Family Vacation - Lansing,IL

Updated on April 30, 2013
N.H. asks from Lansing, IL
15 answers

Growing up you think of all the places and vacation spots you never traveled to but now that you have your own, family and kids, you want to get to get to some of these places before they grow too old. I have boys, range of ages 7 - 12. I'm in need of suggestions and advice on affordable and fun vacations. Thanks in advance.

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answers from Chicago on

All time favorite -- Hilton head island. Beach, bike ride, swim, sun, be together. Laid back and casual.

Took a wonderful trip to Boston and NH -- did sightseeing, then went up into the mountains and played.

Lake of the ozarks


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answers from New York on

national parks, camping, fishing, hiking, boating. to major cities, to small towns. theme parks, to the museums, to monster car/ nascar/ horseraces. to the ball game, to the hall of fame, to a factory. to the opera/ ballet. on a river cruise. to a plantation/ an orchard/ wine country.

This is a great age. Just show enthusiasm for wherever you decide on, and I bet they'll follow suit.

Good luck to you and yours,
F. B.

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answers from New York on

Colorado Dude ranch. OMG the best vacation ever!

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answers from Los Angeles on

Lake Tahoe (summer or winter, more to do in summer but great skiing in winter)
Yosemite National Park
Grand Canyon
Southern California - Disneyland, San Diego Zoo, Universal Studios, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Hollywood, Santa Monica Pier, Sea World, Knott's Berry Farm and tons of great beaches (you can't do it all, but there are plenty of great options)

Boston - fun tour of Patriot's stadium, Plymouth Plantation, Public Gardens and much more

Disney Cruise
Caribbean all inclusive resort
Niagara Falls

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answers from Chicago on

My kids love going to Southwest Michigan. We usually go up to St Joseph. Easy to get to other places and easy and quick from Chicago. We have made day trips to Warren Dunes and stayed at hotels for a few days. Plus we can attend festivals in South Haven. We have also been to Wisconsin but they have not asked to go again. They ask for Michigan though I would like to explore the Lake Michigan area which I hear is great.

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answers from Dallas on

Colorado Springs, CO

Destin, FL

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

San Antonio, TX

Carlsbad/White Sands, New Mexico (I know someone else mentioned this)

We also have boys (ages 9 and 15), and we like to go a different place each summer. These are all places we love! Have a great time wherever you end up going! :)

*This summer we're going to Gulf Shores, Alabama.



answers from Chicago on

We've done a couple road trips with our three kid - South Dakota (Badlands, Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse,etc.) was my favorite.We also drove to Hersey, Pa., and stopped on the way at Gettysburg ( a bit of history and some fun, too). We go to Disney a lot, but we fly. Recently went to Boston too - a little too much history for my kids, though.


answers from Houston on

beach rental, Mt. Rushmore, Disney--but I have an adult son and we still vacation together (I pay for it all, of course), but its more of a treat for me because I know one day soon he will be married and I will not be able to pull him away for just us vacations anymore. :(



answers from Salinas on

I'm not familiar with your area but your kids are the perfect age for family road trips. Just take some of the suggestions for your region below, check out for the area you want to visit and use mapquest to plan a route.

We make reservations for the over night stops and try to stay more than one night at each place so there's time to really soak up the local vibe. In between are fun stops in quirky towns, day trips to museums, hikes or just a few hours lounging by a lake or river. Often we'll camp a couple nights then a driving day to a really nice hotel with a pool located in the next place we want to explore.

Just enough planning to not have to search for a place to sleep but keep it loose enough so you can fit unexpected fun in when you find it. I cannot recommend Trip Advisor enough, a little planning goes a long way!



answers from Minneapolis on

I second Black Hills/Badlands and Washington DC. We took our boys to the Black Hills when they were about 13 and 10. It was perfect. There were a lot of fun things to do and we stayed in a hotel with a waterpark in Rapid City. We went from the Reptile zoo to Mt. Rushmore and my younger son, at the end of a long day, said, "I didn't know reptiles were so much more interesting than national monuments." (-: We found a great deli in Keystone, went to the wax museum and loved a mammoth archeology dig site, among other things.

Carlsbad, CA and the San Diego area has a lot of fun activites for those ages too, but I don't know if I'd put it in the "affordable" category. If you haven't been there yet, I was surprised by how much fun we had in St. Louis when they were 5 and 8. Baseball, the Arch, the City Museum, the river, the Zoo, frozen custard........... Charleston, SC was another popular spot with our boys. We also liked Jackson, WY ( but they got tired of driving in Yellowstone). I love planning vacations!


answers from Washington DC on

We did a cruise with our kids in January. We flew to Miami, then we stopped in Nassau, St. Thomas, San Juan, and Grand Turks. It was AMAZING for me to be able to take my kids to those places. It was affordable for what we got. And we paid for it over a year basically.

But there are lots of places in driving distance to anyone that are amazing too. Try going to your local big city and being a tourist. Ask people where to go, what to do, where to eat, things to see, you'll learn a lot! We do that in DC a few times a year and it's a blast.


answers from Dallas on

A couple of weeks ago I ordered the Washington DC vacation packet and surprisingly most of the attractions are FREE or very low cost. And the key is to stay outside the city.

I'm from the Port Aransas, TX area. It's nice but only if you like the beach. If you go the 20 miles to Corpus Christi, there's a nice aquarium and the USS Lexington.

Is there a nice state park or anything near you? We have a really nice state park about 40 miles from us with a beautiful lake, cabins, horse back riding, and it's 30 minutes from Houston, which has tons of stuff.



answers from Oklahoma City on

We did Silver Dollar City last September. I did NOT want to go. I fought against it but the friend we were visiting had season passes for her kids so it would be something free(ish) they could do. She kept telling me how much fun the kids would have but I kept thinking about how much fun "I" would not be having.

We went, like I said in September, and there were hardly any people there. We rode many rides over and over without even getting out because there weren't any patrons waiting. The log ride is the only one they made us get out of even though there weren't any people waiting.

We didn't go into a lot of shops and did catch one show that was free. We paid "buy one day get the next one free". After Labor Day they have better prices too.

The kids ran off and we stayed in a seating area. Most of the rides are okay for kids a certain height or taller, not by age.

My 6 year old wasn't able to ride the big roller coasters and I was pretty glad about that. I let him go play on one of the 2 play areas for kids that are completely good for seeing them where ever they go. Whether it's to the 3rd floor of the fort or the ball floor with the long vacuum hoses.

It was money well spent in my opinion. I did NOT want to go but when I got there I found it to be not too hot, easy to watch the kids, safe to let the kids go ride without us, and the food wasn't too badly priced. We ate chicken strips by the lake every meal. They were that good! The honey mustard sauce was so savory and sweet! I can't wait to go visit again and eat



answers from Chicago on

Nearby weekend trips that are tons of fun AND affordable are Springfield, IL (great Lincoln "stuff" and F.L. Wright's Dana-Thomas House) and Hannibal, Missouri (Mark Twain everything). My kids have LOVED both trips and beg to go back.



answers from San Antonio on

So many fun places to go!!!

Black Hills/Mount Rushmore
Washington DC
Rocky Mountains
Port Aransas, Texas
Wisconsin Dells
San Diego California

All fun, and easily affordable, if you plan ahead. :)

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