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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Most Visited Memorials

A great way to learn about our presidents and other important political and historical figures and events in the U.S. is to study the places that memorialize them. I’ve been to many of these places and have pictures and brochures, so when we get to one of these events/people in our classroom learning, I make sure to pull out the relevant info so the kids can see what these people have left behind physically, as well as the significance of their actions and lives. I came across this slideshow on Forbes Traveler and figure that the kids should at least be familiar with the most popular memorial sites in the States. So here they are for you to enjoy as well!

  1. Arlington National Cemetery – Arlington, Virginia (4,000,000 visitors) – Commemorates the lives of 300,000 veterans from the American Revolution through the current war in Iraq.
  2. World War II Memorial – Washington, D.C. (3,547,583 visitors) – Commemorates the sacrifice and celebrates the victory of the WWII generation.
  3. Vietnam Veterans Memorial – Washington, D.C. (3,538,479 visitors) – A memorial that honors the lives of Vietnam veterans and those who lost their lives in the Vietnam War.
  4. Korean War Veterans Memorial – Washington, D.C. (3,208,690 visitors) – A memorial to those who fought and died in the Korean War.
  5. Gettysburg National Military Park – Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (1,702,764 visitors) – Commemorates those who lost their lives during the bloodiest and most important battle of the Civil War.
  6. USS Arizona Memorial – Pearl Harbor (Honolulu), Hawaii (1,539,986 visitors) – A memorial to the sailors killed on the USS Arizona ship during the attack on Pearl Harbor by Japanese forces.
  7. Valley Forge National Historic Park – King of Prussia, Pennsylvania (1,230,618 visitors) – Important military camp during the American Revolutionary War.
  8. Minuteman National Historic Park – Concord, Massachusetts (1,093,352 visitors) – The historic site of the shot heard around the world and memorial for those who fought in the Battles of Lexington and Concord during the American Revolution.
  9. Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park – Georgia/Tennessee (923,061 visitors) – Commemorates the sites of two major Civil War battles.
  10. Fort Sumter National Monument – Sullivan’s Island – South Carolina (792,933 visitors) – Commemorates those who lost their lives in the first battle of the Civil War.
  11. Vicksburg National Military Park – Vicksburg, Mississippi (787,831 visitors) – Site of the 47 day Battle of Vicksburg in the Civil War.
  12. Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine – Baltimore, Maryland (610,599 visitors) – The birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner and an important military site during the War of 1812.
  13. Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park – Virginia (478,109) – Burial ground and memorial for those who lost their lives in the Civil War.
  14. Guilford Courthouse, National Military Park – North Carolina (447,469 visitors) –A museum commemorating one of the most hotly contested battles of the Revolutionary War.
  15. Shiloh National Military Park – Tennessee (344,438 visitors) – Site of Civil War battle and burial ground.

Test your kids. See if they know why these places are important! (If they’re in my class now, they’ll know by the end of the year…)
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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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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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10 Great Places to go for the Green (Golfing)

  1. Amelia Island Plantation – Amelia Island, Florida
  2. Barton Creek Resort & Spa – Austin, Texas
  3. The Broadmoor – Colorado Springs, Colorado
  4. Kapalua Resort – Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii
  5. Pebble Beach Resorts – Pebble Beach, California
  6. Kiawah Island Golf Resort – Kiawah Island, South Carolina
  7. Mauna Lani Resort – Big Island, Hawaii
  8. Pinehurst Resort – Pinehurst, North Carolina
  9. Reynolds Plantation – Greensboro, Georgia
  10. Turning Stone Resort & Casino – Verona, New York

(Thanks, USA Today.)

By the way, I’m back from Jackson Hole where I enjoyed some golf myself at Jackson Hole G&TC. I wouldn’t put it on a top ten list, but it was fun and it’s nice to play golf in warm air with snow capped mountains in the background.
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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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