March 19, 2013
Summer camp by definition is pure fun, so imagine a summer camp for the whole family. A place with no schedule conflicts, no dishes to do, no chores to complete, forget the laundry – a place where everyone gets in on the fun. Each summer Kingsley Pines provides just that – a family camp.
Here’s the scoop. Located on picture-postcard Panther Lake in Southern Maine, Kingsley Pines has a splendid private sandy beach framing crystal clear water with an average water temperature of 75-80 degrees. More than 80 acres of old tall pine trees shade the grounds making summer days feel easy. The annual summer family camp program allows all family members to enjoy the great outdoors in a beautiful setting, with the amenities of an all-inclusive resort.
They offer a wide variety of relaxing, fun, and challenging activities for children and adults. Activities include, archery, art, basketball, canoeing, climbing tower, fishing, hiking, kayaking, low ropes course, mountain biking, water-skiing and wakeboarding, just to name a few. All activities are optional, and parents are free to attend an activity with their child. Supervised activities are provided for children four and older. Bonus points: In addition, organized activities are also available for adults. Of course there is always the option to just sit and relax on the beach or read a book on the lodge porch.
The facility includes private cabins that are located along the lake or nestled among their great pines. Many of the cabins have private bathrooms. Cabins without bathrooms share modern bathhouses nearby and not to worry, all cabins have electricity.
Go for the food. Not surprising, Family Camp is known for its great food. The chef has established a reputation for creating appealing and delicious meals. Guests enjoy Maine blueberry pancakes, homemade cinnamon rolls, steak and chicken barbecues, and of course a traditional Maine lobster bake. Bonus points: There are always specially prepared dishes for vegetarians and of course many kid-friendly options. Meals are served buffet style and eaten at lakeside picnic tables or inside the modern and spacious dining hall.
The annual Family Camp is held the last two weeks of August. If this sounds like fun, make plans early. Due to the camps popularity, it fills up fast. If the whole family can’t make it one parent with the kid or kids will do. The atmosphere is friendly and unassuming so single parents with children fit right in.
Make it happen. Kingsley Pines Family Vacation Camp, 51 Coughlan Cove Road, Raymond, ME 04071. Toll free 1-800-480-1533, (207) 655-7181 or www.KingsleyPines.com
Content by FTF and images provided by Kingsley Pines. Copyright 2012
March 15, 2013
San Francisco’s South Bay area is the ideal spot to share fun and learning. From lively festivals and events to inspirational theater and live music, the area is loaded with ways to share fun with kids.
Here’s the scoop. When I think of Mountain View I think of Stanford but the San Jose area offers dozens of opportunities for young families to share fun and learning including watery adventures, shopping, and ways to interact with science and nature. From the tranquility of the Japanese Friendship Gardens or shopping excursions at San Jose’s Santana Row to discovering mammoth bones at the Children’s Discovery Museum or watching movies taken of Mars, there’s something for everyone. For planning purposes I have assembled a list of sure bets – some of them free and the rest worth the coins.
March 14, 2013
In “SoCal” it is easy to create family vacations that include fun and learning. Kayak along the coast or fly a kite on the beach. Rent bicycles to explore the oceanfront boardwalk or go whale watching off Dana Point. Make time to enjoy a sunset with your kids.
I have assembled a few of the best family vacation ideas for your perusal and there are many more in our family Spring Breaks folder.
February 13, 2013
School breaks and spring family vacation time provide the perfect chance to take a break, have fun, and share a learning experience with your children.
The Spring Break folder at theFamilyTravelFiles.com is loaded with ways to create and share unique learning experiences. From stargazing and living history to tide pools and animal encounters the possibilities are endless. Trying something new in a new place may be just what everyone needs or returning to a favorite museum and a comfortable pastime may be even better.
“I have always looked at learning opportunities as an added family vacation value because learning together makes all the difference in how successful your children will be in their studies,” according to Nancy Nelson-Duac, Editor of the popular family vacation planning website. She goes on to say, “The trick is to find places and activities of interest and share the discovery with your kids or grand kids.”
The top 10 choices for exceptional family learning experiences include not just museums, aquariums and zoos but also energizing activities in nature.
