Kidventurous http://kidventurous.com Making Family Travel an Adventure Mon, 02 May 2016 21:28:27 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.2 15 Free Things to Do in Chicago with Kids this Summer http://kidventurous.com/15-free-chicago-kids/ http://kidventurous.com/15-free-chicago-kids/#respond Mon, 02 May 2016 21:28:27 +0000 http://kidventurous.com/?p=9469 Chicago may be a big city, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, you can even vacation in Chicago and still manage to do plenty of things that don’t cost a dime. take a look at 15 of my favorite free things to do in Chicago with kids. Have fun. 15 Free Things to Do in Chicago with […]

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Free Things to Do in ChicagoChicago may be a big city, but it doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, you can even vacation in Chicago and still manage to do plenty of things that don’t cost a dime. take a look at 15 of my favorite free things to do in Chicago with kids. Have fun. :)

15 Free Things to Do in Chicago with Kids

1. The City of Chicago, as well as the suburban areas, are home to hundreds of children’s parks. The city alone has 580 parks! The Chicago Park district keeps a listing of all the parks, including dozens of spray parks that are open for free through the summer.

2. City of Chicago Cultural Center – Located on Washington Street, the Chicago Cultural Center is full of art displays, music, and galleries.

3. Take a stroll through Millennium Park inside the loop and don’t miss the “The Bean.” Find it inside Michigan Avenue, Randolph Street, Columbus Drive and East Monroe Drive. There’s a lot of architecture around it, as well as a good deal of public art. 

4. The Lincoln Park Zoo is one of the biggest  zoos you’ll visit for free. Take time to spay your favorite animals and enjoy a day in the sun with your family. Plan to pay for parking or take the CTA bus if you’re staying at a hotel in the city.

5. Play at the new Maggie Daley Park, which takes up a 20-acre corner section of Grant Park. You’ll find rock climbing walls, mini golf and a massive playground.

6. Explore Navy Pier. Located on Lake Michigan, the iconic Navy Pier has an accessible boardwalk as well as free outdoor concerts and fireworks in the summer. 

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7. Summer is a time for lakefront music festivals that are free, including Grant Park Music Festival (June-August), Chicago Blues Festival (June), Chicago Gospel Music Festival (June), Chicago Jazz Festival (August) and the World Music Festival (September).

8. Learn to dance for free at Chicago SummerDance every Friday and Saturday all summer long. Located at  Grant Park, nearly 50 bands in different genres will rock, jazz and bring the tunes to make your body move! You may even learn a dance step or two, too.

9. Visit the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum (JAHHM), which serves as a dynamic memorial to social reformer Jane Addams, the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. A donation is suggested, but you can enter the museum for free.  

10. On Tuesdays, Cat & Mouse Games, a fun store that sells board games, puzzles, mind benders and more, offers a free game night from 6:30-10:30 pm. They have locations in Bucktown and West Loop. 

11. From April to mid-October, look for a 20-minute water show at the Buckingham FountainIf you’re out in the evening, a spectacular light and music display accompanies the major display at dusk every hour on the hour. 

12. Head to the beach. With the Lake Michigan shoreline, there are plenty of spots. Consider the 12th Street Beach on Northerly park or one of the many other locations.

13. Visit the Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier on one of the free entry nights. Target Free Family night is usually Thursday evenings and kids are free on some Saturday mornings. See their website for more details. 

14. Many stores and cafes offer free storytime for kids. Barnes and Noble has a few times a week, as well as places like Little Threads, which offers free storytime every Monday at 10:30 am. See their website to confirm times. 

15. Visit Arcade Park for plain old fun recreation. Grab a Frisbee or a ball and glove and have regular old-fashioned, unstructured fun. Kids need those activities and there’s a lot to be said about just being active, putting down the devices and enjoying time together as a family.

Chicago is easily accessible from midwestern states and also makes a good stopping point for those heading across the country to visit family and friends. With plenty of places to visit, there’s no reason you can’t make Chicago a fun, and fairly inexpensive, stop along the way.

Even if you’re from Chicago, it can be fun to be a tourist in your own city too!

What are your favorite free things to do in Chicago?

