Monday, March 18, 2013

Ten Terrific Vacation Spots for Families

Our family loves to travel. The decisions of what to take and how to fit it all into a suitcase. The thrill and education of seeing someplace new. The togetherness as we squeeze into tiny quarters. The only thing we don't love is coming home.

It wasn't always this way. Our first trip with a child, when our oldest was only nine months old, was a four-day anxiety-ridden stay in a lakeside town only three hours away. I think we packed as much then as we do now with six! We've traveled {and learned} a lot since then, so much so that we're dreaming of a trip to England. {Dreaming! Not planning. J }

Since we haven't made it overseas yet, I'll keep this list to the United States. These aren't listed in any order of preference and don’t necessarily include all the opportunities for adventure at each location. Obviously, prices may vary. J

SeaWorld, Orlando, Florida. We just spent our Spring Break week there, and I can’t say enough good things about it.

Busch Gardens, Tampa, Florida. Owned by the same company as SeaWorld and run just as well. Rides, animal exhibits, and shows.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Yeah, we camped this one with a 4yo, a 2yo, and a 9 month old, where it gets down to freezing temperatures at night, even in August. We’re nuts. But Yellowstone isn’t just a park full of your typical nature trails. We got caught in a wildlife jam when a herd of buffalo meandered across the road. We saw coyote, a mother black bear with two cubs, moose, bald eagles, elk, and a grizzly bear. The topography is quite active, with geysers, paint pots, and hot mineral springs. Yellowstone is, by far, the most beautiful part of the United States I've ever seen.

Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. Architecture, tours, dramatic re-enactments. It's homeschool heaven! Nearby are also Yorktown and Jamestown. When we were there a couple of years ago in May, we were told that special packages are offered for homeschoolers in February and March. We haven't looked into it, but you may want to.

Washington, D.C. A lot of the museums and monuments are free, and we had the best pizza EVER there at a little sidewalk pizza parlor called Pizza Authentica. Need I say more? Definitely plan ahead and take the metro -- it can be a difficult place to get around.

Mackinaw City, Michigan. If you like cool weather, the summer temperatures are wonderful. Colonial Michilimackinac is a living history museum in the city. Of course, there's Mackinac Island, beaches on both Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, and the famous bridge across the Straits of Mackinac. And if you don't mind the high price of tourist fudge, Mackinaw City's your place for sweets.

Seattle, Washington. Before we visited Seattle, I had never vacationed in a place where I wanted to live. But if my husband was offered a job in Seattle, we'd pack up, right after our celebratory steak dinner. Incredible weather, the Seattle Center with a ginormous fountain that children can actually play in, the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, Elliott Bay where you can watch the ships come in, Tillicum Village, ferry rides across the bay. I could go on and on....

Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, Maine. The Atlantic Ocean. Cadillac Mountain. High-priced ice cream shops galore. {But if you get two half-gallons of Edy's and six plastic spoons at the local IGA and then eat it outside the high-priced ice cream shop, adults might stare and little children might drool. Don't ask me how I know.}

Colorado Springs, Colorado. The Focus on the Family Visitor Center alone is worth the trip! But you can also walk around Garden of the Gods and drive to the top of Pikes Peak for the BEST donuts ever. Be careful of altitude sickness, but the cashier at the gift shop at the top is also a paramedic, so you’ll be in good hands. J

Moab, Utah. Home to Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Dead Horse Point State Park. The red dust and odd rock formations made us feel like we'd landed on another planet. Make sure you enjoy a cowboy supper!

Happy trails!

Does your family like to travel? What are your favorite vacation spots? Do you know where we are in the picture above?

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  1. I live in WA! You DO know that it rains a lot in WA and particularly Seattle, right? Lol! ;) But it's beautiful and green. It actually rains a lot on the west side, but if you head east of the mountains you'll get lots of sunshine in the!

    If you live in Seattle you HAVE to like coffee though. ;)

    I love Florida, we have been to Busch Gardens, SeaWorld and Disney World. Love it!

    I would love to visit Williamsburg and my hubby has always wanted us to go to Yellowstone.

    Isn't it awesome how both our posts are talking about the dad today? They complement each other.....awesome!

    I was driving once and some guy pulled out in front of me and I said "jerk" and behind me I heard my little son say "joik!" and I thought "Oh no!" Little hearts were listening!

    I loved what you said here: "As we learn to think rightly, we’ll also learn to speak rightly." Our minds will train our mouths! :)

    Thanks for linking up to "Making Your Home Sing Monday" today!

    1. Before we went to Seattle, we had heard that it rains a lot. We're good with that, since we like the rain. But while we were there in August, it didn't rain at all! When we went out in the mornings, the grass was misty like it had been raining, but then the days were sunny. I wasn't a coffee drinker when we were there but I am now, so now we need a return trip, right? Thanks so much for hosting the link-up, Nan!

  2. Ooo...I hope you are posting this on T2T this week. This is a great resource. We are planning on taking our first BIG family vacation this year so I will definitely check these out! Thanks for posting.

  3. Okay, the location in the picture looks familiar. Where is it? I am sure no matter where you go, you will enjoy it.

    1. What a great point, Rachel -- so much of our enjoyment in vacation (and in life) is our attitude, our togetherness. Thanks! (And I think I'll wait a bit longer to see if anyone can get the location.... :) )

  4. Great ideas. We've done a lot of stuff in the western part of the U.S., but not much in the east. I would love to go to Williamsburg and all the other cool history sites. I really like Glacier National Park. I also like where we live

    1. Glacier National Park is another terrific spot, but I ran out of space in my list of ten. Thanks for the suggestion, Angie!

  5. Thanks for sharing your list - I haven't been to several of the places, but a few rang a bell. My favorite from your list was Mackinac - my parents, and then my husband and I honeymooned there (stayed in the Grand Hotel). I've been there so many times, and it has such a special spot in my heart (it's been years since I was there, though, since we don't live in the Midwest anymore).

    Our favorite places are:

    Disney World or Land
    Hawaii (we're going this summer!)
    Oregon Coast
    Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico
    following the Oregon Trail in our (current) home state of Idaho

    In Christ,

    1. Sounds like some great memories, Melissa! Ah, Hawaii.... I was just mentioning to the children today that I'd like to take a family trip there. My husband and I honeymooned there over twenty years ago, but I think it's time to go back. Thanks for so many suggestions!

  6. Our family loves to travel also. Our favorite place is Pigeon Forge, TN. It is such a family-friendly place to visit. We went to Dollywood at Christmastime last year and loved the fact that all of the Christmas shows were Christ-centered. There are so many wonderful things to do there---Smoky Mountains, hiking, horseback riding, zip lining, and numerous shows such as the Comedy Barn and Dixie Stampede. Makes me ready to go again!!!

    1. Great suggestion, Michelle! I've heard that Dollywood is wonderful, but we haven't been there yet. Thanks for commenting!

  7. The Black Hills of South Dakota!! :) Our family can't travel far because of my illness, but for that reason, we are all the more grateful to live in this gorgeous area. Four national/state parks within an hour drive, plus acres of National Forest, etc....

    1. That's another place that just didn't quite make the top ten list, Christa. But it is an incredible area, and we LOVE Mount Rushmore. So glad you get to be close to it all!

  8. I lived in Seattle for 4 years from 1975-79. I loved it then and I bet I still would!


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