By Jackie Burrell
Saturday, August 16th, 2008 at 6:30 am in Family Travel.
Hello, happy travelers! As we mentioned Friday, we’re launching a family travel Q&A this weekend, and we’ve recruited TravelMuse‘s Donna Airoldi and her staff to help. We’re leading off with a question of our own, and hoping you guys will chime in with comments and questions of your own, either by clicking “Comments” or via e-mail. Let’s start, shall we, with the question on everyone’s minds:
Q: Summer’s almost over, it’s too late to get away before school starts, isn’t it? I mean, we have no reservations, no ideas. Where can we go right this minute without busting the bank?
A: Ah, it’s never too late. If you’re not set on a destination, there are tons of options. New York, Los Angeles, Orlando, Chicago, Cancun and Las Vegas are often the most popular last-minute getaway spots, but there are lots of possibilities. Look for online deals and packages, be flexible about dates and destinations. And if you have preschoolers or college kids who have not yet left, the week after Labor Day is a good time to travel – fewer crowds, more discounts. But here are four family-friendly possibilities, two a quick flight away, and two closer to home.
1) Orange County has great beaches, Disneyland, and it’s near enough for side trips to Los Angeles and San Diego (that’s Del Mar Beach, just outside San Diego, pictured above). It’s especially great for families. Check JetBlue is having a sale between Oakland and Long Beach.
2) Salt Lake City — get an urban and outdoor experience in one. Affordable and available hotels, shopping, restaurants, with Three Arches and Bryce Canyon National Parks nearby. Ski resorts in summer offer excellent hiking too, and discounts off their usual in-season pricing.
3) San Mateo County — plenty to see and do and you can drive too. The coastline speaks for itself, and Half Moon Bay has plenty of lodging and excellent restaurants to choose from, along with plenty of hiking trails and two golf courses. The small communities of Pescadero, San Gregorio, La Honda and El Grenada, among others, are easy to fit into a full day of packed sightseeing, or two to three days at a more leisurely pace. For an eco experience, there’s Costanoa, offering everything from luxury lodging to affordable tent camping. The area also boasts several farms with tours, from Harley Farms and its adorable goats (who produce some of the best goat cheese around) to Farmer John and his giant pumpkins. There are historical sites and museums, both on the coast and inland, including the excellent Hiller Aviation Museum.