Go to the travel section of the nearest bookstore and see if you can find the family travel books. I can't -- not even the ones I've written.
That's not to say the stores don't carry my books and plenty of others for parents and grandparents taking the kids on vacation. They do, and there are more titles out there than ever before. But good luck finding them. Bookstores don't typically feature sections for family travel.
You might want to try another route. California-based Carousel Press has just published a new catalog of more than 100 family travel books. (For the catalog, send $1 plus a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope to Carousel Press, P.O. Box 6038, Albany, Calif. 94706-0038.)
Consider calling Blue Penguin/Panda Books (800-800-8147) to order one of its family travel offerings about learning or adventure trips. Meanwhile, here are some of the family travel books I like.
* Check to see if there's a Family Adventure Guide (Globe Pequot Press, $19.95 ) to the state you're visiting. Books cover camping destinations as well as lesser-known sites and family activities in individual states.
* Outdoor lovers will want to pick up one of the "Best Hikes With Children" books (The Mountaineers, $12.95) before their next camping trip. The books are organized by state and offer a variety of suggestions for kid-friendly hikes and nature walks.
* City-goers will find the "Places to Go With Children in " (Chronicle Books, $10.95) extremely useful. For example, the Colorado volume provides information on everything from where to fly a model airplane in Denver to the National Earthquake Information Center.
* Families on a budget (aren't we all?) will get plenty of ideas from the new edition of "The Best Bargain Family Vacations in the U.S.A." by Laura Sutherland and Valerie Wolf Deutsch (St. Martin's Griffin, $14.95).
* Would-be archaeologists, kayakers and rock climbers will find more trips than they ever could take -- more than 500 -- in Christine Loomis' "Fodor's Family Adventures" ($16).
* Those aching to commune with a cow or a horse will find plenty of kid-friendly suggestions for farm and ranch vacations in Pat Dickerman's "Farm, Ranch & Country Vacations in America" (Adventure Guides, $19.95).
* Sun lovers will like Laura Sutherland's "Great Caribbean Family Vacations" (St. Martin's Griffin, $12.95).
* For those fantasizing about a luxurious cruise, there's Candyce Stapen's "Cruise Vacations With Kids" (Prima Publishing, $14.95).
* The baseball fans in my house got lots of ideas for future trips from "Fodor's Ballpark Vacations" by Bruce Adams and Margaret Engel ($16.50).
* Would-be volunteers will have plenty of adventures to research from those detailed in the new edition of Bill McMillon's "Volunteer Vacations" (Chicago Review Press, $16.95). However, this book doesn't note which projects accept children and which don't. Be sure to research further.
* Inject a little education into the trip with Barron's new "Geography Wizardry for Kids" ($14.95), which offers more than 150 projects, games, maps and experiments for pint-sized explorers.
* I also like Scholastic's "Read Across America" ($14.95), designed for elementary-school teachers but terrific for parents who want to enhance their travels across the country with children's books set in places they're visiting.
Pub Date: 8/10/97