Summer travels and family excursions are always a great excuse to get together and enjoy the fleeting free time and long, sunny days. Whether the kids are out of school and looking for something to do or you have some vacation days on your hands you want to put to good use, there are a myriad number of ways to entertain this summer.
For the more nature-focused family members, consider a rustic trip to rural Texas. Completely off the beaten path in the less-touristy regions, your family can get out and about for some old-fashioned fun, surrounded by natural beauty.
Hit the Beach
The beach is definitely a summer activity best spent with friends and family. Head to the beaches of Galveston, Texas, on Galveston Island and stroll along the historic pier with the kids, taking in sweeping views of the Gulf of Mexico. The long stretch of beach, lining the entire island, offers enough outdoor fun and natural beauty for the whole family. Hit the beach and play in the sand and surf, or ride rollercoasters, play carnival games and fill up on funnel cake at Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier. Cool off and splash around at Schlitterbahn Galveston Waterpark, or, when the sun gets a bit too hot for the little ones, head to the indoor retreat of Moody Gardens and visit resident marine life in the aquarium.
In East Texas, Caddo Lake State Park in Karnack boasts a world of fun outdoor activities for all ages. Head out on the lake boating and fishing, or take the smaller, non-motorized devices for kayaking, paddle boating and more. Kick it old school with a fun summer campout while staying in a nearby cabin. Enjoy warm nights by the fire, cooking out over the grill, hiking by day and even geocaching with the kids.
Toward El Paso, Texas, families and active travelers flock to the natural beauty and rugged wonders of Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Take in the sweeping views of the Guadalupe Mountains, the four highest peaks in the whole state, and hike extensive trails and paths along the base. This national park also happens to be home of one of the most impressive Permian fossil reefs, canyons to explore, dunes and desert vistas to enjoy with the family.
Spend a few nights camping with the kids and experience other incredible parks in Texas, like Big Bend National Park or Dinosaur Valley State Park. Read through a full list here for an epic family road trip through Texas.
The wonderful thing about Italy, which evolved from a land of many kingdoms to a unified country in the 19th century, is its buildings have transformed into boutique hotels with fascinating past lives that guests can still explore and appreciate. Whether former farm houses, monasteries, castles or full-on estates, the stays not only provide atmospheric lodging and wonderfully executed regional food, but a means to immerse oneself into a different way of life — be it one of royalty or a simple existence living off the land.
As a fan of train travel, I often choose a ride on rails over a drive or flight, especially in Europe, where I always relish the high-speed trains. In Tokyo, I once appreciated a speedy, efficient and easy-to-understand experience; but, speed isn’t the only appealing aspect of train travel. From Venice to London, on the Venice Simplon Orient Express, we traveled through the coastal cliffs of the Cinque Terra and dined in formal opulence; from Whistler to Vancouver on the Rocky Mountaineer, we sipped tea while viewing the spectacular scenery.
While considering dreamy destinations for a romantic rendezvous, Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo immediately came to mind. I convinced my late husband, Bob, to take me there after a solo trip to Monaco (via helicopter from Nice-Cote d’Azur) on my first trip to the South of France. Our stays together left such an indelibly delicious memory that I’ve returned multiple times, including in 2018 and 2019. It’s a venue I recommend at any time, especially Valentine’s Day.
By Hainan Airlines
When considering a new destination for your family’s vacation list, solo trip, romantic getaway or just something to watch between trips, this list of wanderlust-inducing films should help. Watch a few of the family-friendly options with the kids and make it a movie night: