Six Great Ideas For Easy Summer Getaways

IMG_5240In my humble opinion, summer is and always will be the perfect time to travel. As a native Michigander, I have so many childhood memories and now traditions with my own children of driving Up North, heading to Cedar Point, and spending long weekends in Chicago or Toronto.

It seems like our road-trip possibilities are endless.

Unfortunately many parents of babies and young children are reluctant to travel with their little ones because they don’t want to be that family in a restaurant, hotel or, even worse, on an airplane trying unsuccessfully to console a crying child. Some parents think it’s not worth the effort to pack everything for a few days away from home. A friend once asked me why we bother traveling with such young kids when they “won’t remember anything anyway.”

If any of these sounds like you, I am here to tell you why you should start packing now and take your family on a summer getaway. Trust me, traveling with your children at any age is an incredibly rewarding and enriching experience for everyone in the family.

Being away from home means you are without the distractions of daily life which translates into more time to focus on your family. As an added bonus, children and babies can progress more in their development when exposed to new environments. So yes, if your child is very young he or she will not remember the trip. But, he will have a heighten awareness of his new environment which can help with language development and will definitely give you a bunch of great family photo opportunities.

Are you packing yet?

If not, at least check out these websites for a few of the many great area summer travel destinations. Some could be day trips if you want to start small but most are great weekend family getaways.

  • Put-in-Bay is a small island less than 40 miles south east of Toledo. We make a day trip every summer and find tons to do on the island. Activities range from our favorite, renting golf carts to explore the tiny island to shopping, fishing, kayaking, mini-golf, and wandering through an underground cave.
  • Cedar Point. Do I really need to say more? Although best known for its roller coasters, there are a number of family-friendly rides and a water park with attractions that are fine for young children as well. You might even want to consider a weekend visit to Put-in Bay and Cedar Point. You can take a ferry between Sandusky and the island.
  • Michigan Adventure. We visited Michigan Adventure for the first time in May and our kids, ages 8, 7, and 5 had a blast. We were there when the park opened and left when it closed. Many of the rides were geared toward younger kids and as an added bonus there were no lines. The only negative to this park is the next time we go to Cedar Point the kids are going to be unpleasantly surprised by the much longer lines. The park, located north of Muskegon, is less than three hours away from the metro Detroit area.
  • Chicago and Toronto are both within a five hours drive from metro Detroit (depending on traffic). These are the closest large cities with enough family activities to fill your entire summer.
  • Camping, I will admit, takes a bit more bravery and preparation when traveling with a family but why not try it for a night? There are a number of campgrounds right here in Oakland County and throughout the state of Michigan.

Happy and safe summer travels!

What are your favorite summer road-trip destinations?

—Jen Lovy, Parenting Program Volunteer

6 Responses to “Six Great Ideas For Easy Summer Getaways”

  1. 2 Anonymous July 18, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Love Put-in Bay! We have such great family memories! Traverse City and Mackinaw are favorites as well!

  2. 3 Nick Sobotka July 18, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Great ideas. I love planning family vacations. We try to go someplace new every year. Next summer is our big trip to Italy!! Can’t wait for that. This year we went to these great indoor water parks in Ohio. The resort was amazing, and the kids had a blast. Thanks for posting.

  3. 4 Lindsay July 18, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    I don’t like to leave negative comments, but I feel the need to say this: Over half of your suggestions are not even applicable for a family with a child under the age of two. Cedar Point? MI Adventure? Kayaking? Cave exploring!!?? And clearly you have never gone camping with a one year old! Also, your kids must’ve been good travelers to suggest places several hours away (or you have just forgotten how rough long distance traveling with a baby can be :-P.) Much more work and anxiety than its worth. How about reasonable suggestions for what I can do with my 1 year old??? Im all about getting out and about with my young son, and we do, but, I’m sorry, these suggestions don’t feel applicable to those with very young children. This should’ve been titled “Six Great Summer Getaways for Kids Over the Age of Four”.

    • 5 Sarah Jo Sautter July 18, 2013 at 3:07 pm

      Lindsay, if your family is used to camping, any age is good. I camped with my one-year-old and while it was challenging keeping him clean or not putting sticks in his mouth, we had a lot of fun.

      Also, great nearby places are any metro parks. If you have a bike with a baby bike seat on back, those are great for riding around and letting your son take in nature. We’ve also taken our jogging stroller on nature hikes at some of the nature centers within an hour drive.

      Also, if you have a baby carrier, baby can go anywhere. I carried my son in an Ergo until he was two and he loved going anyplace we went!

      Granted you have to make a lot more stops along the way while driving, but in hindsight, it’s worth it.

      • 6 Lindsay July 18, 2013 at 3:20 pm

        Oh, I totally agree, Sarah. Those are the types of suggestions I am talking about! I have an Ergo, jogging stroller and a bike trailer and I take my son many places. Metro parks, zoos, museums, splash pads, nice beaches, bike trails, waterparks, etc, would’ve been much better “for all ages” suggestions in my opinion. Suggesting Amusement Parks for a 1 year old? As for camping camping, we’re going to wait a little bit. My husband’s parents have a cabin up north and I know how much work it is to keep our inquisitive son out of the fire, out of the poision ivy, not eating sticks, dirt, bugs, touching dead animals–you get the picture–and that’s in a cabin! I like to relax at least a little when I go on vacation! 🙂

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