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5 outside-the-box family vacations

A road trip on the Beartooth Highway, a tennis retreat in Vermont and more unexpected ideas.

A view of the rugged Beartooth Mountains as

A view of the rugged Beartooth Mountains as seen from the Beartooth Pass near Red Lodge, Mont. Photo Credit: Getty Images / iStock / Danielrao

Planning your next family vacation? Turn the tables and try something new and different. Here are five ideas to consider: 

1. Trade a ritzy resort for the backcountry. For the purest connection to nature, make your way off the beaten path. Hike, paddle or float into a pristine location where your family can learn or hone wilderness skills. Encourage each person to take responsibility for the adventure, whether that be early research, carrying a small pack, collecting kindling or serving as master storyteller around the fire.

INFO backcountry.comnps.gov

2. Trade the country for the city. Join Sofitel New York in its salute to Broadway and the Tony Awards. Check in to the midtown hotel’s Tony Awards Suite, a luxury space with Broadway memorabilia, including scripts from award-winning plays, photographs, playbills and a video loop of footage from this season’s most popular productions. Head to the TKTS booth in Time Square to snag last-minute, discounted tickets.

INFO sofitel-new-york.com; tdf.org

3. Put down the clubs and pick up a racket. At the Woodstock Inn & Resort in Vermont’s Green Mountains, the new family programs include instruction at the Woodstock Tennis Academy. The program consists of four half-day sessions, Monday through Thursday. (Check the website for dates and details.) While visiting the 2,500-plus acre property, families can also enjoy hiking, mountain biking, fishing and gardening classes.

INFO woodstockinn.com

4. Trade terra firma for a boat that floats. Have a family adventure aboard a Disney cruise ship. Choose from four vessels, Disney Wonder, Magic, Dream or Fantasy, each designed to conjure a bygone era but with plenty of modern amenities. Expect top-notch services, daily character meet-and-greets, movies, performances, pool time and a menu of enrichment experiences. What you won’t find: a casino.

INFO disneycruise.disney.go.com

5. Don't fly over, make it a road trip. The Beartooth Highway, a windy, cliff-hugging 68-mile stretch, introduces road explorers to the visual trifecta of Montana, Wyoming and Yellowstone Park. It’s also the highest-elevation highway in the Northern Rockies. Stunningly beautiful, the All-American Road showcases wide, high alpine plateaus, glacial lakes, forested valleys, waterfalls and wildlife. Plan to pull over frequently.

INFO beartoothhighway.com

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