What it is: Do you often find your kids digging in the dirt? Whether you want to pitch tents or rent a cabin, your family will be one with nature while camping. Hint: Ease into the not-always-so-clean campground shower experience by starting with a one-night test run.
Why your family will love it: The highlight of camping is just before bedtime: without TV, video games, possibly even working Smartphones -- gasp! -- you can really talk to each other, distraction-free. Bonus points for storytelling or singing songs around a campfire with hot dogs, followed by marshmallows, on skewers. Before making your reservations, look at a map of the sites and, together, pick a few favorite spots. Talk about the pros and cons. For example, if you’re closer to a lake, seashore or river, you may have waves or ripples to lull you to sleep -- but it may also be buggier.
Locations we love: Ithaca in New York state’s Finger Lakes region provides natural beauty, including several nearby waterfalls for daytrips and a dynamite farmer's market where you can pick up picnic provisions. Also investigate the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.