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Families Vacations – Play Together Stay Together

Families Vacations – Play Together Stay Together

Choosing where to spend your family vacation can be difficult. Families need to think about what will be best for all members. Teenagers may find the thrill of whitewater rafting exciting, but a younger child might have more fun at Disney World. Parents may enjoy visiting historic museums, but some children may not.

Families who enjoy being outdoors might find the quiet and reserved atmosphere of an art museum boring. By the same token, families who prefer the arts would find the dust, noise and smells of a working ranch intolerable. What ever your family preferences are there are family vacation spots that will be just perfect for you.

Here are some places of interest to help get you started.

On the West Coast, Los Angeles and San Diego, are considered hot vacation spots. Museums, renowned zoos and theme parks along with historic and cultural sites guarantee that there is something for every family. In addition, many California attractions like Knott’s Berry Farm and Hollywood’s Universal Studios are great all-day fun.  

Florida, the Sunshine state has as much to offer. The Everglade National Park offers walking tours and camping among other daily activities. Busch Gardens touts thrill seeking rides and exotic animal exhibits. Theme parks such as Disney World and Universal Studio’s Orlando provide thrill seeking adventures.

Texas, the Lone Star State has national parks, the Ft Worth zoo, San Antonio’s aquarium and Arlington’s Six Flags Over Texas amusement park. Texas also provides a real cowboy experience when you vacation at a Dude Ranch, where horseback riding, rounding up the cattle or just observing will create life-time memories.

Located in the Great Smokey Mountains, Tennessee has long been a choice vacation spot for honeymoons and romantic get-a way’s. The Nashville Zoo, Christmas Village and many theme parks abound in Tennessee. Water attractions and historic villages round out the vacation choices available.

Many people never consider Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin to be a vacation spot. With riding stables, indoor water parks, snow skiing and museums Wisconsin has a lot to offer. Cascade Mountain, Kalahari and Canyon Creek provide outdoor enthusiasts with fun in the sun.   

Las Vegas is usually touted as a vacation destination for adults. However there are many family oriented activities such as Madame Tussauds Interactive Wax Museum and The World’s Greatest Magic Show.

Salt Lake City, Utah, home to the Clark Planetarium and the Hogle Zoo is a family-friendly vacation spot. With Aerospace museums, dinosaur parks and many historical areas of interest, Utah will provide your family with a unique and enjoyable vacation.

Boston, Massachusetts may be known for beans, seafood and shopping but there is so much more to this busy metropolis than meets the eye.  Aquariums, a zoo, a natural history museum and historical landmarks will keep every family member happy.

The jewel of the Pacific Northwest is Seattle, Washington. In addition to the Seattle Space Needle, Washington boasts of an aquarium, a zoo and many museums. The Museum of Flight is an attraction for all ages. …

Seven Sycamores Ranch offers farm stay

Seven Sycamores Ranch offers farm stay

The drive up and down California’s San Joaquin Valley can be tedious, but consider a stop along the way in Visalia. Seven Sycamores Ranch is offering a kind of bed-and-breakfast experience on a real farm.

Agri-tourism is what they call it – the blending of tourism with California’s vast farmlands and orchards to offer city folk an up-close view of how an orange, for example, gets from the tree to your dining room table. With its location just outside of Visalia, Seven Sycamores is in a good location to break up that long drive between the cities of Northern and Southern California.

Bob McKellar is the host of Seven Sycamores and something of a visionary in the realm of agri-tourism. A few years back when he was just 75 years old, McKellar decided it was time to find ways to market some of his orange crop outside the usual packing shed channels that tend to eat up a grower’s profits. He joined a national organization and found that, in some places, farmers had started “CSA’s” – community supported agriculture programs – that cut out some middlemen and brought fruit straight to the consumer. Today, McKellar sells a sizable portion of his crop by packaging hundreds of fruit baskets delivered regularly to local customers.

Then McKellar got to thinking about the growers in other parts of the country who were hosting weddings on their property and, in his first year, booked 30 weddings on his picturesque grounds.

The piece de resistance is that McKellar now offers visitors overnight stays in an authentic farmhouse – a kind of bed and breakfast experience except that McKellar lives down the road and not in the house, and the breakfast comes in the form of fresh groceries that guests cook up themselves. If the three-bedroom farmhouse is too big, guests can opt for an economy-sized bunkhouse nearby. Both come complete with hens and baby chicks wandering the grounds, as well as roosters who offer guests wake-up calls for no extra charge.

McKellar’s mother lived in the house for many decades until 2002 when she passed away. There are family photos still in the house, which makes it feel like a home, not a vacation rental. One guest used the guestbook to complain about all the family photos, but McKellar has no intention of taking the photos down. We thought they simply added to the charm of our stay.

The accommodations are comfortable, even for a large family. A big living room and old-fashioned porch area provide comfortable spots to unwind, while the kitchen has everything you need to cook up your own farm-style meals. As part of your stay, the Seven Sycamores will ask you what you like for breakfast and then have your refrigerator stocked upon your arrival.

McKellar family history is everywhere you look on the grounds. One example would be the observation tower – a replica of the real thing that was used to watch for Japanese bombers if they attempted to …