- Dallas: The Perot Museum – Dinosaurs, gigantic gems, and a leap frog forest.
- Long Beach: Aquarium of the Pacific –Touch tanks and Free Shark Lagoon Nights
- Oakland: Chabot Space and Science Center – Bill Nye’s Climate Lab discoveries.
- Atlanta: Fernbank – See Extreme Mammals: The Biggest, Smallest, and Most Amazing.
- West Virginia: Bridge walks and mountain biking.
- Tennessee: Ziplining and rope antics in Gatlinburg.
- Seattle: EMP –Celebrating Jimmy Hendricks with outrageous outfits, and rare concert footage.
- Space Coast: Kayak at the zoo and walk through the tree tops.
- Virginia Beach: Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center – Boat excursions and behind the scenes encounters.
- Orlando: Forever Florida – Treetop EcoSafaris and horseback adventures.
Checkout more than 300 Spring Break family vacation ideas which feature ways to combine learning and fun.
About theFamilyTravelFiles.com. Founded in 1998, theFamilyTravelFiles.com is one of America’s top-rated online family travel resources offering more than 1000 pages of timely family vacation ideas and trip planning information. The website specializes in displaying family vacation ideas, destination information for adults planning family vacations, advice about family trips, and family travel deals. To assist in narrowing searches, colorful vacation idea folders are visible throughout the website.
Lisa A Duac Publisher (813) 968-4799 or publisher@theFamilyTravelFiles.com
Nancy Nelson-Duac (817) 573-6920 or editor@theFamilyTravelFiles.com
December 14, 2012
Each year during the holiday gifting season things get blurred by commercial nudging and obligations to “just do something” for family. And once the gift is unwrapped and the day is complete have you ever wondered – is that all there is?
The answer – there can be more if you gift an experience not a thing – a vacation in a box.
Think about giving travel to those you love. It can be sought after festival tickets, a rental car or rail pass,
CityPASS offers amazing urban adventures for families.
an invitation to a beach house for a week in the spring, or an amazing trip meant to be shared with family. Giving travel means the recipient will reap enjoyment as memories are created and the gift lives on with photos, videos, tweets, Facebook posts and best of all family storytelling.
I do not remember what gifts I found under the tree or received on my birthday. I do remember family vacations and days spent one-on-one with my mom, dad or grandmother. I recently asked my adult kids what gifts they remember and except for matching stereos there recollection of holiday memories did not include things but it did include the time we spent as a family and the experiences we h f the Grand Canyon, sea kayaking off Baja California, whitewater rafting, ziplining, living history at Hampton Court, Amtrak to Chicago, and visiting amazing places including San Diego, Hollywood, Montreal, PEI, Costa Rica, Ireland, Scotland, and urban adventures with CityPASS.
I know from experience that giving experiences instead of things pays off with valued family memories which keep on giving. Gift a family adventure with nature at ACE Adventure Resort in Southern West Virginia; give a guided family adventure- Austin Lehman Adventures; consider an urban adventure with a CityPASS ; think about giving an apartment in London or Paris with a Eurail Pass. The possibilities endless- the memories priceless.
November 27, 2012
Families may create magical moments amid miles of twinkling lights.
Thinking of going away for the holidays? Time is running out. I know from experience when kids are involved getting away during the holiday season takes extra planning and often means finding fun in small doses. Less may actually be more during this often hectic season. For weeks we have been adding unique ideas and clever options to our newest vacation activity folder aptly named “Away for the Holidays”.
The new folder offers hundreds of suggestions for holiday experiences and mini adventures including awesome museums, miles of holiday lights, and plenty of yuletide traditions ideal for families. The menu of ideas in the folder provides a complement to our popular “Santa Trains & Holiday Lights” and the Snow Places folders found on our homepage and featured throughout the site.
The articles highlight unique, as well as traditional ways to share good times and create memories with children. The collection of festive holiday vacation activities includes the best places to find miles twinkling lights, and great shopping spots but also King Tut and Buddy the Elf in Seattle, awesome dinosaurs in Toronto and Atlanta, SCUBA Santa in Grapevine, Texas, snow tubing in North Carolina and Southern West Virginia, the magic of Dollywood and Winterfest in Pigeon Forge, LEGO Land snowy days, zoo nights in Orange County, oodles of lively events in Washington DC, and holiday traditions along Boston’s Freedom Trail. The complete list of holiday ideas may be viewed by selecting the Away for the Holidays folder located on the homepage.