 

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10 Fun Things to Do in Orlando With Kids http://kidventurous.com/10-fun-orlando-kids/ http://kidventurous.com/10-fun-orlando-kids/#respond Wed, 27 Apr 2016 13:00:00 +0000 http://kidventurous.com/?p=9433 Whether you’re headed to Orlando for the first time or piggybacking off of a conference and adding time to have fun with your family, there are so many options for making a great vacation out of your time in Orlando. Of course there’s Walt Disney World, but what else is there to do with kids? Here are 10 fun things to […]

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Fun Things to Do in Orlando With KidsWhether you’re headed to Orlando for the first time or piggybacking off of a conference and adding time to have fun with your family, there are so many options for making a great vacation out of your time in Orlando. Of course there’s Walt Disney World, but what else is there to do with kids? Here are 10 fun things to do in Orlando with kids.

1. Disney. Okay, we still have to start with Walt Disney World because it’s huge. There are multiple parks, loads of places to stay and entertainment that can keep you busy from morning until night. Preschoolers will love Magic Kingdom (here’s a perfect itinerary just for them).  If you have more time and kids of a variety of ages, buy discounted Park Hopper Tickets from Best of Orlando and visit multiple Disney parks.

2. Crayola Experience. The new Crayola Experience is an awesome hands-on attraction with over 25 things to do to show your creativity. They have a great variety of options for kids and adults of all ages. You can even experience the magic of color by turning drawings into 4D art. Or, create and name your own crayons.

3. American Girl. Another fun option is the American Girl Store. Check out all the dolls, dine on-site (complete with chairs for dolls) or even let your doll enjoy a makeover at the salon. Costco members, look for American Girl gift cards. They’re often on sale at $80 for two $50 gift cards. What a great savings.

4. Gator Tour. Whether you choose airboats or plain swamp tours, let your adventurous side come out and see the natural flora, fauna and wild of Florida. The gator tours can be done in nature or you can find one of the many mini zoos that operate in and around Orlando. One to try is Spirit of the Swamp Airboat Tours.

5. Kennedy Space Center. While the Kennedy Space Center technically isn’t Orlando, it is an easy day trip from Orlando (it’s less than 90 minutes to Titusville). This takes you to the Space Coast where you can learn all about astronauts, Cape Canaveral and also explore space in the various tours they offer on-site. You can even have lunch with an astronaut.

6. Universal Orlando. Like Disney, Universal Orlando is a destination itself, with two theme parks: Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure (get deeply discounted tickets from Best of Orlando). You’ll also find on-site hotels and a nighttime entertainment complex called Universal CityWalk Orlando to keep the fun going after the parks close. Read all about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter here.

7. SeaWorld. While there are SeaWorld options sprinkled throughout the U.S., the fact is SeaWorld Orlando is much more than an aquarium. Complete with rides, shows, and restaurants, there are plenty of things to do at SeaWorld over a day or three while visiting Orlando. Take time to feed the sea lions and watch the live Pets Ahoy show.

8. Wet ‘n Wild. Visit America’s first waterpark when you’re in Orlando, Wet ‘n Wild. Look for loads of slides, raft rides, a lazy river, even a massive wave pool. And, of course, it’s a must to spend time with the kids at Blastaway Beach, which has a six-story castle, two pools, 15 waterslides and 160+ interactive water features.

9. Outlet Shopping. When you need a break from theme parks, it’s time to go shopping at Orlando’s three outlet malls. First, head to the 700,000 square foot Orlando Premium Outlets. Then, don’t miss Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores, which boasts more than 60 shops. Finally, check out the second Orlando Premium Outlets on Vineland Avenue. You’ll find fewer shops at this location, but it’s more high-end.

10. Kayak Tour. Take a kayak tour to enjoy the outdoors in Orlando. There are lots of options, like a gentle water tour, a manatee tour or even a bird lover’s tour. As a bonus, the weather is fantastic so much of the year in Orlando that you can get out into a kayak pretty much any month of the year. Check out A Day Away Kayak Tours.

On a budget? Here are 20 Free Things to Do in Orlando with your kids. Looking for a great family-friendly place to stay? Here are the top 6 Family-Friendly Orlando Hotels.

What are your favorite things to do in Orlando with kids?

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Best Healthy Road Trip Snacks For Kids http://kidventurous.com/healthy-road-trip-snacks-kids/ http://kidventurous.com/healthy-road-trip-snacks-kids/#respond Mon, 25 Apr 2016 13:00:00 +0000 http://kidventurous.com/?p=9463 With gas prices as low as they are, now is the time to really start thinking about a summer road trip. And, of course, as any mom or dad knows, snacks can make or break any road trip, but what should you bring? Packing healthy snacks for the car is a great way to save time and money while having […]

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Best Healthy Road Trip SnacksWith gas prices as low as they are, now is the time to really start thinking about a summer road trip. And, of course, as any mom or dad knows, snacks can make or break any road trip, but what should you bring? Packing healthy snacks for the car is a great way to save time and money while having quick bites readily available for the kids.

