The Best Ways To Make Any Destination A Fun Family Vacation

For Spring Break this year, I decided to take my kids to Valdosta, Georgia. Now, I will admit- most people wouldn’t consider that to be the ultimate destination. In fact, when I told people we were going there I had a lot of people reply with “where?” or “why?” Having just returned, I can tell you that it was one of our favorite, fun family vacations EVER! Here’s how…

I should preface the story by saying- selecting Valdosta isn’t quite as random as it sounds. We were specifically going to visit family. However, this was our first visit to the area and I wanted to make sure my kids had a wonderful Spring Break. In hindsight, I probably didn’t need to plan quite so much. My kids are obsessed with their cousins and I have no doubt that we could have just hung out at their house the whole week without a single complaint.

I know I’m totally bias, but I dare you to find 4 cuter cousins!

But back to the planning stage…

I decided one of the keys to the trip’s success was to make it ALL fun (not just our time in the actual destination.) For that reason, I opted to break up the drive down by staying in a hotel one night. My kids LOVE hotels, but often we travel in such a way that they can’t completely enjoy them. On this trip, I let them play on the baggage carts, swim in the pool, eat pizza in bed, stay up way too late, and watch cartoons for hours the next morning.

At that point, we probably could have gone home and my kids would have truly enjoyed their trip. But even more excitement was still to come!

After I decided we’d be traveling to Valdosta, I wanted to make sure we had some fun activities planned to really showcase the area and stay busy for the week. I knew that the central location would put us within a close drive to lots of great places. But in my research, I also found so many fun things to do right there in the city. I was super surprised to learn about Wild Adventures. Immediately, that went to the top of our to-do list.

There were so many great recommendations for activities in the area, but I tried to find ones we couldn’t experience at home. As much as my kids love jump houses and bowling, I wanted to select special//memorable things we could only do on that trip. I ended up finding several places- but the winner ended up being a swamp!

Top of the swamp!

On one day of our trip we walked several miles on a boardwalk out into the middle of a swamp. Along our route we saw 7 alligators- including a few babies, lots of frogs, and even a snake! It was certainly a crazy way to experience the South Georgia terrain. The best part was getting to climb a huge 6-story tower that gave us spectacular views as far as the eye could see!

After a particularly chilly March, I decided we needed  a day at the beach. Knowing there were several options within a 2 hour drive of our destination, I began to research the best location. My sister-in-law and I finally settled on Jekyll Island for a couple reasons. First, we both really wanted to see Driftwood Beach.

How stinkin’ cool is this beach?

And secondly, we knew if the weather wasn’t great we could always go visit the Sea Turtle Center.Alas, we ended up having fantastic weather and bumped the Center to a future visit!

The last- but not least- component of our trip was planning some fun meals. If you follow my website regularly you know that we rarely eat at chain restaurants when we’re traveling. I love experiencing new places. We use Yelp a lot to help us make our eating decisions. We were thrilled with a few of the restaurants we checked out, and we’re looking forward to trying several more the next time we visit!

All in all, it was an amazing trip. The kids really enjoyed all of the activities I planned, and they had so much to share with their friends when they returned home from our vacation!

You might also enjoy reading:

An Inside Look At A Ridiculous Road Trip Plan

Worldschool 101

The Freedom Trail With Kids

**Parts of this trip were hosted. Additionally, this post may contain affiliate links. By making a purchase after clicking on a link, Mom With A Map will receive compensation. As always though, the opinions found in this post are uniquely my own.**

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