When you have a young family, finding the time and money to go on vacation can be a challenge. At the same time, many parents want to be able to escape and spend quality time with the kids as well as expose them to new places and cultures. The key to enjoying a great family vacation is choosing the right destination, which means a place that is ideal for both children and adults.
The internet has become a hugely useful tool when it comes to researching. You can do everything from lookup history to run a people search and access educational resources. In addition, you can also research destinations around the world with ease, which makes it much easier for you to decide where you should go for your family vacation. In this article, we will look at some of the key points you need to consider.
With 17 miles of white sand and beautiful blue waters, New Smyrna Beach, located on Florida’s Atlantic Coast, is a prime spot for families wanting to plan a getaway this spring. And with so many kid-friendly attractions, camps, and free activities, they’ll want to do more than just build sandcastles and splash in the surf (although we love that too!). Take a peek at some of the fun:
Marine Discovery Center: 5-Day Spring Adventure Camp (March 18-22) With pontoon rides, fishing, and arts and crafts, the kids will be too busy having fun to notice they’re learning about New Smyrna Beach’s wildlife and environment.
The Hub on Canal: Art Fun 4 Kids with Heather Pastor (March 13, April 10) Kiddos can channel their inner Van Gogh with an art class at The Hub on Canal. Instructor Heather Pastor teaches about famous artists, then children create their own masterpieces with a variety of mediums.
Surfin’ NSB: Ride the Waves: Little thrill-seekers will love a private family surf lesson from the pros at Surfin’ NSB. An instructor will bring boards right to your hotel or condo, so all you need to do is walk out onto the sand.
Turtle Mound River Tours: Set sail on a two-hour narrated tour of the Indian River Lagoon for a chance to see dolphins, manatees, and incredible views of Canaveral National Seashore.
New Smyrna Museum of History: Encourage a love for learning by exploring NSB’s interesting past through cool artifacts, models, and photographs. Kids will love the vintage boards and other local memorabilia in the surfing exhibit. Parents will love that it’s free admission.
Fishing Charters: Reel in the fun on the Indian River Lagoon with a local guide, like Captain Drew Cavanaugh of Florida Inshore Fishing Charters. From hauling in a prize catch to close-up views of local wildlife, a charter is a perfect way to spend a day on the water.
New Smyrna Speedway: Zoom zoom! Watch as stockcars and trucks vie for a spot at the finish line. Races are held weekly and children 11 and under are free.
New Smyrna Beach Escape Room: Older kids and teens will love this combo scavenger hunt and puzzle-solving activity. Participants attempt to escape from a locked room by deciphering riddles and puzzles. Choose from themes like “Alien Autopsy” and “Houdini’s Secrets.”
About the New Smyrna Beach Area
The New Smyrna Beach area includes the communities of New Smyrna Beach, Edgewater, Oak Hill, Osteen and Port Orange in east Central Florida. New Smyrna Beach is an eclectic mix of old and new; of subtle sophistication and bohemian soul that is as “real” as Florida gets. It occupies a notable place in history as the second oldest city in Florida, site of the largest single attempt at British colonization in the new world. In 2018, New Smyrna Beach celebrated its 250th birthday. The city’s barrier island is recognized worldwide for its incredible surf with Surfer magazine recently touting it one of the “Best Surf Towns in America” and National Geographic magazine including it in its “World’s Top 20 Surf Towns”. Accommodations range from charming bed and breakfast inns to family-size condominium units and oceanfront hotels. Natural attractions include 17 miles of sandy beaches from Ponce de Leon Inlet to Canaveral National Seashore and North America’s most diverse estuary – the Indian River Lagoon. Two distinct downtowns along Flagler Avenue and Canal Street and connected via the Waterfront Loop welcome visitors with independent restaurants, unique shops, artisanal coffee shops and art galleries.
For more information, please visit www.VisitNSBfl.com or call 386-428-1600. Follow @NewSmyrnaBeach1 on Twitter, Facebook.com/VisitNewSmyrnaBeach or @visitnewsmyrnabeach on Instagram for the latest news. Download the free New Smyrna Beach Mobile App for iPhone and Android to receive this information on-the-go.