Best Healthy Road Trip Snacks for Kids

When it comes to kids’ food options, convenience is key, but healthy options should also be a key consideration. It’s a good idea to bring food from home, then seek out healthy options along the way as needed. Look to the Grab ‘n Go section of a Petro or TA gas station for good picks like apples, bananas and fresh salads.

 

Healthy Snacks from Home

When headed on a road trip, consider foods that are healthy not just because they are a better option, but because you aren’t very active while on road trips. Poor food choices + many hours of sitting in the car = poor digestion. Here are some healthy snack ideas that kids will enjoy on your road trip.

  • Snap peas, carrots with a side of guacamole. Avocado is full of nutrients and good fats. As a bonus, a cup of guacamole has almost five grams of protein. Snap peas and vegetables, in general, are also a good source of vitamins.
  • Squeeze pouches. Yes, mashed fruit is all the rage. Mott’s makes a variety of Snack & Go products that make great on-the-go snacks. Since they store well and don’t go bad, I recommend these as a backup option. Eat the fresh food first.
  • Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches on whole wheat bread. Since you’re grilling them, you’ll have less mess and they actually taste pretty good when cold. Choose nitrate free ham, “real” cheese and add tomato for an extra health benefit.
  • Nuts and seeds. These are packed full of energy as well as nutrition. While they could get messy if they fall, they may be worth the risk since they won’t spread gooey-ness everywhere.

Healthier Snack Options at Convenience Stores

When you’re on that long drive, stopping at restaurants again and again can add up in terms of both time and money. Instead, grab snacks while re-filling the car at the gas station. When you can, bypass the aisle of candy bars and pastries. Instead, make healthier choices. It’s true, gas station food does not have to be unhealthy. Here are some good picks:

  • Yogurt. Choose real yogurt with active, live cultures.
  • Fresh fruit. Many gas stations sell apples and bananas available, which can be cleaned up quickly and eaten on the road. Since they bruise easily, eat them before any prepackaged snacks.
  • Packs of nuts. There are tons of unsalted and less salted varieties, so check those out first.
  • Hard boiled eggs. You’d be surprised but these are actually quite common on the road. Truck drivers love them and you can too. Check the expiration date on them, just in case.
  • Whole grain cereal cups. These are becoming more readily available. Choose one that has fiber and whole grains. Skip those with artificial flavors and high sugar wherever possible. Many gas stations also carry single serve milk to go along with the cereal.
  • String cheese. These are grab and go and you can drop them into your cooler for later. Just try not to overdo it on the cheese. The lack of movement in the car may add to any tummy troubles.
  • All natural snack bars. Choose ones that have more nuts and berries than chocolate and grains. These can be tasty, full of fiber and protein. They taste pretty good too.

To make your road trip healthy, opt for water over sugary drinks and sodas. No slushies or fruity drinks. Instead, opt for plain water or even water with lemon. Not only is it better for you, but when you bring your own bottle from home, you save money too.

In the car, keep it healthy by saying no to mess. No one wants the stress of extra clean up. Keep a small trash bag in each row of the vehicle and expect all trash to head there. Also include:

  • Baby wipes for clean up.
  • Gallon size zip top bags for any items that need to be “taken care of later” (e.g., dirty clothing).
  • Hand sanitizer in case something icky is touched before eating and you aren’t quite sure if the baby wipes did the job.
  • Small size spray cleaner. You can keep this in your glove compartment, but keep some sort of cleaner with you so that in case of car sickness or just a big mess, you can easily clean it up without having to live with the smell for too long.
  • Absorbent paper towels or microfiber towels. Whichever you choose, take it along in case there’s a mess that needs to be cleaned up. Prepare for the worst, but expect the best, right?

Have fun and enjoy your family time, but also set realistic expectations. Take your time, stop to stretch your legs, have a picnic at a local park along the way. Let the kids get some energy out, fill up their water bottles, then head back out on the road. Don’t forget to take along some fun in the car with you, grab some of these free printable travel games for kids.

In your opinion, what are the best healthy road trip snacks for kids?

