USA Theme Parks For All Ages

Theme parks are quite literally fun for all the family – they’re the very definition of it, in fact. No matter what the age of your kids, there’s something for everyone to enjoy – be it white-knuckle rides or a more sedate, quaint experience.

There’s literally hundreds of theme parks in North America, and particularly in the USA; the land of freedom and fun. If you’re a fan of a holiday that involves taking in a theme park, the biggest hurdle you’ll have to overcome is deciding where you should actually go.

So let’s break it down. Rather than comparing rides, amenities, what the shows are like – let’s focus on the overall vibe. While each theme park undoubtedly has something to offer the whole family ensemble, there are some that are best suited to particular ages.

Young Children (Ages 0 – 4): Dutch Wonderland, PA

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You might not have heard of Dutch Wonderland before, but if you’re a parent with very young children, then it’s the dream destination you have been waiting for. Located in Pennsylvania – the Dutch is as in Amish, not Holland –  the park is a cornucopia of delights with a good old-fashioned sense of family fun. It’s simple enough to find good family-friendly hotels near Dutch Wonderland too, meaning you can explore the local area and spend as long as you want at the park itself.

Must Do: The show ‘A Royal Fiasco’ is a romp of humor that kids will love, as a Princess tries to plan a Royal Ball with the help – and hindrance – of inexperienced aides.

Older Children (Ages 4 – Tween): Water Country, VI

As the name might suggest, Water Country in Virginia is a water park. It’s a perfect summer holiday trip, when the sun is high in the sky and there’s plenty of fun to be had on the rides. It’s best to save this trip for when your children are older; they’ll want to be able to swim confidently to take advantage of the rides and attractions inside the sprawling park. You can stay on-site in the private cabanas, or in nearby history-rich Williamsburg if you prefer.

Must Do: ‘Rock And Roll Island’ has a multitude of different experiences in one area, from huge slides to a pool to paddle in while you watch the kids have fun.

Tweens & Up: Cedar Point, OH

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As the above image shows, when it comes to white knuckle rides, you can’t go far wrong with Cedar Point in Ohio. Once again, you can stay on-site if you prefer, though there’s plenty of surrounding accommodation if you’d rather stay for a single day. With that said, there’s so many exciting thrill rides here that you might be tempted to linger a little longer!

Must Do: Corkscrew – in the image – was the first ever rollercoaster in the world to feature three inversions. It’s still a thrill today, and is a nice piece of theme park history to enjoy.

So whatever the age of your group, there is a theme park out there in the USA that is ready and willing to welcome you.

 

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Four Surefire Signs You Need to Go Camping

Perhaps you’ve thought about going camping for a long time, but you’ve never really gotten round to doing it. It could be as simple as you being way too busy. But maybe you’re waiting for some sort of sign that it’s the right time to go camping.

If that’s the case, then the signs may already be there – you might just be missing them! Here are five signs in your life that are telling you that you should probably embark on a camping trip at some point in the near future!

You’re sick of the urban life

Okay, so maybe you’re not so sick of the urban life that you want to move out of the country. But you’re certainly feeling some ‘urban fatigue’. You want to see more of nature. Whether you’re in a city or a suburb, it can often be difficult to get enough nature time into your life.

It’s actually pretty important that you do this every so often. This is why forest-bathing is popular among many people – the act of simply walking around inside a forest for a couple of hours. It’s not just great for our bodies, but also our minds. If you’ve not been out in nature for a while, then head out on a camping trip!

You’ve never done it before

Seriously? You’ve not been camping before? Well, perhaps it’s never really interested you. Camping isn’t always the most comfortable or fun thing for a lot of people, and that’s understandable. But even then, surely you should try it at least once?

