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Vacations serve as healthy bounding time outs for all of us. Most of us have been having “stay-cations”. This might be a good time to do something. With Easter break just a minute away these may be worth looking at. Families who vacation are shown to have better relationships. Here is an opportunity to begin thinking about it.

1- Florence, Alabama -This northwestern Alabama town has The Children’s Museum of the Shoals with hands-on education exhibits about the Tennessee Valley. The authentic 42 foot high Florence Indian Mound is surrounded by displays from 10,000 years of Native American history. The home of blues musician W. C. Handy (1873-1958) has his instruments and other personal items on display. The W. C. Handy Music Festival is held annually the first week in August.

2- Pensacola, Florida-Enjoy 52 miles of beaches in this area of northwestern Florida. There’s free admission to the National Museum of Naval Aviation, one of the three largest aviation museums in America. See over 170 vintage aircraft used by the Navy for the past 100 years. Look for special programs for children at the Gulf Island National Seashore.

3- St. Louis, Missouri- The capitol city is home to The Gateway Arch – Jefferson National Expansion Museum, a National Park beneath the 630 foot tall arch. Tour the Museum of Westward Expansion, view a movie about the monument or Lewis and Clark, or ride to the top of the arch. Purina Farms has live pets, displays, hands-on activities, and animal demonstrations and, best of all, no admission charge. The 1,371 acre Forest Park is home to an art museum and zoo with free admission and many free exhibits. Other free attractions in St. Louis include Anheuser Busch Brewery Tours which include the Clydesdales stables, and Grant’s Farm on the Busch family estate which has a petting zoo and tram ride

4- Blue Ridge, North Carolina– Since 1988 Blue Ridge Outing Company has offered rafting trips for families with children as young as 4. Travel magazines consistently give it high marks for value and safety. Their Ultimate Whitewater Rafting Trip for Younger Kids (under 11) even comes with a money-back guarantee if everyone in your family doesn’t have a great time. Other rides that are more challenging are available for adults and older children. Allow 3.5 hours for each ride; 2.5 hours will be on the water.

5- Cleveland, Ohio- Let the kids enjoy the music their grandparents and parents did! Built in 1986, this glass and steel pyramid has a view of Lake Erie. It is the place to put on headphones and hear rock classics, see personal memorabilia from rock stars, and learn about the Hall of Famers. It’s within walking distance of many downtown Cleveland hotels.

6-Franklyn D. Resort & Spa and Pebbles Resort in Jamaica. They specialize in families. Most resorts that offer all inclusive family vacations are usually located in the Caribbean and Mexico and they are a terrific option for a family beach vacation. Many resorts are designed with kids-only facilities, counselors, and planned activities and baby-sitting. Children of all ages are welcome at these properties.

7- Washington D.C. -There’s no better way to make learning about history and politics fun that a visit to our nation’s capital. Free entry to all 19 Smithsonian museums (including the National Zoo with giant pandas, Sumatran Tigers, and baby rhinos), the National Gallery of Art, and to national monuments will definitely help keep expenses down. Hotels can be expensive downtown, but great public transportation system—the Metro—lets you stay in less-expensive lodging outside the National Mall. Older kids will love the International Spy Museum, while a more somber reflection this country’s history can be had at the spectacular Holocaust Museum. Fun day trips include Civil War battlefields like Gettysburg, Bull Run, and Manassas, or visits to Mount Vernon, George Washington’s placid home.

8- Negril, JamaicaThis section of Western Jamaica is dubbed the “Capital of Casual” as it used to be a legendary hippie hangout. In contrast to the all-inclusive resorts that dominate much of the island, Negril has a lot of family-run, family-friendly lodges that offer rooms for well under $50 per night (look for summer-season discounts). Negril is famous for its laid-back seven mile long beach, with gentle waves and a kid-friendly shoreline. Older kids can rent kayaks and paddle out to the coral reef for snorkeling. There are plenty of day-trips to take from Negril; Mayfield Falls is beautiful and generally not crowded. Summer discounts are often available for flights into Montego Bay.

This morning  Disney announced that they will now have  various cruise offered leaving from the New York City Harbor in 2012. Some  of the cruises will include two day cruises to nowhere and to Canada .  Now is the time to start thinking about including healthy breaks. They grow up so fast. Create memories that  will last a lifetime.

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