RVA Parenting: Great getaways with the family

RVA Parenting: Great getaways with the family

Blogger Sarah Wade has a list of weekly activities for moms who have children of a variety of ages. The purpose of her list is to encourage social interaction for children that stay home and moms that might feel home bound or are discouraged for various reasons to venture out on their own.

The Week of May 15th

Topic of the week: Easy Summer Getaways

In the spirit of preparing for summer, I wanted to share some of my favorite family-friendly destinations. All of the places on my list would be great if you don't have the time or funds for a big traditional summer vacation, or if you are just looking to add a few quick getaways to your calender.

Tweetsie Railroad: Blowing Rock, North Carolina

With a driving time of fewer than 5 hours from Richmond, and an average hotel rate of >$60 per night this is a great pick! I have personally been to Tweetsie and if you have a train, horse, or western enthusiast in your family this will be a super fun visit!There are daily shows, family-friendly rides, and attractions.
Also, while you are in the area check out Gem Mountain where you can mine for gold! There are only about 2-3 days worth of activity in the area so it's a great option for a long weekend.

Sesame Place: Langhorne, Pennsylvania

Located just outside of Philadelphia, Sesame Place will be a memorable trip for you and your little ones guaranteed. Based on the Popular Children's program Sesame Street, the park has themed rides, shows, water attractions, and fun extras, such as breakfast with Elmo. Hotels in Langhorne are reasonably priced and can easily be found for around $99 dollars a night. Since the park is so close to Philly you will have the opportunity to enjoy all the museums, theaters, and the Philadelphia Zoo. My top choices would be to check out the Liberty Bell and The American Helicopter Museum. With only a 5 hour drive from Richmond, this will be a wonderful trip option for the Elmo lover in your house!

Quick Tip: If you are a Pampers user you can use your Pampers rewards to get discounted tickets for Sesame Place!

The Great Smokey Mountains: Gatlinburg, Tennessee

I recently went on a small 4 day trip to Gatlinburg and it was a phenomenal experience! At around a 6-hour drive, it was right at the peak of what my kids can handle for car time. During our stay I was pleasantly surprised to find that the area is very kids friendly; we were able to stay busy 100% of the time. Attractions that I would recommend would be the Ripley's Aquarium, Ripley's Guinness Book of World records museum, and Dollywood. The Aquarium has a large indoor playground, Penguin Habitat, and you have the option to enjoy a glass bottom boat ride. The Guinness museum is an interactive museum where kids can participate in the exhibits; it is a great time for kids and adults. Dollywood is a smoky mountain themed amusement park founded by Miss.
Dolly Parton, my girls and I had a blast visiting. There are kid-friendly rides, shows, and attractions you will easily be able to enjoy yourself for the entire day. Hotel prices in Gatlinburg range greatly based on what your needs are. I will say that you can find a nice hotel for less than $100 per night, you can't beat that!

Quick Tip: Ask your hotel about getting discounted tickets to all your attractions

The Great Wolf Lodge: Williamsburg, Virginia

The Great Wolf Lodge is less than 1 hour from Richmond which makes it the closest destination on my list. Pricing for the Great Wolf Lodge varies significantly, rates start at $169 per night and go up from there based on how many people are in your party and when you go. You will be able to save a lot of money if you are able to get away during the week. The massive indoor water park is only the start to what is offered. There is also an indoor bowling ally, an adult and kids spa, mini golf and an arcade just to name a few of the things offered. There are also mid-day activities and evening PJ parties with story times, which are included in the price of your stay. A bonus to this location is that you have options. You can choose to stay at the Park for your entire stay or you can venture out and explore the historical sights of Williamsburg, either way, your family will be entertained the entire time!

The Beach: Virginia Beach, Virginia

When you think of a summer vacation the first thing that comes to mind for me is a beach trip. We are lucky that we do live so close to the beach at only 2 hours away this will make for a very easy road trip. Just like with most beaches, the price for hotel does vary depending on when you go. For peak vacation time I would expect for hotels to start around $120, and of course, there are always options for house rentals. Other than building sand castles and general fun in the sun you will be able to explore the large board walk with carnival rides and attractions. Other activities in the area that are family friendly would be mini golf, the Ocean Breeze water park, and live music and Neptune's Park. A must see during your visit would be the Virginia Aquarium; there is also a fun adventure park and zip line that you can enjoy during your visit to the Aquarium. Virginia Beach is going to be the best budget beach option!

The Smithsonian: Washington D.C.

A visit to Washington D.C. would be a fantastic idea for a day trip. There are hotels available but they are going to be on the pricey side and I feel like you will be able to have a fulfilling getaway in just 1 day. If you plan it right this can also be a trip that can be done for little or no money, so it's a fantastic budget option. The Smithsonian offers 19 museums, including the Zoo. The mall is home to 11 of the museums and has a huge lawn for the kids to run off some steam. If you are looking to add some adventure to your day and avoid some traffic headaches I would suggest riding the train in and taking advantage of public transportation during your visit. Since my children are still young, my D.C. trip would include; the National Zoo and Natural History museum followed by some walking around and sight seeing. If you have older kids or you have a baby that can easily be taken places then you will be able to choose which sights and museums best suit your interests!

A couple quick tips for a successful road trip…

Tip 1: Once you have decided to head out on the road with your kids, I recommend going into it with a very realistic attitude. Preparing yourself in advance for potential meltdowns, potty accidents, and any other scenario will make it much easier to roll with whatever is thrown at you. This positive attitude will set the tone for your trip, will make the hiccups along the road obsolete, and it will make for a more enjoyable experience for everyone.

Tip 2: Save the tablets and DVDs. I can't take credit for this idea; my girls and I normally are not in the car for longer than an hour at a time. A good friend of mine is a seasoned traveler and she suggests saving the screen time as your saving grace. In those last couple hours when the little ones are melting down that's when you want to pop in a DVD or hand them a tablet and hopefully, this will entertain them for the duration of your trip.

Have a great week moms!

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