From what I’ve heard, a lot of U.S. families missed out on the
traditional summer vacation this year. But with the gas prices on the
downswing and airfare looking somewhat reasonable, why not hit the roads or
skies this holiday season and make some scrapbook-worthy family
memories. Here are a couple of fun destination suggestions the entire family will enjoy.

Great Wolf Lodge – have you heard of it? Great Wolf Lodge is
an indoor water park and resort chain. Currently there are 10 Northwoods-themed locations with one scheduled to open in 2009. Most
locations are found in the East and Mid-west and one in the Northwest. My friend Kara (MountainMama)
took her family to the Great Wolf in Grapevine,
last winter and they had a blast.

Another fun family getaway is escaping to a dude ranch, also called a guest ranch.
They’re found all across the
country, but you will find the greatest
cluster in my neck of the woods, Arizona. Dude ranches are more likely to be hands-on and chockfull of activities
such as rounding up cattle or roping classes, while guest ranches can be a bit on the calmer, luxurious side, offering spa
treatments and mellow horseback trail rides. The attractive part for families, is that many ranches offer kid-friendly programs and activities (be sure to ask). Concerned about winter weather? No
worries there. In fact, many northern ranches offer snow activities (tubing,
snowshoeing, etc.). Of course, every ranch is different, so be sure to explore
the many options to find a ranch that is perfect for your family.  The Dude
Ranchers’ Association
and Guest
Ranches of North America
have listings of various ranch options. Happy Holiday Travels! 

Beth Blair is a freelance travel writer ( and co-founder of TravelingMamas (


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