AAA Inspectors Pick Their Favorite Places for Family Vacations

ORLANDO, FLORIDA, August 16, 2010

Plan an unforgettable last hurrah for summer

Heather HunterLabor Day weekend marks the unofficial end of summer and, for many Americans, the last chance for a family vacation before cooler weather arrives. A wide array of choices in family-friendly hotels makes it easy to find suitable accommodations, according to AAA travel experts. Young families may prefer lodgings with children’s programs that give parents time off to relax. Families looking for ways to spend time together may want accommodations with swimming pools, game rooms and outdoor activities. Families looking for adventure or something different can choose from dude ranches, wildlife preserves and water parks.

AAA polled its professional inspectors to name their favorite places for family getaways. Discover the top 10 picks below and, for even more great ideas, access the complete list of favorites on AAA’s travel blog at

Crowne Plaza at Historic Union Station, Indianapolis, Ind., AAA Three Diamond Lodging
Stay in a former railroad station in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. For extra fun, choose one of 26 guestrooms converted from authentic Pullman Train cars. Nearby family entertainment includes several downtown sports arenas, White River State Park, the Indianapolis Zoo and the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Lake Buena Vista, Fla., AAA Three Diamond Lodging
For families who love wild animals, this is the place to stay. The hotel’s balcony rooms offer around-the-clock views of animals roaming the savannahs in the 43-acre wildlife preserve. African architecture, interactive exhibits and year-round kids’ programs make the entire property part of the experience.

Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center on Lake Grapevine, Grapevine, Texas, AAA Four Diamond Lodging
Through Labor Day, guests can take part in the sixth annual SummerFest featuring four and a half acres of indoor gardens transformed into Alice’s Wonderland Adventure. Visitors who wander in Wonderland will encounter giant art and strolling entertainers including Alice, The Queen of Hearts and The Hatter. Special extras include pool parties, family dine-in movies, dessert dine-arounds, fireworks and Sunday tea.

Great Wolf Lodge, Sandusky, Ohio, AAA Three Diamond Lodging
This resort offers weather-proof family fun with an indoor water park featuring Fort Mackenzie, a four-story, interactive water fort. Every evening around 8:15, kids in pajamas and slippers head to the lobby Clock Tower to wind down with story time. Older kids enjoy the Northern Lights Arcade.

Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina, Cambridge, Md., AAA Four Diamond Lodging
This Eastern Shore resort offers families a pick of getaway experiences, from its 18-hole championship golf course to a pampering massage at the spa. At Camp Hyatt, kids have opportunities to make friends and learn new skills. Additional activities include poolside movies, miniature golf, beach volleyball and walks through the hotel’s 18-acre Blue Heron Rookery nature preserve.

Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa, Bernnalillo, N.M., AAA Four Diamond Lodging
Resort visitors become immersed in beautiful Southwestern décor featuring Native American
Artwork. Children of all ages enjoy multiple swimming pools, walking trails and horseback riding. A camp program caters to younger children. The Rail Runner train stop in nearby Bernalillo offers service to the cultural centers of Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

Lost Valley Ranch, Deckers, Colo., AAA Four Diamond Lodging
The friendly owners extend a warm welcome, assigning families their own luxurious, Western-themed cabin. Ranch counselors host programs and activities for infants to teens to adults. Options include horseback riding, hiking, swimming, tubing, fishing and rafting.

Moody Garden Hotel, Spa and Convention Center, Galveston, TX, AAA Four Diamond Lodging
This modern, full-service resort offers upscale family accommodations, dining and activities. Facilities include an aquarium, rainforest, golf course, swimming pool, beach, an IMAX theater and 4-D theater.

Summer weekend activities includearts and crafts, scavenger hunts,pool coin dives, abounce house, kite flying, clown face painting, karaoke andWii competitions.

Nickelodeon Suites Resort, Lake Buena Vista, Fla., AAA Three Diamond Lodging
This high-energy family hotel ensures kids have fun and families create messy memories. The property features water parks, interactive pools, poolside shows, slime, games, 4-D theater, a kid’s spa, character breakfast and a nightly Nickelodeon show. Central Florida’s popular theme parks are just minutes away.

Wequassett Resort and Golf Club, East Harwich, Mass., AAA Four Diamond Lodging
This waterfront resort offers an outdoor amphitheater and pirate-themed interactive water playground with treasure chests, fountains and a pirate ship with slides and swinging ropes. The high-tech children’s center features a 135-inch HD screen for Wii, PlayStation and Xbox 360 gaming. Activities include dive-in-movies, teen gaming nights and lessons in swimming, sailing and tennis.

AAA’s professional inspectors evaluate and rate more than 58,000 lodgings and restaurants in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean using a scale of One to Five Diamonds. Access listings of AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants in the AAA TourBook guides and at

AAA has employed professional inspectors since 1937 when the association first began field inspections of hotels and restaurants. On average, AAA inspectors conduct more than 1,100 property evaluations annually. The average tenure is 12 years, with the longest being 28 years. AAA inspectors work remotely and bring significant prior industry experience to the association.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides nearly 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at

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