I have always considered myself somewhat of a day-trip adventurer, climb in the car on a Sunday morning and just drive, destination – wherever. Well, if you believe me, I’d be lying to you. I would love to think that I do this, but I don’t. I want to. Life with kids has made me somewhat reserved – the what ifs seem to get in the way of the what could bes.
Since I can remember, I have always been a planner, especially when it comes to vacations. Hell, ask my husband about the color-coded spreadsheet of T-stops/attractions that I created for our trip to Boston in 2006. That was my fourth trip to the city and his first. I wanted to make sure we packed in as much as possible in the little time we had there. For anyone who has been to Boston, you know there is A LOT to do there. No time was wasted on that trip. But that was pre-kids.
I am not saying you cannot vacation with kids, we have certainly taken our fair share of trips with them – New River Gorge National Park (WV), Frankfort (MI), Harbor Beach (MI), Toledo (OH), Chicago (IL), trek across Canada from London (ONT) to Niagara Falls (NY), and I am sure other locations that are not sticking out to me at this time.
Vacations are one thing – and often take me months of planning, but I am simply talking about day trips – trips where you just get in the car and drive. If you find a little mom & pop restaurant along the way – great, or maybe find a super-cool park that you didn’t know existed previously in some town you’ve never heard of! These are the types of trips that I want to introduce to my kiddos in addition the long weekends away. I kept telling myself that we’d do these sort of trips when my second child was potty trained. Well guess what, he’s been potty trained for 8 months. Day trips taken – zero.
So I am pledging here and now that we will take at least one, hopefully more, day-trip this spring/summer where the destination is unknown. We will just get in the car, we will just drive, no GPS required. We will stop at the nearest gas station within 15-minutes of leaving home because someone will have to go to the bathroom, but then we will get going to somewhere, anywhere the road leads. I will listen to my children complain every 10 minutes until we find something cool to look at or a park to play at. I will plan to stop at second gas station within 30 minutes after leaving first for second bathroom break from other child who claims they didn’t have to go the first time we stopped. This time I will give in and let them buy snacks for car to save myself at least 45 minutes of complaining “are we there yet?” And who knows, we may end up finding something cool – or we may not, and I may end up eating my words. But whatever we do, we are in it together as a family, and at the end of the day (or at my wits end, whichever comes first), that’s what matters – that we spent time together as a family making memories.
Do you ever just get in the car and drive? If so, what cool places have you found? Any advice for a day-tripper wannabe?