Educators, parents and caregivers are well aware that learning can be fun, and this does not apply exclusively to children, teens and young adults! Families that plan educational vacations can open up their minds to new possibilities, discovering more about the world while having the times of their lives. The goal is for the vacation to be a shared, fun learning experience with as little stress as possible. And if you live in or plan on traveling to the East Coast, there are some outstanding opportunities for these kinds of trips.
Williamsburg, VA and Boston, MA
A visit to Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia can offer your family the opportunity to travel back through history: 18th century America, to be exact. U.S. News Travel likes its living history museum, where actors demonstrate book binding and brick-making and perform reenactments of important historical events. And when you’re finished seeing Williamsburg, you can head over to nearby Busch Gardens and Water Country USA. The closest airport to Williamsburg is Newport News/Williamsburg International.
Boston is another great choice for an educational East Coast family vacay. This beautiful city offers tours of Revolutionary War-era sites, sightseeing cruises on the Boston Harbor and countless parks, museums and markets. You can also travel during baseball season and take the family to historic Fenway Park to see the Red Sox play. And if you have time, travel an hour and half south to visit Cape Cod to enjoy whale watching, swimming, lighthouses, seafood and hiking.
Raleigh, NC and Annapolis, MD
Great Wolf Lodge lists Raleigh, North Carolina as a good option for families that want to blend learning and fun in their next vacation. It is home to a large number of great museums like the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and the Marbles Kids Museum, plus Pullen Park, the 5th oldest operating amusement park in the U.S. Raleigh is also full of scenic biking and hiking trails, and has an excellent food scene; to get here, you just fly into Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
Annapolis, Maryland is quiet and relaxing, and has a lot of historical sites and museums. Planetware explains that this charming city is one of the oldest in the country, and served as the U.S. capitol before it was relocated to the District of Columbia. Top landmarks here include the Maryland State House, the U.S. Naval Academy Museum and the William Paca House and Garden. The heart of this city is great for shopping and dining, too; it takes just under an hour to get to Annapolis from Baltimore.
Asheville, NC and Philadelphia, PA
Asheville, NC has a rich cultural history and is also full of learning opportunities. Of historic interest are the Thomas Wolfe home, historic Grovewood Village, Biltmore and the Basilica of St. Lawrence. And if your family is into nature, there’s a 60-foot natural waterslide in Pisgah National Forest and numerous waterfalls to gaze at. You can also learn how to paddleboard here as a family, or take a leisurely cruise on a wooden drift boat.
Philadelphia is also great for families with kids of all ages, and has enough year-round attractions to keep everyone happy. First is the Please Touch Museum in Fairmount Park, which has two floors of interactive exhibits. The Franklin Institute is the most popular science museum in the region, and has rotating special exhibits plus interesting permanent ones.
Other stellar Philly attractions include the Philadelphia Zoo, Franklin Square and Constitution Hall. If you are amenable to driving a ways outside the city, you’ll also want to experience Sesame Place and Longwood Gardens.