Thursday, January 3, 2013

4 Great Destinations with Little Kids

I hate picking out travel destinations online.  It's so stressful!  You never know what you're going to get.  They say they're close to the beach, but what does that really mean?  Does that mean we have to walk over a giant bridge over a busy street for fifteen minutes before we get to the beach?  (That happened to us one time).

So, I'm going to share with you some places that really are great to go with kids.  How do I know this?  Because I've been there!  They all have something good to offer, but I have shared the positives and the negatives so you can really get a picture for what you are getting yourself into.

Florida: Marco Island Marriott 
Positives: This a wonderful hotel for kids.  It truly is right on the beach.  You simply walk through an amazing lobby, past a beautiful pool, and voila!  Beach!  They also have activities for kids every single day, so it's kind of like a cruise.  You can sign the kids up for activities and give yourself a chance to relax by yourselves if you are so inclined.   They also have several good restaurants onsite so you don't have to strap the kids into their car seats every night.

Negatives: Marco Island is almost three hours from the airport, so this might not be ideal with little kids after a long flight.  The rooms are typical hotel rooms, so you don't have the luxury of a kitchen.  They do have some suites available, but they are much more expensive.  Lastly, this would be a pretty pricey beach vacation.  However, if you have a Marriott credit card like we do, and if you travel for work, you might be able to practically get the hotel for free like we did!

Colorado: Breckenridge Grand Timber Lodge 
Positives: Breckenridge is a great family town.  They have a cute little main street with lots of shopping and restaurants.  Grand Timber Lodge is the only true resort that I've ever seen in the mountains.  It's nestled in with the fancy houses, yet it also has a large pool and even a playground, along with a few restaurants right on site.  If you prefer to stay in a resort with the kids so that you have more to do, but like the idea of staying in the mountains, this would be a great choice.  They even have two bedroom suites available.
Negatives:  You don't quite get that isolated mountain feel.

Colorado: Estes Park Riverwood Condos
Positives: This is a perfect place to stay if you want a quiet mountain condo.  It's right on the river and you can sit out back and listen to the stream and smell the pine trees.  It's a great location, close to town and also to the Rocky Mountain National Park.  They are pretty affordable and even provide cribs and baby stuff for you.
Negatives: We stayed in one that had a loft, so we had to deal with stairs with a toddler, which wasn't ideal.  They do have some without stairs, so just keep that in mind when you are booking your vacation.

Hawaii: Maui Westin
Positives:  This is an amazing hotel, even for Maui.  They have a gorgeous lobby, pool, and really are right on the beach.  You can walk to some restaurants to limit how often you have to get the kids in and out of the car.  They even have pink flamingos wandering around the lobby and pool area.
Negatives: Obviously a trip to Hawaii isn't cheap, and this hotel is certainly not going to make it any cheaper.  However, if you have the money, it's definitely worth it. 

Do you have any place you recommend going with kids??  If so, leave a comment, I would LOVE to hear about it!

PS...If you read have been reading my blog for a long time, I want to apologize for my lack of postings recently.  The Holidays were super busy and I've been feeling a bit burned out from blogging.  I'm going to try to get back into it (I hope).

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  1. Happy New Year, Katie! I have a couple to add:

    Great Wolf Lodge (an indoor water park with multiple locations): we went to the one in the Poconos when the boys were 3 and 4. It was fabulous! The water park was perfect for little kids, and we got a room that had a separate section for the boys with bunk beds and their own TV. We're going to try the one in Virginia this year.

    Jellystone Park: this is also a place that has multiple locations, but they're individually owned and operated so I can only speak for the one we went to (Delaware Beaches). We stayed in a little cabin with a separate room for the boys, a fire pit right outside the front door, a huge playground, swimming pools, and Boo Boo bear came out to play with the kids at one point. You have to drive to the beach (10 min), but there's so much for the kids to do at the campground. We're going back at the end of the summer.

    1. Thanks for the info!! Those both sound really great! Hey, and if you think of it, will you email me at katiefnorris at I tried to contact you through your blog and I couldn't find your email address. I have a question for you! :-)

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  3. We are at the stage of life where we stongly dislike air tavel with our 3 1/2 and 5 year-old. Therefore, we've stuck closer to home these past two years (Kansas City) and have discovered there is a lot of fun to be had in Branson! I know, I'm still a bit surprised. Last year, we stayed at the Marriott Willow Ridge Lodge. Here, they had multiple pools (one with zero entry), a game room, and organized kids activities. We stayed in a two bedroom suite with a kitchen so we were able to seperate ourselves a bit from the kiddos, which was nice for naps and bedtime. The kitchen was great too as we were able to save money by buying food at the grocery store to make while staying there. Also, staying here is close to the main strip of Branson so you don't have far to travel for other activities (shows, put-put, etc).

    This year, we traveled to West Branson and stayed at the Stillwater Lakeside Resort. Here, we had access to multiple pools as well as to the lake (where we were able to take out the kayaks and paddle boats). You can also rent a pontoon boat if you are so inclined. They had a playground, basketball court, and gameroom. We were able to stay in a two bedroom with a kitchen here as well. With it being in West Branson, it's a bit of a drive to other places and to the grocery store. Silver Dollar City is close, howeve, and we ended the trip on that little adventure...the kids are STILL asking to go back!

    1. Jenny it's great to hear from you and that's such great info! I admit I am surprised too but I did love Silver Dollar City as a kid too, so I guess I should have thought of it a long time ago!! :-)

  4. We don't travel far away much - but there is so much to do in day outings in the DFW area. Love the Ft Worth Zoo, the many museums and flower gardens in that area too. Places to picnic and play. Also love the Botanical Gardens in Dallas. Lots of wonderful lakes not far away making day trips fun. Thanks for the ideas. Good questions to ask before registering.

    1. Thanks Susan! I wish we had warmer weather like you do in Dallas, especially in the Winter!

  5. Hey Katie
    You know that we love to travel and it has taken quite a hit since we have had the little one but we have been pretty mobile even with her. Maui I love for the kiddos anywhere where their is a pool and ocean we are good to go. We stay at the Four Seasons becasue their is nothing quite theirs kids club. You would not think that the FS would cater to kids but boy do they do. I mean the kiddy pool alone is a toy wonderland plus they have cabanas for the parents with drink service>>>>HELLO....Cancun and certain parts of Mexico are fun especially if you are staying at the resorts outside of town. I hate Southern Cali but they do have Disneyland, Universal Studios and a drive to San Diego will being you to their awesome aquarium...Happy New Year