Vacation ideas needed : with teens
May 27, 2008 10:20 AM   Subscribe

I'm planning a summer vacation with our three teenaged boys. 14 year old twins and a 13 year old. We've done the Florida/disney thing already and I'm looking for some ideas for a fun place to go where they'll have enough to keep them busy and out of trouble for a week. Budget is $7000 all in. Any thoughts out there?
posted by Scoops to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total)
Southern Utah/North Rim of the Grand Canyon.
posted by notsnot at 10:26 AM on May 27, 2008

Atlantis? Yosemite?
posted by donovan at 10:49 AM on May 27, 2008

What about a random, new city you've never visited before? Chicago or Seattle or Philadelphia or New Orleans? Each of these cities has neat museums, cool parks, some outdoorsy stuff where your kids can hike a bunch or just get tired from walking around all day and also great food.
posted by cachondeo45 at 10:49 AM on May 27, 2008

Nova Scotia, Canada. Totally amazing, beautiful, down-home. The people are awesome, there's great food, wind-y back roads, lobster villages, cultural stuff. The Tall Ships festival in Halifax has huge sailing ships you can tour; definitely take a three-day sea kayaking course anywhere along the north coast or Cape Breton; drive the Cabot Trail (also Cape Breton).

Much of the activity can be "quality" time - walking long beaches, going on very small-scale whale-watching tours (though you'll see lots of whales), visiting lighthouses, getting fish & chips at roadside stands. Antigonish, NS has a big Highland Games that is simply hilarious and magnificent - you can't argue with deafening bagpipes and huge men throwing telephone poles for sport (the caber toss).

Although you might initially think a Maritime tour could be boring, i.e. "my kids will never be able to deal with that little stimulation" - it will be the total other end of the spectrum from Disneyland in all kinds of superb ways. Totally real, very authentic, in situ. In Nova Scotia the height of gauche is "putting on airs" - you'll get none of the tourist bullshit prevalent in so many holiday destinations.

Throwing rocks into the ocean is a universal pastime. And if you take my advice and powerraft the Shubenacadie River, which has the highest tides in the world (it empties into the Bay of Fundy) you will have topped whatever water rides you did at Disneyworld. The Citadel in Halifax has (historical) soldiers wandering around with gunpowder-packed guns, always a hit with young men. Canada Day is July 1st and it's celebrated with music and fireworks everywhere.

Your kids will go to bed exhausted and smelling like salt air and happy. And with $7000 to spend you can buy pretty much whatever Nova Scotia has to offer (including land), eat like kings, and stay in amazing hotels, inns, and b&bs, and go to great concerts. You could even fly to Montreal first, have a few days in the city (a whole separate post), and then take the overnight train to Nova Scotia - an absolutely magnificent experience and a great way to arrive.
posted by Mrs Hilksom at 10:51 AM on May 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

If they like baseball, take them to see their favorite team (assuming that's out of town).
One of these tours would be on the high end of your budget but also probably worth it if your kids like biking.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 12:11 PM on May 27, 2008

I 2nd the notion of the Utah National Parks (self link). Your boys are of the age now to appreciate natural beauty when they see it. All these parks are bunched in the southern part of Utah, so there isn't a whole lot of drive time in between. If you have any specific questions, email is in profile.
posted by netbros at 12:12 PM on May 27, 2008

How about a family camp? They'll have trained staff to keep your kids busy, leaving the adults to relax and do what they please.

From personal experience as a child camper and later as a summer counselor, I'd recommend Montecito Sequoia Lodge. Its located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Sequoia National Forest and is beautiful. They have their own lake for water skiing, a pool, horse back riding, hiking trails, etc. All your meals are included in the price, and you get to meet a bunch of other families.

I don't have kids yet, so I've never been as a head of a household, but it was a lot of fun as a kid.

Check it out
posted by Arbac at 12:15 PM on May 27, 2008

Try the Outer Banks of NC. You can rent a house. There is, of course, the ocean with warm Gulf Stream waters this time of the year and waves galore for surfing with boards or just bodies. (And beaches for watching teenage girls walking to be away from their families. There is the bay with wave riding and sailing and kayaking and all. There is a shopping area with movie theater and go karts and things like that. All this is in a quieter setting up north around Duck and Corrolla. All this is in a little more commercial setting south around Kitty Hawk (where there are dunes and hang gliding.)
posted by lpsguy at 12:15 PM on May 27, 2008

As you might guess by my username, I'm partial to cruise vacations. The big ones do a great job of keeping kids entertained, and a week on a great ship in the Caribbean easily costs way less than $7k.

I was just on RCI's Liberty of the Seas (pictures) and their surf-simulator, rock climbing wall, mini-golf, ice skating rink were all big hits with the teenagers.

If you're not familiar with cruises, you might like this Cruise Guide. It goes over what the options are, and some of the FAQs about costs, a "typical" day, etc.

That said, I'm also a big fan of Yellowstone. =)
posted by CruiseSavvy at 5:01 PM on May 27, 2008

I have 3 teens and a tween, each with their own unique interests and of varying attention levels, and they have loved going to Colonial Williamsburg (and would go back in a heartbeat).

We've never checked it out, but there's Busch Gardens nearby as well.

And for some reason I can't fathom, there seems to be a higher density of pancake houses in the area than I've seen anywhere else in all my travels.
posted by pammo at 5:21 PM on May 27, 2008

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