I have wanderlust. I love nothing more than traveling somewhere new. As a family, we travel really well together and sometimes I dream about what it would be like to have a career as a travel writer. I imagine we’d get rid of most of our earthly belongings and live as nomads. We’d swap my kid’s classrooms for museum expeditions, we’d tour cities, learn new languages and meet interesting people and explore their culture. We’d spend Christmas somewhere new every year, but we’d always go to Paris for New Year’s Eve and hang out near the Eiffel Tower watching the fireworks (sigh). For now, I’ll set my sights on a new vacation destination to satisfy my need to experience a place we’ve never been. I came across an article in the April 2015 publication of Family Fun magazine about their top travel destinations for families. Family Fun teamed with Go RVing and asked 2,000 families to rate over 4oo vacation destination spots. Here are the top 10 Family Tourist Towns that are an array of historic villages, beach towns and vacation hot spots.
1. Sanibel Island, FL – Is the perfect vacation getaway with 15 Miles of Beaches, 25 Miles of Bike Paths, 50 Kinds of Fish, 230 Kinds of Birds, 250 Kinds of Shells and zero Traffic Lights. The appeal of this island town off Florida’s West Coast is its laid back pace. The number one rated activity is to stroll the beach collecting shells. Here are TripAdvisor’s top rated activities.
2. Gatlinburg, TN – Break free from a season filled with winter chills and dreary days. Trade in your cabin fever for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Stretch your legs along Gatlinburg’s hiking trails, or spend hours fishing in the calm waters of the mountain springs. And get in touch with your courageous side with camping, rafting, cycling and zip-lining adventures. It’s the breath of fresh air you need to know that spring has arrived. Here are TripAdvisor’s top rated activities.
3. Savannah, GA – With its pedestrian-friendly layout and innovative urban design, Savannah serves as a balm for the senses. The city inspires visitors with its emerald tree canopy, quaint cobblestone streets and majestic architecture. Take the time to wander off the beaten path and experience the history, beauty and charm of this beloved coastal city. The historic district is amazing. Here are TripAdvisor’s top rated activities.
4. St. Augustine, FL – Along Florida’s Historic Coast, history comes alive in red-brick lanes leading to centuries-old churches, in forts where soldiers still walk the grounds. Head just out of town and back to nature along 42 miles of pristine Atlantic beaches. Bring your clubs and hit the links – numerous championship golf courses await. Here are TripAdvisor’s top rated activities.
5. Wisconsin Dells, WI – The “Water Park Capital of the World” has a whole lot more to offer than just water parks. When not splashing around or relaxing by a pool, take a zip-line tour, go fishing, hike in Devil’s Lake or Mirror Lake State Park and – at the end of the day – tune in for some live entertainment such as magic by Rick Wilcox, animal antics at Circus World or a double feature at the Big Sky Twin Drive-In Theater. Here are TripAdvisor’s top rated activities.
6. Myrtle Beach, SC – Sixty miles of soft sandy beach, entertainment and attractions for everyone, endless shopping, exquisite dining, thrilling water sports and so much more. Here are TripAdvisor’s top rated activities.
7. Estes Park, CO – Situated about 90 miles northwest of Denver, at 7,522 feet above sea level, Estes Park sits in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. Majestic views span in every direction along with the scenes you expect from a Colorado mountain town. Rocky Mountain National Park is home to 300 miles of hiking trails within 415 square miles of protected mountain wilds. Here are TripAdvisor’s top rated activities.
8. Petoskey, MI – Petoskey is a charming lakeside community with unmatched beauty and charm. It is known for its breathtaking views, Victorian architecture, historic Gaslight Shopping District, and Michigan’s state stone, the Petoskey Stone. Along with the spectacular views of crystal-blue Little Traverse Bay, one of the first things to catch your eye as you arrive in Petoskey is the elegant Victorian architecture in the homes and buildings. The Bay View community alone has more than 400 homes on the National Historic register. A walk through our neighborhoods and shopping districts is a return to a simpler, more refined time. Here are TripAdvisor’s top rated activities.
9. Key West, FL – Located closer to Cuba than to Miami, Key West is Florida’s irreverent southernmost subtropical paradise, a unique confluence of history, climate, natural beauty, cultural diversity, architecture and unabashed romantic appeal. Palm-lined streets with gingerbread mansions and tin-roofed conch houses were home to Ernest Hemingway, Tennessee Williams, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Frost and Jimmy Buffett, a few of the famous people who discovered solace and inspiration in the island city whose Bahamian and Cuban heritage in large part was inspired by Bahamian wreckers, commercial fishermen, spongers and Cuban cigar makers. Here are TripAdvisor’s top rated activities.
10. Mackinac Island, MI – Mackinac Island is home to one of America’s oldest established national parks, Mackinac Island State Park, which consumes more than 80 percent of the island’s land and is open to visitors all year long. If you’re a water buff, Mackinac Island boasts great kayaking, boating, sailing, and fishing options; if you prefer to stay on dry land, you can take in the breathtaking views on foot, by bike, or by horse from Lake Shore Boulevard, which encircles the entire eight-mile perimeter of the island. Here are TripAdvisor’s top rated activities.