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Old 11-12-2012, 11:20 AM
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Looking for ideas for a summer vacation for a family of 5 (baby to 9 yrs)with young children in the midwest. Ideally, a place with a beach to spend the days with the kids along with other things to do that the younger ones would enjoy. A great beachtown or resort where we can either stay at a hotel or even better a cabin, eat ice cream, grill out, swim, ride bikes . . . We have done extensive vacationing along Lake Michigan and so are looking to try something different. Within a 6 to 8 hour drive of southern Michigan area would be great.
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Old 11-12-2012, 01:52 PM
Location: Colorado
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Door County, WI? Door County Wisconsin - Vacation - Lodging - Attractions - Events - Guides - Info
Wisconsin Dells? Official Site For Wisconsin Dells Tourism Info & More | Wisconsin Dells
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Old 11-18-2012, 02:56 PM
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
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Wisconsin Dells is much more "plebian", and therefore probably kid-friendly, than Door County. There's a huge amount of water parks there, even indoor waterparks for the winter. In fact, there were when I first planned a trip to Wisconsin Dells for my family in 1994 (I was 7 then...I even picked our hotel based on the sheer number of "amenities" for the price it offered!) Your older kids will enjoy the wave pools and gigantic slides, including almost vertical ones (if they are brave enough). There are also other attractions, such as the "Duck Tours", (amphibious vehicle tours).

I've never been to Door County, although I've planned to go there and have family who have went. From what I can gather, it's a far more chilled and yuppified destination. I would wait until the kids are older for that.

Also, I would consider Sandusky, Ohio, home of Cedar Point, the amusement park with the largest number of rollercoasters in the world.
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Old 11-18-2012, 10:37 PM
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I like the Wisconsin Dells BUT you have to consider whether all your kids will like the water park which is what you are paying a premium for. In the area, you also have the Circus Museum in Baraboo, WI which is well worth a day for kids. Also, the Ducks, while they appear really hokey, are a real blast and a lot of fun.

As for Cedar Point, I like the amusement park but honestly, its primary attraction are the great roller coasters. The stuff for smaller children is a lot less. Personally, Kings Island in Cincinnati would be better for the smaller ones. There are water parks and lake activities in the area.

Have you considered the various state parks in the region? Ohio has quite a few with cabins and other attractions.

Although they are further, I would recommend the following state parks a bit south:

Fall Creek Falls State Park near McMinnsville, TN
Natural Bridge State Park near Slade, KY
Pipestem State Park in WV

Another idea is to look at some of the resorts north of Toronto as much of Ontario is well within your distance requirement. There is also the Niagara regions and the falls.
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Old 11-20-2012, 09:05 AM
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Kings Island is ridiculously hot. It's like they plowed down every tree in the area, paved 50 acres, and put up amusement rides.

Cedar point is fun, and there are plenty of rides for the younger kids as well as the water park.
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Old 11-20-2012, 03:05 PM
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Take a look at the cabins around Townsend, TN - your kids would love tubing on the Little River, and Townsend is located on the very edge of the Great Smokies National Park. Townsend is known as the "quiet side of the Smokies", but is within an easy drive of Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Dollywood, for daytrips to a more hectic touristy atmosphere. There's also a large cave just outside of Townsend - Tuckaleechee Caverns, and Cade's Cove, within the park, is a short, scenic drive. Cherokee, NC would also be a feasible daytrip.

Of course, the park itself offers many recreational opportunities, great displays in the visitor centers, outdoor "museums" and historic structures, wildlife, and much more. There are ranger-led activities for all ages, as well, and hundreds of miles of hiking trails of different lengths and difficulties. It's a beautiful place, with great natural and human history, and a presence of its own.
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