5 Unique Vacation Ideas for Families With Kids

When you have kids, you don’t want to give up everything, including vacations. Most parents find that taking children traveling can be exhausting and frustrating, regardless of careful planning and the best intentions. Parents want their kids to have fun, but they want to have a good time as well, and sometimes that can be really difficult.

The best way to ensure that your children have a good chance of being happy — and therefore, that you can have a good time, too — is to choose a resort or location that caters to kids in addition to adults, or that the kids will benefit from, at least. There are many child-friendly vacation spots, some of which include special activities and even daycare.  But sometimes, the most popular vacation ideas are not the best fit. Here are five ideas that will hopefully help you think outside the box when planning for your family’s vacation.

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wwworks/

1. Stay in America

If you are hoping to vacation in the United States, there are many hotels that are kid-friendly. According to Travel + Leisure, Florida’s Ponte Vedra Inn & Club is the perfect choice. Readers voted the hotel the best family hotel in America; activities include lawn games, crafts, tennis, golf, and horseback riding.

While most people would consider Florida an ideal vacation spot, some of the places on the list might surprise you. Coming in at No. 3 is Vermont’s Stowe Mountain Lodge, which has many kid-friendly options and was recently voted the top golf resort in the northern United States. The Tides Inn in Virginia also made the list.

Source: Thinkstock

2. Consider family friendly resort companies

Certain businesses cater to families, like Beaches resorts. The company features vacation packages for families and even specifically narrows it down to toddlers, kids, tweens, and teens if you ask. The all-inclusive Caribbean vacations include certified nannies, and programs for five different age levels are available (infants through age 12). Beaches resorts also have activities for older children, like sailing, snorkeling, scuba diving, volleyball, sand soccer, and more. Romantic options are included so that parents can enjoy time together while their kids are being taken care of.

ClubMed is another company that offers kid-friendly resorts, and there are several others, as well. Many of these vacations can be very expensive, so it helps to save early and carefully.

Source: Afernand74 / Wikimedia Commons

3. Choose something unique to your family

When some people plan for a vacation, they go for big-name locales like Disney World. However, there are many ideal types of family vacations that are not what most people would first think of for a vacation. Martha’s Vineyard is an excellent example. Many families who live near Massachusetts have been vacationing there for generations, but it is also an ideal spot for visitors from all over.

There are several dining choices, as well as cute boutiques and art galleries. The lodging options are endless, allowing families to spend as little or as much as they desire (within reason). The island, of course, features many family friendly activities, including canoeing, biking, and golf. If your family enjoys sightseeing or specifically enjoys unique architecture, Martha’s Vineyard could be a great choice. The island includes many cottages and even some pink homes.

Consider taking a family hobby and turning it into a vacation. If you all love hiking, think about driving through several different states to hike. If you enjoy boating, consider a weeklong boat ride. Perhaps your family is full of baseball fans, in which case you could try to see games at several different stadiums during your vacation. Your options are really endless, and if you are doing something that all of your family loves, your vacation will have a better chance of making everyone happy.

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomborowski/

4. Plan a staycation

Although visiting someplace new can be fun, so can putting away all of your phones and tablets and other electronic devices, and just spending time with your kids. If you have the vacation time but you can’t afford to travel, stay home. Take the time to bring your kids to their favorite restaurants, see a game, or camp out in the backyard. You will avoid the cost and stress of traveling but be able to spend quality time with your family. You will have more time to cook, visit, and even read books, as well as play with your children.

One fun idea is to let each person in your family designate a specific day for their favorite activity. If your youngest child likes games, Monday can be game day. Tuesday can be zoo day, Wednesday can be park day, and so on. At the end of your vacation, your kids will feel closer to you, and they will see that you are prioritizing their interests, even if you never leave your city.

5. Volunteer for your vacation

While you could spend thousands of dollars on a dream vacation to Costa Rica — and there would be nothing wrong with that — you have other options, too. Some families decide to use their time to volunteer, which allows them to make a difference and grow closer as a result.

Volunteer family vacations are available in different countries across the world. Cross-Cultural Solutions is one organization that offers volunteers the chance to address a specific need in another country, but volunteers are given free time to explore and learn about the community and area, as well. Outreach360 is another group that encourages family volunteering. The organization works to help orphaned children and kids who are facing poverty. Volunteers help provide educational help to children at the different learning centers.

There are several other organizations that promote family volunteering, and most of them prioritize the health and well-being of their volunteers, so you don’t need to worry about clean water or food to eat. Although a family volunteer vacation would probably be less luxurious than some of the other vacations mentioned, it could just be the right fit for your family.

Whatever you choose, if you plan carefully and choose something family friendly, you will be off to a good start.

More From Wall St. Cheat Sheet: