July Family Travel Guide

Hikers, Wolfeboro
Take the family hiking this summer—a low cost way to escape for a few days with the kids (courtesy, New Hampshire Tourism)

Strathcona Lodge, British Columbia
Surrounded by the snowcapped peaks and old-growth forest of 550,000-acre Strathcona Provincial Park, in the heart of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Strathcona Lodge takes full advantage of its glorious locale. At their Family Adventure Weeks in July and August, guests canoe, sea kayak, rock climb, hike with a naturalist, try a high ropes course, and learn orienteering skills. The highlight of the week is an overnight canoe and camping trip where kids find out about no trace camping and wilderness ethics.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts
If you want to see baseball's next generation of great players and don't want to pay the exorbitant tab at major league ballparks, consider watching a game on Cape Cod this summer. Mo Vaughn, Albert Belle, and Frank Thomas played ball in the 114-year-old Cape Cod League, which features the premiere collegiate players. Picnic on the grass, breathe in the briny sea air, and watch the game while your kids play pitch and catch behind the press box.

Oxnard, California
With a dazzling celebration of salsa—the food, the music, and the dance—Oxnard, California can certainly lay claim to having the hottest summer festival. July 28 and 29, in the historic downtown area, the 14th Annual Oxnard Salsa Festival features a salsa tasting tent, salsa dance lessons, arts and crafts at the Kids Korner, and hundreds of vendors selling everything from pottery to chile peppers.

Hershey, Pennsylvania
July 2007 not only marks the centennial of Hersheypark, which Milton Hershey opened as picnic grounds for his factory workers, but the centennial of Hershey's greatest creation, the Hershey Kiss. The picnic grounds in Hershey, Pennsylvania, are now a world class theme park. Jump on the Roller Soaker, and then dry off on the free tour of the nearby Hershey Chocolate Factory, which ends on a sweet note—a free sample of chocolate.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming
A short drive from Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks, Jackson Hole makes a great summer stopover for families. This is especially true if you book a room at the Spring Creek Ranch. With horseback riding, wildlife safaris to glimpse elk, moose, and bison, scavenger hunts, stargazing lessons, and flyfishing, you'll have a hard time tearing the kids away from the property. And mom and dad won't want to leave either, now that the Spring Creek Ranch offers a Wilderness Adventure Spa.

White Mountain National Forest
In 1876, a group of 39 outdoor enthusiasts met and formed an organization devoted to the exploration of the White Mountains called the Appalachian Mountain Club. Several of the members had visited Europe and knew firsthand about Alpine huts—mountain refuges that sheltered hikers. They wanted to build this form of accommodation for the growing legions of avid "trampers." Today, the string of eight huts stretch over 50 miles in the White Mountain National Forest, each cabin a day's hike away from the last. Hut crews cook dinners of fettuccine alfredo, salads, and fresh baked bread, provide fluids to weary day-hikers, and take people on nature walks.

July 4th International Hot Dog Eating Contest
Avid hot-dog eating contest lovers know that Japan's Takeru Kobayashi is the Tiger Woods of the sport. At Nathan's Famous July 4th International Hot Dog Eating Contest last year, over 30,000 people lined up in Coney Island to watch Kobayashi down 53.75 hot dogs and buns and thus secure his sixth straight title. But the competition is getting stiff, with California's Joey Chestnut inhaling a close 52 hot dogs and buns of his own. Come join in the festivities of this 12-minute contest.

The Green River
Roaring 44 miles through northwestern Colorado and northeastern Utah, the Green River is one of the most desolate runs in the States. The Class III whitewater snakes through rarely seen Dinosaur National Monument, where red walls rise sharply to some 2,500 feet to effectively block out civilization. In its place, you'll find one of the largest concentrations of endangered peregrine falcons in the U.S., bighorn sheep, and mule deer. Adrift Adventures features a four-day run on the Green called "The Gates of Ledore."

Traverse City, Michigan
Traverse City, Michigan and neighboring Leelanau Peninsula are known for their cherry farms. Thus, the area is the perfect locale for hosting the world's largest cherry celebration, the National Cherry Festival. Starting the first Saturday in July, the festival is a week of feasting on cherry pie, pancakes, lemonade, salsa, even cherry sandwiches. Activities include parades, kids' entertainment, and an air show.

Siena, Italy
Siena's famous horse race, the Palio, might be over in less than ninety seconds, but few events in the world match the pageantry and excitement. Since 1310, fans have screamed as bareback riders circle the main square of this medieval city three times. The Palio takes place on July 2nd and August 16th. Don't blink, you might miss the excitement.

Boston-based writer Stephen Jermanok has authored or contributed to 11 books on the outdoors, including Outside Magazine's Adventure Guide to New England , Discovery Channel's Backcountry Treks , Discovery Channel's Paddlesports , Outside Magazine's Guide to Family Vacations and Men's Journal's The Great Life . His latest book is New England Seacoast Adventures . His many adventures appear in National Geographic Adventure , Outside , Men's Journal , Forbes FYI , Travel + Leisure , Hooked on the Outdoors , and Backpacker . He can be reached at farandaway@comcast.net.

Published: 26 Apr 2007 | Last Updated: 8 Aug 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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