A couple of summers ago, my kids and I spent an August weekend at a family getaway at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center on Diablo Lake. It's become this gleaming memory for all of us -- we hiked and canoed, looked for native plants, made new friends and enjoyed the heck out of each others' company in a chore-free environment that made me immoderately happy. I was relaxed; they ran wild with packs of other children. Everything worked. When we got back, we really felt like we'd been away even though it had only been a couple of days.
Even two years later, my daughter asks when we're going to go back. "Kinda broke this year, kid," I've had to tell her. You, too, maybe. But the institute's got a deal for you. Register by May 10 for the first family getaway of the year, over the Memorial Day weekend, and you'll get $100 off the total registration fee for a family of three or more. Fees ($225, kids $155) include lodging for two nights, three squares a day and all activities.
Now excuse me while I go look under the floor mat of my car for some change.