Boomers remember their childhood vacations.

Send us your memories. Here are some memory joggers: Family car trips on two lane highways, Disneyland, The Reptile Gardens, giant roadside attractions, amusement parks...
Include your first name, city and state/province, & birth year.

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Kooky Kastle
Each year, my family of 8 crowded into a station wagon and headed to Mass for the month of August. We visited Paragon Park at least 3 times during each annual trip. The Park is gone but the arcades and merry-go-round still exist.Of my favorites, "The Kooky Kastle" is nothing but a fond memory of cotton candy and sno-cones. --- Jan, Detroit, MI 1962

South on I-95
I remember the anticipation that built up as we would travel I-95 south, towards the "South of the Border" motel, restaurant, gift shop Zoo, and Fireworks mecca at the border of North and South Carolina. The signs that read something like Burma Shave ads of old. I remember "Pedro" saying...your're almost there! —about a hundred times. --- David, Kensington, MD, 1955

Before Freeways
I remember traveling from Minnesota to California (a few times) prior to freeways on two lane highways. If you got behind someone slow - that's were you stayed (sometimes for hours) until you could pass or until you decided to stop at Wall Drug or any of the other tourist attractions along the highway. Wanna relive the past? Take the next exit off the freeway and travel the secondary highways through the little towns that once flurished along the highway. --- Tim, Shoreview, MN 1953

A Kid in Phoenix
As a little kid we lived in Phoenix AZ, and I remember going to the Grand Canyon, the Indian reservations, and to the Rodeo. I had a chance to go to Disneyland but got a sore throat and they wouldn't let me go, I never forgave them for that :). When I was four we moved to Cleveland and the top vacation destinations were probably Niagara Falls and Cedar Point, the amusement park near Sandusky (I never went on the Blue Streak til I was in college, I was scared of roller coasters). For one day outings, Geauga Lake Park, Conneaut, Euclid Beach Park till it closed. And of course the Cleveland Zoo. I went there a few years ago when I was back in Clevo, my best friend from college and I took her kids. They'd totally redone it, the only things that I recognized were the Pachyderm House and Monkey Island.

My mother was a little more adventurous and cultured than most of my friends' parents. She took me to the Art Museum several times a year, and to plays. For summer vacations, we went up to Wisconsin Dells (for Indian dances), spent a weekend in Chicago (had dinner in Chinatown, went to the Museum of Science and Industry, I loved the captured German sub!), took a historical trip to Washington DC, Gettysburg, and Virginia. When I was in high school we drove all the way across country to San Francisco. I wanted to move there and it took me 15 years after high school but I did! --- Chris, Redwood City, CA, 1952

Free Admission
Many years ago when entering an amusement park was free (Knotts Berry Farm) all a kid had to worry about was having enough money to buy some Rock Candy, this was also a time when Royal Crown cola, Scooter Pies and my all time favorite Chocolate Babies where abundant. --- Cheryl Frontroy, Cypress Calif. 1963 (see our food page for more food memories)

Pacific Ocean Park
I was surprised I didn't see any mention (so far) of Pacific Ocean Park in Santa Monica, CA. P.O.P., as we usually called it, was a wonderful place in the early sixties. I preferred it to Disneyland until they let it go downhill and eventually closed it. When approaching P.O.P. from a distance, you could see these huge bubbles rising from what I can only guess was some kind of gigantic soap bubble machine. It made you feel like you were truly entering a fantasyland. The whole place was on a pier stretching out over the Pacific. There was a terrific roller coaster, and on their "sky ride" you got into a clear plastic bubble and went riding way out over the water and back. I was always afraid my bubble would fall and I'd drown, but I loved it anyway. There were diving bells, the "whirlpool" where you'd stick to the wall as the floor dropped out from under you, and they had rides similar to Mr. Toad and Peter Pan at Disneyland, but at P.O.P. the car you rode in would BASH through the double doors that led to each new area of the ride, instead of the doors just peacefully opening for you. Much more fun that way. For a while, we went every year for my birthday. Those were truly HAPPY days. --- Rick, El Cajon, CA 1952

