Who says doing homework can't be fun? Checking out possible colleges for your student can make for a great getaway.
Visit the University of Minnesota and stay at the campus-central Commons Hotel. Call upon the resident Book Butler to deliver your favorite read or hop aboard the light rail, just paces from the front door, and visit Target Field, the vibrant riverfront area or the Mall of America. No need to leave the family pet at home. The resident Bark Butler will provide doggy dining options, as well as argyle-patterned doggy beds and bowls.
2. MADISON, WISCONSIN
Graduate Hotels, which are popping up in major university towns, promise a celebration of the "youthful optimism of school days" and a well-curated view of each community. In Madison, book the Badger Pride package and receive a University of Wisconsin T-shirt and hat, the university newspaper and a campus map. And for misty-eyed parents, some packages include a box of extra-absorbent tissues.
3. CHAPEL HILL, NORTH CAROLINA
Families considering Duke or the University of North Carolina might want to think about the Siena Hotel, which is crafted in the style of Old World villas. The Siena provides younger siblings with child-size robes, a good-night glow stick and chocolates. Opt for the Good-Night Package and get warm chocolate chip cookies and milk.
4. OXFORD, ENGLAND
Even if your family member won't be enrolling, you can spend the night in a historic Oxford college dorm room and tour the campus. Situated on the Thames, 60 miles from London, the hallowed institution features a Hogwarts-style dining hall, lush gardens and stunning architecture.
5. FLAGSTAFF, ARIZONA
Visitors to Northern Arizona University can check into a yurt or cabin at the Nordic Center's Off Grid Getaways headquarters. It's 60 miles from Grand Canyon National Park, so your clan can hike or mountain bike in the Coconino National Forest.