Summer is just around the corner. As school ends, families take to the roads. Among the countless destinations families might choose for their summer vacation, there are a few that allow families to take lasting memories and learning experiences away with them.
At the Green Lake Conference Center in Green Lake, Wisconsin, families will find plenty of budget friendly lodging options – from forested campgrounds to lakeside homes to turn of the century hotels. In addition, group retreats are easy to arrange, whether for church groups, summer camps, or family reunions. The space in the large cabins is maximized for plentiful sleeping arrangements, while retaining the quiet peace of a lakeside getaway. There are also bunkhouse style dorms for less luxurious visits.
Once on campus, guests will find little reason to leave, with dining plans provided, supplies available at the camp store, and recreation options in every direction. During my quick visit, we took a wooded hike through conservation land, breezed along the lake on bikes, toured the climbing and zip line courses, scanned the boathouses and swimming beaches, and took a trip through history with a tour of the property’s historic buildings.
Green Lake Conference Center has rich background in Christian heritage and continues to function as a conference and retreat center for groups around the country. Worldwide Gifts points to its broader influence in missions domestically and abroad. Exotic items from every corner of the globe intrigue the eye, all handicrafts that support missions in the area from which they come. Volunteer-run, 100% of the proceeds go back to supporting missions.
Two destinations further south introduce families to the rich cultural heritage of the Ozark Mountains, west of the Mississippi River. Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri, offers fun for all ages. The extensive theme park combines history with heart-racing thrills, and old-timey lore with classic entertainment. From the Andrews Sisters, to the WildFire roller coaster, both kids and grandparents will find their niche. Dining and shops on site keep visitors happy throughout the day.
Not too far away, the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas, is another park that has long been a favorite of mine from my first visit as nine-year-old. As a living history state park, the Ozark Folk Center is dedicated to preserving the cultural heritage and contributions of the early American pioneers and settlers. Skilled artisans practice long-lost skills and trades, using authentic tools of the era, and teach it carefully and patiently to onlookers. Their goods can be purchased to make a truly worthwhile souvenir or gift. Another highlight of the Ozark Folk Center is the concerts that introduce up and coming, talented musicians as well as celebrity concerts. Pioneer cabins provide lodging in the park, and there is also delicious dining in the Skillet Restaurant, so families can stay long enough to truly take all that the park has to offer.
The lasting history behind these three vacation spots has endured because they continue to offer lasting enjoyment for all generations. Memories made there will be a lasting highlight for families.