Mohawk Trail, Massachusetts
Every fall, my parents, (with sister, brother and me) would take an all day drive to the Mohawk Trail. This was an historic Indian trail that had all kinds of shops with Indian souvniers. My dad would give each of us a little spending money and we could get whatever we wanted. I remember I would try to wait as long as possible because the "next shop" might have something even more cool than the last one. One year I bought a fake arrow that sat on your head like a hair band; but looked like you had an arrow through your head. I thought it was the coolest thing! I always sat in the middle spot in the car. My older sister on one side and younger brother on the other. We would get to giggling about something and get yelled at to be quiet. I had a hard time because I had no where to look and both my siblings could look out the window. We sometimes would take a picnic lunch and we always visited the park with the big Indian with outstretched arms called "Hail to the Sunrise" or something like that. We (to this day) still make that yearly trip, now with my mom and dad, husband, daughter and grandson. The shops are quite "cheesy"; but we still take a picnic lunch. I wouldn't trade those memories or that yearly trip for anything. I hope it's still around for my grandson's grandkids. --- Shelley, Massachusetts, 1954

Japanese Village and Deer Park (Buena Park, CA)
Made famous by Hudson and Landry in their audio skit, "Ajax Liquor Store," the Japanese Village and Deer Park was located in Buena Park, CA, not far from Knott's Berry Farm (and across the street from a huge Nabisco factory). The place was really small and cramped. It was like a mega-petting zoo for adults (it even had pachinko machines). The big thing to do was feed the animals. For a quarter you could get about three handfuls of animal food in a box. The boxes all looked the same. You could tell what animal the food was intended for by the plastic toy buried in the contents. The deer food had a plastic deer in it, for example. I'll never forget the carp food. It was the first box I bought. I was about ten. Buried in that box was something that looked like a dead goldfish. I was so frightened I threw it on the ground! I later realized it was a plastic toy carp!

We went there several times. A snack food company (I think it was Laura Scudder, which made Wampum corn chips--the name was later dropped as being deemed demeaning to Indians), started putting free passes in bags of chips. I remember making plans to go but they closed down before we got that chance. I still have the free pass. --- Bill, Riverside, CA, 1957

Kooky Kastle
Each year, my family of 8 crowded into a station wagon and headed to Mass for the month of August. We visited Paragon Park at least 3 times during each annual trip. The Park is gone but the arcades and merry-go-round still exist.Of my favorites, "The Kooky Kastle" is nothing but a fond memory of cotton candy and sno-cones. --- Jan, Detroit, MI 1962

I-95 South
I remember the anticipation that built up as we would travel I-95 south, towards the "South of the Border" motel, restaurant, gift shop Zoo, and Fireworks mecca at the border of North and South Carolina. The signs that read something like Burma Shave ads of old. I remember "Pedro" saying...your're almost there! —about a hundred times. --- David, Kensington, MD, 1955

Saturday Afternoon Matinees
I must tell you, reading through some of the notes on the site brought my childhood flooding back in vivid detail! The Saturday afternoons spent at the movies when they were shown on one screen in a huge auditorium populated by a bunch of rowdy pre-teens (not me, of course). There was always a double feature, cartoon, newsreel, serial, and the best advertising money could buy! Candy and sodas were a nickel or a dime, admission was a quarter - the cheapest babysitter available at the time! --- Ed, Everman, Texas, 1948

Lake Tahoe Harrah’s Kiddie Rec Center
Anyone remember up at Lake Tahoe Harrah's Hotel had a kiddie recreation center where your folks would dump you off for hours while the gambled away the family fortunes? I have lots o' memories of this back in the late 60s...running around playing pinball arcade games, eating too much candy (Sweet Tarts and Pixie Sticks) and watching really bad Jerry Lewis movies in their little theater. Of course there was always the ubiquitious bully kid there...picking fights with you. It was a pretty cool place to hang for a few hours and act-up. Anyone out there have memories about Harrah's recreation center? --- Jeff H Oakland, California, 1956

