Tag Archives: Summer

21 Free (or Inexpensive) Things To Do At The Beach

As spring break and summer approach, one of the most fun and affordable vacations is a trip to the beach. Although you will still incur the cost of travel, lodging and food- entertainment is virtually free!

Personally, I need no prompting on how to enjoy myself on a beach for days on end. Likewise, my children play easily without much encouragement. I think it’s safe to say that we’re beach-people! However, that’s not the case for everyone. For that reason, many touristy beaches have all sorts of activities to draw you away from the sand. These attractions also come with a cost! What could have been a relatively inexpensive trip will add up fast if you start paying for activities.

In order to avoid the temptation Continue reading 21 Free (or Inexpensive) Things To Do At The Beach

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20 Best Summer Vacation Destinations


At the start of every school year I sit down with a fresh, new planner. There is nothing I enjoy more than filling in the days with our school, vacation, sports and work schedules. Although I spend a day every fall filling it out through the end of the following summer, I rarely use it until Christmas. But there’s a joy that comes from writing down all of our plans that I just can’t explain.

A few years ago my daughter attended a school that had a “winter break.” It fell mid-February, and I was determined to take advantage of the time off school. I began doing my research and sometime in September I finalized our plans for the ultimate trip. Over the course of a week we would travel by car from Chicago to Niagara Falls. I planned stops in 3 states (which would have been “new” states to add to my children’s list)- Michigan, New York and Pennsylvania. And to top that off, we were going to spend several days in another country- Canada.

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I couldn’t wait.

But then the Indian summer gave way to snow. Lots and lots of snow. Not long after my son’s passport arrived in the mail, I started questioning the sanity of  my “perfect” trip.

Honestly, I had PLANNED to see Niagara Falls frozen. That was part of the appeal of the trip.


In my planning, I failed to take into account the fact that everything else would be frozen too. I didn’t think about our safety on the roads or the possibility of ice/snow. I didn’t think about the lack of close parking in the big cities and the fact that we’d inevitably have to do some outside walking. Call me crazy (and totally a Southern Girl!), but none of that occurred to me when I planned the trip in September.

As the school break approached and the weather worsened, my husband and I regretfully decided to call off the trip. It just wasn’t smart. I was heartbroken to miss out on the adventure though. In fact, 2+ years later as I type this story (on a sweltering summer day!) I am still sad we didn’t make this trip happen.

I learned an important lesson, though. Some trips are just better during the summer. Frommers recently released their top 20 summer vacation destinations. There were various reasons why each destination was selected; however, many of the locations that made the list have harsher winter weather. A few locations include: Ithaca, NY; The Oregon Coast; Wellfleet, MA; Rehoboth, DE; and Boulder, CO.

Read the full list of locations here.

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Vacation Summer Reading


If I had to pick my absolute favorite vacation activity it would be a true toss up. I love an action packed adventure- doing something new or exploring somewhere new. I love playing with my kids and soaking up their excitement.

But I love to read too. There is nothing more relaxing. Getting caught up in a book that I can’t put down, is also one of my very favorite vacation activities.

At home, I rarely make the time to read. It’s hard to relax and get lost in a book when there’s a huge pile of laundry waiting to be folded. Or dishes that need to be put away. Or floors that need to be mopped. For some reason it seems as if once all of those tasks are completed, my children make sure I have more to do (“oh, you just cleaned the floors? Sorry, I dropped the whole brand new gallon of milk on it.”)

Vacations provide an escape from the never ending to-do list and an excuse to “waste” hours of my life between the pages of a book. Sometimes it’s difficult to make time to read when you are on a vacation with kids. I enjoy reading first thing in the morning while everyone else is still waking up (one of the benefits of being a morning person!) Or late in the evening after the kids have gone to sleep.

As summer approaches I begin to watch for lists of recommended reading. I will admit to being a *tiny* bit particular with my selections. I get the chance to read so rarely, I need to make sure I pick good books!

Here are a few lists I’ve found recently:

14 New Books To Read With Your Book Club

Ultimate Beach Reading List

29 Books You Should Bring To The Beach This Summer

Best Summer Books 2016

20 Best New Paperback Reads

Do you have a specific book recommendation for me for this summer?

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51 Family Summer Vacation Ideas


With Memorial Day in the books, summer is officially here. The temperatures are hot, the pools are open and most kids are out of school.

Summer is a great time for families to travel. Even if you haven’t planned anything yet, it is not too late to add some travel to your summer schedule.   If you need help getting started, check out my Best Ways To Book Travel post. 


There are so many great options for summer travel. From extremely affordable to once-in-a-lifetime, you can find a vacation to meet your budget. Additionally, you can choose from a simple get-away to an elaborate trip. You can drive, fly, take a train or a boat…there are endless options for making a vacation special.

My Family Travels posted an awesome list of 51 Great Family Summer Vacation Ideas. One thing I love about their list is that it contains a mix of very specific destinations (ex. “Kiawah Island” or “Stowe, Vermont”) and very general destinations (ex. “Atlantic Beaches” or “California.”)


Additionally, some of the items on the list are not destinations at all, but ideas on a type of trip. For example, they recommend an “Adventure” trip, or a “National Park” vacation. They also listed several different ways to travel such as RV, Train or Sailboat.

I was particularly impressed with the multiple options on this list that included serving others. And I loved the inclusion of ideas for families traveling with special needs or disabilities.

View the full list of ideas here. (PS. It took me a minute to catch on, but the list is in alphabetical order. It is not a rank of the ideas!)


Our family has done many of the suggestions listed, and I would agree that they are awesome family summer vacations. I am looking forward to doing the ones on this list that we haven’t tried yet!

Where would you like to vacation with your family this summer?

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