Summer Rush Vacations in Still Sunny Cities

Planning your vacation for September? If you planned late in the summer to try and beat the heat, think again—for most of the U.S. the heat doesn’t break until well into September, if not later in October or even November. If you plan on taking your vacation to someplace that’s still hot, you’ll want to make sure that you have activities planned that will keep you cool—waterparks, indoor museums, casinos, and other places loaded with cool water or cool a/c. Here are some examples:

Fun Things to do in DC—Washington, D.C. can stay hot and humid through September, but luckily, you’ll find no end to the number of museums in the area. You’re also not too far from Maryland and there are a ton of places to visit in Baltimore and surrounding areas, like the Allentown Fitness & Splash Park in Fort Washington or Gaithersburg’s Water Park at Bohrer Park. You should have no problem having fun in the sun if you choose, or seeking shade indoors, if you’re end-of-summer vacation is planned for our nation’s capital.

  1. Fun Things to do in San Francisco—Nights will be cooler these days in the Bay Area, but the days can still be hot. Bay Area entertainment flourishes at the end of the summer and Bay Area tourist spots stay heavily populated…pretty much all year round. Museums will provide solace from the sun, as well as fantastic San Francisco restaurants. Raging Waters Water Park is the biggest waterpark in the area if you decide that being in the sun is where you want to be.
  2. Fun Things to do in Manhattan—Humidity plagues Manhattan through the bulk of September. Need indoor ideas? The Museum of Natual History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art are enough to keep you busy for a few days, as well as indoor rock climbing in NYC, New York City entertainment (Broadway shows, talk show screenings, concerts, etc.), and tons of air conditioned places to paint your own pottery. Eager to brave the heat? Have a picnic in Central Park or head to New Jersey’s Runaway Rapids Water Park for some last-minute summer splashes.
  3. Fun Things to do in Southern California—It’s always summer in sunny Southern California, but it’s not nearly as humid as it is back east. With Disneyland not to far away and a ton of water parks, you should have no time planning a late summer vacation and finding places to visit in Los Angeles, San Diego, Long Beach, and Santa Monica.
  4. Fun Things to do in Florida—Unless you spend your time in the water at the beach or at a waterpark, you’ll want to be indoors during your Florida vacation—that is, if you plan on heading down to South Florida. The northern parts of Florida can be quite nice in September. To stay cool, visit museums, casinos (there are great casinos in Daytona, Florida and Orlando casino cruises), and indoor waterparks.

If you are reading this too late, check out this fall foliage post or this fall foliage blog or just go to a shopping mall, like Battlefield Mall Springfield or Smith Haven Mall

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Top 12 places to play Golf

I need to thank Jon for reminding me to do this. A few months ago I reported to you about public golf courses ranked 13-24 according to Golfer’s World magazine and since they’ve finally posted their top 12, I’m ready to pass them over to you. I find it strange that there are no New England golf courses represented on this list. In fact, the only one from the East Coast at all is number six, Kiawah Island Ocean Course in South Carolina, which I’ve been to, and which truly is worthy of it’s placement there. I’m just surprised there aren’t more East Coast chart toppers.

Anyways, enjoy the list, and hopefully I’ll make it to all of these, one day so I can give more first hand experience…

  1. Pacific Dunes – Bandon, Oregon
  2. Links at Spanish Bay – Pebble Beach, California
  3. Pebble Beach Golf Links – Pebble Beach, California
  4. Bandon Dunes Golf Resort & Course – Bandon, Oregon
  5. Whistling Straits Golf Club – Kohler, Wisconsin
  6. Kiawah Island – Ocean Course – South Carolina
  7. Shadow Creek – North Las Vegas, Nevada
  8. Kauai Lagoon Golf Club – Kiele Course – Lihue, Hawaii
  9. Reflection Bay Golf Club & Course – Lake Las Vegas, Nevada
  10. Spyglass Hill Golf Club – Pebble Beach, California
  11. Troon North Monument – Scottsdale, Arizona
  12. Red Sky Ranch – Wolcott, Colorado

Looks like I need to start planning some vacations to Vegas Pebble Beach, and Bandon, Oregon
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Winter Golf Resorts

Just because it’s cold and nasty out, it doesn’t mean you need to put away your clubs until the sun shines hot again. Sometimes a bit of a challenge—but who says that makes it less fun?—winter golf can still be your #1 form of exercise, entertainment, and social time. People in the Northeast or Midwest tend to forget that the rest of the country just does not get as cold, so we just need to get a little creative about where we play. (i.e. Places like Boston or Minneapolis just may not make the cut.) When in doubt, just go to Hawaii.

