updated 9/3/2010 9:13:17 AM ET 2010-09-03T13:13:17

Thar's a hurricane (or two) 'a coming, which doesn't bode well for anyone hitting the East Coast this Labor Day Weekend for one more splash in the ocean or dip in the pool before school begins and fall sets in.

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Despite our best-laid plans, weather can wreck havoc on our family vacations. Perhaps we can overlook the bad weather when it's a weekend getaway, but when we've scrimped and saved for that annual big trip, what can we do when weather interrupts our fun?

Here are a few ways to turn wet days into fun days:

1. Have a movie fest
Visit the local movie theater and catch up on the movies you've been wanting to see and witness the blockbusters on the big screen. Many resorts and higher-end resorts and rental homes feature DVD players. If movies aren't available for rental, hit the local grocery store for a Red Box video dispenser, where all you need is a credit card and videos cost $1 per day rental. While at the store, stock up on snacks, candy and drinks and turn your hotel room into a darkened theater.

2. Make use of hotel amenities
If you're staying at a hotel with a kids club, use it! The kids can spend the day creating arts and crafts, making friends, and enjoying a camp-like environment. What will you do while they are being entertained? Hit the spa or go shopping!

Video: Will Earl leave your weekend plans awash? (on this page)

3. Hit the museums
With as often as I travel to the U.K., I understand rain is inevitable during a trip at any time of the year. Just before my departure, I check the 10-day weather forecast and plan my museum visits for days slated for rain. But even if a surprise shower rains on your parade, find the museums in your destination in which to while away the rain hours. Even small towns and beach communities have little museums that can shed light on the town, the region or the people of the community.

4. Get wet
If you're at the beach, there's something serene about walking on the beach when it rains. You were planning on getting wet anyway, and if in a warm-weather destination, a rain can cool you off and give you a different view of the landscape around you. Equally, a walk in the woods when it rains can be equally tranquil. And really, when do you ever allow the kids to walk in the rain? Let them get a little dirty and splash in the puddles! (Just be sure to skip this idea when thunder and lightening are present.)

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BTW: Disney is still open when it rains, where many of the rides and attractions are indoors, lines are covered, and the crowds disperse.

5. Make a game of it
If you're going to be stuck indoors, enjoy the quality family time by picking up a deck of cards at the hotel sundries shop and striking up rousing games of "Go Fish," "21" and other card games. If you're near a drugstore, pop in and purchase board games, car games and coloring books, as most have a small toy section. Break up the monotony of sitting in your room but bringing the games to the hotel lobby and relaxing on some comfy sofas. And if your hotel has a game room, of course, join the crowds clamoring to play Wii, air hockey and Xbox games.

6. Picnic indoors
It rained a week straight on our first visit to Paris and by the last day, I decided to run out to the corner patisseries and boulangeries and picked up cheese, French bread and an array of French delicacies. I laid a few bath towels on the floor, turned on the radio, and we popped a squat around the towels and ate with our hands, especially enjoying our dessert course (which consisted of just about every type of pastry we could get our hands on). Cheaper than a restaurant, we stayed dry, and kids love the uniqueness.

Video: Will Earl leave your weekend plans awash?

  1. Closed captioning of: Will Earl leave your weekend plans awash?

    >>> director of the national hurricane center , bill read . good morning.

    >> good morning. how are you?

    >> i'm doing well. the question is, how busy are you? is it time to breathe a sigh of relief, sir?

    >> not really, but it is looking a little bit clearer as to what the trend will be. i've got the longer trend of the satellite. you can definitely see that it was a well-structured eye and circular wind field. if it skewed more to the east, if that trend continues, the worst of the winds will stay off to the east. again on the forecast track, i want to show that we're still too close to call. this forecast is almost right down the line on verifying. that brings it awfully close to the islands of nantucket, martha's vineyard and cape cod to completely rule out some serious impacts from maybe hurricane force winds later today, tonight and early tomorrow morning .

    >> okay. so, you were saying hurricane force winds. do we know how strong those winds might be for nantucket and cape cod , how dangerous they might be?

    >> well, at the present time , i would think we would be right on the cusp of a category 1. so, in the 75 to 85 miles an hour, perhaps some higher gusts, if there's some pretty good squalls with that.

    >> i'm trying to remember the last time the northeast was threatened by a serious hurricane, and i can't remember when. why is something that's so rare happening this year, sir?

    >> well, we may think they're rare, but they do commonly occur and this is a fairly similar scenario, of one bending around the coast. it was just 1991 , which i guess for the younger people was a long time ago. hurricane bob took a very similar track from off cape hatteras and came across with 100-mile-an-hour winds right through cape cod . before that, gloria in '85. so, yes, you go through periods. i was in houston and we had gone 23 years without a hurricane and we're thought of as a much more frequent visitor from hurricanes.

    >> bill read , thank you. one of the factors is also that the water is a little warmer, a couple degrees warmer this year, helping earl maintain its strength. thank you so much this morning.


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