I plan the vacations…our trips tend to be in the summer, aka summer staycations, because we are all around. Our family likes to have things to do available to us. We also have major age differences in our kids, so that has a big impact on our decision making! As I was talking about the next trip we could take, I was taking a survey from my kids about what their favorite summer staycations had been. The two older ones 21 and 18 are sort of on the tail end of showing much interest in family trips (even though they still seem to want to go when it comes down to it). As a result, the results of this favorite summer staycations poll actually came solely from my 11-year-old daughter. The results were not what I expected.
Bigger Staycations Aren’t Better
Our last summer trip was on a 10-day cruise to several Caribbean islands, with multiple stops and tours. ($$$) We saved for the down payment and put the rest on a credit card that I think we just paid off a few months ago. We considered that cruise our “big” trip that we took with the whole family, which would become our favorite summer stay-cation (since we left from Tampa). Nope, this wasn’t even listed as a top contender. wow, really!? We, as parents sometimes want to sculpt out that perfect experience and give our kids all the things...but sometimes they don’t want all the things. They want less of all of that. So here goes, these were the top two that opened my eyes to what the real take away is, in my kids’eyes.
St. Augustine: Even though we didn’t go during the summer, it could have been a favorite summer staycation too – just really hot! We did this trip the down to Earth way. I found a great VBRO which had two bedrooms and a convertible couch, a cute full kitchen. This place even had a huge patio, on the second floor. This place rocked. Since we had a kitchen, we cooked and hung out there at night. Or flat was centrally located therefore we walked everywhere or jumped on the trolley. Christmas time had the whole city decked out in lights and decorations.
There were lots of festivities happening all around us, so the vibe was wonderful! Our family hit all of the fun tourist destinations, but at our own pace. Some stops included The Fountain of Youth, Ripley’s, Castillo de San Marcos, Old St. Johns County Jail, Flagler College, Lightner Museum and several more. We also took a ghost tour which was hokey but fun.
Condo on the beach in Siesta Key: Now this wasn’t actually our trip. My best friend and her family rent this amazing three-story condo with her parents every year (these usually have an elevator, um what kid doesn’t like that?). They are so generous to invite us to come for a couple of days while they are there. My daughter considers this the highlight of her summer. I asked her why this was so high on her list of things that she had done for a summer stay-cation. She said it’s just more fun with friends, and it stood out in her memories. Time spent there is relaxed. We enjoyed beach time, pool time, snacks and more snacks, strolling the little town, hanging out, and early to bed.
Ugh, wake up call. This is what it’s all about. For our next potentially favorite summer staycation, I will be exposing them to more history and relaxed time together for our next trip. Obviously considering how many activities that we can pack in, and how exciting or even kid-oriented they are, isn’t very important. Time goes by so fast. Every year I say to my husband “let’s plan one more family trip because pretty soon the older kids won’t want to come with us anymore.” So far I still have them interested. I will savor that for as long as I can.
What are your favorite summer staycations?