5 Summer Getaways Every Kid Should Experience #GreatGetaways

I grew up as a "military child". My parents were in the service, so every year or two, we were in different states, different countries even. So my summers were always filled with fun and excitement. I didn't take the path my parents did, so I have to come up with things to do and places to go with my children. I would love to share a few of my ideas with you!
  1. The beach: When I was 12 or so, my family finally settled down. We ended up in Wildwood, NJ, the well-known beach town. We lived there for a few years, and those years were FULL of wonderful memories. Hot days on the beach, cool nights on the boardwalk. I will never forget playing all the unbeatable games, chasing the gulls down the boardwalk, and building sandcastles on the beach. My family still lives in Jersey, so I make sure to bring my children to Wildwood every summer. I know when they get older they will have just as many awesome memories as I do. For those parents that live hundreds of miles away from the nearest beach, consider going to a lake or a community pool. Most of these places have picnic tables and swing sets to make for a fun-filled day.
  2. Sleepovers at aquariums/zoos/museums: These are amazing experiences. Children get to go to these places with their sleeping bags and sleep over. How fun is that?! They're not hard to find either. Just google "overnight aquarium" and see what pops up. Many of these programs provide things like pizza parties before bed, and breakfast in the morning. They are given tours in the dark, using flashlights to guide them. Some places give "behind the scenes" tours and educational presentations. Parents can come along, but there are some programs that are kids only, with chaperones.
  3. Amusement parks: This is another favorite for kids. (And it's fun for the grown-ups too!) Most adults have a favorite amusement park. Mine is Six Flags Great Adventure. I could spend allll day there if I could. Most parks have a separate childrens' park for the kiddies, with miniature versions of the big kid rides. You can also usually find costumed friends running around for cute picture opps. If the nearest amusement park is too far away, or too expensive, consider taking your children to a local carnival. These are always fun, and great for the busy parents!
  4. Summer camp: NO, not the boring kind! There are plenty of "fun" summer camps. These programs can last a few weeks, or just a weekend. Some can be overnight, or daytime only. There are lots of options. Lots of schools even have their own type of camp program. Last year, I was able to let my daughter go back to school for a few weeks during the summer for days of play. They set up art, sports, reading, etc "stations" for the kids to do activities. Every Friday they went to the local bowling alley. This year my daughter is in a different school, and at the last parent teacher conference I asked if they had any summer programs, and sure enough they do. One just like my daughter's last school had. So if you're interested, just call up the school and ask. If they don't provide one, I'm sure they could give you some information for other places. You can find summer camps for all kinds of themes. This site is a great resource to finding MANY summer camps, ranging from overnight technology camps, to faith based day camps.
  5. Disney World: This is a no-brainer! I truly believe every child should experience Disney World or Land. I know of few people, adults and children, who have never been there at least once in their life. It is THE vacation spot, and for good reason. Children grow up with these characters, and to be able to see them and interact with them, really is a dream come true. I do have a suggestion though. If you do decide to visit there, try to wait until your children are a little older, maybe 6 or so. This way, their memories will last a lifetime. It's great bringing your 1 or 2-year old, but all they'll get from the experience are pictures a few years later. Another personal suggestion, head to Disney World in Florida, but also visit Sea World and Universal. I took my daughter a few years ago, and it was the most fun-filled week we've ever had. Disney for 2 days, Sea World the next, and our last day was spent at Universal. Now THAT is an experience!
There are plenty more destinations I could've suggested, such as cruises to the Bahamas or 2-week long vacations to Ireland. But I have to think realistically, and money consciously. Other than #5, I believe all of my suggestions are easily attainable by the average family, and can create unforgettable memories for years to come. I have participated in all these activities, so take it from my experience, your children will enjoy them ;)

I would love to hear any of your ideas! Also, if you have any frugal vacation ideas or tips, please share those as well. I could use some fresh ideas this summer!

I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Alamo blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

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