Smart Vacations

The scoop on summer trips that combine leisure and learning.


A wagon trek provides old-time fun
in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
(Courtesy Wagons West)

As the school year ends, parents get a welcome break from carpooling and homework. There's no need, though, to close the books on learning. Summer can be the best time to take that rich, educational vacation your children will talk about for years -- the trip where they not only have fun but develop a spirit of adventure or explore their creativity.

If learning something new on your next vacation is a priority, you're not alone. More than 30 million people have taken an educational trip in the last three years, according to the Travel Industry Association of America. "Adventure and experiential travel are on the increase," says Kyle McCarthy, editor of the online newsletter Family Travel Forum. Pressed for time, today's working families expect more for their vacation dollar, she adds. A carefully planned trip can ignite a child's passion for history or the arts, and can even inspire parents to develop a new skill.

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