Five Summer Getaways Every Child Should Experience

Woo-hoo, summer is almost here! The kids have been working extra-hard all year, both at school and with their after-school activities, and they deserve a nice, long break. I've got them signed up for some fun summer camps, so we've got plenty of time to plan some fun trips together.

We're saving up for another big trip to London next year for the Olympics, so we won't be taking any big trips this year -- but that doesn't mean we can't go on some fun getaways this summer. In fact, summer just wouldn't be summer without these fun family getaways:

1) Go on a camping trip
There's nothing like going camping to help instill a sense of love and respect for nature in your kids. And in this electronic world we live in, it's the perfect way to unplug, unwind and spend some real quality time with the family. We started camping in the back yard when the kids were younger, and we've graduated to overnight or weekend trips at local parks. I keep wanting to camp in Yosemite, but it's so popular that the campsites fill up a year in advance. Oh well, I'm crossing my fingers and trying again!

2) Go to the beach
Summer for me is synonymous with sun, sand and surf. We just have to go to the beach at least once during the break, so we can build sand castles, splash in the sea, forage in the tide pools and walk along the shore. If you don't live near the ocean, don't despair; you don't have to break the bank to have some splashy fun. Rafting, canoeing or sailing on lakes and rivers can be just as fun!

3) Go berry picking
There's nothing like picking sweet, juicy strawberries and blueberries and blackberries straight off the vine. Every year we like to drive a couple of hours to a Pick-Ur-Own farm in Watsonville and make the kids work for their sweet summer snack!

4) Go see a national monument
Pick a monument, any monument -- the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hoover Dam, the St. Louis Arch, Mount Rushmore, Colonial Williamsburg, Old Faithful, the one nearest where you live, the one you most want to visit -- and take your kids there. Seeing the things they've learned about only in books is always a good eye-opener and a chance for them to appreciate what's great about the country they live in.

5) Go to the county fair
Merry go rounds, flying swings, cotton candy, prize heifers, oh my! There's so much to see and do at county fairs. If your kids are used to sophisticated theme parks, visiting a good old-fashioned county fair will make a nice change of pace.

None of these have to be budget breakers, so I think these are getaways that should be at the top of every family's summer must-do list!

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Alamo blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here.” The views and opinions expressed here are my own.

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