Being that I am originally from Germany and a former military spouse, I spend a lot of time traveling with my children, which is something that can be very enjoyable or very exhausting. So planning ahead is a must!
My 7-year-old has been asking me to go to the beach, and since my 18-month-old has never been, I want to plan a family vacation to the beach this year.
At this point we are looking at Gulf Shores in Alabama or possibly Panama City Beach in Florida. Both trips would take about five hours in the car, which is a reasonable distance for traveling with a toddler. I opted out of flying, because by the time I drive to either Atlanta or Birmingham, check in, fly to my destination and possibly drive some more, I might as well drive all the way and have my own car to come and go as I please.
Five hours is still too long to be stuck in the car with two little children, so I am looking for something to do at possibly the halfway mark of the trip. This stop will serve as at least one restroom stop, and hopefully we can find something fun to do for maybe 30 minutes to an hour. If nothing else, something like Chuck-E-Cheese or a McDonald’s with a playground will have to do.
Our destination will have to have some fun activities for us to do outdoors as well as indoors, in case our trip to the beach gets rained out. PCB has a “Ripley’s Believe it or not”, which would be fun for the big kid, but not so much for the little one. So I need to find a few other options that we can all enjoy.
Besides packing clothes and swimwear and whatever else you might need on a trip to the beach, I also have to pack for the car. My 7-year-old has a leapster and a leap pad and both of those would be on the trip to keep him busy for a while. On top of that, I usually have a toy box sitting on the seat next to me, that includes books, coloring books, crayons and other travel friendly games. For example, if you take a metal tray from the dollar store and buy some cheap magnets, you can keep a toddler busy for a while.
A little cooler with little snacks, drinks and some sandwiches is also a must-have so you don’t have to pull over at every fast food place or gas station your kids might spot.
If you can, keep a few activities to yourself so the kids have something new to play with on the way home. Plan ahead and you will be able to enjoy the trip as much as your kids will.