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Last-minute summer getaways

Posted on Sunday, July 19, 2015 at 8:00 am


kali bolle


It happened again. You meant to plan a summer vacation. Although it seemed as if there was plenty of time, there was always something else to do. Now, with school just a few weeks away, you are left with trying to schedule a last-minute trip with the family.

Check out the following last-minute summer trips and tips to make the most of those final days of summer vacation.


Stay flexible. While you may assume that you’ll have to be totally open on the dates to be able to take a trip before Labor Day, according to travel.com, it’s actually more important to have wiggle room with the place.

Although your family may have its collective heart set on an iconic dream destination, it’s important to keep an open mind and go somewhere that fits both your family’s time schedule and budget.

Tie it up in a package. An obstacle that procrastinating travelers face is finding one component of the trip but not the other: snagging cheap airfare but coming up empty on rooms that suit the crew, or vice versa.

Check sites like lastminute.com and Travelzoo.com, which collect the leftovers from car-rental companies, airlines and hotels, then package them.


Top last-minute destinations


Go West

Taos, New Mexico is an ideal place to experience the mountains and Carson National Forest even during the summer. There are a variety of fun activities to take part in such as hiking, cycling and rafting.

web Taos, New MexicoGorgeous scenery in Arizona make it a destination not to miss. Sedona offers outdoor with Jeep tours and the opportunity to lodge at hotels along the 7.5-mile Red Rock Scenic Byway where visitors can enjoy the red-rock cliffs, buttes, and mesas that surround the city.

Visitors can also head to the Crescent Moon Picnic Area or Airport Mesa to take in a picturesque sunset. And visitors shouldn’t miss the Grand Canyon.

Keeping with the outdoors theme, Yellowstone National Park, covering parts of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, is best known for the Old Faithful geyser, which won’t disappoint with its spectacular display. Yellowstone is also home to 1,000 miles of hiking trails, 67 species of mammals (including bears, moose, and, thanks to a successful reintroduction in 1995, more than 300 wolves), and ranger programs such as walks, hikes, and campfire.

Don’t forget the Lone Star State for last minute summer travel. Dallas offers a host of things to see and do that include historical landmarks, rodeos, cattle drives, sports stadiums and more.  San Antonio has the Riverwalk with great restaurants and shops and don’t forget to take a boat ride through the middle of all the excitement.


Explore the East


Enjoy exploring the past by packing up the family and heading to historic Williamsburg, Virginia.  Colonial Williamsburg is packed with history that offers an educational adventure for the whole family.

While in the area, make a day trip to Busch Gardens Williamsburg to enjoy a break from history on the 383-acre farm, enjoying unique animal encounters and world class roller coasters.

web bush gardensTennessee’s neighbor state, Kentucky, offers an outdoor adventure of a lifetime by exploring the state’s many natural caverns.

Noted for having the world’s longest cave system, these limestone caverns can be explored with the help of park rangers. Programs offered range from the tried-and-true, one-of-a-kind major paths to muddier, darker options that the more adventurous will revel in.

If your heart is still set on seeing the beach, enjoy Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, with its miles of sand and fun boardwalk.

Fun for all ages can be had with chartered fishing expeditions, sailboat excursions, and Ripley’s Aquarium, where visitors can get nose-to-nose with sharks.

You can hit the big city and enjoy the sights and sounds of Chicago.

Stay in a hotel down by the “Magnificent Mile” and enjoy the shops, the international dining, lively entertainment and natural beauty which are easy to access by walking.


Out of the country


Mexico and the Dominican Republic offer tons of all-inclusive resorts where you can experience a host of activities and just unpack once.

Family activities, activities just for the kids, delightful entertainment, good food and beverages are all included for just one price in the all-inclusive packages.

Another great place for lounging on the beach, listening to the waves crash in the distance and making great memories is Puerto Rico.

web Puerto RicoPuerto Rico is blessed with towering mountains, rainforests, white sandy beaches along Caribbean shores, and a vibrant culture forged from a mix of Caribbean, Hispanic, African and U.S. influences.

Travelers interested in local culture will find a wealth of historic buildings and monuments, many of them dating back some 500 years to the Spanish conquistadors and no passport is needed.

Source: Dawn Celeberti with “Time to Getaway” Travel and Travel.com.