Of course, if you’ve never been camping before, then you’re at somewhat of a disadvantage if you do want to go on a camping trip. You need to make sure you get the right equipment, which is something businesses like Tents and Camp Gear can help you out with. And you probably should go by yourself; head out there with people who know how to camp! It will be more fun and more safe. Speaking of other people…

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It’s been a while since you’ve seen your friends

As we get older, we tend to see less and less of the good friends we’ve made over the years. Even if we’re still in frequent touch with them over Facebook or WhatsApp, we tend to get a little too busy or far apart to see each other that often.

Camping is a fantastic group activity, and it can make an amazing excuse to have a reunion with some of your buddies that you haven’t seen in a while. Not only does it require a lot of teamwork, but it also forces you to engage with each other in a deeper sense; back home, you’ve all got several things distracting you, not least your smartphones. When you’re out in the wilderness, you can have longer, more concentrated talks. It can help strengthen bonds more than you might think.

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You need a cheap vacation

Because, come on, you do. Not having a break takes it toll in the long run, but vacations can be pretty expensive. Camping provides a very affordable break from reality. It may not be luxurious, but it might be just the vacation you need. Consider taking it a step further and camping abroad!

The Best Camping Sites in Europe – A Comprehensive Guide to Scenic Routes

Planning a camping trip in Europe is one of the best choices you can make this summer. It’s budget friendly, offers a lot of exciting cities and sights, as well as wonderful camping breaks in picturesque surroundings. There are too many advantages to it; not having to book a room for the night means that you save a lot of money, while your mode of transportation gives you the freedom to go where you like.

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To make it even easier on your wallet, we have looked up the most scenic camping sites you can choose in European countries, depending on which route you’d like to follow. It’s a great choice for your camping adventures as it only takes you a few hours between each country. Wander the streets of Ljubljana one day, and drive to Venice the next morning.

Tent, motorhome or caravan?

As a camper, you have probably decided on your favorite already. There are different benefits to each type of camping, and it depends on how comfortable you’d like to be. In a tent, you’re close to nature and not quite as sheltered as in a caravan or motorhome. You will need to choose the right type of tent, though, and keep the weight of it in mind if you’re backpacking. Make sure it’s big enough to fit your family if you’re traveling with children, and bring something heavy for setting the tent up in case the ground is particularly tough. Here is an excellent article if this is your first time camping abroad, by the way.

With a motorhome, you get the freedom of traveling in your home. It’s costly, though, and reserved for those who plan to use it every summer. The caravan offers the same convenience of traveling but might provide even more freedom in terms of exploring; it’s just not practical to drive around in a large motorhome when you want to explore the surroundings. Simply park your caravan where you plan to camp, and set off in your car instead.  

At the end of the day, if you have invested in a caravan or motorhome, it makes sense to ditch the tent altogether; rather that than leaving a costly vehicle behind in the carport for your caravan. Have a look at this article to prepare your vehicle for the big trip and make sure it runs smoothly.

Beginning: Budapest and Ljubljana

Your camping route can be laid out however you please; it can easily be turned around so that you end up in Central Europe at the end of your trip rather than the beginning. Budapest has a lot to offer, both for those seeking a city break and those looking for beautiful nature; Ave Natura Camping is situated in the idyllic forest of Buda Hill. You can relax in a motorhome, caravan or tent, in shady and sunny spots.

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It’s not too far from the city either if you feel like mixing it up a bit. When you fall in love with Budapest, it’s because it will never bore you – stay in the center to feel its life or head to the outskirts for a bit of serenity.

When you want a change, it won’t even take you five hours to drive to Ljubljana. It’s a wonderfully scenic route, too, so the drive there will be just as pleasant as the camping itself. The city is a personal favorite of many, myself included, as it still has that quiet charm of a city not yet discovered by the masses. Its beauty is stunning; more than half of the country is forested, so you can feel confident that your wildlife adventure will be wild enough.

Camping Bled is an hour away from Ljubljana, but the view makes it worth it. It’s also the cradle of golfing in Slovenia, in addition to being located right by Lake Bled. There is another camping site in Ljubljana if an hour away from the city seems to much – but its ratings are not even close to Bled’s.

