June 1, 2020
Due to travel restrictions, plans are only available with travel dates on or after
Due to travel restrictions, plans are only available with effective start dates on or after
Ukraine; Belarus; Moldova, Republic of; (North) Korea, Democratic People's Rep; Russian Federation
When you’re planning family travel with school-age children, it’s often like threading a needle.
Summer, Spring Break, and the holidays offer only a handful of travel windows — all happening at the same time that families from all over the world are trying to plot their escape.
But with schools turning to remote learning — whether as an alternative to in-person learning or the only choice for education — the family travel calendar is wide open for many. We sent our researchers out to find some prime destinations for family travel with built-in educational opportunities. Of course, before they departed, we made sure they packed their Allianz Global Assistance travel insurance plans. Because when you’re doing homework far away from home, you can face far more formidable challenges than a broken pencil or spilled thermos. The right travel insurance plan will help you ace the many tests on the road of life.
Here’s a closer look at family travel spots that make short work of long-distance learning.
What’s the difference between a stalagmite and a stalactite?
Stalactites hang from cave ceilings while stalactites grow up from the ground.
It’s one of those lessons that’s a lot more engaging (and memorable) when it’s learned during a real-life underground adventure as opposed to reading a text book. Carlsbad Caverns National Park, located in southeast New Mexico, is the ideal classroom for this lesson plan and so many more, from earth science and geology to biology and social studies.
At more than 265 million years old, Carlsbad Cavern is a former fossil reef that formed nearly 120 caves when sulfuric acid dissolved the surrounding limestone. Visitors can explore this subterranean playground — including the 1.25-mile trek through the “Big Room” chamber — as well as see the plant and wildlife native to the surrounding Chihuahuan Desert. And then there’s the bat show, during which 500,000 of the nocturnal creatures fly into and out of the cavern at speeds up to 25 mph every evening and early morning.1
If you’re checking out Carlsbad in the warmer months and need a change of pace, head over to Lake Carlsbad Beach Park for a quick dip — and if the kiddos complete their homework — a few rides at the neighboring waterpark.
There are virtual lessons. There are brick-and-mortar classrooms. And then there are living museums — by far the most engaging take on education. No family travel destination embodies this concept more than Colonial Williamsburg, a free-range history lesson showing off both American and British life in the 18th century — right on the precipice of the American Revolution. Complete with free-roaming actors, original architecture, carriage rides, and the sounds of drums and fifes, Colonial Williamsburg is as authentic as it gets.
You can wander through Colonial Williamsburg without dropping a dime, but to take advantage of all the access, demos, and more — from firing flintlock muskets to braving ghost tours — you’ll want to purchase tickets.2
We’d be remiss not to mention the strategic location of Williamsburg, as it’s just a short drive the location of other defining moments in American history, including Washington, D.C. and Gettysburg Pennsylvania. Of course, if you want to plan recess nearby, Busch Gardens Williamsburg awaits just a buggy ride down the lane.
Some family travel destinations have built decades-long reputations for good, clean, and sometimes even educational fun. Hilton Head and Savannah’s Tybee Island are fantastic family-friendly beach destinations — whether they’re virtual learning field trips or simply well-earned getaways.
Let’s start with Hilton Head, named by Parents Magazine as the No.1 U.S. beach destination for families. Here, it’s all about accessibility. The low country resort town is built up enough to have plenty of lodging, dining, golf, and more. But it’s not overcrowded. Add beaches that welcome visitors with all the amenities they could want. Take, for example, Coligny Beach, which includes well-kept showers, changing rooms, and bathrooms right beside the beach. Add walkways right down to the ocean and bike paths — and you’ll find Coligny to be both inviting and user friendly. Also, you’ll always find plenty of lifeguards, free parking, and zero beach fees or passes. We almost forgot the free Wi-Fi, which means the kids can Zoom into class from your ocean view deck or direct from the dunes.3
Wonder further inland to find Hilton Head’s Coastal Discover Museum, a sprawling classroom comprising 19th century buildings-turned-museum exhibits, nature trails blazed through a salt marsh, and even a scavenger hunt that ties it all together. Learn about the native Gullah people, take a guided cruise, study local flora and fauna, and so much more.4, 5
But Hilton Head is just half the fun. Because in 45 minutes, you can be in Savannah — a riverfront city where majestic Spanish Moss trees, antebellum architecture, and historic markers flank streets bustling with trolley tours. And if you have any Girl Scouts in your caravan, then the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace is a must-visit. Low founded the organization in 1912 and her former home is Savannah’s first National Historic Landmark. Then roll over to the Georgia State Railway Museum, where visitors can explore cars, coaches, and locomotives that powered the Central Georgia Railroad and Canal Company (which at one time was the largest continuous railroad in the world). It’s a highly hands-on experience that shares an open-air space with another: the Savannah Children’s Museum.6, 7
Before you head back home, you have one more stop: Tybee Island, a nearby barrier island with wide-open beaches and a strategically located fort that’s worth a look. Fort Screven was a critical part of U.S. coastal defenses during the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II before being transformed into a residential neighborhood.8
Our list of educational family travel destinations rolls on. There’s Sedona, Arizona, where you can learn about aboriginal cultures while studying rock formations like nothing you’ve ever seen.9 And if you venture through The Ozarks in Missouri, you’ll happen upon a “little house on the prairie” known as the Laura Ingalls Wilder Home & Museum, where the real-life pioneer experience is on full display.10 Every big city and small town has a story to tell and a lesson to teach. By making these the subject of your next trip itinerary, you’ll create lasting memories and knowledge for all the students in your family.