Taking a vacation with kids is a little more complicated than taking a vacation as a couple. You need to find places with entertainment that is appropriate for children but not boring for the adults. While Orlando, Florida, continues to be the center of family vacation excitement, lesser known areas have much to offer as well. The best part is these spots offer more for your money than Disney or Universal Studios.
Start your trip in North Conway at Attitash Ski Resort. During the summer, Attitash offers some of the best warm weather attractions anywhere in the New Hampshire mountains. Ride a ski lift to the top of the mountain and zoom down the alpine slide with your child -- or race your older child down on the side-by-side slides. Splash with young kids in the kiddie pool, ride the water slides, climb the rock walls or jump on the bungee trampoline.
Visit Story Land and watch nursery rhymes and fairy tales come to life. The park is geared toward kids under 10 and includes Cinderella's Castle, a kid-size roller coaster and plenty of water rides. The park is very family friendly with "Moms and Babies" rooms for diaper changes, nursing and napping. Families are welcome to pack a cooler with their own food and the park offers free strollers (but get there early as they get used up on busy days).
Head to the top of Mount Washington and teach the kids a geography lesson. Mount Washington is the highest peak in the northeast United States. You can drive up the mountain or you can take the Cog railway.
Start your stay in Hershey at Chocolate World. Learn about how Hershey Kisses are made, then the kids can make ID badges and become "workers" at the Kiss Works factory. You can pose for a family picture and have it printed on a Hershey bar wrapper. Enjoy fabulous desserts from Hershey's bakery. There is no fee to enter Chocolate World and you can enjoy the tour as many times as you'd like.
Spend an entire day at Hershey Park. With more than 60 rides and attractions, there is something for everyone in the family. World-class roller coasters such as Great Bear offer big thrills, but there are plenty of rides for the kids as well. The best part of the park is the subtle smell of chocolate that hangs in the air.
Visit Zoo America. Admission to the zoo is included in the fee to enter Hershey Park. The zoo gets its name because all of its animals are native to the United States. You will see birds, porcupines, wolves and a couple of very vocal mountain lions.
Check out the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo. It has been rated one of the top 10 zoos for kids in the country by Parents Magazine. The new African Journey expansion gives kids the opportunity to get up close and personal with hyenas and lions. There are also opportunities to feed giraffes and play African drums.
Spend a day or two in Shipshewana. It's Amish country full of history and plenty of things to do. Teach your children about the "good old days" by taking an old-fashioned horse and buggy ride and enjoying amazing Amish cooking. Go to the world famous flea market (but remember, it's only open on Wednesdays). Spend a night at Splash Universe, a hotel with an indoor water park. For the cost of an average hotel room, you get the added benefit of a whole day of water park fun, no matter the weather outside.