If you have kids who like to swim, then you are in luck when looking for a vacation or weekend getaway. Water and water activities are pretty much a given throughout the United States so you have many options depending on where you want to go. There are thousands of miles of coastline and shoreline, hundreds of water parks and swimming pools, and even some attractions that are great for the family. Here are five awesome family destinations that have a summer full of water fun waiting for you.
So take your pick of where to take your family this summer for lots of water fun as well as some good quality family time. Wherever you roam, always remember your water safety rules: wear life jackets when required, use the buddy system, and never take your eyes off your little ones if they do not have strong swimming skills yet – and start your kids with swimming lessons at the earliest possible age. That said, have a great summer exploring the sun and fun across the United States!
Disney’s Vero Beach Resort, Florida
If you’ve already been to the famous Orlando theme parks, check out the relaxing Disney resort that is only two hours away from the popular family destination. Vero Beach is part of the Disney Vacation Club line, but you don’t need to be a member to stay here. There are a multitude of free activities to participate in that focus on some good old-fashioned fun instead of meeting the traditional Disney characters. This resort is a great choice if you’ve got older kids who just want to enjoy the beach as well as some family time that includes campfire singalongs and smores, beach walks with nature experts, or craft hour for the younger kids. Take it up a notch with some swim time in a Mickey Mouse-shaped swimming pool or partake in some family kayaking.
Gulf Shores, Alabama
Gulf Shores and the extended area known as Gulf State Park is a popular family destination and for good reason. Alabama’s vacation spot features more than three miles of quiet, pristine white sandy beaches. The area known as Orange Beach has much to offer to parents and children alike. The Wharf is one of the busiest spots in Gulf Shores, and offers excellent shopping, entertainment, and dining for a few nights of fun. It is also home to the country’s largest artificial reef program, which means it’s the perfect place for charter fishing. All of Gulf Shores offers a very kid-friendly beach vacation, but it also offers scenic cruises, dolphin watching, and hiking. If you are looking for something to do besides beach activities, check out The Track, which has go karts, mini golf, arcades, and bumper boats, or the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo, which has Animal Encounters where you can get up close and personal with some of the zoo critters.
The Woodlands Resort and Conference Center, Texas
Who would have known that an amazing pool for all ages would be found in Texas? The Forest Oasis Pool at the Woodlands Resort is a little known vacation spot for families who are looking for a little more indoor/outdoor water fun. The Forest Oasis Pool contains water slides, kayaking, and a play fountain, as well as out-of-the-water activities that include a scavenger hunt, ecotours, game areas, and boating. There are also golf courses, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, fishing, and sailing opportunities nearby. The Woodlands is only 30 miles from Houston, so your entertainment potential is doubled if you decide to explore the area beyond the water park.
Menemsha Beach, Martha’s Vineyard
For those of you who prefer the northeastern coast for your family getaways, Menemsha Beach in Martha’s Vineyard is a great choice. This is a small, secluded beach with a sleepy New England feel that is close to some of the island’s best seafood vendors and restaurants. Because the surf is calmer and there are restrooms readily available, this beach has become very popular with parents of young children. The beach itself faces the Vineyard Sound rather than the Atlantic Ocean and is known for its stunning sunset vistas. There is a fishing pier, great swimming areas, and a quaint fishing village to explore with your little ones.
Wilderness at the Smokies Waterpark Resort, Tennessee
If you and your family are looking for a great indoor pool experience, consider booking a trip to the Wilderness at the Smokies Resort in Sevierville, Tennessee. There you will find an indoor Wild WaterDome that is kept at a balmy 86 degrees all year long. The kids can enjoy the wave pool, a lazy river, a multitude of water slides, a giant indoor/outdoor hot tub, and several splash areas for children of all ages. The waterpark even offers indoor surfing! In addition, this resort offers a 25,000-sq. ft. family entertainment center known as the Adventure Forest. This indoor area boasts a mega arcade, ropes course, laser tag, black light mini golf, and other activities that your kids will enjoy when they are tired of playing in the water. The Smoky Mountains are on the doorstep, so consider extending the trip a few short miles south to visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park for a feast of natural scenery.
Anywhere you go for a vacation this summer, you’ll find strong hygiene protocols in place to guard against viral infection. Swimming in the water is regarded as very safe, it’s the crowded gatherings on dry land that pose greater risk. It’s always a good idea to get a rapid test for your family right before you set off on excursions anywhere, and to follow the protocols in place wherever you go.
Photo by Vitolda Klein on Unsplash