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Alternative Activities on Vacation

Are you looking for something different to try on your annual trek to the beach this year?  Want to find a new venue in that sleepy town you love to visit each summer?  Try some of these out on your next vacation, and perhaps these will spark new ideas as well! 

  • Sometimes, the weather simply doesn’t cooperate with us when we go on vacation (okay, a lot of the time).  So, we’re always on the hunt for a local library.  Libraries are great places to hang out and read, check out local programs, and even find out about other activities in town.
  • While my kids love to hit the souvenir shops at the beach, our favorite places when visiting somewhere out of town are more local shops.  My kids love to explore new stores, even grocery stores!  It is a great way to get out and see something new, even if it is “just a grocery store”!
  • Look for local parks.  We have many visitors in our hometown who come here simply for our amazing parks department.  Not everyone is blessed to have such a system, but most places do have playgrounds and other places to let off some steam and just “be”.  See if there is an elementary school with a playground nearby as well (be sure school isn’t in session, though!).
  • If you are going to a major attraction, consider matching clothing or hats for the family, even if it is simply the same color.  Make sure it is something easily spotted (like red, yellow or orange) and that everyone is aware of it!  Keeping up with younger kids in a large area is stressful enough – make them easy to spot and track down!  And, try to hit big amusement areas as early as possible.  The earlier you get started, the more you will get to see and enjoy.  Our favorite plan is to play hard early and enjoy a late lunch.  Then, while my 3 year old naps, my older son enjoys the pool and activities around our hotel or camp area.  We finish off the day with dinner and more fun activities.
  • Purchase a local newspaper to find out about farmer’s markets, craft or hobby shows, and any other local activities that might be of interest.  These are events that will probably be lots of fun, but they might not be easily publicized for those other than the “locals”.  Our town has a great bike shop – yes, bike shop!  It is a wonderful place to go in and browse with all of the interesting configuations for bicycling.  It is one of the most popular stores in town.

What are some of your favorite tips to find new things to do in your favorite vacation spot?  Leave a comment and let us know!

Prepping Your Vehicle For Summer Fun

We tend to spend a great deal of time on the road during the summer, whether it is on our bikes or in the car.  Being prepared for all this travel, across town or long distances, is a slightly different approach from the rest of the year.

SUNSCREEN!  My kids spend the majority of their summer outside the house, so sunscreen is a given each day.  Try to remember to apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before going outside.  If you are bike riding, this is especially important because you might not realize just how much sun you’re getting as you pedal around town.  Follow the instructions on the bottle and lather up as necessary.  Sunscreen isn’t a seasonal item; while the sun might not be as intense in the winter as it is in the summer, sunscreen should be used year-round.

GET GERMS UNDER CONTROL!  I always carry a disposable box of wipes in my car, especially in the summer months.  No one wants to eat ice cream after playing in the sandbox at the park, and when a place to wash up isn’t readily available, I can always count on the wipes to do the trick.  They are great for cleaning up spills in the car, too!

BE PREPARED FOR STORMY WEATHER!  I have a small bag in my trunk with my “essentials” for bad weather: umbrella, a disposable rain parka, bottled water, and “dry” snacks, such as pretzels and crackers.  In addition to things for bad weather, I also carry a towel, a spare change of clothes for the boys, and a first aid kit.  As much running and playing as we do during the summer, we make sure we are prepared for whatever comes our way!

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