There is nothing better than getting away for the weekend to have some family time and relax. So this past weekend my family and I headed up to Gatlinburg, TN to enjoy the peacefulness of the mountains and spend the weekend at the brand new Margaritaville Resort in Gatlinburg.
The staff was great during our entire stay and genuinely eager to help with anything that we needed. The rooms were nice and spacious with fun, relaxing decor. We opted for a double queen room which is the perfect size for a family of 4.
For those of us that need a little extra help relaxing or just want to pamper themselves. Margaritaville St. Somewhere Spa provides just that. The aromatherapy as you walk in the door immediately relaxes you. Plus, they offer a variety of services for you to choose from, including: massage, facial, manicure, pedicure, waxing, spray tan, hair cut/color, make-up, and more.
WHEN YOU’RE “THE WATERPARK CAPITAL OF THE WORLD,” YOUR ‘WHAT’S NEW’ STORY LEAD IS NATURALLY A NEW ‘WORLD’S LARGEST’ WATERSLIDE
WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis. (Mar. 6, 2018) – The news is out, and it is exactly what waterpark devotees were hoping for. Wisconsin Dells, Wis., the community known as “The Waterpark Capital of the World!®”, will debut a thrilling new waterslide to ride this summer. Plus, there’s a new wedding venue to say your “I do’s” at, a new winery where you can sip not only wine but hard cider and mead, and a destination spa that’s more than doubling its footprint. In addition, we’ll whet your appetite for a big convention center expansion coming soon. For more on all that’s new in Wisconsin Dells, log on to the area’s official tourism website.
Noah’s Ark Waterpark is adding a new waterslide for the 2018 season. This won’t be a traditional waterslide mind you, but the tallest and longest of its kind in the world. “Raja™ – The World’s Largest King Cobra” will make for a spectacular visual, with a vivid cobra design embedded right in the fiberglass. Riders will race side-by-side on two-person tubes from six stories up. Those brave souls will snake through more than 335 feet of twists and turns at speeds of up to 30 mph, with a sudden 37-foot plunge into the mouth of the massive king cobra serving as the ride’s finale. Look for the slide’s 65-foot tower next to the park’s iconic ark structure and Flash Flood boat ride at the entrance to the grounds. Noah’s Ark is America’s Largest Waterpark, featuring more than 50 rides and attractions spread out over 70 acres.
As you know, we recently took a great family-friendly trip to Chattanooga, TN. If you're anything like me... I sometimes wake up in the morning and plan our day around the places that we're going to visit... and where we're going to eat next!
Since we were traveling with kids -- we thought we'd share our top list of kid-friendly restaurants we found in Chattanooga:
Tony’s Pasta Shop - in the Bluff View Art District. Located in the carriage house of a Victorian mansion, Tony’s features classic Italian cuisine in a casual atmosphere. The restaurant has gorgeous views of the Walnut Street Bridge, Tennessee River, Maclellan Island, the mountains and Coolidge Park.
The district is made up of 2 restaurants, 1 coffee shop, 1 B&B (consists of 33 homes), a gallery, 2 museums, bocce court and an outdoor sculpture garden. The Bluff makes their own bread, pastries, pasta & chocolates; roasts their own coffee; & grows herbs in their own garden.
212 High Street, Chattanooga, TN 37403 | bluffviewartdistrict.com
Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant - located downtown next to the Tennessee Aquarium. They have live pickin’ performances just a few feet from your table and serve authentic comfort food like barbecue, smoked slow ‘n’ low over cherry wood, home-cooked sides, and even a few upscale dishes like a delectable, hand-cut filet mignon.
2 Aquarium Way, Chattanooga, TN 37402 | puckettsgro.com/chattanooga
Good Dog - Locally owned and operated hot dog shop at Coolidge Park on the North Shore; grilling all-beef, natural-casing hot dogs, veggie dogs, local bratwurst, Italian sausage and chicken sausages. All menu items are available vegetarian and boasts a “made-without-gluten” menu. The restaurant also has a breakfast menu, which is offered all day. Good Dog offers great food, focuses on friendly service, has created a funky decor using re-purposed materials, and believes that fast food can be fresh and local.