Coney Island, Nellie Bly, Rye Bean and other points east
Brooklynites, like myself, always knew they had a great place to go for amusements. Coney Island. One of the great amusement parks in the world. Not far from there was a much smaller venue for the younger children. Does anybody remember Nellie Bly in Bensonhurst. And for longer trips, we'd sometimes go to Rye Beach. Or, on a Ferry ride off the 69th street pier in Bay Ridge. For a longer Ferry Ride, we'd often go to the Statue of Liberty. Or, to the Empire State Building. Summers, for my family, became an annual ritual and couple of months at a bungalow colony in Orange Lake, New York....just outside of Newburgh. I remember making that trip for the first time in a brand new Dodge Coronet, when I was 7 or 8 years old. It was there that I learned how to swim, play baseball and discovered girls. It just doesn't seem that long ago. The memories are very fresh in my mind. 35 years have passed since that first trip to Orange Lake. It might as well be 35 minutes..........that's how fresh the memories my mind. --- Ralph Mauriello (originally from Brooklyn) Hagerstown, Maryland 1957

Class Trip to Washington, D.C.
Yes, I was there, walking right into a field of mace near the Washington Monument along with my 8th grade class. What a class trip! A lot of the sights were shut down, we couldn't go into the White House...but I'm glad we were there then. I bought a peace button. --- Terry, Chicago, 1956

Off to Yellowstone in the station wagon
When I was eight years old, my family piled into the station wagon, two aunts and their families piled into their station wagons, and we all headed for Yellowstone National Park. We all stayed in seperate cabins near the main lodge. In those days, there were bears everywhere. You had to keep your car windows up and you didn't wander away from the picnic sites. The big earthquake hit Yellowstone two weeks after we left. --- Kathy, Salt Lake City, Utah,1948

Reptile Farms and Roadside Attractions
Vacationing through the Border States during the late 50s and early 60s to us meant driving on two-lane roads through Kentucky and Tennessee. Reptile farms were a main attraction along the route, and plenty of signs advertised it for miles before you got there. Another biggie was Dogpatch. Most Boomers remember Li'l Abner don't you? Dogpatch had the same falling-off-the-hill-by-the-side-of-the-road look as the Reptile Farms, but with the added incentive of (maybe) seeing Daisy May in a pair of tight cut-off jeans.
The biggest attraction was Rock City, Tennessee. Every barn east of the Mississippi must have had See Rock City painted on the roof or sides. When I was about 17, I finally got to "see" Rock City. I had envisioned a towering city of stone, built by mountain trolls or druids or some other exotic race. Unfortunately, I discovered that it was a miniature city on top of a mountain. I nearly stepped on 4 or 5 buildings while I was there. No matter, our vacations were great to us! --- Larry, Mt. Sterling, KY 1951

1964/65 New York World's Fair
I remember leaving sixth grad a few days early to go with my mom and dad to the New York World's Fair. The stand-out memories were "It's a Small World" (later transported to Disneyland), the Coca Cola Pavilion - complete with free Coke and introducing Sprite - you walked through different countries where Coke was sold - in Switzerland in the Alps, you looked down into a valley and the room was actually cooler. I think there was also a GE progress theatre that the audience revolved around a stage that was sectioned off like a pie - different eras of electrical use (or non-use) were depicted on the stages. --- Tim, Shoreview, MN 1953

Visit the New York World's Fair web site (click here)

Drive the Usa in Your Chevrolet
I remember every summer my family would take vacations around the country. I remember the Burma Shave Signs and 10 cent ice cream cones (a penny a scoop). My mother would make us sit at the curb to eat our ice cream cones because they were so big and she didn't want us to drip ice cream in the Chevy. I remember when back window "blinds" for cars were popular and will never forget "Drive The USA in Your Chevrolet." I also remember it seems everyone had white picket fences and the penny candy at the local general store. We also could go to the movies on Wednesdays (matinee) and pay with six RC Cola caps. --- Cathy, Florida, 1953

