Adventure Vacations with Your New Family Are Possibleby Katlyn Joy | May 19, 2015 9:01 AM
It's true, being a parent of a baby or toddler changes some things. But travel is a wonderful bonding activity for families, and mixing adventure into the experience only requires adjusting and planning.
1. Start small.
Don't plan an elaborate one week expedition in to the Alaskan wilderness for your first family trip. Baby steps. Begin with a half-day hike within a couple hours of home. Work your way up to more adventuresome outings.
2. Plan, plan and plan some more.
Know what to expect at the destination. The days of winging it are on hold. Know the weather forecast. Where would you go in case of an emergency? (Better to know before you need to go to an ER.) Think about everything you need for baby, for the rest of you, and for the trip in general.
3. Make getting from point A to point B as easy as possible.
With a baby, have a baby carrier that is appropriate to the size and age of your child, and is appropriate for the conditions. Try it out before a trip using it. Are you traveling with someone too big for a kid carrier? Will you be visiting trails that are handicapped accessible? If so, consider a lightweight stroller with wheels suitable for terrain you'll encounter. Lots of beautiful sights can be observed from trails that are wide, smooth and meant for all kinds of visitors.
4. Never go without a first aid kit. This is a must.
You need to have all the typical emergency pack items, plus some more geared to the youngest travelers, such as bandages, antiseptic, tweezers, Tylenol age-appropriate doses, medicine for stomach ailments, and anti-itch cream.
5. Maintain a normal schedule, as much as possible.
Make car travel synch up with normal naptime. Adhere to nap schedules and bedtimes, as well as meal times, as much as you can. This will make both the trip and the return home more pleasant.
6. Hydrate and protect from sun.
Do not neglect these key elements. You need to be mindful for yourself, but especially vigilant in regards to little ones. These ones are the most vulnerable to dehydration, and least able to let you know about it. Keep baby out of sun, and if your child is old enough, keep sunscreen applied throughout day hours and put a hat on baby to keep sun out of eyes, as well. Pack plenty of healthy snacks to keep grumpies at bay.
Great Places to Explore with Little Ones
In the Rocky Mountains there are loads of eye-popping sights and tastes of nature such as seeing elk and lovely wildflowers. The Lake Estes Trail in Colorado is perfect for those with little ones, as it is paved and winds around Lake Estes, with both water and mountain views. Fall is a great time to catch sight of the plentiful elk. Nearby is downtown Estes Park, with loads of restaurants, cute shops and other diversions.
Another fun escape to the great outdoors can be found in the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. Check out the Sugarlands Visitor Center and speak with park rangers about best sites for your time of year visit. Near the center is a nature trail leading by a historic cabin and (most interesting to little ones) a waterfall.
Want to check out beaches versus mountains? Then try Henderson Beach State Park, in Florida along the Gulf of Mexico. This family-friendly destination features white sugar sand beaches, a nature trail and playground, 60 camping sites and a heated and air-conditioned bathhouse. Since the beach is ADA accessible, it means it'll be easy to bring along a rugged stroller.
Torn between wanting easy, fun vacation time and enjoying nature? Get the best of both with a stay at Walt Disney World's Fort Wilderness. With nearly 800 campsites, a setting so large there is an internal bus service, and regular camping activities such as trails, horseback riding, fishing, boating and wildlife galore you might forget your in the kingdom of the Mouse. However, should you desire a magical time, you can join in on the nightly campfire program with Chip and Dale, roasting marshmallows and enjoying a movie while sitting on rows of log benches. You can hop the ferry and float on over to the Magic Kingdom should you want even more magic.
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