With baggage fees, overpriced flights and tight budgets, taking a family vacation to some far off destination doesn’t really seem that appealing.  Traveling out of the country isn’t the only way to see some sights and have a good time this summer.  There are great summer destinations right here in the United States just waiting for you to come out and explore them.   So pack your bags, grab the kids, gas up the car (or hop a quick flight) and check out these fun and family friendly summer escapes.

Big Sur, California

More secluded and private, than other California coast destinations, this summer escape is not to be missed.  From hiking and biking through Pfeifer Big or Andrew Molera State Parks, where Redwoods, a 60-ft waterfall, and rocky coastal vistas line your path, to tubing or kayaking on the Big Sur River, there is plenty to do here.  On a good day you can even get to see Endangered Blue Whales move along the coast, definitely something that will be a hit with children.

Ann Arbor, Michigan

It may not be the biggest city around, but Ann Arbor has proved that you don’t have to be the biggest, to be one of the best.  With numerous awards under its belt such as Best Midwest Food Town, one of the Ten Best Cities for Families, Best Town for Young Singles, and a #5 ranking on the “America’s Happiest Cities” list, compiled by Newsweek’s DailyBeast.com, it’s hard to imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to come here.  The historic downtown Kerrytown District is full of eclectic shops for all your knick knack needs and the city’s well known Art Fair is three-day celebration of color, light, and sound. Art exhibits are accompanied by musical performances, outdoor dining, and children’s activities galore.

Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

Looking to get to the beach, but dreading the crowds?  Then consider heading to Rehoboth Beach this summer.  This under the radar beach town boasts seafood, lovely sunsets, and outdoor recreation that could rival any beach town on the Atlantic coast.  Stroll along the boardwalk or head to Cape Henlopen State Park where the 3,000 acres affords plenty of hiking, camping, and swimming.  Looking for a family friendly activity?  The town’s annual Sandcastle Contest in August is perfect for showing your family’s team spirit…and kicking some sandcastle butt!

Tybee Island, Georgia

Atlanta is great, but it’s not the only place to visit in the peach state.  Tybee Island is nestled just off the coast of Savannah and is the perfect place to get a bit of old Southern charm with a bit of a modern kick.  Here you’ll find everything from secluded/private islands, marshlands, sea turtles and peaceful public beaches, to fresh Georgia shrimp, bottlenose dolphin tours, and a relaxed nightlife.  Bars on Tybee Island are known to provide plastic cups for those who want to stroll along the beach with their beverages.  Hey, mommies and daddies need fun too!

Danielle Pointdujour is a native Brooklynite living and writing in the Big Apple. You can find Danielle sharing her personal outlook on love, life and travel on various publications across the web.