Monday, July 13, 2009

Best Family Beach Vacations

The best beaches can be found along the Atlantic and Pacific Coast. Here are a few ideas you may wish to consider for your next family beach vacation.

Florida. From Ft. Lauderdale to Miami Beach, Florida is a prime resort area for family vacations. With perfect weather and miles and miles of beaches, this area is affordable, diverse, and has a wide variety of water-sports, restaurants, and a myriad of activities for children. Cocoa Beach is only an hour away from the Kennedy Space Center and Disney World. In addition, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort is considered one of the best in Florida.

Myrtle Beach. Among the many favourite activities for children include: Ripley’s Aquarium, Le Grande Cirque, a show quite famous for its acrobatics and other circus performers; and Myrtle Waves Water Park. For older children, a definite must-see is the NASCAR Speedpark.

With a myriad of dining options, shopping, and other historic sites; Myrtle Beach has been named the number one choice for beach family vacations in the U.S.

Hamptons. One of the most affordable vacations for beach-loving families is East Hampton, New York. The best place to stay is at the East Hampton House. The rooms are available in one and two bedroom units that contain fully-equipped kitchens and/or kitchenettes. Moreover, you have guest privileges at the nearby beach.

Although this vacation spot does not offer food, it does have an indoor gym and offers morning coffee there as well. But, across the street is a deli that has an array of items on their breakfast menu and is very affordable. In addition, there is a Chinese restaurant across the street as well as a take-out barbeque, and deli.

The grounds are impeccable and there is a very large pool (one for the kiddies, too) where you can lounge in the sun. A tennis court is also on the premises. Every room has its own balcony with lounge chairs and a table.

If you live in the New York area, it is a 90-minute trip by car. The East Hampton Inn is centrally located – five minutes from town, restaurants, shopping, and a movie house. You can even take a short trip to Montauk and visit the historic lighthouse or spend time at the beach there.

Hawaii. Of course, nothing can compare to the beaches that are in Oahu, Maui, and Kauai. No matter what island you choose, Hawaii has the most pristine beaches anywhere in the U.S. Moreover, there are black-sand beaches on the island of Maui as well as a myriad of activities for the entire family.

San Diego. Shifting to the west Coast, your family might enjoy a stay at the Beach Cottages. This site offers numerous amenities such as water sports, biking, as well as an amusement park. For the kids, San Diego Zoo and Sea World are not far from the Beach Cottages.

Centrally located to restaurants and shopping, Beach Cottages is an affordable vacation spot where the family can enjoy the sun, the surf, and other amenities available. In fact, you can book a studio that offers a fully equipped kitchen.

Redondo Beach. Located on Santa Monica Bay, this report haven is perfect for family beach vacations. Here you can enjoy water sports, fishing bicycling, kayaking, as well as fine restaurants shops located not far from the Santa Monica Pier. There are many hotels that are situated across the street from the beach or within walking distance. Each has its own set of amenities that are geared towards families.

Have a happy beach adventure!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Time for a Family Road Trip!


Deciding on a family road trip can be a daunting challenge, not to mention an exercise in patience. However if you prepare ahead of time, the trip can be one of the most memorable experiences of your family’s life.

Here are some quick and easy tips for making your family road trip a fun and safe one.

First, prepare a checklist of items you will need. This will include first aid kit, food, snacks, drinks, and lots of toys, coloring books, paper and crayons, a portable DVD player so your kids can watch their favorite movies; and a cooler. A good idea is to ask the kids what games they would like to take, within limits of course.

Ensure that the snacks are healthy in nature. Too many sugar snacks can have the kids bouncing off the car seats. Remember, this is a relaxing family vacation and you want to avoid the kids getting bored or repeatedly asking you when you are going to arrive.

Check online to print out games for the road that you and the kids can play along the way. There are an assortment of puzzles and riddles as well.

In addition, if you have very young children you will need to take the diaper bag and wipes for the occasional spills, blankets and pillows if applicable and a favorite item or stuffed animal for the young ones is a good idea as well.

Second, decide on the destination and then contact AAA for a trip ticket. Ask for the scenic route, one that is much more calming and pleasing to the eye, especially the driver!

Third, as you check out the planned route you may want to check online to find gas stations along the way that offer the cheapest gas. Also if there are any points of interest along the route mark them on the map and plan to stop at these sites.

Fourth, while on the road ensure that you make pit stops regularly. This will allow the kids to run around and let off some steam, while allowing the adults to stretch and reenergize. Bring along a football or soccer ball so that the entire family can have some fun while exercising at the same time.

Finally, it is very important that safety concerns are met. This includes having the car checked at your local mechanic or gas station. Ensure that the oil and filter are changed; the tires are well inflated (don’t forget the spare tire, too); the windshield wipers are replaced (if needed); and the car is in great condition before you head out.

In addition, you may want to place the following items in your trunk: a lawn chair, extra blanket, emergency road kit, umbrellas, water, flashlight and batteries, a battery-powered radio, and windshield wiper cleaner. In the glove compartment include a first aid kit and cell phone charger. Keep all medications in a Ziploc bag in the glove compartment as well.

Another good idea is to take a list of telephone numbers including the hotel or motel where you are staying as well as those of family and friends you may need to contact.

If you enjoy scrapbooking, this road trip may be a perfect opportunity to add new treasures to the book. As you make stops at some scenic sites, ask the kids to find an item they would like to include in the scrapbook. Or if the kids point out something along the way that they find fascinating, take a picture of it to include in the scrapbook as well.

Engage the kids in the decision making, age appropriate, and allow them to decide what they would like to bring. Have them pack their clothes (check the suitcases afterwards) so they feel part of the overall experience. Planning ahead of time for a family road trip will save you time, stress, and money. And the kids will enjoy this adventure, too!