Do you remember how awesome summer was when you were a kid? No school, no homework, long days to play outside with friends, lots of slumber parties (even on weeknights!) and of course, family vacations.
My family wasn’t very big on taking major vacations, although we did often go to the beach and to water parks. The beach was only 2 hours from where I lived, so day trips were very doable. I do wish we had been able to do more in the way of vacations.
I think if you don’t plan ahead, the time just escapes you (and the funds, too!). Tim and I have made a list of 5 vacation experiences that we think Darah should get at some point in her childhood. Here they are, in no particular order.
1. Time at an amusement park of some sort. When my youth group would take trips to Six Flags over Georgia, I would always sign up to go, even if it meant that I had to sell candy at school as a fundraiser for months. I LOVE roller coasters and cheesy boat rides and even the live entertainment that they have at these places. I love water parks even more than places like Six Flags, and I will most definitely be taking Darah to Shipwreck Island in Panama City Beach when she is a bit older. The lazy river ride calls my name every single summer! And Disney World….I had been 6 times by the time I left for college! I really do have a “Disney fund” for Darah, and I put $25 into it every single month!
2. Camping/hiking. Ok, so I’ll admit that I’m not necessarily thrilled about this future vacation. I’ve NEVER camped overnight anywhere. I just don’t have the interest. But Tim’s family would do these kind of trips and do lots of hiking on them. He has some of his best memories of his family happened on hikes, and talks about how shared crisis really brings families together. I can see his point. This would most definitely be a bonding experience!
3. Time with family. I went on a few vacations as a child with one of my cousins, and I had a BLAST! Tim would go on a vacation with his cousins every single summer. Darah has so many cousins (all girls so far, but a little boy is on its way!), and I want them to know each other as they grow up, even though they don’t live near each other. Planning some vacation with family is the best way to make sure this happens.
4. Beach trip. Oh heck yes you need to take your kids to the beach! The time in front of the ocean is relaxing for mom and dad, and there’s endless entertainment at the world’s biggest sandbox and swimming pool! Just be sure that you keep everyone slathered in sunscreen and get one of those sun tents for extra protection. I say this as someone who has suffered from MANY sunburns over the years. The beach is fun, but the sunburn is NOT. There are ways to prevent it and make sure that your beach memories are awesome ones!
5. A cross-cultural experience. Taking your child to another country is ideal if you have the means to do it. If that is out of the question, just get outside of the norm. If you live in a rural area, pick a big city to explore, and stay downtown, right in the middle of all those skyscrapers. I’ll never forget my first trip to Atlanta in the second grade, seeing all those tall buildings. I totally fell in love with the city right then and there! If you already live in an urban environment, find a quiet place to go to and explore. I have always wanted to go out West and go horseback riding and stay at a dude ranch (isn’t that funny, since I am not really interested in “roughing” it, otherwise?). Those areas that are known for great skiing in the winter months have their own charm during the summer (and vacationing there is likely a bargain since it is out of season!).
What about you? What kinds of experiences do you think all gets should have during their summers. What are your plans with the kiddos this summer? Do tell!
I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Alamo blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here.