The Ultimate Summer Bucket List for Families

Jul 05, 2018

The Ultimate Summer Bucket List for Families | Summer Bucket List Ideas | Westgate Resorts
By Rich Weidman

The Ultimate Summer Bucket List for Families

Looking for something original to do this summer that would make even Clark Griswold green with envy? Discover the ultimate bucket list for families as we explore the best and sometimes craziest vacation ideas for a vacation getaway this summer! Check out the summer bucket list ideas for families below and make plans to take your vacation adventure today with some of the best vacation package deals around!

1 | Learn How to Surf in Cocoa Beach

Surfing legend John McCarthy once remarked, “Surfing is the most blissful experience you can have on this planet, a taste of heaven.” What better way to spend a beautiful summer day than hopping on a surfboard and searching for the perfect wave in world-famous Cocoa Beach Florida – the “East Coast Surfing Capital!” Indeed, Cocoa Beach is the birthplace of surfing legend and 11-time world champion Kelly Slater, so you are in perfect company as you brave the waters of this longstanding surfing mecca. Available for all surfing skill levels, Cocoa Beach Surf School by Flohana at the Westgate Cocoa Beach Pier offers a variety of private and semi-private surf lessons by experienced surf instructors, as well as group lessons and surf clinics. Need a break from the breakers? With so many Cocoa Beach attractions to choose from, you’ll have no shortage of fun even when you're not riding those gnarly waves!

2 | Go Wildlife Viewing in Gatlinburg

Wildlife, anyone? Bustling Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is known as the “Gateway to the Great Smoky Mountains” and lies adjacent to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most-visited national park in the United States and the largest national park east of the Rocky Mountains. The park provides breathtaking scenery and some great opportunities to view wildlife such as black bears, white-tailed deer, elk, coyotes, turkeys, raccoons and other animals in their natural habitat. Two of the park’s most popular areas to view wildlife include Cades Cove (an 11-mile, one-way loop road), Cataloochee Valley (once one of the most prosperous settlements in the Smokies) and Roaring Fork Motor Trail (a 5.5-mile, one-way loop road). Be on the lookout for hiking trails, scenic overlooks, picnic areas and historic sites along the way. The best time to view wildlife in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is just after dawn or just before dusk. Don’t forget to bring your camera and a pair of binoculars! Start your tour at the Sugarlands Visitor Center, where you can pick up park maps and view natural history exhibits. And if you need a perfect 'jumping off point' for your wilderness excursions, remember that Westgate Smoky Mountain Resort & Spa is the ideally located Smoky Mountain hotel for your outdoor adventures in this amazing destination!

3 | Visit a Haunted Cemetery near Myrtle Beach

A short drive south of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, lies the charming town of Pawleys Island, one of the oldest summer resorts on the East Coast and home to the reportedly haunted All Saints Episcopal Church Cemetery, which dates to 1822. The cemetery serves as the final resting place of Alice Flagg, whose ghost can occasionally be seen in a white dress frantically searching for her lost engagement ring, according to legend. Look for the plain flat tombstone under an oak tree that simply reads, “ALICE,” and usually contains several rings, flowers and other gifts left by previous visitors in order to help ease the spirit’s troubled soul. In order to summon Alice’s spirit, it is said that visitors need to walk backwards around the grave 13 times and call out her name twice (the extremely worn area around the grave attests to this fact!). Some visitors to the cemetery have even reported that they feel light tugs on their wedding rings as they approach Alice’s grave. Also buried at the cemetery is noted poet and novelist James Dickey, who wrote the 1970 novel, Deliverance, which was turned into a critically acclaimed 1972 film of the same name directed by John Boorman and starring Burt Reynolds, Jon Voight, Ned Beatty and Ronny Cox. By the way, another legendary Pawleys Island spirit, known simply as “The Grey Man,” allegedly appears on the beach to warn residents of impending hurricanes.

4 | Hit the High Line in New York City

No New York City bucket list is complete without a visit to the High Line, an elevated public park built on a former section of the New York Central Railroad. Offering spectacular views of the New York City skyline, the High Line runs between 10th and 12th avenues all the way from Gansevoort Street in the heart of the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street near the Javits Center for a total distance of 1.45 miles. The High Line has been praised as an icon of contemporary landscape architecture with The New York Times stating in a 2014 article, “Not since Central Park opened in 1857 has a park reshaped New Yorkers’ thinking about public space and the city more profoundly.” So lace up those walking shoes on a sunny summer afternoon and experience a real Big Apple treat with this 'high point' of New York tourist attractions! Done with a solid day's hiking on the urban trail? Check out the best rooftop bars midtown Manhattan has to offer and relax with an amazing view of the NYC skyline at Westgate New York City (formerly the Hilton Manhattan), just a few blocks away!

5 | Ride the Alpine Coaster in Park City

So you think that making harrowing descents down steep mountainsides is strictly for ski season? Think again! Park City Mountain Resort is home to Utah’s largest Alpine Coaster, which offers thrill seekers during the summer the chance to wind their way for over a mile down an elevated track featuring twists, loops and hair-pin turns at speeds up to 30 miles per hour. An added bonus is the spectacular mountain scenery on all sides as you race wildly down the mountain. Note that drivers must be at least 54 inches tall and passengers must be between 38 and 53 inches tall to experience the Alpine Coaster. A similar Alpine Slide can be found at Utah Olympic Park, site of the 2002 Winter Olympics. Ready for the ultimate Park City resort experience? when you check in to Westgate Park City Resort & Spa, there's a lot to check out, including the premier, award-winning Park City spa in all of Utah!

6 | Take a Wine Tour in Williamsburg

Planning a visit to Historic Williamsburg? Be sure to build into your itinerary a break from the cobblestone streets and embark on a wine-tasting tour along the fabled Colonial Virginia Wine Trail. Each of the four acclaimed wineries along the trail – Williamsburg Winery in Williamsburg, Saude Creek Vineyards in Lanexa, New Kent Winery in New Kent and James River Cellars in Richmond – lies within a one-hour drive of Williamsburg. The closest winery on the Colonial Virginia Wine Trail, Williamsburg Winery, is nestled on a historic 300-acre farm known as Wessex Hundred and lies adjacent to the immensely popular Gabriel Archer Tavern. Each of these wineries features picnic areas, as well as special events and concerts throughout the year. Any or all of these wineries make a splendid addition to your Williamsburg vacation getaway! Looking to wind things up a little after some winery explorations? Grab some discount Busch Gardens tickets along with a 3 day / 2 night stay at an amazing, historic Williamsburg resort!

Make It a Summer to Remember!

Summer is the perfect time to get out, get creative and try something new! Whether you desire some high-octane action or simply want to relax and unwind with a super-chill hotel staycation, sit down and plan your summer bucket list today. Have an awesome trip!