Here are hot spots for your family’s vacation this summer

How are you going to spend your summer vacation?

That’s a big question right now for families with kids. With the Internet, planning for a perfect vacation is somewhat easier.

Most parents believe that they must take their children to a Disney theme park at least once when they are growing up. I have had multiple visits to both Disney Land in California and Disney World in Orlando and trust me, the overwhelming choice is Disney World near Orlando.

I have no desire to go to California. The state is beautiful but it is way too expensive and the traffic is intolerable. Disney Land is smaller than Disney World and has fewer options.

Disney World is no picnic. It gets really hot in Florida in the summer and the theme park is really, really crowded every day during the summer. It is so hot and the lines for the ride are so long that they spray mists of water over people to keep them from fainting. Disney is very adept at disguising the length of the line. You get in a line that seems short and you round a bend and it triples in size. But you are stuck and you have to wait it out.

A Disney vacation is very expensive. You have the expense of flying or driving (it takes two full days of driving to get to Orlando) and even if you buy one of their hotel packages, you will easily spend hundreds of dollars a day.

Susan has relatives in Orlando and when our kids were little, we were able to go to Disney World on a budget because we have a place to stay and they fed us. All we had to do was to get to Florida and buy tickets (which were about half what they are now).

For the sake of saving money, time and hassle, Silver Dollar City in Branson is a much better option. Silver Dollar City has many fantastic rides for young children and for older kids. The hotels in Branson are nice and less expensive and Branson is only a three-hour drive (200 miles) from Tulsa. You can buy a season pass for Silver Dollar City that is not that much more than a day pass. I know some families that buy season passes and go there several times a year, saving a whole bunch of money.

Silver Dollar City does get hot in the summer time (but you can get drenched on some of the rides, so that tends to cool you off). And it can get really crowded, but mostly on the weekends. If you are there for a week, it’s not nearly as bad.

Traffic can be bad in Branson because of the three-lane roads but if you plan correctly, it’s not a big problem. And the nice thing about traffic in Branson is that most motorists are very friendly and accommodating.

I have not been to Six Flags over Texas in Dallas for decades. The last time I went, it was so expensive, so crowded and so hot that I decided to go elsewhere. And the traffic in Dallas is murderous.

Dallas is only four or five hours away and that is a plus. And if you stay on the fringe of the Metroplex, you can get a good deal on a hotel. Plus, there are some great restaurants in Dallas.

I went Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, Missouri, with my son’s marching band about a decade ago. It seemed nice but it was a day trip and we were only there for about half a day.

Kansas City is about the same distance as Dallas (but farther than Branson). And they have some great steakhouses in Kansas City (Dallas does, too).

Our kids are grown, so we don’t take weeklong vacations in the summer anymore. Our 35th wedding anniversary is in July and we plan to take a long weekend and go someplace. We don’t know where yet. Colorado is cool in the summer but it’s too far for a long weekend visit. We probably will go someplace in Oklahoma. It’s amazing that we have lived in a state for mucho decades and yet have not visited some tourist attractions.

On July 22-24, I plan on attending the 45th high school reunion of the Tulsa Hale class of 1972 (of which I am a member). It is here in Tulsa as the Campbell Hotel. We had a great time five years ago at the 40th reunion. I know some people have mixed feelings about reunions, but I have some good friends in our class (of 800 plus) and I always enjoy visiting with them.

We might sneak off to Branson for a weekend this summer, too. Branson has more than 100 live shows and I have yet to see one that was a disappointment. And I like to take the scenic route to Branson (Highway 412) through Arkansas rather than the Will Rogers Turnpike.

I just enjoy a drive through the country. And the older I get, the more I like to relax on my vacations.