This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Not every trip has to be on an airplane for several days. Some of our favorite trips have been the ones where we stay close to home.
When our second child came along, we were a bit anxious to travel far distances. I really wanted to, but we didn't feel comfortable going too far from home. Some people are plenty comfortable traveling long distances with their kids, which is great. Certainly, the earlier you get them used to traveling, the easier it will be later. However, traveling with kids is a lot of work, and sometimes you just never know how they'll react. If you're getting an itch for going on vacation, but having trouble making it work, plan a staycation.
Stay in a hotel within an hour of your place
These are by far our favorite staycations. The number one rule we have for this type of a staycation is that the hotel we stay at has a pool. The kids will just live in that thing the whole time we’re there if we let them.
We have been really lucky in that we have Park City not too far from where we live. We like to check out some of the hotels there in the off-season (which ends up being the summertime). It allows us to enjoy the pools, but also get out and do some hiking in the area and visit the other attractions - the Olympics were held in Salt Lake City in 2002 and there’s a nice Olympic park up in Park City with a lot of activities.
Being a short drive from home (less than one hour) is very calming when you have little babies. We took our pack and play the first year, but we didn’t need to as the hotel would have given us one free of charge. We brought food and snacks with us to save some money and only ate in the hotel restaurant one time. Because we had our car, it wasn’t a problem packing all of these things in the car. If you have any interest in a local hotel, I’d highly recommend it, even if it’s only for one night.
Visit local museums
If you prefer to sleep in your own bed, and have your kids do the same, then visiting several local museums is another fun way to spend a few days. You’ll likely have a large variety of options that you can choose from. Choose the ones that you think both you and your children will find interesting. While my wife really likes a good art museum, my kids have very short attention spans. They prefer something a little more interactive. They also really enjoy anything that might include outdoor space or dinosaurs (or trains).
Plan visits to some of the parks you don't normally get to
My kids love to play at the park, but we tend to visit the same 2 or 3 parks that are close to our home. While they generally don’t have any major issue with this, there are also some really fun parks that are a bit further away from our home than we’d normally get to. One of the things we like to do over a long weekend is to plan short trips to a few of those parks so they can explore and play in new places.
The best thing about this is that it allows you to get away from the house for awhile, but be close enough that you can get a child back for a nap if they need one. You’ll also wear them out, and maybe yourself as well, so hopefully they’ll take a nice long nap. Regardless, our kids love the adventure of exploring and playing at a new park and meeting new friends.
Take everyone out to breakfast and dinner
If you’re shorter on time, then going out for breakfast and dinner on the same day is a nice way to help break up the monotony of the day to day. If you already eat out on a regular basis, this may not really do it for you though. We don’t eat out very often, and so going out two times in one day really feels like a treat. We also basically never eat out for breakfast, except when on vacation.
Not every vacation has to be a huge ordeal. Check out what's close by in your general area. You might be surprised by how much is offered win an hour of your home. These are the types of memories that you want for you and your kids.