The arrival of summer spotlights a great American tradition: family summer travel. And as families look for ways to pack adventure into their limited time off – and please all ages – parks and attractions that offer a broad range of rides and activities, such as Silver Dollar City theme park in Branson, rise to the top for weekend get-aways as well as full vacation trips.
Cited for a combination of “scream-worthy” thrill rides as well as family attractions and rides for smaller kids, Silver Dollar City was recently named to the list of Best Amusement Parks for Families from TripAdvisor’s family travel site Family Vacation Critic, and in Top-Rated TripAdvisor Attractions in 50 States. Carried by outlets from MSN Travel and AOL to the Today Show’s website and Facebook, the national recognition gives families more reasons to vacation in Branson, profiled along with Silver Dollar City as one of the 17 Best Affordable Destinations in the USA by U.S. News & World Report. And for true thrill seekers, Silver Dollar City’s world-famous wood coaster Outlaw Run was recently recognized by MSN Travel as one of the Most Terrifying Roller Coasters in the World for the Ultimate Thrill.
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Another Silver Dollar City Attraction, White Water water park garnered its own superlatives, named to the Travel Channel’s Top U.S. Water Parks, with the new half-million dollar Coconut Cove kids’ play area featured in MSN.com’s New Water Park Additions for 2017.
Now through July, Silver Dollar City features the family-focused festival Star-Spangled Summer, featuring the Harlem Globetrotters, with 9 new Guinness World Records for trick shots, in the final year of The Globetrotter Experience show. The festival also presents stunt dogs, champion cloggers and cartoon characters through July 16. Then the park’s night ride event Moonlight Madness, July 15 – 30, brings ride-in-the-dark fun on the park’s 40-plus rides and attractions, including Outlaw Run, named Best New Ride of 2013 worldwide and featured in Guinness World Records 2015. Also presented are evening street dances and performances by international touring group Rockapella.
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Another affiliated attraction, the Showboat Branson Belle, presents the new noon show Country On The Lake, a “Party on the Lake” concert cruise featuring hits from classic rock to today’s country favorites, plus the popular evening show Celebrate and Princess & Pirate Cruises for kids.
Information on Silver Dollar City, White Water and the Showboat Branson Belle is at 800-831-4FUN(386) or www.silverdollarcity.com.
Cultural tourists are treating themselves to a bounty of activities, exhibitions and experiences on the streets of Palm Beach County this summer season.
From June through August 31, visitors to the West Palm Beach waterfront will be transported into a colorful collection of classic tales during the City of West Palm Beach Summer in Paradise, a creative series of events offered all summer long.
Guests are invited to enjoy a whimsical art installation, featuring classic fables, where even the picnic tables are art. “Aesop’s Tables” is an installation of colorful picnic tables and benches adorned by Palm Beach County artists. There will be interactive story-telling activities for all ages, and larger-than-life versions of favorite games—including human foosball. Families can extend the reading theme with a visit to the wonderful Children’s Library at the Society of the Four Arts across the bridge in Palm Beach. Here, children borrow books, use computers and enjoy special event programs free of charge. The library’s Mary Alice Fortin Children’s Art Gallery features exhibitions of special interest to young people.
This Independence Day, a record-breaking 44.2 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home, taking to the nation’s roads, skies, rails and waterways to honor the red, white and blue. With 1.25 million more travelers than last year, 2017 will be marked as the most traveled Independence Day holiday weekend ever.
“Combined, strong employment, rising incomes and higher consumer confidence bode well for the travel industry, in particular this Independence Day weekend,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president, Travel and Publishing. “A historic 44.2 million Americans will travel to celebrate our nation’s freedom this year, adding to an already bustling summer travel season.”
The Independence Day holiday travel period is defined as Friday, June 30 to Tuesday, July 4.
By the Numbers: Independence Day Travel Forecast
- Overall, 44.2 million travelers are expected to travel this Independence Day, a 2.9 percent increase over 2016.
- 37.5 million Americans will drive to their destinations, an increase of 2.9 percent over last year.
- 3.44 million people are taking to the skies this Independence Day, increasing air travel by 4.6 percent over last year.
- 3.27 million travelers, an increase of 1.4 percent from 2016, will look to other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses.
Gas prices cheaper than one year ago
The national average gas price is four cents cheaper than this same time last year and a contributing factor to the increase in travelers on the roads this Independence Day. With today’s national average price for a gallon of gas at $2.28, prices remain historically low for the summer travel season. However, consumers may see prices increase, albeit by pennies, closer to the holiday weekend, similar to the Memorial Day gas price trend.
More people will drive, fly and use other modes of travel
The vast majority of travelers—37.5 million Americans—will drive to their Independence Day destinations, an increase of 2.9 percent over last year. Air travel is expected to increase 4.6 percent over last year, with 3.44 million Americans taking to the skies this Independence Day. Travel by other modes of transportation, including cruises, trains and buses, will increase 1.4 percent, to 3.27 million travelers.
AAA to rescue more than 338,000 motorists this Independence Day
AAA expects to rescue more than 338,000 motorists this Independence Day weekend, with the primary reasons being lockouts, flat tires and battery-related issues. AAA recommends motorists take their vehicle to a trusted repair facility to perform any needed maintenance before heading out. Oil changes, fluid level checks, battery tests and tire inspections go a long way toward reducing the chances of a breakdown.
Oregon’s newest Scenic Bikeway traverses the strikingly scenic high desert canyon of north central Oregon, known as the River Canyon Country. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Commission formally approved the designation of the Sherar’s Falls Scenic Bikeway during its June 14 meeting in Salem, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) and Travel Oregon announced today.
This 33-mile loop winds along the Deschutes River en route to the Bikeway’s namesake, Sherar’s Falls, where the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs fish for salmon, as they have for thousands of years: from wooden scaffolds using traditional dipnets and setnets. Riders will follow a section of the White River and pass White River Falls State Park, one of Oregon’s secret hideaways, where a short walk leads to views of the river’s 90-foot plunge over a basalt shelf.
Just in time for summer vacation, one of the fiercest underwater legends has come to life in an entirely new way. SeaWorld Orlando’s original roller coaster offers an adventure for thrill-seeking guests unlike any other when Kraken Unleashed opens to the public June 16.
Kraken Unleashed is a first-of-its-kind virtual reality roller coaster in the United States, with fully integrated headsets. The completely immersive experience takes riders on an exploratory journey under the sea. As they sail along the powerful coaster track, complete with deep dives, steep turns and seven complete inversions, a fully integrated story unfolds. The result is a fantastical voyage past gigantic sea monsters, and an unexpected, unforgettable encounter with the legendary Kraken sea monster.