I wish you happy holidays!
Editor for theFamilyTravelFiles.com
November 3, 2012
This week I am making my plans to enjoy a holiday rail adventure from Grapevine to Fort Worth, and share holiday lights in as many places as I can schedule on the calendar. For our family the holiday season is about sharing time together, enjoying old family recipes, and reviving traditions which may have been couched because of geographic separations.
Santa awaits passengers for this year’s New Hope North Pole Express.
Across the country the possibilities are endless to share short breaks with sleigh rides, twinkling lights, Santa trains, and even the magical Polar Express. Walk through a fantasy land of twinkling lights; meet with Santa and Mrs. Claus; sip hot chocolate with Christmas elves; sing carols together; ride a special “Yule Train”. From miles of lights along the Boardwalk at Virginia Beach to the magic of Winterfest in Pigeon Forge celebrating is in the air. This year’s lists of reveal a plethora of ways to share the magic with kids including unique lists for Florida and Britain.
My favorites include Winterfest in Pigeon Forge because it offers not just dancing bears, trolley rides, and twinkling snowflakes but great family-style entertainment in the area. For pure fun, I also like the efforts of LEGOLAND in Carlsbad where from mid November to January the “Holly Jolly Holidays” include thousands of twinkling lights, jolly holiday entertainment, nightly fireworks, and “Let it Snow’ the musical.
In New Hampshire the Hobo Railway will be running a Ho-Ho-Hobo Express which includes the jolly elf himself, and on select dates the magical Polar Express. The family adventure begins with a wonderful evening train ride accompanied by storytelling elves, and of course, Santa himself. The New Hope & Ivy and Railroad in Bucks County, PA will be running the annual North Pole Express- a train themed to match the Polar Express story. Passengers ride the rails with Santa and Mrs. Claus; sip hot cocoa and enjoy cookies; listen to local musicians play & sing Christmas carols.
You will find many more Christmas train excursions on file as well as holiday adventures showcased in our new Away for the Holidays folder.
October 26, 2012
Kids ski free or fly free, really? Yes, really.
Stay at the Resort at Glade Springs in Southern West Virginia and ski free at Winterplace
As our economy creeps away from sluggish mode many destinations and resorts are offering extra travel benefits including deals for families. I have my snowy favorites which offer real family vacation benefits – some are time sensitive, some not so much. Plan early, be flexible, and savings can be matched with fun.
Snow, snow, snow. In the last decade, Whistler Blackcomb has received an average of 11.9 metres (39.1 feet) of snow per year. The complex is not just snowy chic but also family friendly offering kids’ programs, kids’ centers, and kids’ adventure zones plus family events and activities. While there are often specials and discounts for midweek stays booking early saves more. Here’s the deal: Generally kids 12 and younger stay, ski and rent for free with five-night vacation packages. Wait for it! Look for additional savings with early bookings ( by 11.15.2012) meaning up to 33% on equipment rental, discounted lift tickets, savings on Snow School, 10% savings on activities and a $20 gas card with a car rental. Receive a free child lift ticket for every 3-day adult lift ticket purchased; take advantage of free rental equipment all season with every adult rental package purchased. (www.whistlerblackcomb.com/)
Ski free in West Virginia. Once again this season the Resort at Glade Springs in Southern West Virginia is offering guests free lift tickets for Winterplace. Now it is true this spot is for families who enjoy back to basics family fun. I like the area for just those reasons. It is uncomplicated destination which is affordable and easy paced with oodles of options for families who want an active family vacation. In addition to hiking and cavern adventures add skiing, boarding, and tubing to the list. Wait for it! Winterplace is the home to the largest snow tubing park in West Virginia and that fact alone should make you want to pack the kids in the van and escape. Here’s the deal: Resort at Glade Springs offers guests free lift tickets for each night’s stay with complimentary daily shuttle to and from Winterplace plus oodles of resort benefits. (Toll-free 1-888-477-3424 or www.gladesprings.com)
Checkout more family ski deals and winter family vacation ideas in Snowplaces at the Files.