34 Frazier Ave, Chattanooga, TN 37405 | eatatgooddog.com
Lupi’s Pizza Pies - Where they have a passion for pizza! Their delicious pizzas (as well as calzones, lasagna, and salads) are made with the freshest local ingredients and served up with
friendly service, colorful surroundings, and the bestv hand-picked beer selection in town. There are five Chattanooga locations: Downtown, Hixson, East Brainerd, Cleveland, and Ooltewah.
Downtown: 406A Broad Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402 | lupi.com
Blue Plate - Chattanooga’s metropolitan diner, with a beautiful front-row view of the Tennessee River. Contemporary comfort food, mixed drinks, and house desserts are their
specialties. Their food is chef-prepared from scratch using homegrown ingredients from local farms, bakeries, and ice cream shops.
191 Chestnut Street, Unit B, Chattanooga, TN 37402 | theblueplate.info
Songbirds Guitar Museum - Children will explore the museum with a guide while learning
about the origins of rock and roll and the evolution of the electric solid body guitar from the 1950s through present day. Each exhibit features the guitars that made the music as well as the stories and artists that brought them to life. Songbirds Guitar Museum is historically accurate, educational and fun for both guitar enthusiasts and those new to the world of fretted instruments. Songbirds Guitar Museum is a guitar-oriented, pop culture museum experience for the whole family with extensive permanent and revolving exhibits featuring nearly 500 instruments.
35 Station Street, Chattanooga, TN 37408 | songbirdsguitars.com
Creative Discovery Museum - In the museum’s newest traveling exhibit, America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far, families will travel through 50 countries without ever leaving Chattanooga. Children and families can explore ancient trade routes on a two story Indian Ocean dhow (boat) or on a camel. They’ll thrill to the excitement of a global marketplace as they pretend to buy, sell and trade fruit, fish, spice, ceramic, textiles, and rugs. The exhibit environment is rich with art, architecture and design elements from across the globe. Visitors will marvel at a 3D exploration of mosque architecture from the Maldives to China. There’s even an interactive replica/interpretation of a Pakistani truck for children to decorate. Families can also compose music using an app featuring the rebana, tabla, kora, oud, ney, and ghijak, listen to stories and view objects shared by America Muslim families and even learn how
to write and say “My name is ...” in 21 languages.
321 Chestnut Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402 | cdmfun.org
Chattanooga Zoo - Observe and learn all about the world around us and the wildest creatures that inhabit it. As you explore the Chattanooga Zoo, you will encounter chimpanzees, jaguars, komodo dragons, red pandas, meerkats, and more! Explore what it’s like to be a Zookeeper by observing creatures during the Animal Meet and Greets; chatting with zookeepers to learn about the animals and how they are taken care of; watching the zookeepers train the chimpanzees and why it is important to the chimpanzee’s health; touring different areas of
the zoo; helping the zookeepers distribute animal enrichment; and so much more.
301 North Holtzclaw Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37404 | chattzoo.org
Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum - Grab an engineer cap to be an imaginary conductor for the day as you jump aboard the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum’s rumbling locomotive train and take a ride along Missionary Ridge. When you step aboard the train, ask the conductor if you can punch your own ticket! This 55-minute Missionary Ridge Local excursion includes: traveling six miles (round trip) on one of the original rail lines into Chattanooga; narration of the local history historical points along the route; riding through the Missionary Ridge Tunnel that was built in 1858, especially noted for its uniqueness as a horseshoe tunnel; witnessing two unique methods of turning a train around: the better known turntable, and the wye (think of doing a three-point turn with your car and you’re close); and a brief tour of the train restoration shop.
4119 Cromwell Road, Chattanooga, TN 37421 | tvrail.com
Tennessee Aquarium - The Southeast is home to an astounding array of animals, yet many of them lead secretive lives. Kids will explore the Aquarium’s two huge buildings with the eyes of a scientist while encountering native and exotic species. Kids can become backyard scientists during spring break as they meet fascinating animals and the experts who care for them. Extra programs will be offered each week between March 9 and April 8 to give youngsters a scientist’s view into the hidden lives and wonderful adaptations of the region’s creatures. They’ll also discover how the Tennessee Aquarium’s scientists are saving threatened and endangered animals. Once their curiosity is aroused, kids will see the Aquarium’s myriad other animals — from alligators, turtles, and frogs to lemurs, penguins and butterflies — with more inquisitive eyes.
