By Candyce H. Stapen
A trip away with your June graduate can be sweet. Whether a teen is leaving high school behind or a twentysomething is holding a college diploma, he or she is heading into new territory that typically leaves less time for the parents back home.
A June vacation getaway is a great way to celebrate the transition and a vacation rental home is the perfect vehicle. It gives you and your graduate such comforts as a kitchen for breakfast and late night snacks, a living room for watching movies together and separate bedrooms for some time apart.
To make the most of your getaway, choose a place your new graduate likes with plenty of favorite activities. Consider ski resorts in summer as well as national parks and beaches anchored by nearby towns. Here are some possibilities:
Whistler Blackcomb, British Columbia, Canada
Even without snow, this top-rated ski resort delivers thrills. Serious cyclists can tackle the curving, rocky paths of Mountain Bike Park. Adrenaline junkies can glide along zip lines - one of the longest ones stretches for 2,400 feet and drops you the equivalent of 30 stories. Then, there’s bungee jumping from a 160-foot-high bridge. Before returning home, allow some time to explore Vancouver, a two hour drive from Whistler Blackcomb.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
Take in the scenic views from 850 miles of trails through the park. A good option is the five-mile, moderately difficult round trip to Abrams Falls, one of the park’s most photographed sites. From your base in Pigeon Forge, visit the Titanic Museum Attraction, a thoughtful account of the tragedy, or spend a day at Dollywood riding all the roller coasters. New for spring 2016 is Lightning Rod, touted as the world’s fastest wooden coaster. It will zoom passengers down a 165-foot drop at a top speed of 73 mph.
Isle of Palms, South Carolina
These adjacent barrier islands offer a Low Country landscape of live oaks draped with Spanish moss as well as wide, dune-bordered beaches. Off the sand, swing through three courses on Isle of Palms and kayak along Shem Creek past shrimp trawlers into Charleston Harbor. Along with pizza and other cheap beach eats, Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island feature seafood restaurants that even a foodie will find suitable. In Charleston, just a 30 minute drive away, stroll the waterfront and browse the boutiques and art galleries.
Outer Banks, North Carolina
North Carolina’s Outer Banks, a strip of narrow barrier islands off the state’s coast, stretch for 125 miles from Corolla to Ocracoke. To the east, the Atlantic waves break against the shore, and to the west, the sound’s waters flow into calm coves and salt marshes. In Nags Head at Jockey’s Ridge State Park, learn to hang glide by running down a sand dune. For more airtime, try kite boarding, a popular sport in the Outer Banks.
Long-time family travel guru Candyce H. Stapen writes for many publications and outlets. She has written 30 travel guidebooks, including two for National Geographic.