The clock is ticking down. Before you know it, summer will end. Kids will be called back to school and holiday hours will be a think of the past. Why not take advantage to get that rest you deserve. Take your family on a summer vacation!
I know, I know. The idea of a sudden vacation may seem overwhelming. You owe it to yourself – and your family – to break the mundanity and seek adventure. Whether you fly far away or drive to the next town over, the sweet relief of summer is just around the corner. There are several great places to point your adventure towards.
Nothing screams summer like the beach. With beach towels and umbrellas as far as the eye can see, you can’t imagine a summer without a little time on the shore. Pack your beach bag and make the most of the sunniest time of year by making sure your family gets their tan on – plus you’ll get a chance to show off your hard-earned beach body.
Depending on where you live, this can be a day trip or a full adventure. If you’re traveling far, consider renting a condo on the beach and spending a whole week near the ocean breeze. Go surfing, tanning, and build sandcastles. On your off days, explore the pier, such as the famous Santa Monica Pier, or nearby shops like the Beach House Market in Panama City.
As a child I always wanted to travel. The idea of exploring a place other than your own is a fascinating concept to children who rarely leave their hometowns. One of the best ways to satiate that desire at a young age is to travel to different towns and cities to sightsee.
And big cities like LA, New York City, and Chicago are not the only types of cities to visit. Every city has its own culture, history, and exciting adventures nearby. Consider renting a car big enough for the whole family and taking a road trip to the nearest big city to your home, or simply visiting a small town a state away.
When you decide where to go, be sure there are activities in the area every family member will enjoy. Big cities typically have children’s museums, interactive areas, plays, and aquariums. For small towns, consider visiting old stores and natural attractions in the surrounding areas. Make the most out of every trip no matter how grand the destination may seem.
A State Park
Does your family love camping? Has your family ever gone camping? One of the most time-honored summer tradition is sleeping out in the great outdoors. And some of the best places to enjoy nature is at one of the nation’s many state parks. State parks are filled will forests, mountain, rivers, lakes, bluffs, cliffs, and all sorts of colorful and national landmarks that will leave you in awe. They’re also home to rare and majestic wildlife you may never see in a big city.
The parks can vary in size, from the great Yosemite National Park to the many mini-parks in Oregon. They can be miles out of town or right at the edge of a city or neighborhood. And not everyone has to camp – some parks offer lodges. Regardless of where you sleep, being in the fresh air will give your family that last boost before starting school again.
A Lake or River
Similar to a state park, just spending time at a nearby lake or river could be the perfect getaway. For families that live inland, these bodies of water may be the closest thing to going to the beach. Spend some time swimming, fishing, hiking, and watching wildlife. Rivers and lakes are their own ecosystem, and a trip for fun can easily become an educational experience. It’s the perfect way to ease kids back into the learning mindset.
And trips to the lake do not have to be far from home. Visiting a popular lake or river is a fun way to appreciate local attractions in new towns. Just be sure to bring your lunch, because swimming can easily become a day-long activity.
For families looking for something more familiar, consider a visit to one of your relatives. Returning to your hometown or exploring a new place a relative moved to is one of the easiest vacation decisions to make. It’s a particularly good option if they have space to house for your family to stay in for free.
Visiting family is important. The kids may not have many opportunities to see grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, and siblings. Having a family vacation does not have to be exclusively immediate family. Spending time with each other is important, and the summer is a great time to build stronger family bonds.
Of course, visiting relatives can be stressful for some parents. Every family dynamic is unique, and it may seem like a better idea to avoid the stress of a packed house and a not-so-loving confrontation. Just remember that when your kids get older they will look back and treasure these family gatherings, especially if they were rare. So keep your chin up and take lots of pictures
Photo Credit: Mojitos and Munchkins