10 Last Minute Back to School Trips

It comes every year: that blessed day where the kids get back on the bus and you’re free to finally get the house clean. Or have some of mommy’s special water. You can’t lie, you’re going to miss them — at least a little bit. Well, you’re in luck because there’s still time to squeeze in a couple more of those precious memories and maybe snag that perfect photo for the Christmas card! We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 places where you can get that last family trip in before school starts!

Bear Mountain, NY

Bear Mountain New York Lake
We would never leave the water.

If you’re in NYC, luck is in your favor. Escape that concrete jungle and take the hour drive to Bear Mountain, a beautiful state park nestled deep in the mountains near the Hudson River. Your family can hike, bike, fish, swim, camp and even visit an on-site zoo! Stay at the Bear Mountain Inn, whose original construction was completed by Eleanor Roosevelt, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower back in 1915. There’s even a spa to lavish in after a long day of outdoor adventure, as well as a scrumptious restaurant to enjoy from within the wonders of nature.

Laguna Beach, CA

Laguna Beach California Ocean Beach Sunset
Time to tan.

On the other coast? No worries. If you’re in sunny California and wondering where to take the kids for a weekend getaway, look no further than Laguna Beach. Only about an hour drive from LA, this gorgeous and chic seaside village is perfect for adventurous eaters and savvy shoppers alike. For a more private beach experience, hike the Pacific Coast Highway down to Victoria Beach, a secluded cove sure to delight and enchant. Visit Seal Rock where you can observe Laguna Beach’s sea lion colony for a chance to expose the kiddos to some ferocious, natural beauty.

Galena, IL

Galena Illinois
The only thing we like more than cute small towns is cute small towns with modern amenities!

Ready to break out of the big city funk and expose your city-slicker kiddos to some good ol’ fashioned small town charm? Galena is the place for you! Located a little over three hours from Chicago, it’s the perfect distance to relieve yourself from the pressures of the metropolitan scene. Overflowing with cutesy bed and breakfasts, as well as local boutiques, you won’t be bored in this quaint town. The charming location may feature buildings originating from the Civil War Era, but don’t be worried, this town is still equipped with all the modern amenities you desire.

San Antonio, TX

San Antonio Texas River Walk
Who said you need to go to Venice for one of those cute boat tours?

The San Antonio River Walk is unlike the surrounding bayou. Filled with lush trees and gorgeous architecture, you’ll feel like you were transported to some small European town. Hotels line the gorgeous river and a myriad of restaurants await your arrival. Take your kids on a boat tour for a relaxing, scenic adventure down the calm waters. Browse the town to admire some local artists and boutiques. Check out the museums or historical sites to get in some extra learning before school starts (the kids will love that). Finally, end the night at one of the many spas, you deserve some pampering.

Washington D.C.

Washington D.C. Reflecting Pool Washington Memorial National Mall
That sky, though.

You can’t go wrong with D.C. Only an hour and a half away from Philly by train, this historic location is filled with things to do. Whether you’re looking for gourmet restaurants, luxury hotels or Insta-worthy photo ops, D.C. has you covered. D.C. is the place of bustling culture and the hub for American history. The Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument — take your pick! You know that museum from the genre-defying film Night at the Museum? D.C.’s got that too! Check out the Smithsonian, but make sure you get out before nightfall!

Sedona, AZ

Sedona Arizona Red Rocks Mountains
Those are some majestic mountains if we’ve ever seen any. And we have.

If you’re a fan of rocks, Sedona’s got some of the most famous rocks in the world! Seriously, renowned for its red rocks, Sedona, Arizona is the place to go to admire the breathtaking, otherworldly structures. Especially if you’re trying to get out of the valley heat, take a trip up north to engross yourself in culture and nature. Check out the Amitabha Stupa at Peace Park for a chance to practice spiritual wellness and expose the kids to foreign culture. Afterward, choose from more than 300 hiking trails and make your own adventure out of the environment. End the evening at any one of Sedona’s fine dining restaurants and when the kids aren’t looking, treat yourself with a glass of wine, mom. You’ve earned it.

Syracuse, IN

Syracuse Indiana Lake Wawasee Sunset
Wa-wa is what we see!

Syracuse. No, not the one in New York, the one with Lake Wawasee! Yes, Indiana has its own beautiful lakeside retreat! The kids can swim, fish, boat, water-ski, tube, jet-ski or just lay out on the shore and soak up the sun! Maybe it’s finally time for those golf lessons you’ve been putting off before the summer’s over, and you’re in luck! There’s a ton of five-star golf courses nearby, perfect for father-son bonding. It’s easy to forget to grab a bite to eat amongst all the fun, but don’t miss out! If you thought the water was nice, wait until you try the food! We recommend Down Under Bar & Restaurant, it’s literally down under. Like, it’s actually underground.

Put-in-Bay, OH

Put-in-Bay Ohio Bar
We’re already packing!

Located a little over three hours from Columbus, Put-in-Bay is only accessible by boat or plane. If you’ve never heard of this quaint little town, don’t feel bad. Put-in-Bay boasts a population of around 130 people, so it’s not exactly overflowing with townsfolk. Best way to travel the city is by golf cart or bike, so take your pick! We know you deserve the best, which is why you can’t go wrong at the Boardwalk restaurant. The lobster bisque is to die for, trust us. Give the kids an adventure worth talking about and explore the Crystal Cave, the world’s largest geode, and also features an underground lake. Finally, end the night with a relaxing walk on the beach and rest in the historic Park Hotel, built in the 1800s!

Amelia Island Plantation, FL

Amelia Island Plantation Florida Ocean Beach Sunset
Surf’s up!

Only around a 40-minute drive from Jacksonville, Amelia Island is the gorgeous island getaway you’ve been waiting for. Get up close and personal with nature at the Villas. The Villas offer a family discovery tour where kids and their parents can hunt for crabs, fish, meet snakes and learn about sharks. For sporty types, there’s golfing, tennis and canoeing where competitive families can flex their stuff. Go on a Segway tour — you know you’ve always wanted to — and check out the sights. There’s fun for everyone at Amelia Island Plantation.

Langley, WA

Washington Langley Ocean Beach Rocks

If you’re looking for the perfect day trip from Seattle, look no further than Langley, Washington. Located only about an hour and a half from the heart of Washington, find yourself in the tiny, hipster town of Langley. Send the kids back to school in style, with the unique shopping available on the island. Book lovers and art enthusiasts rejoice as the quaint town of Langley will quench your desire for literature and art with its diverse selection of bookstores and galleries. Finally, end the night at any one of the many diners along the seafront. Try the Inn at Langley for an eating experience like no other, we’re not kidding. Your coffee comes in a glass terrarium!

Wherever you are, adventure’s only a drive away. Send the kiddos back to school amped up and with memories that’ll make their friends jealous. Over at MDT, we know family matters, so let us help you find the perfect vacation. We’re gonna get you there.