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Graduation Celebration: Let’s Travel!

Updated: May 16

Springtime means flowers and trees coming back to life, warmer weather, and for many, graduation season! After 17 or 18 years of guiding children through school, many parents will be sending their kids out on their own for the very first time. This could mean heading to college, tech school, the military, or beginning a full-time career. Whatever path your high school senior will take after graduation, now is a great time to celebrate all they’ve accomplished and their jump into adulthood.

Senior trips have been popular for quite a while, but instead of a beach getaway with friends, a more family-oriented trip with your high school senior offers an opportunity to make memories and spend quality time together without the stress of work and daily chores. Depending on your budget, there are several options for your family. Here are our top ideas:

  1. Is your graduate a sports fan? Consider purchasing tickets to their favorite team’s game either at the team’s home site or at a fun destination. Book a flight and hotel and make the trip into a long weekend. Spend time exploring restaurants, book a bike tour, or a tour of the stadium or arena.

  2. Do you have a child interested in theater or the arts? If so, there’s no better senior trip than New York City! The city that never sleeps offers endless plays and musicals, both on and off-Broadway. You can even grab some discounted tickets by waiting until the day of the performance to purchase tickets (line up early at the TKTS Booth at 47th & Broadway). Hotels can be pricey, but look for military discounts or consider staying at the Navy Lodge on Staten Island. The subway can be an inexpensive way to get around the Big Apple and might be fun for your child to experience. There are also many other sights and attractions to explore in the city. This trip could be a long weekend or a week-long adventure.

  3. Has senior year been stressful for your graduate? Or is he or she heading off to an intense post-secondary program, such as a military academy or basic training? If so, a relaxing beach or lake vacation might be a great choice. Siesta Key, Florida is an 8-mile long island with beautiful beaches and calm water. Enjoy fishing, parasailing, or just soaking up the sun. Or, if your family would rather avoid salt and sharks, Mackinac Island, Michigan, is the slow-paced, laid back destination for you. The island doesn’t allow any motorized vehicles and is made up of mostly smaller boutique hotels, so crowds are minimal. You can rent bikes to ride around the island and stop at one of the many public beaches to enjoy a refreshing dip in the crystal clear water.

  4. If your graduate loves to be outside and is always looking for adventure, make plans to visit one of our nation’s beautiful national parks. While some of the more popular parks require advanced planning, some parks, such as Isle Royale in Michigan, Voyageurs in Minnesota, and Congaree in South Carolina are among the least visited and can be accessed easily. All of these parks offer hiking, camping, and many other outdoor adventures.

  5. Is your child interested in politics, serving in the military, or an activist? If so, a trip to our nation’s capital is the perfect destination. Washington, D.C. offers several free museums that teach our nation’s history and memorials that honor our national leaders. You can also book free tours of the U.S. Capitol, the White House, the National Archives, and more through your congressional delegation. In addition to museums and history, Washington, D.C. offers amazing restaurants, fun shopping, and other attractions such as the National Harbor. If you want to get out of the city for a little bit, head out to Shenandoah National Park. Located an hour from D.C., you can float the river, take on ziplines and rope courses, or hike beautiful trails.

In the blink of an eye, it seems that our children go from taking their first steps to stepping out on their own. Traveling with your children and especially with your soon-to-be graduate can help deepen your connection and expand your relationship with him or her as they mature into a young adult. We hope you enjoy these suggestions and they help kick start your senior trip planning.

Wherever you decide to travel with your high school senior, the Waynesville-St. Robert Regional Airport is an excellent jumping off point. With direct flights to Dallas and Nashville, your family can usually be at your final destination with a single layover.

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