Traveling with kids is the best. It is so fun to rediscover places you love through the eyes of your little ones. And discovering a place together with your kids for the first time is an incredible feeling, too!
There are also a lot of benefits to traveling with kids. Although traveling with kids is a lot of work—there are nap schedules to consider, lots of gear to tote with you, foreign sleeping environments that make it tough for kids to fall asleep—the reasons to travel with kids far outnumber the reasons not to.
If you are ready to hit the road this summer but aren’t sure where to start, here are a couple of fun destinations to get you excited to embark on your summer travels.
For the Beach Bums: Orange Beach/Gulf Shores, Alabama
Drive Time: 8.5 Hours
If the beach is calling your name, you should throw the kids in the car and head to Orange Beach, Alabama, for a beach vacation. Orange Beach is about eight and a half hours by car from The Woodlands, but, by the time you’ve arrived, your kids will have forgotten all about the long drive because of the white sandy beaches and fun things to do. Grab a room at Perdido Beach Resort on the Gulf and your kids will have instant access to the beach as well as indoor and outdoor pools. Water babies will be in love. Lulu’s is a must-visit spot to grab a bite and relax. There are tons of activities to entertain the kids, and there are beverages and menu items to please everyone in the family. The Hangout is another great spot to eat and play. Become a master sandcastle builder when you attend Sand Castle University on the beach! Learn the coolest tips and tricks to impress everyone who is lucky enough to stumble upon your amazing creations. Lastly, don’t skip The Wharf– a great spot to play mini golf, catch a movie or take a ride on one of the tallest Ferris wheels in the Southeast!
For a Quick Vacay Out of the US: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Flight Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes via direct flight
Just off to Mexico for a tropical getaway with the family. Cabo has so much to offer everyone—kids and adults alike will love all the fun adventures a Mexican vacation has to offer. Kids will love swimming with the dolphins and getting up close and personal with these gorgeous marine creatures. Take a boat cruise while on vacation. You can choose from dinner cruises, snorkeling tours and so much more. Wild Canyon Adventure Park will give you the adventure of a lifetime… You can bungee jump, try out a zip line, ride UTVs, go on camel rides or ride horses and so much more! Your kids won’t ever want to leave. Grab a bite and a spa experience at local favorite Flora Farms. Stay at the Hotel Riu Palace and you will feel like a VIP your entire vacay.
For a Big City Adventure: Chicago
Flight Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes via direct flight
The Windy City is absolutely gorgeous in the summer when it’s warm during the day and cooler at night. Lake Michigan offers a beautiful backdrop to city life in the Midwest, and your kids will love all the activities the Second City offers. The Chicago Children’s Museum is a hands-down must with littles- good luck convincing them to leave (maybe entice them with a stroll around Navy Pier)! The Shedd Aquarium and Field Museum of Natural History are both great ways to have some fun and learn a little bit, too! Lincoln Park Zoo is free and fun, and don’t forget to snap a picture at the famous Bean! Go for a stroll and shop on Chicago’s well-known Magnificent Mile and take a trip to the Skydeck at Willis Tower. If you’re a baseball fan, catch a game at Wrigley Field—there’s nothing like it. When you get hungry, grab some Chicago-style deep dish pizza from local favorite Lou Malnati’s. Stay at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel for the rooftop pool and awesome location. You will love the Windy City!
Tips for Traveling with Kids
Once you’ve decided on where to travel for your family vacation, it’s time to get packing!
Must-Pack Items for Easy Travel with Kids
– A Portable High Chair. These clip on to tables and high counters, at your hotel or a local restaurant, so your tot always has someplace to sit and eat with you. Most fit in the undercarriage of the stroller. These fold down fairly flat and can fit in a standard suitcase. Also great to keep on hand with your highchair: disposable place mats, disinfecting wipes and paci/sippy cup “hooks” that keep these items tethered to the high chair so your tot can’t throw them on the ground!
– A Backpack Diaper Bag. In order to tote around all the things you need for easy travel with your little ones, consider carrying a backpack diaper bag. Stash diapers, wipes, sunscreen, changes of clothes, cell phone chargers and more on your back so your hands are free to snap pictures, assist with sippy cups and navigate all kinds of terrain while on vacation.
– A folding wagon. These are brilliant for both the city and the beach because they fold flat to fit in the trunk of a car and then pop open to accommodate kids and accessories. Stash beach towels, beach chairs, beach necessities easily in these wagons so you are ready to go when the water calls your name.
To keep costs down on your trip, consider buying some of your must-have travel items for kids preloved. You still get great quality items, but you get them for less than retail. That way, if something gets lost or broken during your family adventure, you won’t be terribly sad because you saved money in the first place. Good Buy Gear is a great place to go for awesome pre-loved baby items.