Middle: Venice and Marseille

When you’re ready for your next city, you’ll be driving down to Venice in about two and a half hour. The drive is, in all honesty, almost too short – watch how the landscape changes and see Italy open up beneath you, with all its humidity and crooked little houses. Venice is the perfect city for a romantic getaway, and it’s quiet enough for you to enjoy the time with your family in peace and serenity.

Camping Al Boschetto is a great place for children and even located by a sandy beach; with a playground and a sports ground, you can relax and enjoy the city of love together, while the youngest is having far too much fun to bother you. It will take you an hour to get there from the center of Venice, so when you feel like walking by the canals instead of the sea, it won’t take you too long to get there.

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Although you certainly should see more of Italy and even stay there for as long as possible, you probably want to get moving eventually. Where you go from here depends on whether or not you travel by caravan or public transport; as you need to get on a ferry to go to Spain, it’s probably better to head straight for France and save yourself the extra expenses.

If you do travel by public transport and would like to visit Barcelona, you should take a ferry from Livorno  – it is as sandy and blue as paradise, and the best way to get there is to take a train from Venice to Florence. You’re welcome.

For the sake of order, we assume that you travel by caravan and would like to head straight to France. It’s massive, and since you’d like to save as much time as possible, the southern part should give you everything you need; proximity, the French Riviera, and all of those good summer vibes you have been dreaming of.

Make your way to Marseilles and prepare for a good 6 hour drive – it is, after all, a journey across Italy. You can always make the drive a bit easier by stopping in Genoa before driving on; it’s not the first city to come to mind when you think of Italy, but as one of it’s largest ports and with a stunning view wherever you look, you won’t regret spending a few hours here.

Camping Du Pylone is reopened after the tragic flood two years back and is still as popular as ever. You can use one of their mobile homes or just stay in your own caravan. There’s a lot to do for your kids too, with a swimming pool and offers different activities for the whole family.

End: Geneva and Enzklosterle

As the end or the beginning of your trip, a few nights of camping in Geneva is just what you need. Your caravan will take you there from Marseilles in about five and a half hours, so start early in the morning to get the most out of the day. As always, you won’t be bored while driving through shifting landscape, friendly towns, and get to enjoy the endless charm of Europe in the summer.

The view and nature are in a class of its own; you’ll be looking for long if you want something even more idyllic than what Geneva has to offer. Camping Rive-Bleu is situated by a small marina, as well as a large indoor swimming pool. The site is quiet and picturesque, with a small village ten minutes away, and you can choose to rent a tent from them if you’d like. It is camping in nature at its finest, but beware of the prices – they’re slightly higher here than in some of the other cities on the route.

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Image from: Pexels

Make your final destination a forest camping in Germany. Camping Müllerwiese is a car-free camping in the middle of a small village, surrounded by the Black Forest, and with a small stream running through it. Since you need to leave your car behind, you simply load your things into the provided charts and pull it with you over a bridge and onto the site. It’s a German camping dream come true, and a perfect place for resting out after the drive. It will take you about five hours, by the way, and you’ll be pleased to know that visitors to the campsite have called it a hidden gem with a fantastic view over mountains and forest.

When you want to see as much of Europe’s nature as possible while traveling on a budget, you’re in for a great adventure. The proximity to the countries and opportunities for indulging in different architecture, history, and cuisine wherever you go will attract your camper’s instinct again and again. Luckily, you have so many exciting cities to choose from and can accommodate the route to fit your budget – stay a few days in an expensive country and balance it out by extending your stay in the less expensive ones.

 

Arizona: Exploring The Copper State

When you’re looking for summer jaunts all-year round, you can’t get any better than Arizona. Even in winter, the hot and dry climate gives you that taste of summer when Santa should be on his way! As part of the United States, Arizona has some of the most incredible terrain, with high mountains, rocky and deep canyons, and man-made wonders like the Hoover Dam, which has to be seen in person to appreciate how immense a structure it is. And while there are plenty of world famous places the state can boast of, such as the Grand Canyon, here are a few of the other star attractions and things to do in the Copper State.