Weekends in New York
We used to go on get away weekends and to this day I still take my family on a get away weekend. One get away weekend when I lived in NJ we used to drive about 3 to 4 hours and stop to see the sites not knowing where we were. We ended up one weekend in Chinatown NY and we had a great time and the food was the best and we also got to see a Broadway show and I remember standing in a long line for discount tickets with my mom to see A Chorus Line the show was great but the seats were so far back we needed binoclers to see the stage.My mom said this far back you can see the whole chorus line dancing and it's much more enjoyable. --- Melody, Virginia Beach, VA,1958

Mom went to the Moon before Neil Armstrong!
We lived in Pennsylvania at the time and traveled west to visit my father's family. Disneyland was only opened for a month and Dad took all the family. I remember it only had a few rides; a train that went around the park, the teacup and back then it was a 'trip to the moon'. I wish I had one now but as you debarked the spaceship, they handed you a certificate that said you had been to the moon. My mother took it back to her maj jong group and showed it to anyone who would listen. No matter how we tried to tell her she had never left the ground, she told us WE were crazy - and she had the certificate to prove it.
That was August, 1955.
On July 20, 1969, we were all gathered around the tv set watching Neil Armstrong and his 'one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind'...and I said, 'see, Mom, HE'S the first man on the moon.' and she said, 'the only difference is, he has that suit on and he can get out and walk around. I was there before him' I swear, to the day she died, she thought she had been to the moon. The certificate is lost but the memory lives on. Thank you for a place to share it. --- Barbara, West Hills CA, 1946

Coney Islands and Simple Pleasures
I am originally from Brooklyn, New York and I have many memories when I was growing up there. I remember going to Coney Island and buying hot dogs and fries in a cone. There was never a better hot dog than Coney Island.It took many years for Nathan's hot dogs to finally make their ways into the American grocery stores. Now, it's like tasting an enjoyable youthful meal. At Coney Island, they had an amusement park called Steeplechase. I remember that I thought the rides there were the scariest there ever were. They had the 1 price for a days fun with the "hole punching" necklace. They counted your rides by a countdown system and the "no lose" necklace. I remember going to the movies with 50 cents and being able to enter the double feature plus cartoons and have enough money left for popcorn, a soda AND a candybar. It seemed like lot of money in those days!! I can remember driving for hours just to see the beach and go swimming. When we moved to California, I was amazed to see the beach so close to our house. Saturday afternoons were sometimes spent in an indoor skating rink. I remember spending the whole day there and not complain that there was "nothing to do". Transportation was so different growing up in the city. It was a daily thing for a kid to take the bus alone or go somewhere on the train. Nowadays, it's too dangerous. Life sure did seem so much easier when I was growing up. Now nothing seems to please kids.!!! --- Robin Novick, Downey,Calif., 1951

Expo 67
My greatest memory was the greatest World exposition of all, Expo67 in Montreal, I was always there every day during that summer and every time I think of it, I know that it was the most exciting summer of my many people from all over the world. --- Alain, Montreal, Quebec, 1954

Riverview Park (Chicago)
For all those who remember Riverview - part of it still lives. Six Flags Over Georgia has the old carousel from Riverview - the same one that Al Capone rode at Riverview Park. They took it apart piece by piece and reconstructed it on a beautiful wooded hill in the middle of Six Flags. When I took my kids on it, it was quite a thrill thinking that this was probably the fifth generation on my family to enjoy this beautifully restored ride. --- Sue, Redmond, WA via Atlanta via Chicago,

Roller Derby
My memory is when we would load up my mom's car (a station wagon) white with the brown wood grain on the side the would eventually peel off and we would bring family and friends to the San Diego Sports Arena to watch the Roller Derby. All of my friends would play Roller Derby up and down our street. Back then we had roller skates that had wheels of steel and if you broke your skates that was it. Not the fancy plastic you see now days. --- Ann Marie Peyron, Spring Valley, CA, 1963

