Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Vacation Spots

Hubby and I are talking about vacation ideas. Now, lest you get excited for us, or simply expect pictures of said vacation, let me explain. This vacation isn't going to happen until Spring Break, or even next summer of next year. Yes, I know. It seems early to be talking about a vacation 9-12 months away. However, I bring it up for a couple of reasons.

First, because I (we) need something to look forward to! And it will be then before we can actually take an extended family vacay. Hubby could go this summer, of course, but I can't because of the new job. And then it'll be Spring Break before he'll have the time off school, the kid as well of course.

Second, I really want some ideas and opinions from others about where to go! We're open to suggestions. Actually, I'm begging for suggestions.

So here are our thoughts thus far.

We've been to Charleston and Destin and loved both. However, we'd like to go somewhere we've not been before. I could take or leave the beach. I burn so easily that a day or two of that and I'm totally over it. So, if you're suggesting a beach, it needs to be where there are lots of other things to do (including other outdoor activities - we're an outdoor kind of family).

We're happy to drive or fly. Honestly, we almost prefer to fly for the boys to have that experience.  I'm open to international travel. Actually, I'd love to go to Germany or back to Italy. However, baby E will only be 2 1/2 by then and I'm terrified of traveling with a toddler, taking the time change and super long plane ride into account. So, let me know if you think it's doable/enjoyable.

We prefer - strongly - to stay in a condo or rental house. Because of cloth diapering, we need (and by need, I mean want) a washer/dryer in unit. Also, I need the kids in a different bedroom. One or two nights of sharing with them is more than enough. A week or two would drive me mad. Also, we need to be able to cook and eat-in quite a bit. It just works better for us.

We are not particularly interested in Disney anything. Maybe when the boys are older.

Neither hubby nor I have ever traveled out west, so that is certainly a strong possibility (but where, people, where???).

And that's all I got.  So, now please, please, pretty pretty please, tell me what you got! Where have you been and loved? Where would you avoid at all costs? What places are great for families with young kids (boys will be 7 and 2 by then)?

Aaaaaand GO!!!!!!

Today's Lesson: Seeing the Coroner at work twice in one day is a good reminder that my bad day really isn't all that bad.


E. Phantzi said...

Here's my 2 cents. Jet lag with a toddler is absolutely a circle of hell. Think about how crappy you feel as an adult, multiply by 20 and subtract most of your coping skills. I feel like my kids did sooooo well with our recent travel, in adapting to new places, but the jet lag aspect of it SUCKED. For more than a week (6 hour time change). So I do not recommend. Although, our youngest did actually adapt the fastest of all of us (just under 2). And the melatonin helped a lot. But still.

Personally I've enjoyed traveling in West Virginia, it's really really beautiful, probably cheaper than a lot of places, lots of Great Outdoors - we've been to Canaan Valley, and areas around there. Although this was before kids, I would definitely consider it doable - better than that, enjoyable! In winter, we stayed at a little resort cabin place that I believe had in-unit washer/dryer.


DallasJenn said...

DC - One MILLION options for kids, great public transportation. Baby E might not always remember the trip, though, and that would be such a bummer.

Chattanooga - Beautiful, quaint, full of people who love the outdoors. I don't know where you live, but sounds like it might be driveable, and the views coming in would just be gorgeous. Not sure that it could fill up two weeks, though.

Asheville – Pretty close to places you’ve already been, but it would still be worth a visit! SUPER laid back, liberal little town. Lots of history, tons of outdoor exploring, great lodging options. One of my most relaxed vacations ever – this is saying a lot, because it was our first vacation with a baby (she was 9 months old).

St. Louis - Lots to do, like any big city. I have a serious obsession with the arch, and there's a huge museum down below it. I keep wanting to tell you about all the fun brewery tours, but maybe that’s a no-go when traveling with kids? Your lodging option might be tricky here.

How far west? Because Colorado Springs is fantastic. It would be super easy to snag a house/condo. Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods are amazing. The city is big enough to have great museum/attraction options that would be kid friendly. I am so sad to think about what the fire damage might have done to some of the natural areas around the city.

Care to go South? San Antonio is so vibrant, historically and culturally. If you had a car, it would be very easy to take a day trip (1 hour each way) into the Texas Hill Country area and escape the busy city a bit. The Riverwalk and the Alamo are the big stops. San Antonio is a wonderful city for the visual arts and their zoo is supposed to be wonderful.

Just going to share the Destin love – my (now) husband was stationed at Eglin AFB while we were dating. I was in grad school in Michigan at the time. Can you guess how much I loved visiting him?!?

BTW – I have never been brave enough to CD on vacation. Props!

Elizabeth said...

Last year we went to Arizona/Southern Utah and LOVED it! No kiddos though, so I don't have advice in terms of what kids would do. We spent one night in Phoenix, which was plenty (and went to the Musical Instrument Museum, which was AWESOME!), then spent several days in Sedona. You could spend even more time there. Lots of hiking and other fun stuff and absolutely gorgeous there! We then took a day at the Grand Canyon, then kept driving north into Southern Utah to see Bryce Canyon National Park and Zion NAtional Park, both which were incredible. There were definitely lots of kiddos at all the national parks. We stayed at a condo in Sedona, but not as we went north into Utah. (Have you ever used the site "Endless Vacation Rentals"? You can find condos for much less than other places.) Of course our trip involved A LOT of driving, so you may not be up for that with the kids. But, we loved every stop along our trip and you could definitely stay in the southern part of Utah for DAYS with the National Parks. =)
Also, good for you for using cloth diapers even on vacation! =)

Kristin said...

Well, I am from the West so let me give you some ideas! First is Waldport Oregon. There is a great rental company there that rents out peoples homes. We stayed in one and were literally across the street from the beach. There are also of ton of things to do there. You can go to the Aquarium up in Newport or down to the Sea Lion Caves, there are tons of hikes and things to see and Waldport is this quaint little town that we simply adored!

Another option is Warm Lake/Cascade/McCall Idaho. Warm Lake you might have a harder time finding somewhere with laundry but if you stay in Cascade or McCall you can easily rent a home. Both have lakes and TONS of outdoor activities.

Alex said...

Interested in skiing? My favorite family-friendly skiing spot is Steamboat Springs, CO. They have great family programs, like kids ski free. All of you can take lessons, even the 2 year old. And other things like tubing, and stuff, are available. Plus lots of condos to rent!

AS said...

In St. Louis there's also a huge play space made entirely from recycled materials. It'd be great for the Kid, though I don't know how good it would be for a toddler. There's a great science/children's museum as well. It's kind of a depressing city, so it's strange to me to think of it as a tourist destination, but it actually has a lot of great places to visit and things to do. The old train station is pretty cool too, and it has a whispering arch, which is just the best thing ever. The science museum has an overpass with windows in the floor over the expressway and there's a planetarium. Yeah, St. Louis is pretty awesome.

Re lodging, you could try a home exchange. Just google "home exchange" for websites.

If you want to avoid the time change and still travel internationally, you could try central America or the Caribbean. No specific tips there.