As summer break rapidly approaches, many childhood memories come to mind. Although I savored the little things - catching lightning bugs in a jar, playing on the swing set all day long, eating popsicles for breakfast, and riding my bicycle down the street - our family vacations really were so important and necessary to the family dynamic that I would consider them to be essential. As we all plan out our summer vacations, please allow me to share some of my favorite weekend getaways for children and families. 1) A trip to Grandma's house
When I was a child, the trip that I looked forward to the most was going to visit my grandparents in Ohio. It was so wonderful to spend time with our family, and we got to experience the culture and warmth that the Cincinnati has to offer. Although we live just over an hour away from my daughter's grandparents (both sides), it is still so important for us to take a trip to visit her grandparents this year. It's a nice change - from urban living to country life - and the bonus of getting to spend some quality time with family makes this trip all the more desirable.
2) A hike at a state park
Every year, my parents would take us somewhere to hike. It was so challenging, but the sense of accomplishment that we felt after reaching the top of the mountain (or waterfall) was so amazing. My husband and I got started on the hiking tradition at an early age with our daughter so that she will be encouraged to make healthy choices when she's older. One of our favorite places to hike is Stone Mountain. It is so lovely, and also so very challenging, that it provides an all-around pleasurable experience.
3) A trip to the beach
I don't think any child has ever complained about "having" to go to the beach, right? It really goes without saying that a summer break is not complete without taking a trip to the beach. This doesn't mean that you have to spend lots of money or drive a long distance. I've found that just a simple trip to a lake's beach area will suffice, so long as there is plenty of fun, friends and family involved!
4) A trip to a local historic site
My parents drove us to countless historic sites to visit, as my father was a history teacher and was always looking to enrich our knowledge of American historic events. Some favorite places in Georgia to visit: New Echota, the "Little White House" and Agirama, to name a few. Education doesn't have to be on pause simply because school is out for the summer... And let's face it - sometimes the best education starts at home.
5) A camping trip
Whether with friends, family, or both, taking the time to unplug and recharge outdoors is vital. Not only can you teach your child about survival skills, biology and science, but you can also forge a bond by simply eliminating the daily distractions that separate even the closest of families. A night under the stars can be the most intimate and fun opportunity that a family can do to spend some quality time together. All it takes is a tent, some sleeping bags, and some s'mores. A good storyteller and acoustic guitarist don't hurt.
I'm a big fan of weekend getaways for families. We get so caught up in our daily responsibilities and duties that we can often be too bothered to actually spend quality time together. Just by taking a day or two to focus entirely on the children can be beneficial to the family dynamic. What are your favorite places to get away to for the weekend?
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.