How can it be mid-August? We just celebrated Memorial Day. Blink and it will be Halloween. The beach towels are still sandy yet the kids are shopping for notebooks and new duds. But before you turn the calendar to September and more serious pursuits, grab a final summer getaway and greet fall with a smile.
New York City continues to roll out the red carpet to families by extending Summer Restaurant Week through Labor Day. Take your kinder to more than 100 top restaurants for a 3-course prix fixe lunch ($24) or dinner ($35). At www.nytix.com get deep discounts on tickets to kid-friendly Broadway shows: The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, or Mary Poppins. In their effort to bed you, scores of hotels are offering 15% and more off standard rates. Go to www.nycvisit.com for more summer in the city deals.
Scottsdale can be an oven in summer. If you can handle the heat, check out the cool specials at Fire Sky Resort & Spa (tel. 800/KIMPTON; www.kimptonhotels.com), a sprawling property offering sumptuous accommodations from $139 and up a night, plus a $50 per diem food and beverage credit. Onsite are two pools, a restaurant, 24-hour room service, a kid's pool and age-appropriate activities, babysitting services -- and full spa services for mom and dad. Pets are allowed too. The offer is good through September 14.
Venice --No, not that one. This one is a funky Los Angeles neighborhood. It is mere steps to the beach and one of the most colorful street scenes in the U.S. At the Best Western Marina Pacific (1697 Pacific Ave.; tel. 800/786-7789; www.mphotel.com), kids 12 and under stay free with their parents. An expanded Continental breakfast is included and rooms have a small fridge. If you ask real nice, they may loan you a microwave. The airport is only 15 minutes away and a complimentary shuttle whisks guests to the Santa Monica Pier (rides, food, great people-watching, beach activities) and Marina del Ray (marinas, restaurants, water sports rentals). Or lace up your blades and mingle with the locals.
Chicago can be your kind of town this summer. At the Conrad Chicago (521 N. Rush St.; tel. 312/645-1500; http://conradhotels1.hilton.com) kids stay free and rooms have 42-inch flat screen HD plasma TVs. Your itty-bitty ones can utilize bottle warmers, sterilizers, strollers, disposable diapers (no need to return), powder, and lotion. Sunday and Monday evenings it's Movie Night with some G and PG flicks. The "End of Summer" package (good through Sept. 30), entitles guests to a $50 gas card and complimentary breakfast for two. The Michigan Ave. entrance/exit puts you on the Magnificent Mile where you can entertain the troops at American Girl Place, the Disney Store, Galt Toys and Lego Global Family Attractions. It may be too cool to dip your feet in Lake Michigan, but the weather is always ideal for dipping into a sundae at Ghirardelli (830 N Michigan Ave.).
Miami spells family fun anytime of the year. Check in at the Doral Golf Resort and Spa (4400 NW 87th Ave; tel. 305/592-2000; www.doralresort.com) and stay busy until it's time to catch your flight home. Swim in the Blue Lagoon's multiple pools, try the waterslide, or plop the children in day camp for a half or full day (extra charge). While they're partaking of well-supervised activities -- swimming, pool games, tennis, soccer, volleyball and arts and crafts -- tee off on one of five championship golf courses or play tennis. Have a massage. Or snooze by the pool. The Family Fun Package includes a Garden View room with 2 doubles and free meals off the kids' menu for children 12 and under. Rates start at $129. Book online and enter MAJ for the promo code.