Best Vacation Spots Within the US for Family of 3 - Cherryville,MO

Updated on February 08, 2010
S.J. asks from Cherryville, MO
16 answers

I have a soon-to-be six year old and a wonderful hubby. We would like to take a somewhat inexpensive vacation. I am looking for suggestions for the best place you have ever vacationed and what time of year you visited. Give me details! This gives you a chance to really re-live that great vacation and help out a fellow mom at the same time!

- Thanks in advance

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answers from St. Louis on

Santa Claus, IN! We went there last year and my kids (ages 4 and 5) absolutely loved it! They have an amusement and waterpark. Everything is pretty inexpensive. They have a campground called Lake Rudolph that has awesome activities for the kids.



answers from Kansas City on

Well, I haven't visited there yet, but I was just looking into a mini-vacation to the Mall of America in Minneapolis, MN. There is a ton of stuff to do inside and outside the mall! Inside the mall is a Nickelodeon theme park with different rides and stuff all themed around Nickleodeon and Noggin shows. If you go to the MOA website it will direct you to other things to do in the area, but it's a reasonable driving distance and there is a huge waterpark close by, a zoo, multiple museums, etc. It looks really fun and we're looking forward to going!

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answers from Kansas City on

Northern Michigan. We used to take our children when they were young to the Traverse City area & camp out in Sleeping Bear Dunes area. Loved it! Swim in Lake Michigan, camping, burying each other in the sand, rinsing off in the the lake, walking the sand dunes, relaxing! It was always wonderful. One year we went up further into the upper peninsula to Tahquamenon Falls. We camped in the park & swam, drove to Lake Superior & swam there also, again, cooking out in the open, tenting, just the whole outdoor thing is amazing what it does for you inside...& gives your children the opportunity to relax & enjoy life. Yellowstone. I took my children & we rented a cabin at Yellowstone. It was wonderful. The cabin was without electricity or bathroom, so much like a tent, but with beds. We just LOVED driving thru the park & seeing the different animals, feeding the chipmunks. We even named some of them. It was just such a relaxing & soothing time. My husband wasn't able to go on that trip & I've always wished he had been able to. Another vacation was camping in the Redwood Forest. We again just LOVED the time with our youngest daughter & 2 of our grandsons. It was just an amazing campground. We had the river to ourselves for the better part of the week, until the weekend when we shared it with a couple other families. But we enjoyed walking the beach, swimming in the lake, sleeping in the tent, cooking over the fire, just the entire time was really good for us. I've been on cruises, been to Germany & Austria, Hawaii, but my favorite trips were the simple, enjoying the really simple things of life & relaxing. Now that my kids are grown, I look back on those special simple vacations as some of my favorite memories in life. It's not how much you spend, it's the time away together, leaving the cares of the world behind & really just being together that really matters.


answers from Spokane on

I love Lincoln City, Or. We have been with our kids several times and its great. Its a windy beach but its close to us, so we'll take it. The kids enjoy building sandcastles and flying kites and looking at the tide pools, not to mention just being on the sand and hearing the ocean. As I am a Ca. girl and grew up on the beach, I have only fond memories and wish to give that to my kids too!

Camping! Camping is a favorite of ours as well. Just something about it...its chalk full of fun family time! I also grew up camping but being a silly girl, I didn't really like it...especially during my teen years! When we had kids and hubby first suggested camping, I was less than enthusiastic! It is so much work and so dirty and then there's the whole bathroom situations, yuk! Trusting my hubby and going with the flow was one of the best thing I ever did...our kids absolutely love it and we try to go every summer! ~ I was shocked to see my hubby in the camping element...he is so good at it! He loads and unloads the car (which I think is the hardest part), he sets up the tents and the screened in "room" I made him buy to go over the picnic table, he chops wood and makes awesome fire, cooks delicious breakfast and makes wonderful coffee! Not to mention the fantastic hikes and nature walks he organizes for us while we are there. Last year myself, hubby and 2 oldest kids swam all the way across the lake we were at and it was wonderful! I know my kids are making positive memories and it makes me feel so good! It makes me feel good to think about my hubby in that environment also...all sexy and smelling of campfire...yummy!