Keansburg, New Jersey
Along with day outings to Rockway, Coney Island and Jones Beach one of my favorites was of yearly boat ride to Keansburg, New Jersey. We we travel by subway into the city then take another subway down to the South Ferry stop where we'd exit and walk across Battery Park to get the Keansburg boat. The actual name of the boat was "KEANSBURG" and I believe it made two daily round trips to Keansburg, NJ (in the Atlantic Highlands). We used to take our seats on the very top deck and next to the two huge smokestacks. After what seemed to be about a four-hour enjoyable boat ride, during which I hounded my mother for money for a hot dog and soda from the onboard snack bar, we arrived at a long pier in Keansburg. We'd walk the long pier which deposited us right into the seaside amusement area. I had a great time spending a part of the day in their salt water pool(remember it was green and had a slimy bottom, yuk, but who knew back then?) after which I'd spend time on the various kiddie rides. My favorite ride was a miniature train that seemed to go around the perimeter of the amusement area. It was one kid per car.
Then it was off accompanying Mom to the games of chance booths which lined the sidestreet. You could win baskets of groceries, small appliances, toys, etc. My Mom was always lucky enough to win a huge basket of groceries which then had to be lugged home on the boat and then on the subways. My greatest win there was my beautiful platinum blonde Revlon doll all dressed in a block cocktail dress, high heels and veiled hat. We'd catch the last boat home. It was so nice to lie on one of the topside deck benches and watch the beautiful sunset. --- Mary, Little Neck, NY, 1950

Paragon Park, Hull, MA
One of the fondest memories I have as a child was going Paragon Park in Hull, Mass.. My mother and father would pick a day in the summer when we would spend the whole day at Paragon Park (open and close the place). I remember The Tunnel of Love, The Fun House,The merry-go-round, and the Penny Arcade (most of the stuff really cost a penny). Every summer we would look forward to that magical day at Paragon. --- RP Canney, Pembroke MA, 1946

Saturday Matinees
My mother would send me and my sister to the movies on a Saturday afternoon. We'd get in line at 1pm for the 2pm show so we'd be let in first. We got 30 cents-25 cents for the ticket and 5 cents for candy from the vending machine-which was so big, it lasted through most of the movie!

The biggest travel of all for a 8 year old was going with my Family to Disneyland. What a trip, it was wonderful. I still have a couple of photo's of us with the indian guide next to the canoes. My Brother (2 years younger) in a arm cast and my sister (5 years older) was in love with the guide. This was the first year the Park was opened. I went ever year after for 10 years. Then as a woman I took my family and now I take my grandkids. A great fantasy for all ages. --- Karen, Carlsbad, CA, 1947

Misc. Vacation Memories
Every summer we were tossed into the back of the old baby blue Buick and off we went to parts unknown! My Father was always an adventurer and if a
certain road had a sign posted on it, warning that it was off limits, or no trespassing, well, Dad always said, "They don't mean us." The ones that scared us the most was the ones with the signs that warned that we were entering a bombing range! Daredevil was he! I always had to sit in the middle of the back seat on the hump, with an older brother on each side (I was the only girl and the baby). We kids, each had our own territory on the seat and if you ever crossed the line, oh boy, you had it then! One vacation to central Florida stands out in my mind. We went to an attraction called "Weekeewatchee Springs" (my spelling is probably off, after all, I was only 8). I thought then and there that I had found my life's calling! I just knew that I wanted to be a mermaid when I grew up! Thank God, I didn't! In those days twenty bucks was a lot of money and each of us three kids had been given a twenty to purchase trinkets and things along the way. The trip was progressing nicely and each of us three kids had an armload of goodies to bring home. We started comparing left over monies on the way home and to our surprise, my oldest brother and I, found out that the other brother still had his twenty AND an armload of stuff! He had somehow faniggled and finagled our parents into buying him whatever he wanted, so he could save his money! So, HE came home with LOTS of goodies AND his money! Sometimes life is just not fair! --- Susan, Panama City, Florida, 1955

