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Unique family weekend getaways

A good dose of family fun can come in unexpected bursts. You don’t need a weeklong vacation to create some of your family’s most memorable moments. A weekend getaway can certainly get the job done, especially when planned near a historic hotel renowned for family exploration. Here’s a list of seven weekend getaways to inspire your next family adventure.

1. Reel in the fun at Lake Champlain

Unofficially described as Vermont’s West Coast, Lake Champlain is the sixth-largest lake in America, with more than 600 miles of shoreline bordering the lake’s 120-mile stretch. Bring the fishing poles to net some adventure (along with perch, bass, salmon, northern pike and lake trout). There are a number of boats from rowboats to motorboats for families to venture out on, with water skiing available each afternoon.

Where to stay:
Basin Harbor Club offers 700 sprawling acres at this Vermont lake resort, including the fourteen-room Main Lodge, the 1792 Harbor Homestead and more than 75 unique cottages, perfect for family weekend

2. Play at Manitou Springs penny arcade

At the foot of Colorado’s Pikes Peak, one of the world’s most famous penny arcades is tucked in the historic town of Manitou Springs, boasting an impressive collection of vintage games, pinball machines and arcade signage that would make most antique collectors and today’s video gamers drool. At the drop of change, families can play these games. Where else can you ask Zoltar, the fortuneteller from the 1998 Tom Hanks’ movie “Big,” to predict your future?

Where to stay:
The Cliff House at Pikes Peak, the crown jewel of Manitou Springs and AAA Four Diamond hotel, evokes Victorian opulence that dates back nearly 150 years.

3. Feel the Dahlonega gold rush

Twenty years before the Gold Rush in California, a deer hunter stumbled upon one of the largest gold deposits east of the Mississippi in Dahlonega, Georgia. Today, this historic town is a weekend getaway favorite for families that want to travel 200 feet underground and 100 years back in time for underground gold mine exploration. Prospecting families can even try panning for gold themselves.

Where to stay:
The Smith House, built on a vein of gold ore and boasting old-fashion hospitality, features its own mineshaft, a 20-foot drop that a workman unexpectedly discovered.

4. Explore the Lewis and Clark Trail

At Headwaters State Park in Three Forks, Montana, families can follow in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark, taking the trail these pioneers traveled in their Western expedition. Just ten minutes from Sacajawea Hotel, named after expedition guide Sacajawea, is Montana’s first state park, Lewis and Clark Caverns, lined with stalactites, stalagmites and helictites.

Where to stay:
Historic Sacajawea Hotel, built in 1910, is a charming Three Forks, Montana hotel that offers luxury accommodations, Western hospitality and a historic experience.

5. Play secret agent at the spy museum

In the spy capital of the world, Washington, DC, play spy for the day at The International Spy Museum, the only public museum solely dedicated to espionage. Among exhibits featuring international espionage artifacts, families can engage in a number of interactive spy experiences, including Operation Spy, a one-hour, adrenaline-fueled mission where agents (age 15 and older) are given critical mission intelligence.

Where to stay:
Just four blocks from the White House, The Jefferson, Washington DC, affords luxurious accommodations and a storied history, perfect for any family returning from a day of playful espionage.

6. Hike to Skytop Tower

In New York’s enchanting Mohonk woodlands, more than 85 miles of hiking trails honeycomb the 2,200-acre estate of Mohonk Mountain House. Let easy hikes or expert climbs, like the Mohonk Labyrinth, fuel family weekend getaways. For the best views, set out for Skytop Tower, a historic stone structure that boasts 360-degree views of the Shawangunk region, dubbed “one of the Earth’s Last Great Places” by the Nature Conservancy.

Where to stay:
Mohonk Mountain House, of course. This historic Hudson Valley resort is just 90 miles north of New York City and offers endless complimentary resort activities.

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