of her favourite places to go with her kids. Disney’s appeal doesn’t stop with kids though, there’s enough here to entertain the adults in the group, and it’s even a fun destination for a girlfriends or couple’s getaway. Summer is a great time to go because you can tack on days before and after to lengthen the road trip or take detours to the beaches on the Atlantic Ocean.
Someday I might get tired of going on and on and on about Ucluelet, British Columbia. (And by someday, I mean never.) You’ve all likely heard of Tofino: surfing mecca of the west coast of Canada, paradise on Earth, and a great place to hang out and eat a great meal. Tofino is all of those things, but so is Ucluelet. Ukee — as the locals call it — does everything with a different vibe. Things are slower here, a bit cooler, the conversations last longer, and the wildlife is as close as the parking lot beside the Amphitrite Point Lighthouse on the Wild Pacific Trail.
HONEY HARBOUR & BEAUSOLEIL ISLAND
Honey Harbour is only a two to three-hour drive from Toronto and is the gateway to the more than 30,000 islands that dot Georgian Bay and Lake Huron. Cottagers, day trippers, and campers come through the busy port town on their way to summer and weekend getaways. For those who want to stay in Honey Harbour there are a few options for lodging, dining, and my favourite — coffee shops.
A water taxi takes you to Beausoleil Island (part of Georgian Bay Islands National Park) and there you can camp or rent a cabin. Even the camping is civilized though because the National Park provides wildlife-proof cabins to store food, newly renovated washrooms, mountain bike rentals, and even play areas for young children. The beaches are sandy, the is water shallow, and the hiking is easy. It’s more glamping than camping.
The writers at Life in Pleasantville shared a few of their recent favourites and I’ve included a few other trips to serve as inspiration for your summer plans, but now I want to know where you’re headed this summer. Will it be plane, train, or automobile that gets you there? And just in case you’re running out of ideas for the perfect summer vacation, My Family Travel is sharing 1001 (or close to it) ideas. Follow along on Twitter at #BestSummer and get inspired, then share which one of these ideas your family will enjoy.