About a two-hour drive north of San Francisco, Mendocino County is home to one of the most breathtaking coastlines we’ve ever seen. You’ll drive through wine country and majestic mountains on the way. Stop in Point Arena for an exciting tour of the historic lighthouse and check out B. Bryan Preserve, a B&B that doubles as an African wildlife sanctuary with zebras, antelope, and more! Further north in Fort Bragg, spend a flower-filled afternoon wandering around the gorgeous Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens.
The famed Inner Harbor is alive with history, culture, and adventure. Our favorite spots are the Maritime Museum, where you can board a WWII submarine, a 19th-century frigate, and more; Fell’s Point, a funky, charming area to stroll; the carousel; and Port Discovery, a great kids’ museum.
3. Mystic, CT
As in Baltimore, our favorite attraction is a seaside museum: Mystic Seaport, a historic seafaring village where your family can learn about 18th-century life in New England. In town, check out the neat drawbridge on Main Street — it opens every hour, and crowds gather like clockwork. For a scrumptious lobster roll lunch, head off to clam shack Sea Swirl. If you’re up for a swim, head north a few miles to Ocean Beach Park.
4. Salem, MA
This town’s infamous witchcraft trial history (1692) makes it a wildly popular spot around Halloween, but there’s plenty to do during the summer, too. Downtown, sail on the Fame, a replica of an 1812 privateer, and take a tour of The House of the Seven Gables, the house that inspired Nathaniel Hawthorne’s famous book. You’ll want to make a stop at Ye Olde Pepper Companie, one of the country’s oldest candy shops! The chocolate witches are just one of the treats you’ll find. There are closer beaches, but Good Harbor Beach 20 miles northeast is our top choice.
5. Fort Lauderdale, FL
Summer is this city’s slowest season, so the deals are ripe for the picking. With white sand, warm water, and plenty of sun, the beaches are gorgeously inviting. When the sun sets, take a guided turtle walk at John Lloyd Beach State Park to try to get a glimpse of a giant sea turtle laying her eggs. For a unique meal, have dinner at Mai-Kai Polynesian Restaurant — which includes a live dance performance. Keep an eye out for the glass case displaying real shrunken heads!
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Samantha Brody is a Senior Editor for Parent & Child Magazine.