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Off The Beaten Path: 10 Family Vacation Spots

If you are trying to figure out where to go for your family vacation this year and you're sick of the crowds and frenzy of Disney-type extravaganzas, consider the spots we have listed below. You might want to head to a place that has a little more history or educational value while still having fun adventures for your crew. Alternatively, you may just be looking for a great beach that won't have the Spring Break atmosphere of more popular destinations. Consider trying something new this year by vacationing in one of these off-the-beaten-path locales where the fun abounds but the crowds do not.
Northern States
Lukan's Farm Resort
Photo Credit Lukan's Farm

Lukan's Farm Resort, Pennsylvania: This intimate resort in the Poconos region of Pennsylvania makes a convenient escape for most families in the Northeast. This is a great family escape for those who want to get away from the hectic rush of the city but still have all the amenities you could want from a vacation without the crowds. There are mountains, lakes and other beautiful natural sights nearby, and on the resort itself there is volleyball, basketball, tennis, hiking, catch and release fishing, deer spotting, and mini golf. The adults will appreciate the on site cocktail lounge, too!

Long Beach Island, New Jersey: A great beach spot, this family-oriented beach town will make you forget any unfortunate stereotypes you have from the "Jersey Shore" reality series. Beautiful beaches without the nightclub crowds, great local seafood, and yummy pancakes at the LBI Pancake House are just a few of the draws your family with appreciate. You will appreciate the friendly locals, especially during the annual ChowderFest in the fall.

Southern States
City of Tybee Island
Photo by Stephen Morton/Getty Images

Tybee Island, Georgia: Less populated than other regional beaches, this is a fantastic vacation spot for families in the South. The beaches are lovely, with huge sand dunes, and it's located near Savannah so you can always head into town for a nice dinner or a walk around the city's beautiful Southern squares. However, you may not even make it into town, as you will have a hard time tearing yourself away from the relaxing, quiet beaches.

Gulf Shores, Alabama: Get in on this spot now, as Gulf Shores is an up-and-coming vacation destination, so it might not be such a well-kept secret in the years to come. Everyone in the South thinks of Florida as the best beachy getaway state, but Alabama also has some coastal towns that are equally beautiful without the rowdy groups of college kids. The Fort Morgan State Historic Site is nearby for Civil War buffs who want to learn a bit during the vacay, and there are nature reserves as well if you want to go hiking away from the beach. It is also well-known for having some of the country's best seafood, so you and the family can have delicious meals on the healthier side during your trip.

Earthshine Mountain Lodge, North Carolina: This lodge will place you in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains, one of the most scenic and peaceful spots in the South. You can learn about Cherokee history or engage in energetic activities like zip lining and rope courses. There are also nature hikes and a natural water slide, among other ways to enjoy the beautiful scenery. It will be a great vacation you will never forget.

Midwestern States
Nicollet Island, Minnesota
Photo Credit WCCO

Nicollet Island, MinnesotaThis little island on the Mississippi, the only one of its kind, is home to 48 acres of land and features a park, old buildings from the early twentieth century, and just two remaining homes fashioned in the style of the Victorian Era. The island is brimming with history and sights to see, and the great part about it is there is also a little inn that offers rooms to rent, and a place to eat as well.  

Giant City Lodge, Illinois: With large, open floor plans, a restaurant that sits 200, and plenty of outdoor trails to discover, Great City Lodge offers a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the outdoors while still having a few luxuries. This southern Illinois lodge also offers a large pool area for families to take advantage of, as well as three very unique lodging options to choose from upon visiting. Families can pick between Historic, Prairie and Bluff cabins, each different to create a specific atmosphere and experience. 

Western States

Leo Carrillo State Beach, California: Riddled with exciting coastal caves, parks and sycamores, this beach is truly a great place to get away from the surrounding crowds of people in the Los Angeles area. Named after a predominant TV figure in California, the Leo Carrillo State Beach offers beautiful and unique sights to see. The beach also is a great location for various different outdoor and water activities like wind-surfing, and is ideal for swimming. The campgrounds are littered with tall sycamore trees that provide shade from the hot sun in the summer, but provide coin-operated showers just in case "roughing it" is not part of the complete agenda. 

Centennial Farms, CaliforniaFor a more laid-back getaway, take the family on a trip to Centennial Farms in Costa Mesa, CA. With a rich history, and beautiful orchards, the working farm also teaches kids about important agricultural facts that they can take home with them. Families can share in learning about different farm animals, and see the gardens as they walk around on the grounds. 

Drakes Beach, California: Located in Marin County, Calif., Drakes beach is a beautiful place to stay out in the sun and enjoy the open air. With large, white cliffs blocking much of the wind that sweeps through the area, the beach is a fun and popular place families go to visit. Even with how much the beach is enjoyed, it still stays fairly unpopulated and offers a local cafe that has quite a tasty menu, just in case anyone in the family gets hungry. One of the warmer beaches in the county, Drakes Beach is a great place to relax on the sand. Swimming is typically advised against in areas in Marin County, but the water is a little less strong here.

Keely Herrick is a freelance writer. Her work can be found on "

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