Ah summertime! School is getting out for the summer and we are all planning for vacations. My favorite summertime place to be is the beach. The moment my toes touch the sand and I smell the salty ocean air, nothing else matters. It is my happy place. I love that my girls have adopted my love of the beach as well. My 3 year old asks me every few days if we can go to the ocean. I hate telling her no, but the three hour drive straight east to reach the sand & waves means we would get there, walk to the ocean, and then drive home to pick up her big sister from school. Not exactly my idea of a fun beach trip.
Last summer we were planning our vacation last minute between work trips for my husband and school starting for my oldest. It was quite a challenge. We had 3 criteria. It had to be driveable, wherever we stayed had to have 2 bedrooms & a kitchen, and it had to be near the beach.
I spent hours looking for beach rental homes that were in our price range, and my husband got to work on hotels. I came back with very little within our price range, and he found the Ocean Beach Club in Virginia Beach.
My top tips for vacationing with kids:
Always have a game plan, even if you don’t stick to it 100%. We had a list of places we wanted to go and things we wanted to do. We also made sure to plan at least 1 – 2 days with nothing to do but hang around the beach and the pool. One of our favorite parts of traveling is seeing what the city we are visiting has to offer. We generally start with the reciprocal agreements our children’s museum, zoo, and science center have where we are going. We have found that having memberships here keep us occupied at home, and it makes vacation cheaper!
Have access to easy food. This is why we chose a hotel with a kitchen. Kids need a snack? Pull a yogurt out of the fridge instead of searching for a 7-11. Having a stash of food that we could pull out at a moment’s notice made the process of being away from home without my kitchen & pantry so much easier.
Make sure sleeping arrangements are comfortable. Who wants to fight with the kids to go to sleep in their bed while you try to watch TV and relax at their bed time? Our hotel room was a suite, so the girls had their room and we had ours. We’ve also enjoyed renting houses. The last time we tried sharing a single room it was challenging to get our oldest to sleep while I nursed the baby to sleep and we tried to enjoy some adult down time.
Relax & Enjoy. Plan fun activities for everyone, but don’t over plan. Make sure to enjoy the downtime with your family. It’s so precious and most of us are so busy in our normal day to day lives that we don’t get that downtime to truly relax & enjoy.
We loved that Virginia Beach has a playground on the sand. It was just a few blocks from our hotel and we took the girls down there to play every night before bed. It meant we were bringing home two sandy little girls, but it meant we were brining home two TIRED little girls, which helped to counter balance the excitement of a new place and the vacation.
There are also a lot of family friendly things to do in and around Virginia beach, we had our share of adventures. We spent one day at the zoo in Norfolk. Of course, it was pretty empty since there had been an earthquake earlier in the day, and some of the animals were playing it safe, but we still had a blast!
We played the obligatory beach vacation round of miniature golf, and we enjoyed walking around the town and exploring new places. We also had a blast at the Virginia Living Museum on our way home.
To sum it up, our vacation was loosely planned with some fun activities for all of us and plenty of downtime to just enjoy our family and relax. We had a great time in Virginia Beach and will absolutely keep it in mind for this year when we’re looking for a quick get away with the kids. Make sure to like the Virginia Beach Facebook Page to keep up to date on their promotions, and check out their website for more info.
What was your favorite family vacation with the little ones? What are you looking forward to this summer?