1 Broad Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402 | tnaqua.org
High Point Climbing and Fitness - During this special Spring Break Climbing Camp, kids will get to spend some quality time with experienced climbers as they learn all about climbing. Spring Break Day Camps are the perfect way to get kids moving during their break. High Point’s dedicated and experienced staff will spend one-on-one time teaching kids all about climbing, including an introduction to the gym, equipment usage, climbing techniques, knot tying, bouldering team, building, and the importance of trust and communication. There will also be some entertaining and engaging climbing-related activities and open climbing sessions. As the kids are learning these new skills, they will also build confidence, muscle development, coordination, balance, and problem-solving. Everyone will finish our climbing camps with a sense of self-confidence & accomplishment. Rock Climbing Spring Break Camp is a two-day session designed for children ages 5-14. Camps are available on a first-come, first served basis. They fill up fast so be sure to make your reservations as soon as possible!
219 Broad Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402 | highpointclimbing.com
Rock City Gardens - There are two exciting activities at Rock City Gardens. First the Enchanted Trail leads you to view more than 400 varieties of native plants and flowers. You’ll trek through massive rock formations formed thousands of years ago and have the chance to dig for your very own geode - and then break it open to find the crystal treasure inside! Your RockQuest Guide will help you look for clues to many of the geological wonders at Rock City. You’ll journey along the Enchanted Trail where you can dig for your very own geode, see 7 states from Lover’s Leap and spot a gnome or two. Rock City Gardens is a true marvel of nature featuring ancient rock formations and panoramic views 1,700 feet above sea level. The self-guided tour along the Enchanted Trail takes you through some of the south’s most spectacular natural scenery where you’ll learn about sedimentary rocks, minerals, crystals and the forces of nature that created this unique attraction.
Travel to a faraway kingdom where you’ll learn basic archery and how to use a sword as well as meet Beauty & the Beast, Cinderella and her Fairy Godmother, and many more characters. Don't miss this chance to make magical memories! Be a sword fighter and make your dreams come to life during Fairytale Nights, an enchanted adventure awaiting you high atop Lookout Mountain. While in the enchanted forest, meet beloved characters such as Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and her Fairy Godmother, Snow White and Merlin; follow Jack as he ventures off the beanstalk into the giant’s lair; enjoy the radiant gardens with Cinderella; climb the 25-foot castle wall; and learn basic archery and sword-fighting skills like a real knight at the Knights Training Academy. Those completing the academy will be knighted by Queen Guinevere.
1400 Patten Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750 | seerockcity.com
Ruby Falls on Lookout Mountain - Learn about rocks and geology and view the cave’s mysterious chambers and amazing rock formations! Another name for a cave explorer is speleologist – someone who studies caves, their history, make-up structure, physical properties and how they change over time. As you journey deep underground to Ruby Falls, use your Safari Guide to discover the answers to questions during your cave and waterfall tour. This is a recreational activity of exploring a cave, also known as caving and spelunking. You will be dazzled as your guide shares tales of folklore and history and teaches you about the rocks and geology throughout the cave’s mysterious chambers. Ruby Falls is America’s deepest cave accessible to the public and has the tallest underground waterfall! Show your completed Ruby Falls page to the staff at the end of your tour and receive a free geode – that is cracked open for you to see inside the rock!
1720 South Scenic Highway, Chattanooga, TN 37409 | rubyfalls.com
For more travel ideas and inspiration, you can visit the Chattanooga blog and find fun things to do in the city!
Special thanks to the Chattanooga CVB for hosting us for a week!
What do you do when the weather starts to turn cold and all of your friends are going to a conference in Negril, Jamaica? You join them, of course!
For a second year in a row, I was fortunate to be invited to the 2017 Social Media on the Sand Conference that was hosted at Beaches Resorts in Negril. It's a wonderful opportunity to connect with some of the best bloggers and brands from across the country -- all while enjoying the paradise that Beaches Resorts offer!
Beaches Resort in Negril is a family-friendly all inclusive resort located about an hour from Montego Bay. The resort boasts 9 restaurants and 6 bars... including 2 swim up! There's also a water park, spa, night club, kids club, and diving center. It was perfectly situated in Negril -- which known for it's 7 miles of beaches and picturesque views.
During one of our conference sessions, we had an opportunity to participate in a day of philanthropy with the local schools. Through the Sandals Foundation, we took part in a campaign called "Pack with a Purpose." While still in the US, all of the bloggers were sent empty backpacks and were asked to fill them with school supplies to support the local children in Negril.
We took our donations directly to the locals and spent the day one-on-one with students reading and engaging in their daily activities. I was partnered with a sweet little boy named Jayden. We were doing an activity where he was sharing what he wanted to be when he grew up --- he told me he wanted to be a drummer. I thought it was super cute because my son used to always say he wanted to be a drummer in a band when he grew up. But, jayden said, "no, I'm going to play the drums for you!" and later, after our projects were done, his class sang a few songs and Jayden lead the beat with the drums. So precious!
The folks at Sandals Foundation give back to many islands in the Caribbean -- and since Hurricane Matthew hit (just before our arrival), they are doing fundraising for schools in The Bahamas. If you'd like to participate, you can go to this Go Fund Me link: www.gofundme.com/beachesmoms. You can leave a note in your comment that you are donating on behalf of Housewives in the City! All of the bloggers are coming together to raise funds! One of the brands that was at the conference, School Specialty, will match the donations dollar for dollar up to $10,000!
Later in the week, we ended up leaving the resort with a group of 10 other folks from the conference to visit the "world famous" Rick's Cafe for some sunset cliff diving. If you're in Negril, you have to check it out. The drinks were good, the crowd was a full of energy -- but to top it off, the sunset and view is absolutely gorgeous.
I totally surprised myself by jumping! BUT... when it's SUPER HOT and SUPER HUMID... getting over the fear of that jump was a necessity!
Last weekend, we packed out overnight bags and cruised down 95 to check out Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg. When I arrived, I immediately asked myself why I'd never been there before. I've seen the commercials and heard the buzz, but we always pass right by when we're heading to Virginia Beach.
To give you a bit more background, Great Wolf Lodge is North America’s largest family of indoor waterpark resorts with 13 locations across the U.S. and Canada. With no shortage of innovative rides and attractions, each Great Wolf Lodge boasts a massive 84-degree indoor waterpark with areas specifically designed for toddlers, tweens, teens, and even adults. When visitors aren’t splashing around in the waterpark, they can dry off and experience an array of amenities such as the dessert-themed Scooops Kid Spa; interactive live-action role playing game Magi quest specialty restaurants, arcades, and more.
Looking for a great beach getaway in New Jersey? Check out Allie's recent trip to Sea Isle City and her top highlights after visiting for a third year in a row.
- A new appreciation for the bay. We wound up taking walks each morning the rest of the week to a cute little spot we found off of 79th St. (bay-side) that had benches that overlooked the water. I'm already missing watching the boats breeze by on the water. So peaceful!
- Adventure to Stone Harbor. This was my first time driving through Avalon and seeing Stone Harbor... so beautiful! I was surprised at how residential these areas looked, but loved the small-town shore vibe. In Stone Harbor, we walked around the town a bit and popped into some of the local shops. Stopped into Paisley Christmas Shoppe and I found an adorable ornament to remember the trip by.
- We went to Carmen's Seafood Restaurant where every seat is al fresco dining on their covered porch that overlooks the bay/docks. It was the epitome of a beach restaurant, and I loved it.
- Live Music at Kix McNutley's. After we grabbed our drinks from Doc's, we walked over to one of five bars that Kix McNutley's offers. We joined the crowd in singing along to "Sweet Caroline", and when Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" came on Dan kindly escorted me to the dance floor (it's my jam).
Looking for a new destination for a girls getaway, couples retreat, or family vacation?
Check out where we've been!