Go family fun time!



answers from Dallas on

We just came from visiting the National Parks in Utah and Arizona...GORGEOUS! My husband and two kids, ages 4 and 6, and I had a blast! We visited the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and Arches National Park and did their Junior Ranger Program ( ). My kids LOVED it! They learned about each park, and we learned things about each park that we wouldn't have noticed on our own. At the completion of each booklet, the kids met with a park ranger, who looked over their answers. Then, they were "sworn in" as Junior Rangers and given a badge at each park. Even my husband and I got in on the fun and earned our own badges!

We got a lot of great pictures, and we had such a great time enjoying the beauty of our Earth together. It was so neat!

Just FYI, each park charges for entry, and since we were planning to visit more than one park (in addition to plans to visit more this year), we bought the annual pass. Once you visit a park and do their Junior Ranger program, you will see why. :)



answers from Wichita on

Our family of 5 goes to Keystone, Colorado every year. It's a nice place to just relax and enjoy the weather. There are a variety of things to do as well... shopping, paddleboating, feeding chipmunks and an assortment of just about everything. We also take our 2 moms for babysitting so we can go out... extra fun! It is definitely much less expensive in the non-ski season and there are some pretty reasonable rates on We've stayed in the "moose retreat" condo for 2 years in a row for about $100 a night. Keystone is a little more expensive than some vacation places, but I guess you're paying for the view because it's gorgeous. We usually go in the fall when the leaves are changing but summer is fun as well. The only thing different is in the fall there are less stores and things open because they start preparing for winter.


answers from Jacksonville on

Wisconsin dells is always fun in the summer. Disney all year round is great with kids. Any where with a beautiful beach is great.



answers from Los Angeles on

I have never been but I have heard that camping in the sumer time in Yosemite California is really nice. You can stay in these tent like cabins with beds but no electricity and you have to lock up your food at night in these bins due to the bears. It does not cost much either. But if you want to be pricey, Orlando Florida is awesome. My family went 4 years in a row and we live in California. We did the Disney Parks once but then discovered the Universal Parks which my kids love since they are older now.



answers from Kansas City on

We love Destin, Florida. It's a haul to drive there, but we prefer to save the expense of flying so that we can spend the money to stay at a nicer place. There is so much to do there and the beaches are beautiful.

A previous post mentioned VRBO and I have to second that. We have had great success with this rental website and have used it for trips to Florida, Colorado and the Lake of the Ozarks.

We prefer to rent condos and houses and then go to a grocery store for breakfast/lunch food. Then we eat out for dinner, but this saves alot of money and time.

Hope you find a great place and have a wonderful vacation!



answers from La Crosse on

We love Wisconsin Dells. We've only been in the early spring, but there are a ton of things to do there year round. We always stay at the Great Wolf Lodge there, but there is also the Kalahari and the Wilderness. Those are the top 3 resorts there. They're pretty reasonable for all that they offer. Plus, the Great Wolf Lodge runs specials all the time. We're actually going there again at the end of March and we can't wait!


answers from Detroit on

geauga lake in ohio is always a blast. they have a water park and also an amusement park. it's fun for the family. disney is always good anytime of the year, were actually getting ready to take my boyfriend's nieces and our daughter there next year. or anywhere with a beach is always beautiful and relaxing! :)



answers from Kansas City on

We love Branson. Silver Dollar City, which has rides and lots of learning experiences (my husband loves the blacksmith and I loved watching the dude blow glass) plus lots of museums. There's a Titanic museum and Ripley's believe it or not museum, which the 6 year old should get a kick out of. There are also lots of places for fishing. And Springfield isnt that far away, with Lamberts, an awesome restaurant where they throw rolls.



answers from Kansas City on

My family goes to Myrtle Beach every year. My boys are 5, 7 and 16. We stay at the Breakers Resort (condos with full kitchen, washer, dryer, etc.) and there is a wonderful daily buffet breakfast included in price. They have a pirate ship and small waterpark at the hotel which is on the beach. The price is very reasonable and the staff are always wonderful. We have been in each of the summer months and never felt crowded. My kids loved the Children's Museum, Alligator Adventure and Ripley's Aquarium. I loved shopping at Broadway at the Beach and Barefoot Landing. The entire family enjoyed a banana boat ride and we loved Myrtle Waves Water Park. We flew one year but have driven all other years and made stops along the way (Louisville Slugger Museum and Six Flags one year, Ruby Falls one year, etc.).


answers from Boston on

I take my family to Cocoa Keys water resorts 3 times a year. It's so much fun. There are slides from kiddie slides to giant adult slides. There's also a lazy man river. Lots of fun. I would highly reccommend them. I don't know if there's one in your area but you should check it out. If you are interested I can show you how to earn 2% cash back on any vacation you decide to take.



answers from New York on

Hi S.,

My family goes to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware every year for a week-long vacation. It's a lovely beach town with plenty to do for kids and adults alike. We rent a house or a condo close to the beach, park our car and generally don't drive for a week. Everything you need is within easy walking distance - beach, restaurants, boardwalk. There's a great little amusement park on the boardwalk called Funland that is perfect for your six-year old. There are a wide variety of restaurants for you to enjoy, great boutique shopping, and the beach is quite inviting.

