Study up on family fun in college towns

Study up on family fun in college towns

by Lynn O'Rourke Hayes
The Dallas Morning News

Who says doing homework can't be fun? Checking out possible colleges for your student can make for a great getaway. Here are a few to consider:

—  Minneapolis

Check out the University of Minnesota and stay at the campus-central Commons Hotel. At the self-described "industrial schoolhouse chic" establishment, guests can sink into chesterfield sofas and delve into a favorite board game. Call upon the resident Book Butler to deliver your favorite read or hop aboard the light rail, just paces from the front door, and visit Target Field, the vibrant riverfront area or the Mall of America.

No need to leave the family pet at home. The resident Bark Butler will provide doggie dining options, as well as argyle-patterned doggie beds and bowls.

— Madison, Wis.

Graduate hotels are popping up in major university towns across the country, promising a celebration of the "youthful optimism of school days" and a well-curated view of each community.

In Madison, book the Badger Pride package and receive a University of Wisconsin T-shirt, hat, the university newspaper and a campus map. With a nod to parents dropping their children off for freshman year, some packages include an extra-absorbent box of tissues.

— Chapel Hill, N.C.

Families considering Duke or the University of North Carolina might want to think about the Siena Hotel for a taste of la dolce vita.

Named after the small Italian town and crafted in the style of Old World villas, families can sink into an Italian frame of mind when not pondering more academic matters.

The Siena also provides pre-college children with a memorable turndown experience, complete with child-size robes, a goodnight glow stick and chocolates. Opt for the Good-Night Package and receive a keepsake copy of Good-Night, Chapel Hill as well as warm chocolate chip cookies and milk.


— Flagstaff, Ariz.

Outdoor-loving families visiting Northern Arizona University can check into an affordable yurt or cabin at the Nordic Center's Off Grid Getaways headquarters.

Just 60 miles from Grand Canyon National Park, your clan can celebrate the collegiate rite of passage by hiking or mountain biking in the Coconino National Forest, dining in town along the iconic Route 66 and visiting local museums.


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