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8 Family Friendly Destinations for End-of Summer Fun

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Vacations provide the perfect setting for families who wish to spend quality time together, away from the stress of schedules, work, school, or other responsibilities. If your family is like most, you need the occasional change of scenery to break up monotonous routines. This is never more true than at the end of summer when children must soon return to school and you want to enjoy one last outing before colder weather arrives. Below are some fun and interesting ideas for end of summer getaways that will please all members of your family:


A museum outing is a great activity for families, regardless of the ages of the children. Not only do such excursions get youngsters in the frame of mind for learning new things, they also offer something different from everyday childhood activities. A terrific cure for end of summer boredom, museums are within striking distance from essentially any area and admission is usually reasonably priced, if not free.

Theme and Water Parks

When the first day of school is looming, theme parks such as Orlando's Disney World, Chicago's Six Flags Amusement Park or Great Adventure in southern New Jersey drop their rates. This is also true of the resorts and hotels by which they are surrounded. For this reason, if you think you and your children would enjoy a last minute trip to one of these popular family-friendly destinations, the end of August is the perfect time.

State Park Excursions

If you and your family are looking for a rustic, outdoorsy, mini-vacation, you should consider visiting state parks in your area. In many cases, these frequently overlooked establishments offer the ideal end of summer vacation setting, whether you choose to rent a cabin, stay in a nearby hotel or rough it in the great outdoors. After the first week of August, rates typically plummet for all hotels and campgrounds in such areas, and parks that charged an entrance fee during summer often waive such fees starting in mid-August.

A Trip to the Beach

Beach getaways are also a good late summer choice for any family. Whether you are interested in a week-long vacation or simply a day of summer fun, beach trips are an easy way to keep all members of your family happy. When choosing accommodations, you should consider a condo, as such units often come with a full kitchen and several bathrooms, which help to make your trip as stress-free as possible.

Southwest Adventures

Adventure packages such as those offered by Ranch resorts in the Southwest are another option families with active youngsters should consider. If your children are constantly on the go, a Southwest getaway of this type provides many outlets into which they can channel their energy. Many packages include unexpected features such as archery lessons, mini-golf courses, lazy rivers and skating rinks. Most also include trail rides on horses or ponies and on-site petting zoos.

Farm Inns

In the Midwest, Northeast and New England, farm inns are becoming quite popular. Most establishments of this kind offer all-inclusive packages starting at three days and two nights. At farm inns, families can wake up and milk cows, make cheese, pet bunnies, indulge in face painting, play games such as "capture the flag" and even tie-dye pillow cases. Most farm hosts also offer live entertainment and cocktail parties in the evening, to ensure that mom and dad have time to relax and unwind. Comfortable accommodations, three meals a day and many planned activities are offered in most all-inclusive packages.

Cooking Getaways

Cooking getaways have become extremely popular for families from all walks of life. As the name implies, they offer cooking classes that families can take together, with each family member having specific tasks to complete, all of which eventually lead to a delicious prepared meal and a commencement celebration.

Families can choose from classes featuring virtually any type of cuisine, or make a week of it and attend a different class each night. For example, on pasta night, families learn to prepare fettuccine Alfredo, Caesar salad, and fresh fruits with Zabaglione. On Chinatown night, each family member works together to make chicken and vegetable stir fry, special dipping sauce, crispy vegetable eggrolls and almond cookies made from scratch.

Simple Pleasures

Simple outings can also be fun before chilly fall weather arrives. For example, taking picnics, visiting petting zoos, or picking late summer fruit from orchards and vineyards are all interesting and enjoyable activities. Additionally, visiting a local amusement park or spending the day at a state fair or an evening at a carnival to enjoy fireworks and music are outstanding ways to make unforgettable end of summer memories. Everyone has a different idea regarding the ideal family outing, but any of the options listed above make a good choice for creating the memories of a lifetime and giving your children a fun and exciting experience before they go back to school.

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