Back to School: Last Minute Vacation Ideas before School Starts Again

Back to School: Last Minute Vacation Ideas before School Starts Again

Time is the greatest gift we can give our children and this year’s summertime is quietly slipping away as families turn their attention to preparing for the back-to-school ritual. Amidst the summer camps and deadlines families, today don’t have the time to take a long-distance road trip. Indeed, planning such a trip is one of the biggest barriers to actually getting away. 

That is why one of the hottest trends in travel is the growing number of luxury travel companies and the burgeoning number of luxury accommodations designed to redefine the family road trip by bypassing the tedious station wagon and airline hassles and going directly to the destination by private aircraft. That quick extended weekend at the beach or National Park or a week-long trip to tick off an item on the family bucket list is now easier than ever. 

There has never been a better time to book a quick getaway with the kids. Demand is driving down prices for private aircraft while time sensitivity makes bypassing the big airports in favor of the local airport closer to the action a winning combination. 

All you do is imagine the memories you’d like to create and leave them to PJS to get you there. What are the golden memories that will last a lifetime you would like to make?

Top 10 getaways for the family

10. Cowboy Life  

Combine a visit to Cibolo Creek, Withers and Chalk Draw ranches, oases in the West Texas desert, with glamping under the star-spangled skies at Big Bend National Park. Explore canyons and rock shelters on horseback, mountain bike or ATV and learn from archeologists about the Native American petroglyphs and frontier forts that bring the Wild West to life. Paddle down the Rio Grande and later, succumb to the spell of a desert night as an astronomer teaches you about the starry night. 

9. Lazy Low Country

Savannah or Charleston. It doesn’t matter. They are both ideal for exploring the Georgia/South Caroline coasts that attract foodies, history buffs and families alike. Whether you prefer lazing on the beach all day, biking along bayous and beaches or touring southern plantations, it is all there for you. Check out the Gullah Culture in Georgia or get away from the crowds at Edisto and St. Helena islands in South Carolina or simply plant an umbrella in the sand and stay for a while.

8. Hobbit Huts

Middle Earth exists and it is in Tennessee and combines explorations of nature and the famous Natchez Trace trail. The huts are in Forest Gully Farms and give a whole new meaning to exclusive since there are only three in the compound that and must be booked together. Nestled in a garden, the huts take foodies to a new level as they explore the surrounding trees, shrubs and perennials bearing fruit, nuts and veg. 

7. Waterworld

Ever fancy living underwater? Now you can at Jules’ Undersea Lodge in Key Largo, FL where three underwater chambers await. Situated near the world’s second-largest barrier reef, the rooms are 20 feet below the surface and allow you to watch whatever swims by or be watched by the curious sea life. Beginner diving lessons are offered to get you to your unique accommodations. Water-tight containers bring everything from luggage to pizza.

6. EcoAdventure

Time to teach the kids what it is like to live off the grid. Think they’ll hate it? Nonsense because they are learning about sustainability while experiencing something unique in today’s world. Don’t worry, though, WiFi and TV are included. Taos, NM, is host to Earthships, made of recycled materials, powered by solar panels and watered by the rain and snow collected from the nearby Sangre de Cristo Mountains. 

5. National Park Hotels

The national parks have historic hotels dating back to the origins of the National Park system in 1916. They are huge and uniquely designed to fit their natural settings offering a different kind of Base Camp. Nestled in some of the most spectacular landscapes on earth, they range from the Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone, the El Tovar in the Grand Canyon to the Majestic Yosemite Hotel, all luxury experiences that can’t be missed. Instead of joining the day-tripping throngs, you can relax as you take in the views or hike hidden trails. 

4. Big Sur

High atop the Pacific Ocean’s pounding surf lies the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, one of the most prestigious properties in the nation. It even includes accommodations in a treehouse. Within striking distance of San Francisco, Monterey, Carmel, the cliffside resort is a great base for exploring the scenic byways of one of the most famous highways in the world – California Highway 1. Activities include hiking in the numerous nearby state parks and exploring the Pacific beaches. The area includes the Monterey Bay Aquarium, kayaking to Sea Otters and Sea Lions and, at Garrapaata State Park, an opportunity to see these marine animals in the wild. 

3. Rocky Mountain High

From working cattle ranches to fishing and golfing to paddling along rivers made famous by Lewis and Clark, Montana does not lack for luxury destinations. Some even cap off each day with a fireside sing along, underneath a canopy of stars in Big Sky territory. Backcountry horse trips, golfing, tennis, hunting, and fishing are memorable activities along with landscapes featuring deer, eagles, moose, and elk. Paddle along rivers and deep, clear water lakes. Many are within striking distance of Glacier National Park. 

2. Tree House Fantasy

Feel like a kid again in accommodations nestled high in the trees in Oregon, Washington, Arkansas, Connecticut, Ohio, California and dotting the treescape in the Southeast. Some even have steam showers and jacuzzis. Of course, there is hiking and paddling but in Arkansas, you can visit Crater of Diamonds State Park where you can find your own or pick up amethyst, garnet, peridot, and other gemstones. 

1. New England Island Adventure

Sun, Sea, Sand, and Surf is what Nantucket offers and, given its role with the rich and famous, there are plenty of luxury accommodations to be had. The island is peppered with lighthouses. A trip to the past at the whaling museum would not be complete without its modern-day equivalent – whale watching. No evening would be complete without biking into the historic district for ice cream. And then there is digging for a dinner of Quahogs, steamers and other delectable shellfish.