After considering everything from Mount Rushmore to Canada, we finally decided to take a family road trip to North Carolina this June (my wife has relatives there). With the date quickly approaching, we are doing as much planning as possible. And, as part of that, we are especially taking our daughters into consideration.
As veterans of other family road trips, my wife and I realized this family vacation needs to be a bit more child friendly than our last one (to Pennsylvania in 2012). This is both because we want our daughters to have a good time but, at the same time, we also know it will help our own sanity. As a result, we are taking three main steps to make this trip as enjoyable as possible.
First, our two-day drive is going to equal two vacations. Since I am taking a scenic route (so my wife and I can collect a couple more state flags), the total drive is going to take about 19 hours. This means we will be stopping for the night in Clarksville, Tennessee (roughly halfway). I’m purposely picking a hotel near The Governor’s Square Mall and some other attractions so the kids can have some fun and stretch their legs before being confined to a motel room. I’m planning to do the same thing on the way back too, though not necessarily in the same city.
Second, we are staying closer to the action. Our original plan was to book a motel that was near my wife’s family. However, that would have required up to 3 hours of driving to get to the ocean and some other attractions, something we would prefer not to do after spending so much time in the car to begin with. So, instead, we are booking a room in Wilmington, North Carolina first. This will allow us to spend at least the first couple of days seeing the beach and other attractions. Then, later, we can check into a motel that is closer to her family and spend some time with them before going home.
Last, we are looking for some other attractions along the way. We’ll be on a somewhat tight driving schedule the first day because we will want to get to Clarksville early enough to let the girls do something. However, from experience, I’ve also learned the drive will seem much shorter if we stop a couple times and let them stretch their legs for a while. This is why we are researching variety of possible stopping points. In particular, we are looking for local attractions that would provide an educational experience and a potential family photo opportunity while still allowing us to stay on schedule.
This will be our first family vacation in about two years and, because of that, we want to make sure we all have a good time. These child-friendly steps will hopefully make that much easier.