If you do chose to explore, there is a huge outlet mall in Rehoboth with every store you can think of. We have also gone to a great water park called Jungle Jim's to take a break from the salt water, and have had a blast on the water slides. Oh, and I would be remiss to not mention that Delaware has no sales tax!

Rehoboth Beach is about 1.5 hour drive from Philadelphia. We typically go in mid to late August when the water is a bit warmer and the crowds are lighter. Beach houses rent anywhere from $500-$5,000 for a Saturday-Saturday stay. The homes closer to the beach are obviously more, but you can find some good deals on (Vacation Rentals By Owner). If you book early, you get your choice of prime rentals. Last year we stayed in a two bedroom house a block away from the boardwalk for $800/week. It wasn't fancy, but it had a kitchen, clean bathrooms, and an outdoor shower (a must to wash off the sand before coming into the house!).

We are just starting to look at our calendar and plan our week in Rehoboth for this summer. Our son looks forward to it every year, and we do too.

Have fun planning!



answers from St. Louis on

I noticed your home location....I'm right up the road from you in St James! Howdy, Neighbor!

We are originally from St Louis - so we focus a lot on long weekends there. I think your 6y.o. would have a blast if you hit some of the hot spots available in StL: the City Museum, the Arch, Soulard Market, & walking the riverfront section would fill one day. You could even take in a Cards game or tour the Anheuser/In Bev brewery. If you hit the brewery, go one block over Hwy 55 & hit Gus' Pretzels. They have the best, freshest pretzels- I grew up enjoying them!

The 2nd day you could hit St Louis Mills - out on Hwy 370, past the airport & heading towards St Charles. At the Mills, you'll find the Nascar Speed Park, glow-in-the-dark mini golf, & the Ice complex where the Blues Hockey team practices. It is open to the public when the team isn't on the ice. There's also a Playzone there in the mall. Dave & Busters is very close to the Mills & could round out the day.

Another day could be filled by hitting 6 Flags or the Raging Rivers waterpark (which is in Illinois, but well worth the drive, & the boats/barges on the RiverRoad are a sight to see! And you can also take a ride on the Grafton Ferry across both the Mississippi & Illinois Rivers)

AND, one of my personal favorites: The St Louis Zoo! Seriously, you could easily spend an entire day at the zoo. The Science Center, History Museum, & Art Museum are also all right there in Forest Park. It's a wonderful family-oriented tourism destination.

For years now, we've been doing stay-cations. We plan day trips from home...& consider our location a perfect centerpoint. We're 1 hour from Jeff City & the Capitol Bldg. & Lake of the Ozarks- between Big Surf, the caves, the go-karts/mini golf, & many other family activities - you can easily fill your time.
We're one hour from Johnson Shutins, Elephant Rocks, Taum Sauk....
We're <2 hours from Springfield: the Incredible Pizza Company (much better than Chuck E Cheese!), Bass Pro, the Springfield Cards, the Mo Sports Hall of Fame, & lots more.
We're <2 1/2 hours from Branson, & have been known to do day trips just for Silver$City. There & back in one day.....& we do this several times each year, because we hold season passes for the park.
We're 1 1/2 hours from St Louis, with all those wonderful sights to see. In fact, this past summer, my husband & youngest son (13y.o) wanted to ride a train. I took them to Hermann, Mo & they hopped on the Amtrak. I followed Hwy 100, stopped to shop at Michael's in Washington, & then headed to Kirkwood. They beat me, hit a few oddball stores, & were ready for me when I showed up. We then headed down to Soulard Market & the Arch. It was a full day of fun, & didn't cost much!

We've also been known to just travel up/down 44 to hit the caves!

So, if you're really focusing on inexpensive, try the stay-cation! You're in the perfect centerpoint for all of this! Feel free to contact me if you need more info on any of these hotspots. Have fun!

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