Santa Claus, Ind.
A trip to Santa Claus offers something for everyone, with signs of the bearded man in red and his accomplices everywhere.
On weekends, kids love visiting the Santa Claus Museum and sending a Santa Claus-postmarked postcard to friends. Some families make their visit a tradition to write a letter to Santa from the museum. Every letter receives a response from the elves before Christmas.
Also on weekends, grab colorful candy canes at Santa’s Candy Castle before setting off to get to know Rudolph at the Land of Lights, a 1.2-mile drive through thousands of lights at the Lake Rudolph Campground& RV Resort.
Traverse City, Mich.
Nature-loving families who want to get out of town for a weekend will love the new 10-station zipline at Mt. Holiday. It runs snow or no snow, says Mike Norton of Traverse City Tourism.
Visiting this summer hotspot in the off months also means shorter lines at restaurants (always a plus for kids!) and fewer people on the hiking and biking trails, so that your family can really get back to nature.
The highlight of Sheboygan, two and a half hours northwest of Chicago and perfect for a long weekend, is Blue Harbor Resort, which has stunning views of Lake Michigan.
Kids will especially love the adjoining Breaker Bay Waterpark, which is always kept at a balmy 84 degrees, and the indoor glow-in-the-dark miniature golf course. When the kids need a break from the water, the Above& Beyond Children’s Museum with lighthouses and boats and the Sky Crawl Gallery will keep them amused.
St. Louis, Mo.
There’s a lot of family fun to be had over a long weekend in St. Louis. Families rave about the City Museum, which boggles the mind and thrills kids with features like a 10-story slide. The museum describes itself as “an eclectic mixture of children’s playground, funhouse, surrealistic pavilion, and architectural marvel made out of unique, found objects.” It’s hard to describe, but easy to appreciate once you’re there. Chances are your kids won’t want to leave.