We are about to take off again for a fun filled summer with our grandchildren that live in Georgia. My granddaughter Chriselyn is graduating from high school next week – that is where our trip will begin. I am crazy proud of her, she is sweet, funny and so smart. It wont be long until she heads off to college, my oh my.
Our most excited grandchild about summer vacation is the youngest of the family, Kory who just turned 13. Yes they are all teenagers. For the past several years we have let Kory decide where to vacation. The girls have always agreed with his choices, unfortunately Chriselyn is not joining us this year. I always knew the time would come when she would opt to stay home. She and her high school friends have plans that trump vacationing with Grandparents.
My oldest granddaughter, Elizabeth who just turned 25 often warns them not to stop going, because there will come when they can’t go and wish they could. Elizabeth and I had some amazing trips together, her favorite of course was three weeks to Italy when she was 14. We love making memories with our grandchildren.
Planning fun and exciting trips with kids can be a challenge. Things to consider:
- What is your main go to location?
- How long is the drive?
- If the drive is over a day, how can you break up the time along the way.
- How to keep them entertained in the car.
I always pack a picnic bag for our trips. Our picnic bag is always ready to grab and go. I always have the following packed in our picnic bag:
- Plastic Picnic Table – great ones very reasonable at Dollar General
- Paper Plates
- Plastic Folks, Knives and Spoons
- Roll of Paper Towels
- Salt and Pepper
- Grill Lighter
- Plastic Ziplock Bags (quart and gallon)
- Shape Knife
- Wet Ones
Nothing beats stopping for lunch or dinner at a roadside picnic table. We have even had our picnics at rest area picnic tables along the way. The kids and adults alike just need a break sometimes.
This year our destination is Branson, Missouri – specifically Silver Dollar City. Kory is a roller-coaster enthusiast. He has already decided his career choice – he wants to be an engineer and design roller-coasters. I am excited about the prospect of an engineer in the family since I retired from the Department of Energy. My oldest granddaughter is also in college right now and her plans are to be a mechanical engineer.
We try to find a way each year to leave them with memories that will last a lifetime. Perhaps sharing some of our past trips with you will inspire a road trip with your children or grands this summer and all the summers to come.
In 2016, Kory wanted to visit Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, VA. The girls were also very excited about this suggestion. Great Wolf Lodge is a great get away for a family, it is a self contained vacation, you never have to leave the location to find fun, food and entertainment.
While in Williamsburg, of course we also explored history. I am a firm believer in mixing fun with education. The kids don’t even know they are getting a vacation history class. They have actually be able to report in class, “I went there on vacation”.
We took the kids to Jamestown and also on a ferry ride to the Great Dismal Swamp. They had never been on a ferry before, but the car trip was a little longer than we anticipated and they grew anxious.
Once we were in the Great Dismal Swamp they were delighted. We packed a picnic and set it up on the hood of the car. If there aren’t any picnic tables, just improvise. The kids thought this was great!
We have a sun roof in the car and they took turns standing up and seeing the sites up close. They were so excited to see all the wildlife: eagles, herons, turtles, deer and more. I think Chriselyn fell in love with photographing on this trip, she took so many photos of the wild life. Her senior project was in photography, I want to believe that this trip inspired that project. Her photographs are amazing, she has learned so much since this trip. And of course a stop at Sonic’s on our way back topped off the day and helped to break up the return trip.
We have two sets of grands, our big kids and our little guys. We now have six little boys seven years and under. We plan a short trip with them every year as well. When they get bigger our stay will get longer and ventures further. For now we have selected a Bluegreen Resort close to home – Shenandoah Crossings in Virginia. Shenandoah Crossings is only one and half hours from home. The perfect distance for boys trapped in a car.
We rent three cabins, one for each family and one for us. This gives us plenty of room, space for quiet time for the boys naps and bedtime. Shenandoah Crossings has been amazing, management has always been able to locate our cabins together. We all gather at our cabin for meals and entertainment and it is easy to keep in touch since we are so close.
I think the boys love this vacation most for the golf carts we rent. Once we arrive we never have to move our vehicles, we navigate the entire resort on golf carts. Everything we need is on location – grocery store, dining, game room, indoor and outdoor pools, miniature golf, playgrounds, farm animals including pony rides and so much more. This is a perfect location for the little guys.
In 2017, we took a family cruise. Steve and I joined our children and grandchildren on a Carnival Cruise to the Bahama’s. We booked a three night stay before and after the cruise in Orlando, Florida at The Fountains, another Bluegreen timeshare resort. It was a great place to gather and spend time as a family before and after the cruise.
Our little guys had there second trip to Shenandoah Crossings in August 2017. They were a little bigger and could enjoy the resort even more. We had pony rides and wagon rides on this trip. Cabin living with little ones is perfect.
2018 found our family in South Carolina. We spent a week in Charleston, SC and 4 days at Myrtle Beach. Our oldest grand daughter Elizabeth joined us this year. I was so excited to have her on our family vacation, it has been years. We stayed at a Bluegreen Resort on the beach – The Horizon at 77th. We are so happy we bought into our Bluegreen timeshare years ago, it makes vacations a Happy Place. We spent a lot of time in the sun and on the beach, the water was amazing. We took the kids on the Myrtle Beach strip for dinner and of course had to ride the ferris wheel at night, such a beautiful site.
We hadn’t had enough of the beach so we left Myrtle Beach, SC and headed to our favorite beach – Folly Beach, SC for a three night stay. Folly Beach is just outside Charleston, SC. Check out my blog post on visiting Charleston here. We all love Folly Beach, the beach is beautiful and loaded with sea shells at low tide. Watching the sun come up and the moon go down and walking the beach to collect sea shells are favorite past times for the entire family.
Folly Beach is referred to by the locals as the “edge of America”. At the north end of Folly Beach you can spot the Morris Island Lighthouse, which is now a historical structure. You can see the Morris Island Light House in the background of the above picture.
Our 2018 annual vacation with the boys was in August. We now have six little guys, or course the baby will only remember through pictures. The boys were so excited about going that this year, we wont tell them until the day before we leave. How many times can parents stand to hear from five little ones: “Are we going today?”, “Do we get golf carts again?” “Can we go fishing?”
Yes, we had golf carts again and always will, it seems to be the most exciting part of the whole vacation, at least for now while they are small. Even Great Grandpa came out from MO to go on vacation with us, he had so much fun spending time with his Great Grandboys. We spent a lot of time swimming this time and of course we did all the rest – pony rides, mini golf, playground, game room, hiking and more. They were so good and had such a great time. We can’t wait to go back again this year.
Since we have three in elementary school this year , we will be going the end of June. They are already asking are we going on vacation and can we get golf carts and of course the answer is YES.
I hope we never stop vacationing with our Grands, we love them so and spending this special time with them makes us so happy. This is what being a Grandparent is all about – Making Memories.