Drive-In Theatres
The first movie I ever went to was at the Drive-in theater,the movie showing was Old Yeller. Mom made us kids (7of us) put on our p.j's and she and my dad loaded us up in the station wagon. I remember thinking that was pretty strange leaving home in your p.j's but, it must have left some pretty strong memories because to this day, Old Yeller is still my favorite classic! - Nancy, Nebraska, 1960

Born and raised in a small town, the only thing "happening" was at the drive in! I don't recall the movie, but remember all the swings, see-saws, merry-go-round and playground equipment. My parents would take pillows for us to put on the roof of the car and we would lay on our backs and look at the stars until the movie started. During the intermission of the movie we could go to the "snack bar" and get something to drink, usually lemonade. My mother would have packed us a small bag of "treats", like popcorn, hard candy, etc. I remember we would go to the drive in on a Friday night, because that was family night and the "car load" price to get in was only 50 cents! What would we do without our memories from the past? I wish we could bring back those days when values and your character meant something! --- Kathy C., Midland, Texas, 1949

Riverview Amusement Park, Chicago
Who could forget Riverview!! The Parachute drop, the cheap rides, the Bobs; which was the first wooden roller coaster and it even went so close to the river you thought you were going to get wet. There was alot more but I guess I was to young to remember, but I bet that there are a lot of people out there that remember RIVERVIEW PARK at Belmont and Western Avenues at the river. --- Jerry, Schaumburg, IL 1955

What a great place. I remember the Comet. This roller coaster had little cars for compartments, but there were really no windows, kind of a cage, so you couldn't really see where you were going. You might not have been able to see, but you could sure feel it. I was around eight years old when I went on a field trip with day camp. I remember just as if it just happened yesterday. There I was sitting on my hat as we were instructed to do by the camp counselors (so we wouldn't lose them). My hat fell to the floor of the car I was in. Just as the ride was taking its incline, I slid out from under the bar to get it. Happily I made it back onto the seat just in the nick of time (before it took its drop). What a rush. If I close my eyes and think about it, I can still feel the fear, excitement and fun. - Lore, Chicago, 1958

Wall Drug
I remember the hours of anticipation driving the two-lane highway from Minnesota to Wall Drug, Wall, South Dakota. There were billboards every few miles that teased us about the must-see attractions at the famous Wall Drug. By the time we got there, it was a bit of a let down, but we had to see it anyway - we still do - it's part of our American culture. --- Tim, Shoreview, Minnesota, 1953

Paul Bunyan
Paul Bunyan Amusement Park in Brainerd, Minnesota, was my favorite place to go. So simple compared to Disneyland, yet absolutely amazing to the young mind. When you entered the park, the huge animated Paul Bunyan (seated next to his Blue Ox Babe) would say, "Hello, Julie! Came all the way up from Bloomington to see me, huh?" I was so amazed that he recognized me and knew my name! Actually, my dad told the guy at the admission booth who radioed the information to the guy doing Paul's voice, still, it was pretty neat. --- Julie, Bloomington, MN 1953

Mystery Spot
I know that they had these tourist attractions in a lot of states. I think the one I remember was in Michigan. It was advertised for miles - you just HAD to stop and see it! It consisted of a house built at ridiculous angles so “balls would roll up hill” and you would appear larger in one corner and smaller in another. - Sue, Kalamazoo, MI 1958

Response to Sue from Kalamazoo...
Here I thought I'd be the only one talking about the Mystery Spot. I begged my parents for years to see this sight in Upper Michigan, but they said it was a waste of money. Finally, they relented one year. It was a stupid structure built with wacky angles, it was a waste of money, and they didn't say "I told you so". --- Terry, Chicago, 1956