Hiking Around The Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

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This conservation area, home of Lake Powell, as well the Glen Canyon Dam, covers 1,254,429 acres of mainly desert. Lake Powell is one of the man-made structures that have made this state famous, and is the largest artificial lake in the United States and was formed in 1964 as part of the Glen Canyon Dam. A primary hiking spot for tourists, people come from all over the world to visit the Antelope slot canyons, where the combination of the light and the rocks creates some beautiful imagery. No doubt you will come back with some really great photos while also enjoying some brisk exercise.

Balloon Rides Around Phoenix

To see Arizona bathed in a wonderful orangey glow while taking part in a sunrise balloon ride is a mixture of fear and wonderment. The view is fantastic, but if you’ve got a fear of heights, one may cancel the other out! But once you see the saguaro and the buttes you’ll soon forget yourself. There are plenty of companies that offer this package, and Float Balloon Tours offer breakfast or dinner with wine from a local vineyard. If you wanted to see the state from a different angle, you would certainly achieve this!

See The Monument Valley Tribal Park

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The views from Monument Valley look like something from another planet, and with these sights, it’s very easy to transport yourself away from the hubbub of daily life. The sharp rock formations and sand dunes, massive in size, make for a daring but rewarding terrain. There are photography tours for people who would like to capture some images, but many people tend to drive by on the highway nearby and soak in the view that way. Either way, you must see it in person.

Walk Around Bisbee

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As a former mining town near to the border of Mexico, its proximity to the mountains makes for perfect imagery from the comfort of this sleepy town. You can see over the border into Mexico and enjoy a casual walk around the shops and meet some interesting locals who have tales to tell of the old mining days, or you can head to the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum to get a look at the history close up. It also won Best Historic Small Town in Sunset magazine and USA Today online reader poll in 2016!

Are You Ready To Camp Abroad?

Of all the ways to stay abroad, one of the most convenient and cheapest has to be camping. This is a means of staying abroad which is becoming more and more popular, and there are many reasons why that might be the case. For some, camping offers an opportunity to save money while still having a good time on holiday. For others, it means a chance to be within the beauty of nature in a safe and engaging way. Whatever appeal camping abroad has for you, there are certain considerations you might want to bear in mind as you plan your trip and while you camp.

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Safety First

As with any kind of holiday, you will benefit from thinking about safety before you go and while you are there. There are many ways in which safety can become an ongoing issue, and the last thing you want is for anything to happen to you or a family member. Be sure to pack a first aid kit – this can include basics such as plasters, bandages and so on as well as useful items such as multi-purpose flashlights, such as the ones found at www.tbotech.com/flashlight-taser.htm. If you are sure that you are fully packed with safety in mind, you should then remember to keep safety at the forefront of your concerns as you camp. As long as you bear it in mind, you should be able to remain safe and have a much better time as a result.

Know Your Pitch

Wherever you end up pitching, it is really important that you know it as well as possible. The best way to ensure this is to plan your trip in advance, going so far as to choose your campsites. You will want to know what kind of amenities the campsite has, as well as what is permitted and what is not. It also helps to have a good sense of the kind of clientele who frequent it, so that you can be sure to find somewhere you will fit in. But it’s about more than just researching the campsite; it also helps hugely if you spend time finding a pitch you can be happy with. Finding a good spot on site ensures you will have a much better time of it. See https://www.pitchup.com/guide-camping-abroad/ for more on this topic.

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Talk To Neighbors

Wherever you end up, unless you are wild camping in the middle of nowhere, you will have some camping neighbors. Just as with most other situations, it is a good idea to talk to these people, even if only the basic politeness of saying hello. This is partly a safety issue, but it also helps to feel at home on the campsite. It is likely that they will appreciate it as well, and on the whole you will be contributing to a much nicer little community, so it is well worth it. Talk to them and find out more about the local area in the process – this in particular will help you to make the most of your time abroad.

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