Great Summer Vacations

Published online: Jun 09, 2010 News Jay Jones, Special to Tribune Newspapers
Viewed 389 time(s)

Everyone has a different take on summer. Grown-ups are itching to ditch work for a week or two. The kids already are complaining about being bored.

It's undeniably vacation time. And, for many, last year's buzzword - "staycation" - already is outdated. Maybe it's time to hit the road, spend at least a bit of money and actually go somewhere.

There are, of course, familiar destinations: a beachfront resort, a Disney park, our nation's capital. But for those seeking something off the tourist track, a place less crowded and often less costly too, awesome alternatives await every type of traveler.Summer afternoon . the two most beautiful words in the English language.

- Henry James, writer

School's out for summer .

Out 'til fall

- Alice Cooper, rocker

Houseboat heaven - As soon as school let out, Shawn and Teresa Whitecotton, their in-laws, five kids and a puppy left their homes in southern Illinois for a unique family vacation aboard a houseboat.

Their digs - in essence, a floating, four-bedroom condo - are as much a part of the trip as their destination: the sprawling Lake of the Ozarks in central Missouri.

With nearly 1,200 miles of shoreline, the lake offers countless isolated inlets in which to escape.

"We backed up into a cove and were there all by ourselves," Shawn explained. "It's just total peace."

The list of features is lengthy: satellite TV; full-size appliances in the kitchen (or "galley"); a large, walk-in shower; and central air. On the lower deck, there's a barbecue grill. And on the upper deck, as the boys quickly discovered, there's a water slide to plunge them into the lake.

Admittedly, such amenities don't come cheap; the houseboats rent for $775 to $995 a day. But, as Cory Ginsky, manager of Lake of the Ozarks Marina, points out, that sticker shock begins to fade when his all-inclusive price is compared with the cost of two or three hotel rooms, meals in restaurants and tickets to various attractions for several people.


Coasting through California - Surf's up in California, and the splendors of the Pacific Coast can be enjoyed from the windows of Amtrak trains that traverse the state, from just shy of the Mexican border to the Oregon state line.

Singles and other independent travelers will welcome the freedom and flexibility, not to mention the price, of the California Rail Pass (800-872-7245, Selling for just $159 ($80 for children), the pass provides seven days of unlimited rail travel over a 21-day period of time.,0,1960373.story

You May Also Be Interested In...

April 15, 2015

Houseboat Travels To Puerto Rico For New Christian Bale Movie

A 1960s River Queen houseboat is making the exciting trip to Puerto Rico to take part in a 20th Century Fox film called "The Deep Blue Good-by," starring Christian Bale.
April 08, 2015

A Beautiful And Tragic Show Of Love

In a brave display of courage and love, 74-year-old Everett McGowin dove into the swift, cold waters of the Fraser River near Vancouver, Canada, in an effort to save his wife...
April 03, 2015

66 Days At Sea

After being lost at seafor 66 days, Louis Jordan has been rescued 200 miles off the coast of South Carolina.
April 01, 2015

California Fishing-License Purchases Are Dropping

If fishing is your game, you might want to take the luring call of California lakes with a grain of salt.
March 30, 2015

The Mini Bike Is Back!

The Downtube Mini Shimano Nexus 8SP Folding Bike has answered the call of demand and is back on the market!
Follow us on Facebook!   Follow us on Instagram!   Follow us on Pinterest!   Follow us on YouTube!