The days get longer, temperatures are rising, and the anticipation is palpable. Summer vacation is weeks, or in some cases, days away. Students are ready to stampede through the front doors of the school – and teachers will not be far behind.
Summer presents the opportunity for relaxation, recreation, and refreshment. It’s also a great time for families to create memories that will last a lifetime. So, where do teachers travel when they have the chance?
ESGI and ThinkFives surveyed hundreds of teachers and here are the Top 5 Recommended US Vacation Spots.
The Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, It’s a Small World, Peter Pan’s Flight, Star Wars, and the Tower of Terror. We could go on and on. Whether it’s the original recipe (Disneyland, California) or the new and improved (Magic Kingdom and its sister theme parks in Orlando), Disney comes in at #5 for our teachers but probably #1 for their children.
Since opening its first park in 1955, the Happiest Place on Earth has been a family-favorite for decades. Over 726 million have visited since then, including royalty, such as Kings, Queens and Presidents.
Disney World opened its doors in 1971 and sprawls over 25,000 acres in Orlando, Florida. In addition to the Magic Kingdom, other parks include Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, two water parks, and 27 themed hotels.
It’s a perfect vacation for children of all ages.
Fun Facts About Disney
- Disneyland’s park admission was only $3.50 when it first opened.
- There is a secret tunnel underground of Disney World. Only guests on the Keys to Kingdom tour are allowed to enter.
- In the parks, visitors are always less than 30 steps from a trash can.
- An estimated 1.65 million sunglasses have been lost at Disney World since it opened.
- Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park is bigger than Disneyland as a whole.
Coming in #4 is the state of California. It’s not hard to understand why families would want to head to the Golden State for vacation. With great summer weather in the south to scenic beauty in the north, California offers a variety of vacation choices.
Hollywood, Universal Studios, Disneyland, Venice Beach, the Santa Monica Boardwalk are just a few of the attractions near Los Angeles. Head south and discover the city with perhaps the best year-round weather in the contiguous US, San Diego and its world famous Zoo.
Travel north and it’s the city of cable cars and the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco. And if that’s not enough, head further north to forests of ancient Sequoia trees or to the east for Yosemite National Park, one of the most scenic national parks in the US.
And we haven’t even mentioned Napa Valley, Sonoma, Carmel or Lake Tahoe yet. If you don’t stop us, we might just blog all night about California.
Fun Facts About California
- California has more national parks than any other state (9 out of 59).
- California has the highest and lowest points in the continental US. Mount Whitney is the highest point at 14,505 feet, and the Badwater Basin in the Death Valley is the lowest at 282 feet below sea level.
- California is the most popular movie filming location than any other place in the world.
- Almonds are California’s top exports. Most are grown in the Central Valley, the world’s almond capital.
- The biggest tree in the world, General Sherman, is located in Sequoia National Park in California.
At #3 on our list, is a category of sites that defines summer: beaches. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, beaches all across the US are family favorites. Whether it’s out east at Kennebunkport, Maine to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, Long Island, New York or the Jersey shore, northeast beaches are great vacation spots.
The choices are everywhere. Head south to Hilton Head and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina down to almost any coastal city in Florida (Daytona, Fort Lauderdale, South Beach, Naples, Tampa Bay, Panama Beach, etc.). The water gets warmer and the crowds get bigger.
Of course beaches also line the coast of California and the Gulf Coast states but we shouldn’t forget the hundreds of lake beaches that dot almost every state in the country. Unless you’re in the heart of Death Valley, a beach is not far from any town. And that’s probably why they are such a popular choice for vacation.
And we didn’t even mention Hawaii because…
Fun Facts About Beaches
- Americans make an estimated 2 billion visits to the beach every year.
- America’s longest beach shoreline is in Alaska.
- The New Smyrna Beach in Florida has the most shark attacks in the world, with a total of at least 320 confirmed shark bites since 1882.
- Wild horses roam the shores of the Assateague Island National Seashore south of Ocean City in Maryland.
- According to the Guinness World Records, the tallest sandcastle ever made was constructed in Connecticut, USA, in May 2011. It was 11.53 m (37 ft 10 in) tall.
The #2 most recommended vacation by teachers is the Aloha State, Hawaii. Our westernmost state is the epitome of a postcard: white sand beaches, crashing waves, palm trees in the wind and hula skirts a-shaken.
Perfect year-round weather and plenty of options for family fun make this tropical vacation a most desired trip. Whether it’s climbing a volcano, taking surf lessons, snorkeling in Hanauma Bay, or just hiking/biking/driving the islands, Hawaii is true family fun.
There are also several one-of-a-kind sites in Hawaii starting with the Na Pali Coast on Kauai. Add to that, the Road to Hana and Molokini Crater in Maui, the Mauna Kea Summit and Observatory on the Big Island and the somber history of Pearl Harbor.
With so much natural beauty, no wonder Hawaii is #2 on our list.
Fun Facts About Hawaii
- Hawaii is made up of 132 different islands.
- Hawaii has the longest life expectancy in all of the U.S.
- Hawaii has its own time zone, the Hawaiian Standard Time, which is 3 hours earlier than Pacific Time in the summer and 2 hours earlier in the winter.
- “Aloha” can mean hello, goodbye, and love.
- There is one sport invented in Hawaii. Can you guess? Well, surfing, of course.
Taking the top spot on our list of the most recommended US vacation spots by teachers is the state of Florida. If the beaches and flying time of Hawaii are too far for many, Florida is the perfect vacation spot that is easily reachable and affordable for families.
We’ve already mentioned the great beach cities of Florida, and we had a whole list mentioning the jewels of Orlando at Disneyworld. No wonder why Florida is so highly listed for so many people.
With expansive coastlines on both the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, Florida’s 1,350 miles of coast is the most of any state in the contiguous US.
So whether you seek the ocean-breakers of the east coast, the gentle waves of the warm Gulf or the sandy beaches of the Pan Handle, Florida offers it all – not to mention an alligator or two in the Everglades.
Congratulations to Florida. You’re #1 for teacher vacations.
Fun Facts About Florida
- Florida has more than 1,200 golf courses, more than any other U.S. state.
- Florida is the theme park epicenter of the world, hosting entertainment megalands like Disney, Universal Studio, SeaWorld, LEGOLAND, and Busch Gardens.
- Florida is the only continental U.S. state to have a living coral reef.
- There is nowhere in Florida that is more than 60 miles from a beach.
- Florida is the spring break capital of America, drawing an average of 2.7 million students to its beaches every year.
Honorable mentions teachers also like
- The great outdoors of Colorado and the Rockies
- The rugged coast of Maine
- The beautiful beaches of Myrtle Beach
- And almost anywhere in the mountains.
Do you have a favorite vacation spot? Comment below.