Great Family Adventures: Smithsonian Journeys' 'Voyage to the Great Lakes: A Family Adventure'

Yes, we know: The family vacation is a much-parodied event, and perhaps rightfully so. But fumbles, foibles, and hassles aside, families keep taking them for the same good reason: They’re priceless sources of memories.

    Photo: Courtesy of Smithsonian Journeys

HIGHLIGHTS: Smithsonian knows a thing or two about educating engagingly, so allow its staff to show your family our nation’s Great Lakes. This eight-day boat-based journey cruises all five of them, plus the rivers along the way. You’ll take the Maid of the Mist Tour at Niagara Falls and explore Mackinac Island (where bicycles and horse-drawn carriages are the main ways to get around) and its circa-1870 fort. In pretty little Charlevoix, see one of the world’s largest working model railroads, and in Cleveland, check out the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or the fairytale-like botanical garden. Other activities for kids on this voyage include treasure hunts, learning navigation techniques from ship officers, hearing the region’s rich stories of trade and navigation told, and riding Lake Michigan’s inviting sand dunes. This trip is recommended for ages seven and older.

OUTFITTER: Smithsonian Journeys, with all the resources of the Smithsonian Institution at its disposal—not to mention more than 160 years of travel experience—focuses on creating unique, expert-led educational experiences.

ITINERARY: Chicago to Saugatuck, Charlevoix, Mackinac Island, Detroit, Cleveland, and Toronto.

DATES: Departs July 8.

PRICE: Starting at $4,395 per adult and $1,275 per child, including overnight accommodations, all meals (with alcoholic beverages), guidance services, educational lectures, evacuation insurance, gratuities, and pre-departure materials. The rate does not include a $195 port tax.

INFO: smithsonianjourneys.org, (855) 330-1542.

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