Location, location, location. Gone are the days when vacation details were scarce and the planning was difficult. Finding that great getaway spot for you and your family just got easier.
Travel websites offer families a wide range of vacation packages to suit any budget. More often than not, cities and countries are marketing their hot spots to draw vacationers their way for a couple of days or even weeks. Many cities have their own chamber of commerce used to promote the area.
Due to today’s hectic schedules, a temporary journey away from one’s hometown or city to get rid of all the tension and relax from the "busy" in life is recommended by both physicians and psychologists, according to Psychology Today.
A recent poll conducted by Trip Advisor reveals some of the top hot spots for 2011, based on research data and site editors.
These destinations offer fun family activities and natural beauty, as well as plentiful vacation options for travelers looking to save money on their trips.
The list includes great getaways and hot spots ranging from prime summer beach spots to areas with first-rate ski resorts.
(Comments: Family-friendly activities spanning everything from hot air balloon rides to bass fishing, Kissimmee is at the heart of Florida’s famous amusement park country and neighbors Orlando.)
2- Big Bear Lake, California
(Comments: Offering year-round activities including skiing and snowboarding in the winter and hiking and fishing in the summer, this beautiful destination to the northeast of Los Angeles is perfect for travelers looking to explore the great outdoors)
3- Gatlinburg, Tennessee
(Comments: Situated in the Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg is a scenic spot for outdoor adventures, from hiking and horseback riding to fishing and whitewater rafting.)
4- Kihei, Hawaii
(Comments: Located on the island of Maui, Kihei features six miles of sunny beaches that, beyond sunbathing, offer travelers a number of aquatic activities including swimming, snorkeling, surfing and kayaking.)
5- Destin, Florida
(Comments: A perfect place for a relaxing vacation on the beach, this destination on the Florida panhandle boasts warm weather fun for the whole family, from top-rated golf courses to a free exhibit featuring 100 live alligators.)
6- Palm Springs, California
(Comments: Resting at the base of the Mount San Jacinto Mountains, Palm Springs is a gorgeous resort town where travelers can get their fill of adventure or relaxation, with attractions ranging from an aerial tramway and hiking trails to downtown shopping and spas.)
7- Outer Banks, North Carolina
(Comments: A narrow strip of land just off the Atlantic Coast, the Outer Banks boasts miles of picturesque beaches and a wide array of wildlife, including herds of wild horses that roam the beaches in the northern portion of the islands.)
8- Lahaina, Hawaii
(Comments: At one time the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii, Lahaina is still a royal place to get away from it all and enjoy spectacular beaches, as well as a wealth of activities from whale watching tours to hiking through the nearby West Maui Forest Reserve.)
9- Hilton Head, South Carolina
(Comments: A fabulous beach destination for the entire family, Hilton Head offers a relaxing place to escape with miles of pristine sand, 24 top-notch golf courses, upscale shopping and outdoor activities galore.)
10- Cape Cod, Massachusetts
(Comments: Bursting with old-fashioned New England charm, Cape Cod is a fantastic summer destination for the family with outstanding beaches, historic lighthouses, miles of bike trails and plenty of options for shopping and dining.)
Extra: Here is a list of the top activities and summer getaways for those on a tight budget as reported by MSNBC.
1- Celebrate a historic anniversary
(Idea: Give your school-aged children an up-close and personal history lesson by visiting some of the best historical U.S. sites for kids like Gettysburg, Pa., and Charleston, S.C.)
2- Meet Po in person
(Idea: The Atlanta zoo welcomed its newest baby panda late last year - a big deal when you realize how few endangered panda cubs are born and survive annually.)
3- Release your inner cowboy
(Idea: For a rip-roaring good time that your kids will rave about for years to come, consider a dude ranch. The entire family can get outdoors for horseback riding, fishing, hiking and swimming in ponds and streams, and campfires.)
4- Do some good
(Idea: Instead of sitting on the beach this summer, consider lending a hand in a vacation that gets your kids involved in helping others. Volunteer vacations are becoming increasingly popular among families, especially in the wake of natural disasters in Haiti and Japan. You can travel abroad with a reputable group like Cross-Cultural Solutions, or stay right here and help clean up the national parks and trails by joining the Sierra Club for a multi-generational project.)
5- Ride a loop-the-loop
(Idea: What child doesn't want to run around an old-fashioned amusement park, screaming wildly when they are flipped, looped and tossed about on a number of roller coasters.)
6- Celebrate Lady Liberty's birthday
(Idea: This year, the Statue of Liberty turns 125, so give the lady her due with a visit to New York. Hop a ferry over to Ellis Island and Liberty Island, taking in the rich history of the thousands of immigrants who arrived here by boat.)
7- Take a road trip
(Idea: Sometimes the road trip can be the vacation, such as driving the Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to Los Angeles.)
8- Celebrate another red, white and blue celebration
(Idea: Bastille Day, July 14, is the date the French celebrate their independence, and French nations come alive with fireworks and events. You don't have to go to Paris (although it certainly wouldn't hurt!) for the fun, Quebec City and Montreal both offer fun festivals.)
9- Sample some sweets
(Idea: Visit the Jelly Belly Factory in California, indulge in chocolate at Hershey Chocolate World in Pennsylvania, eat more than one chip at the Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory in Massachusetts, and get a brain freeze eating ice cream at the Ben & Jerry Ice Cream Factory in Vermont.)
9- Visit major museums for free!
(Idea: When it comes to traveling with the kids, free is always better, and who can beat free admission to some of the best museums in the world? Washington, D.C.'s 19 Smithsonian Museums, including the Air & Space Museum, Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of American History, are all, yep!, free!)
10- Tour National Parks
(Idea: Tour all the US parks including Acadia in Maine, Yellowstone, and the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee.)
Ten best movie destinations: http://www.familyvacationcritic.com/10-best-movie-destinations/art/
Ten best beaches for families: http://www.familyvacationcritic.com/10-best-beaches-for-families/art/
Ten best Caribbean resorts: http://www.familyvacationcritic.com/10-best-caribbean-family-resorts/art/