MSNBC ran an article last year about America’s 10 best winter golf resorts, and I think you’ll find the info to still be quite up-to-date and helpful. Here are the ten they recommend:

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Some more places to go Golfing

A while ago I posted a list of 10 Great Places to go for the Green (Golfing) and now I was browsing a blog I follow and found another list. This is from The Golfer’s World and highlights the best U.S. public courses. Larry Olmsted is the author of the blog and has started with number 24 and has so far worked his way down to number 8. So today I’ll do 24-13 and when he finishes (in December), I’ll post his top 12 choices (remind me). So here ya go, golf enthusiasts:
24. Harbour Town Golf Links – Hilton Head, South Carolina
23. Blackwolf Run – Kohler, Wisconsin
22. The Dunes – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
21. Dorals’ Blue Monster – Miami, Florida
20. The Boulders Resort Golf Club – South Course – Carefree, Arizona
19. Sunriver Resort – Sunriver, Oregon
18. Manele Bay – Challenge Course – Lanai City, Hawaii
17. Pinehurst #2 – Pinehurst, North Carolina
16. Tobacco Road – Sanford, North Carolina
15. Madden’s Lake – Classic Course – Brainerd, Minnesota
14. Primm Valley – Lakes Course – Primm, Nevada
13. Kapalua Golf Club – Plantation Course – Lahaina, Hawaii
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Five Days of Disney

Seth Stevenson asks a shrewd question in Slate: Why would anyone want to go to Disney World every year? And as an elementary school teacher who sees the same kids go to Disney World year after year after year, I’m curious to know his answer.

Stevenson explains that Mr. Walt Disney did not just create a company and open a few theme parks, but created a Disney ideology—he calls it Disneyism. Walt Disney’s career arc is comparable maybe to L. Ron Hubbard of Scientology fame, who also grew up in middle America and exploded into the mass-market. The “Disney-as-religion”, as Stevenson calls it, is indoctrinated into Disney visitors from the overabundance of souvenirs available to the five weddings a day that take place at the iconical Disney castle. Utopianism spills out of Disney’s ears and captures children and parents, convincing them that because things are so cheery, they must be doing something good.

I think Stevenson’s point (I didn’t get through the treatise he wrote on the subject) is that people flock to the Disney Empire because the Walt Disney Co. has done a fantastic job transforming the ordinary into the magical. The movie rides at MGM Studios are larger than life; the innovations at Epcot are sensational.

I’ve never been to Disney World, and if all Mr. Stevenson says is true, and all that my hundreds of students say is true, Disney World probably is just a bit as magical as it seems. I will probably take our kids there when they are at an age where they’ll love it and remember it. But only once. I certainly don’t need my (future) intelligent, creative children being sucked into believing that it’s an every summer sort of trip. And besides for the fact that I think my wife and I would go crazy, I think about all the other places that I want our (again, future) kids to experience, like the Grand Canyon or Niagara Falls.

The Disney empire in the U.S. includes:

Top U.S. Beach Resorts for Families

I thought I’d continue the top beach conversation (Dana, thanks for the new list!). This time, I’ve got a list of the top beach resorts for families. The original list from parents.com includes beaches in Jamaica and the Bahamas, but I’ve excluded those for the sake of continuity of the conversation.

Enjoy beach season!
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Another Top Ten Beach list

I saw that Sharon posted Dr. Beach’s Top Ten Beach list, and just to round out the pickings, I thought I’d post another top ten list (the 100 best everything list). So if you’re not a Dr. Beach follower, maybe you’ll prefer this list:

  1. Panama City Beach, Florida
  2. Hanauma Bay, Oahu, Hawaii
  3. Kee Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
  4. Kailua Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
  5. Green Sand Beach, Hawaii
  6. Daytona Beach, Florida
  7. La Jolla Cove, California
  8. Caladesi Island, Florida
  9. Fort De Soto, Florida
  10. Kua Bay, Hawaii

Some thoughts: Dr. Beach’s list has more diversity—he’s got a few New York beaches and one in South Carolina, whereas this list is exclusively Hawaii and Florida with one California beach. Also, the only beach that overlaps on both lists is Caladesi Island, which Dr. Beach ranks as #1 and this list ranks as #8. I think it’s safe to say that Caladesi Island is definitely worth going to!
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Dr. Beach recommends…

I’m SO frustrated! We were just in the Tampa area and were choosing between a few beaches in the area and DIDN’T go to Caladesi Island State Park Beach. And NOW, only now, do I read that Dr. Beach rates Caladesi Island SP as the TOP beach in America!

