US: Great Lakes, Best Family Vacation Beach Spots - Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan.
Yes, it is possible to have a family beach vacation in the middle of the USA. The Great Lakes offer several rewarding spots and some of the very best water parks can be found on dry land. From waterslides and wave pools to shipwrecks and campfires the options are many. We have a few energizing suggestions for your consideration. Ohio: Kings Island, Nickelodeon™, Waterslides, and Musical Theatre.
Kings Island is one of the largest theme parks in the Midwest, and has been proudly voted “Best Kids Area in the World” for six years in a row! Get soaked at the award-winning waterpark and catch some airtime on more than 80 rides and attractions. The little ones will love the fantasy land of Nickelodeon™ Universe, the largest collection of Nick-inspired attractions in the world! Kids delight in meeting their favorite Nick characters and everyone can join in the fun on attractions where parents and kids can ride together. Off water bonus:
La Comedia Dinner Theatre is one of the nation’s largest professional dinner theaters with productions that will leave the audiences tapping their feet, humming familiar tunes, and experiencing musical theater in a truly unique way. Discovery:
Kids will howl loud at the Great Wolf Lodge at Paramount’s Kings Island resort. With over 400 lodge-themed suites, such as The Wolf Den™ and Grizzly Bear™ where kids get a sleeping area complete with TV and video game consoles. Jump in and get soaked in one of America’s largest indoor water parks, measuring 78,000 sq. ft., with eleven waterslides, sic pools, an interactive tree house water fort, and 410,000 gallons of heated water. Plus, there’s no snow, rain or weather that can keep you from enjoying your time here – it is 84° all year round! (Kings Island: 6300 Kings Island Dr., Kings Island, 45034. Toll-free 1-800-288-0808, www.pki.com
or for the bigger picture go to www.ohioslargestplayground.com
or call toll-free 1-800-791-4FUN for vacation packages.)
Michigan: Holland, Park Breezes, Summer Theatre, and Awesome Sand Dunes.
The area in an around Holland, Michigan is home to many parks which offer year round recreational and educational opportunities. Swimming and sunbathing on along the sandy Lake Michigan beaches, canoeing, fishing, or participating in a naturalist-led walk along wooded trails are just some of the many great activities. The town of Holland is an American beach town with a distinctly Dutch flavor, Holland offers tulips, windmills and a choice between two refreshing lakes, Michigan and Macatawa. Off beach bonus:
Great entertainment can be found at the Hope Summer Reparatory Theatre staging musicals, plays, a cabaret and two children’s plays on alternating nights from mid-June through August. (616) 395-7890 or www.hope.edu/hsrt
No trip to Western Michigan is complete without a cruising the Dunes of Saugatuck with the famous Saugatuck Dune Schooners. Take a ride and discover the slopes and valleys of the dunes, and roll though the primitive unspoiled areas of surpassing natural beauty. (6495 Washington Road, Saugatuck. (269) 857-2253 or www.saugatuckduneride.com
) Holland Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. (76 East 8th Street, Holland. 1-800-506-1299 or www.holland.org
Ohio: Lake Erie Islands, Walleye, Apple Trees and a Camel.
With a winning combination of a vast shoreline and a central location, the Lake Erie Islands region encompasses several vacation experiences. Park all along the shoreline offer beaches, picnicking and wildlife viewing while fishing for Walleye, perch and small mouth bass yields trophy-sized catches. On the water sailing, boating, and jet-skiing are favorite activities. Off beach bonus:
Check out the African Safari Wildlife Park in Port Clinton. Exotic species roam the 100-acre preserve, accessible by drive-through safari. Pony and camel rides, educational programs and the Jungle Junction Playground round out the site. (267 Lightner Rd, Port Clinton. Toll-free 1-800-521-2660 or www.africansafariwildlifepark.com
) yeah. Discovery:
The region has a deep-rooted history dating to before the Civil War, the Chautauqua village of Lakeside is know world-wide, across the region apple and peach orchards flourish next to friendly farm markets and antiquing is prime. (Ottawa County Tourism Office: 770 S.E. Catawba Rd., Port Clinton. 1-800-441-1271 or www.lake-erie.com
) Illinois: Knight's Action Park, Bumper Boats, a Wave Pool and Abraham Lincoln.
Beach and water fun is still possible even without one of the Great Lakes. Springfield’s home for entertainment, excitement, and refreshing summer fun is Knight’s Action Park - a part of the Springfield area for over forty-five years. Today, Illinois’ favorite family fun park is home to water slides, batting cages, a fifty tee driving range, the classic Big Wheel, a giant wave pool, providing guests with a beautiful natural setting as well as plenty of fun & excitement with entertainment for all ages. The thrill of the Devil Ray water slide, the crashing splashes of the Bumper Boats, or a leisurely trip aboard the Peddle Boats across the wide lake all provide amusement options for every age. Discovery:
The park offers sheltered picnic pavilions, catering menus with delicious food choices, and a group services staff to assist in anyway necessary. (1700 Recreation Drive, Springfield. (217) 546-8881 or www.knightsactionpark.com
) Off beach bonus:
As any 10-year-olds will tell you Springfield is Abraham Lincoln’s home. Free Ranger led tours of the Lincoln Home are the central feature of the site. The Visitor Center offers orientation and interpretive films. Exhibits are located within the neighborhood. Take a tour of the two-story home of Abraham Lincoln, the only home he ever owned. Abraham and Mary Lincoln lived there from 1844 until Mr. Lincoln's election to the Presidency in 1861. (Knight's Action Park. 426 South Seventh St. (217) 492-4241 ex.221 or www.nps.gov/liho
) Wisconsin: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Shipwrecks, Kayaks and Campfires.
Windswept beaches and cliffs on the 21 islands and 12 miles of mainland greet visitors to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. Lighthouses shine over Lake Superior and the new wilderness areas. Visitors can hike, paddle, sail, or cruise to experience these Jewels of Lake Superior. The rich history of the islands includes Native Americans, voyageurs, loggers, quarrying, farmers and commercial fisherman. Off beach bonus:
Free guided tours of the lighthouses at Devils, Michigan and Sand islands are available from mid-June through September. Discovery:
Make sure to join park staff at the Presque Isle campfire circle on Stockton Island nightly from late June through Labor Day. The free talks last about 45 minutes and cover such topics as bears, wilderness, bears, and shipwrecks (and bears!). Starting times vary through the season. (Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. 145 Washington Avenue, Bayfield. (715) 779-3397 or www.nps.gov/apis