Family Travel: Summer Fun is Closer Than You Think!

Keeping the kids busy in the summer isn't always easy, but there may be some fun to be had in your own backyard that you've forgotten about. Maybe there are things you did for hours when you were young, but haven't shared those same experiences with your own children.
Pack up the kids and go for a summer trek! This is what childhood memories are all about, and whether it's a day trip, a weekend jaunt or a full two weeks' planned vacation, there need not be a full-fledged agenda. Pick a destination and keep things simple, allowing for stops wherever you feel called to stop and for some relaxed family time instead of a hectic, destination-oriented rush.
Some ideas for having a fun and memorable vacation with your family include:
  • Look local: We all have tourist attractions surrounding us that we rarely visit. Try looking at your local attractions with new eyes. Perhaps a trip to the beach all the tourists love would be a perfect outing: have some hotdogs, splash in the water, rent jetskis, go parasailing. If you're in a big city, maybe a ride on the subway and go to a museum, a festival, or just see the city sights (you take them for granted, but they might be exciting to your kids!).
  • Take a drive along a coast or out into the country. Pack some great snacks and drinks, and maybe some games, and just go. Stop and climb trees, pick flowers, walk in fields, dip your toes into ponds...these timeless moments are precious and we forget to create them when our schedules are hectic. Talk to your kids about what's going on in their lives and just listen...the more they feel heard, the more they will also want to listen to your stories of 'way back when.' This family storytelling is a human tradition, and helps us keep close as a family unit. Kids love to know where they came from and how things evolved to the point where they are now, even if they don't appreciate that until they are older.
Many local parks and attractions cost little or no money, and offer a change in scenery for your kids, especially important if they spend a little too much time on the computer or video game console. Even simple activities like playing catch, frisbee or bike riding are old-fashioned, great ways to get some exercise, fresh air and quality family time. Enjoy! 

by Shauna Arthurs


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