The following ideas for summer travel are family-friendly adventures. If a trip isn't in this year's budget, tuck these ideas away for next year. But remember, they are only young once.
Lynn O'Rourke Hayes, Dallas Morning News
BAR HARBOR, MAINE
Explore 45 miles of Acadia National Park via the rustic roads made possible by philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr. The historic, 16-foot-wide pathways were designed to enable the Rockefeller family to navigate the area on horseback or in horse-drawn carriages. Thus, none of the roads are too curvy or steep, making them ideal for today's family cyclists. History laden, stone-faced bridges cross streams, waterfalls and roads. Bike or walk them, or take a ride in a horse-drawn carriage.
Contact: acadiabike.com or nps.gov/acad/index.htm
Join the growing number of active families choosing international, self-guided bike trips through Experience Plus. Itineraries include cruising the coast of Turkey or checking out the castles of France's Loire Valley. It's a good choice for those interested in a less-scripted and lower-priced adventure, yet travelers can still expect luggage transfers, lodging and some meals to be included in the trip price. Ask about discounts and specific trip recommendations for children.
Contact: toll-free 1-800-685-4565; experienceplus.com
LEARN ABOUT LIFE IN CUBA
With a strong focus on lifelong learning, Road Scholar educational adventures provide multigenerational travel opportunities in 50 states and 150 countries around the world. Now, you can travel to Cuba, where you'll have the opportunity to meet with community leaders, artists and local families to discuss the changes under way. Crafted for children 9 and older, and their adult family members, the trips also include local landmarks and local dance, music and cuisine.
Contact: toll-free 1-800-454-5768; roadscholar.org
PANAMA CITY BEACH
Enjoy an affordable beach getaway at Laketown Wharf in Florida's Panhandle. By day, build sand castles and cool off in the water or enjoy fun in and around five resort pools. Take it easy in one-, two- and three-bedroom condominium-style accommodations that include full kitchens, free Wi-Fi, and washer and dryer units. Rates are $129 to $329 per night (two-night minimum) through August. It's cheaper at the beginning of June and August.
Contact: toll-free 1-866-880-9360; laketownwharf.com
RELAX ON THE LONG BEACH PENINSULA, WASH.
A longtime favorite family beach destination, Washington's Long Beach Peninsula is known for its lodging options, great birding, digging for razor clams, fishing and kite-flying. It's also known for beach driving. You can ride horses on the beach, go whale watching, enjoy area festivals and hike nearby trails.
MORGAN BAY RESORT, ST. LUCIA
For a vacation that includes spectacular reefs, a lush rainforest and the world's only drive-in volcanic crater, visit this tropical gem where steep coastlines give way to a turquoise seascape. The all-inclusive, beachfront Morgan Bay Resort has water sports as well as tennis, entertainment, and kids and teen club activities. Meals and drinks are included in the per person price of $119 per adult and $50 for children per night. Ask about other promotions that include airfare credits of up to $1,000. Book before Wednesday for stays through the end of the year.
Contact: toll-free 1-800-858-4618; eliteislandresorts.com
THE CLIFTON INN, VIRGINIA
Your family of gardeners and history buffs might be interested to know that Thomas Jefferson had a green thumb. And they'll be thrilled to spend a weekend at the elegant Clifton Inn, where they can tour Jefferson's nearby gardens at Monticello. There, within the rolling hills of the Virginia countryside, they'll participate in seasonal gardening activities, pick vegetables for dinner and join the inn's chef to experience a tasting menu of local specialties.
Contact: toll-free 1-888-971-1800; cliftoninn.net
BOUNDARY WATERS CANOE TRIPS, ELY, MINN.
Your family will enjoy the tranquility that can be found within this wilderness area. Listen to the waves lapping against the shore as you drift to sleep in one of 2,000 secluded campsites that dot the lake region. Wake to the sounds of birds, enjoy breakfast over a campfire and then set out to explore more than 1,500 miles of canoe routes.
Contact: toll-free 1-800-777-8574
From cattle drives to cultural events, join New Mexico in a celebration of its centennial through the end of 2012. Hike red canyons, raft the Rio Grande, ride horses through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and fly-fish the Cimarron River. Take in American Indian ceremonies, steep yourself in the state's artistic heritage and sample traditional cuisine. Attend a world-famous opera or head to the rodeo. After your trip, enter the Get the Picture photo contest for a chance to win $10,000.
Contact: (505) 827-7336; newmexico.org
AMISH COUNTRY, LANCASTER, PA.
Turn back the clock and wander through the towns and villages of Lancaster County, where Amish carpenters and woodworkers are busy creating beautiful handcrafted furniture, birdhouses, bowls and children's toys. Stop to admire potters at work or the extraordinary hand-stitched quilts, designed and created by Amish women.
Contact: toll-free 1-800-723-8824; padutchcountry.com