Caladesi Island is a barrier island north of Clearwater (which is not far from Tampa Bay) with white sands, crystal clear, steel-blue Gulf waters, and forests filled with birds and wildlife.

Stephen P. Leatherman (a.k.a. Dr. Beach) makes a list of the nation’s best beaches every year, and I ALWAYS look at, but for some reason it escaped my mind this year.

The other beaches in the top ten for 2008 are:

So no big deal…just next time I need to check the list before heading out to the beach!

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Tampa and Tampax

Uh-oh. That’s all I was thinking when Katie pulled a tampon from my purse yesterday and asked if it was a souvenir from our recent trip. I immediately saw the confusion and got all flustered myself in trying to answer. She already “kinda” knew what it was, so the explanation wasn’t too painful. And first I made her run and get Alison, just to save me from going through the same thing twice. And now, I think forever Katie and Ali will associate Tampa, Florida with menstruation.

Wow, it’s amazing how time flies here on this blog. I felt like I just updated our travel plans the other day, and before I know it, weeks have passed! We’ve already gone to and returned from Tampa and St. Petersburg and did everything that we had planned on our itinerary (plus more).

A few highlights: The Lowry Park Zoological Society of Tampa was fantastic. We took a jeep ride and saw animals I’ve never seen before—kookaburra, manatees, and komodo dragons. The girls had a blast in “The Billabong” water area. This hadn’t even been on our itinerary, but we stumbled upon and were thrilled.

Another surprisingly good afternoon was spent at the University Mall in Tampa. In a way it’s a typical mall with anchor stores and other popular stores; and in a way it’s like a big flea market. We spent hours rummaging through locally owned shops, stopped for some snacks in the food court, and then saw a movie. We had spent the morning at St. Pete Beach and wanted to do something low key on our way back to the hotel, and University Mall hit the spot.

I wonder where we’ll be off to next….


Related Travel Guide Topics:

St. Petersburg and Tampa, Florida – an educational/business/pleasure trip!

Listed on www.parents.com as one of the top six (why won’t they just give us ten??) Florida vacations for families, I was thrilled when Rick said he had to be in St. Petersburg for a week. He’d be busy 5 out of the 7 days, so said I should plan accordingly, keeping in mind that he’s dying to go to the Salvador Dali Museum.

So as we all know by now, I love nothing more than planning a trip (almost more than actually experiencing the trip – is that normal?), so I got out my travel books and browsed the travel websites, and here’s what I came up with, keeping in mind the need to combine fun with education:

We’re going to spend in between time at either St. Pete Beach, Madeira Beach or St. Petersburg Municipal Beach on Treasure Island. Gulf Coast winds make for good kite flying, so I figure this can be turned into a science lesson on wind and tide as well as the science of kite flying (there must be a great unit on this somewhere—anyone know?).

Salvador Dali Museum is a definite, especially since that’ll be a whole family outing. Rick has actually been prepping for the girls for this one, which is nice for me b/c I’m learning a lot about Dali and Surrealism along the way. Also on the museum list is the Florida International Museum which I’m still a bit iffy on. There is a permanent exhibit on JFK and there’ll be an exhibit on Princess Di when we’ll be there, and I’m not so sure I can either get the girls interested or make these topics relevant. Really I want to go because both exhibits are right up MY alley…. so we’ll see.

Something high on my list is Heritage Village in Largo which is off of Tampa Bay (a bit of a drive). It’s a recreated Florida pioneer village. There are historic homes, a one-room schoolhouse, and De Soto National Memorial, a fort dating back to 1898 which protected the bay area during the Spanish-American War.

Definitely not my first choice, but the girls want to go to Busch Gardens Tampa Bay… And it’s only redeeming factor is that there’s an African Safari. Also, apparently there are “educational presentations” so we’ll see what that’s about…