March 5, 2012
March is the month Grapefruit League in Florida or the Cactus League in Arizona to show their stuff. And for families who share a passion for baseball spring training is ideal - cheap seats, great weather, and close encounters with players.
After each game Houston Astros' players meet fans at Autograpgh Alley.
The obvious advantage – spring training games offer fans a less intense atmosphere with players willing to talk with fans, and sign autographs. From batting practice to the 7th inning stretch the atmosphere is convivial. Including baseball in your spring break plans is fairly simple. If any team will do then the options are many.
Look to the Grapefruit League in Florida for Astros, The Braves, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Devil Rays, Marlins, Mets, Nationals, Orioles, Phillies, Pirates, Red Sox, Tigers, Twins, and Yankees. The ballparks are found in central Florida, along Florida’s east coast, southwest Gulf side, and the Tampa Bay area. For example: love the Astros then it’s Osceola County Stadium in Kissimmee; follow the Yankees the its Legends Field in Tampa. Add to ballpark time in Florida beach time along the Gulf, airboat rides, Harry Potter at Universal or horseback riding or ziplinging at Forever Florida.
Each spring, Arizona hosts the Cactus League spring training with the teams in Scottsdale, Tempe, Surprise and Peoria. The teams training include A’s, Angels, Brewers, Cubs, Dodgers, the Giants, Indians, Mariners, Padres, Rangers, Reds, and Royals. A two-hour drive south, Tucson is home to the Rockies, White Sox and Diamondbacks play. Add to sunny days in Tucson a visit to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Colossal Cave Mountain Park, Sabino Canyon, Reid Park Zoo or Old Tucson Studio. For families vacationing in the Phoenix area offers plenty of activities to supplement any spring break. Start with the Heard Museum for a glimpse of Native American culture. The Children’s Museum of Phoenix, and the Arizona Science Center are definitely worth time plus the Desert Botanical Garden and the Phoenix Zoo offer hours of fun for families.
Here’s the deal. Whether you choose Arizona or Florida the savings will be in the tickets. Ticket prices span $10 to $30 with family nights offering extra savings and benefits. Some teams offer the chance for fans to take batting practice or attend an autograph session. For planning purposes checkout www.grapefruitleague.com or www.cactusleague.com. Each site offers current schedules and ticket information.
February 29, 2012
Winter breaks have passed and it is officially on to spring breaks. This means, if you are a parent with school age children then it is likely – “good grief … the kids are out of school (fill in your dates here). I need a plan.”
Time travel Henricus style.
For some it is as simple as shipping them off to the grandparents but if that is not your case not then I have a few suggestions to make the time count and still have fun. Think about it. The school year is not over so this break time is a prime opportunity to combine learning and fun. Take advantage of the time to encourage learning about other places, people and things. Share unique activities with your kids (or grandkids) and have fun. The “what” is not as important as the sharing of time learning together.
For example I like the exceptional 17th century living history recreated at Henricus Historical Park near Richmond, Virginia and they have added history and conservation tours along the James River on Discovery Barge II. Combine that with the new Children’s Garden at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden complete with tree house and international village.
Southern California has oodles of possibilities. I like Shark Lagoon Nights at Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. The free Friday night activity includes the chance to touch bamboo sharks and see large sand tiger sharks feeding. Combine that with a kayaking adventure on Alamitos Bay with Kayaks on the Water.
I like Pigeon Forge and Dollywood’s annual Festival of Nations because it’s a chance to have fun and share interesting cultures without the hassle of TSA. Combine that with a few hours of hiking in Great Smokey Mountains National Park or horseback riding near Cades Cove. Wait for it! If rollercoasters make your family happy, you need to know that Dollywood will literally launch “Wild Eagle” on March 24, 2012. It will define flying free.
Checkout Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry and share The Science of Storms exhibit with your kids. It will be memorable. Combine that with time Lincoln Park Zoo. It’s free and open every day.
Better yet checkout the pre-planned urban adventures available with a CityPASS. Share great museums in world-class cities and enjoy substantial savings and avoid long lines. All the fun is included. Need more spring break ideas? Click here.