There’s still time to squeeze a family vacation in before the end of summer. (Yes, we’re already talking about the end of summer. Yes, it was like yesterday that we were talking about school finally being out.) If you’re on the East Coast, pack up the car and take a drive to one of these 3 family-friendly cities for a low-key vacation that’s sure to please.
1. Raleigh, North Carolina
This underrated little city is a great place for a family on a budget. The downtown area offers free museums and inexpensive children’s programs all summer long. Hop on a bike or go for a walk to explore the historical residential neighborhoods that surround the business district. You can also catch a play or checkout the Lazy Daze Arts & Crafts Festival in August.
While you’re in town, make a point of seeking out one of the many restaurants that serve dishes made with local ingredients. For dessert, head to the nearest Locopops for a truly unique after-dinner treat.
2. Baltimore, Maryland
Often overlooked because of its proximity to Washington, D.C., Baltimore is a city worth visiting all on its own. Catch a baseball game at Camden Yards, visit the visually stunning aquarium at the Inner Harbor, or checkout one of the world’s most impressive comic book collections at Geppi’s Entertainment Museum.
If you like to squeeze a little learning into your trips, be sure to make a stop at the B&O Railroad Museum. The entire city is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War from 2011 through 2014, and you’ll find an extensive display at the museum that goes far beyond really cool trains (although there’s plenty of that!)
3. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Leave the books at home and head out for a vacation of pure fun on the Carolina coast. You can spend your time visiting aquariums and playing mini-golf on some of the crazy put-put courses you’ll ever see, or just hit the beach for sand castles and body surfing. For a special night on the town, grab tickets to the Carolina Opry, a show that will make kids from 6 to 96 laugh out loud.
While you’re in Myrtle Beach, head south for a day or two to Murrells Inlet. You’ll find fish shacks, dynamite seafood, and a state park with a home that looks more like a castle than a house.