Looking back on my childhood years, I can remember taking summer camping trips out in Pennsylvania.  We wouldn’t actually “camp” though; we would always make sure we had a cabin with electricity!  Being part of nature for a few days was always a good way to get us kids thinking about things like different wild animals and which bushes or leaves not to touch. Our minds were actually somewhere other than the television. Summertime is about spending time with family and making memories.  Since “camping” is usually considered out of the question for many of us, it would be great to have some other options for related family getaways, right?  Well, I have suggestions for you that will allow your kids to still be at one with nature, but also able to come back at night to a big comfortable bed. 

            Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in Farmington, PA is one of the most accommodating resorts I have ever come across.  Not only do they offer 124 rooms in their Chateau Lafayette, but they have five other options including The Lodge, The Falling Rock Hotel (open May-October),  luxury homes, town homes, a 20 spot RV park!    You can soar on a zip line, climb a rock wall, challenge yourself in a ropes course, ride a horse, or even take an off-road driving course in a Jeep.  Get a taste of Africa with a Safari Tour where Nemacolin is home to Lions, Tigers, and Bears- Oh my! And Mom, there is a relaxing spa where you can get away from it all! There is something for everyone!  What enticed me the most was their pet policy.  They are the first resort worldwide to receive the designation of Pet Proud.  They encourage your four-legged friends to be with you in all public spaces allowed by law.  Your dog can stay with you, go for grooming or daycare, swim on-site, and choose from a healthy dining menu catered to their tastes. I could go on forever, so I’ll let you check it our for yourself here!

            The Omni Bedford Springs Hotel, part of the Omni Hotels and Resorts family is located in Bedford, PA.  It was recently named one of Travel + Leisure’s Top 500 Resorts for 2011, as well as being one of TripAdvisor’s Top 10 Relaxation/Spa Hotels in the US in its 2010 Traveler’s Choice Awards.  It sits on a breathtaking 2200 acre property in the Allegheny Mountains.  This summer, you can “camp glamorously” with their Family Glamping Getaway that gives you the feel of camping but the comfort of a luxury resort to return to at night!  They are offering two hours of on-site geocoaching or two hours of fishing (poles and worms included!).  You receive a tent that you can take home, a s’mores kit for the Fire Pit, and breakfast!  A sure A+ getaway in the kid’s memory books! 

            Crystal Springs Resorts in Northern NJ offer three lodging options including the Grand Cascades Lodge, Mineral Resort & Spa, and Mountain Creek.  They offer a variety of packages that cater to your stay.  Crystal Springs loves their families, which is why they offer free, (yes I said FREE!) outdoor movies every Friday and Saturday night;  and a scavenger hunt on Saturday’s for a “Clue” style challenge the whole family can be apart of! There are 14 indoor/outdoor pools, 7 golf courses, an outdoor water-park, and many “at-one-with-nature” activities that will bring out your inner child.  You won’t even feel like you are in New Jersey!    

            So pack your bug spray, sneakers, and even some high heels for these fun and exciting family summer getaways! 
M. Klinger

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