Vacationing for Less: My Top 5 Family Vacation Spots Within the US
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Vacationing for Less: My Top 5 Family Vacation Spots Within the US

Where to vacation with family in the US excluding New York and LA

There are many places throughout the United States that promote family fun.  Places vary in price and seasonal activities and the best thing to do would be to research places that have things that your family likes to do.  Included are 5 family centered vacation spots.

1.  Orlando: I am sure all know of Disney World.  Disney World is located in Orlando and home to 4 theme parks in 1!  Animal Kingdompaves the way to the care of animals, education and research, showing Disney's love for nature.  The park is divided into 7 areas, each with its own activities and adventures:  Oasis, Discovery Island® area, Camp Minnie-Mickey, Africa, Rafiki's Planet Watch® area, Asia, and Dinoland, U.S.A.®  The Magic Kingdom is any young Prince or Princess's dream and includes 7 lands to venture through: Main Street, U.S.A.® area, Adventureland® area, Frontierland® area, Liberty Square, Fantasyland® area, Mickey's Toontown® Fair area, and Tomorrowland® area.  Hollywood Studios: offers behind-the-scenes look at Hollywood-style action.   You will be entertained by live shows, attractions, backstage tours and much more.  Epcot has several areas to wonder through.   Future World, World Showcase area that represent the culture and cuisine of these 11 countries: Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, United States, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom, and Canada.

Water Parks: Disney's Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, Disney's Blizzard Beach Water Park

Universal Orlando and Universal Island Adventure: Two theme parks to engage the family with great dining and night life.

Sea World, Busch Gardens and Aquatica: Part of the Anheuser Busch family.  Sea World offers wonderful aquatic shows along with a Breakfast with Elmo program.  Busch Gardens caters to all ages with the different sections of the park.  Aquatica is a water parkwhere you can play in and on the water with the animals.

In the Surrounding area: Sky Ventrue, Buena Vista Water Sports, Orlando Balloon rides, Richard Petty Driving Experience,  Daytona USA, Fantasy of Flight, Fun Spot, GatorLand, Riply's Believe it or Not,  Orlando Science Center, WonderWorks, Titanic The-Experience, and the Holy Land Experience.  Enjoy a day at the beach.  A short drive will either take you to the beaches on the Gulf Coast or the Ocean side.  There are things to do for all price ranges.

2.  Western Pennsylvania/Pittsburgh: The Pittsburgh area is home to many Pro/Semi-Pro sports teams.  Depending on the season, you and the family could enjoy a Pirates (the major league team) or the Washington Wild Things semi-pro team baseball game.  The 6 time Super Bowl champ team, the Steelers are also housed in Pittsburgh.  If you enjoy hockey, you can be entertained by either the Pittsburgh Penguins or the Wheeling Nailers (just south of Pittsburgh in the Wheeling West Virginia area).

Mt. Washington and the Inclines:  Ride the restored 1800's incline for an awesome view of the city of Pittsburgh.

Senator John Heinz History Center: a 7 story museum with interactive activities displaying over 250 years of Pittsburgh history. National Aviary: Where over 600 birds from throughout the world are displayed in a natural habitat.  Andy Warhol Museum:a modern tribute to the founder of pop art. Carnegie Measuem or Art and Natural History: Offers same day admission to both sections. Hands -on experiences, a world renowned dinosaur exhibit, gems and much more.  Phipps Conservatory: Take a walk through one of the  largest glass houses.  Children can figure out if they have a green thumb! The Carnegie Science Center: Tour a WWII submarine and engage in the activities on the 4 floors of this creative center. Stick around for a show at the OMNIMax.  The Children's Measuem of Pittsburgh: This hands on museum will let children experience optical illusions, mazes and so much more at their own level.  A great hands-on experience.  Pittsburgh Zoo: Great for the whole family, plus there is an interactive section for the kids!

The Strip district offers wonderful shopping and food choices.

Amusement Parks: KennyWood Park: located in West Mifflin, houses some great rollercoastersand wonderful food.  Hit up the Potato Patch for some cheese fries. Sandcastle Water Park: Has 15 water slides and a lazy river.  The board walk offers both children and adult fun.  Food and beverages plenty! Idlewild/Soak Zone Water Park: 7 themes inside one park.  Enjoy Story Book Forest and Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, plus much more.

Concerts and Live Music: Mellon Arena, Heinz Hall, The Benedum Center, The Cultural District, Post- Gazette Pavilion and much more.

Pittsburgh is a wonderful place to bring the family.  It is an area that is rich in culture, histroy and the arts.

3.Montana: If you enjoy nature, a family trip to Montana may be what you're looking for.  The National Parks:   Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Montana’s Dinosaur Trail.  Things to do:  enjoy a rodeo,  whitewater rafting, hiking, biking, and horseback riding. During the winter season, activities such as skiing, sledding, skating, snow-boarding, sleigh rides, dog sledding, and snowmobiling can keep a family entertained. There are several lakes throughout the state that house water and boating fun.  The area allows for camping, fishing and much more.  Try The Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center or even  The Museum of the Rockies on a rainy day.

4. Gatlinburg, Tennessee: This city had a very rich culture and history with many fun filled activities for the family. Activities include:  Motion Ride Movie Theater ( a moving theater), Amazing Mirror Maze, Ripley's Believe It or Not, Camp Thunder Fun Center and Fort Fun Family Center both include mini golf, laser tag, a 3-D theater, bumper cars, gem mining and more, Hillbilly Golf, head up a 300 foot incline to reach two 18-hole miniature golf courses located on the mountaintop. Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, World of Illusions, many miniature golf courses and lots of places to eat.

5.  Virginia Beach, Virginia: A historic vacation site that has sun and sand to go with it.  Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown are historic sites taht the whole family can enjoy.

Amusement parks: Busch Gardens WIlliamsburg. This part has been voted the Most Beautiful Park for almost 2 decades.  Fun for the whole family and will be opening the new Sesame Street Forest of Fun in 2009, This Forest of Fun will include kiddie rides and a Sesame Street themed water play area.

Virginia beach offers parasailing, whale watching excursions, entertainment and refreshments on top of the beautiful sun and sand where you can swim, surf or just relax.

Virginia is a great place to go dancing, hiking, biking, kayaking, canoeing, fishing or sailing. Something for everyone!

Orlando Sources:

Pittsburgh Sorces:

Montana sources

Tennessee Sources

Virginia Sources:

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Comments (3)

Discount Kennedy space center tickets Orlando Florida - for an exhilarating and educational experience of the NASA's space programs Kennedy Space Center Tickets

O Miller

Your #4 is my #1! I highly recommend Gatlinburg TN to anyone looking for a great fmily vacation.

Adam Swanson

Fun article! I'd never thought about western PA before but based on your description, we may have to look at it this summer. Our family has to agree with your #1, Orlando, as the kids love our annual Disney World vacation