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10 Reasons to Go to Kings Dominion this Spring http://kidventurous.com/10-reasons-kids-kings-dominion-spring/ http://kidventurous.com/10-reasons-kids-kings-dominion-spring/#respond Tue, 19 Apr 2016 15:49:48 +0000 http://kidventurous.com/?p=9524 Over the weekend, my kids and I had the opportunity to check out the third annual Spring Bloom Festival at Kings Dominion near Richmond, VA. Operating on Saturdays and Sundays through May 15, the Spring Bloom Festival is all about flowers, family and fun. We had a great time exploring the rides and activities at Kings Dominion during the opening […]

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10 Reasons to Take the Kids to Kings Dominion this Spring Over the weekend, my kids and I had the opportunity to check out the third annual Spring Bloom Festival at Kings Dominion near Richmond, VA. Operating on Saturdays and Sundays through May 15, the Spring Bloom Festival is all about flowers, family and fun.

We had a great time exploring the rides and activities at Kings Dominion during the opening weekend of the festival. This was our first time visiting the park in the spring and it was such a treat. The temperatures were cool, the sun was shining and the ride lines were short.

Get the kids in the car and head to Kings Dominion for the Spring Bloom Festival. Not that your kids will need much convincing, but here are 10 great reasons to go this spring. Have fun. :)

1. Planet Snoopy. We love Planet Snoopy and always start there first when we visit Kings Dominion. There are nearly 20 rides just for kids, including Joe Cool’s Driving School and Lucy’s Tugboat. There are also two kid-sized roller coasters, including Woodstock Express, which I rode twice and screamed both times.

2. Cute Baby Animals. Who doesn’t love a petting zoo with baby animals? Open from 12-5 pm, the petting zoo is located in the Planet Snoopy area of the park. Look for bunnies, alpacas, sheep and miniature horses. There were even some very, very small baby piglets playing with a tiny kitten. So cute. :)

Who doesn't love baby animals?

Who doesn’t love baby animals?

3. Shorter Ride Lines. While not related to spring, one great reason to the take the kids to the Spring Bloom Festival is that the lines for rides are much shorter than in the summer. Even better, the weather is cooler, which is nice when plans have you outside all day.  

4. Spring Bloom Food Faire. Under the Eiffel Tower, look for the Spring Bloom Food Faire, a showcase of foods inspired by four different countries, including Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Ireland. There you’ll find tasty treats like Swiss Mac and Cheese with Diced Bacon and Smoked Gouda (a favorite of my 10 y.o.).

The foods at the Spring Bloom Food Faire were so yummy!

The foods at the Spring Bloom Food Faire were so yummy!

Each country features three dishes created by the park’s own Chef Paul. You’ll need to buy tickets at the booth under the Eiffel Tower to try out the dishes. It’s $3 for a sample portion or $8 for a full-size portion (honestly, we found that the sample sizes were plenty). It’s a must while you’re in the park.

5. Character Meet & Greets. Of course, there are character meet and greets every day at Kings Dominion, but now the Peanuts characters are dressed up for the season. We saw Linus and Charlie Brown both dressed up as if ready to play spring sports. They were always roaming, so there were lots of good photo opps.

We loved meeting all the Peanuts Gang characters!

We loved meeting all the Peanuts Gang characters!

6. Live Entertainment. There’s a band that plays every day of the Spring Bloom Festival between 12:30-2 pm and 4-6 pm on the main stage near the Eiffel Tower. There are several cafes and ice cream shops near the stage, so you’ll want to grab a snack, take a break and listen to the music. We love free concerts.

7. Spring Flowers. Of course, if you’re going to an event called the Spring Bloom Festival, you’ll want to check out the colorful spring flowers all around the park. They’re all so beautiful, especially near the front of the park when you first enter. Keep your eyes open for butterfly and dragonfly decorations, too.

The spring flowers throughout Kings Dominion were beautiful.

The spring flowers throughout Kings Dominion were beautiful.

8. Funnel Cakes and Dippin’ Dots. I love to go to theme parks, like Kings Dominion, if only for the fun foods we can’t get at home, like funnel cakes and Dippin’ Dots. Among our other faves are candy apples, frozen custard and walnut fudge. Such a yummy treat.

9. Multigenerational Fun. We picked up my parents on our way to Kings Dominion. Not only did they have a great time with two of my kids, but my step-father told me that he realized that you can have fun at Kings Dominion without riding any of the rides. It’s a fun place to just be with the grandkids!

Riding Woodstock Whirlybirds with Grandma.

Riding the Flying Ace ride with Grandma.

10. Springtime Crafts. My kids love hands-on activities, so head to the Kids Garden inside Planet Snoopy for family-friendly activities, like flower pot decorating (from 3-5 pm). They also have a Lowe’s Build & Grow Workshop (from 12-2 pm) where kids can use their hands to build things, like chalkboard planters.

The Spring Bloom Festival is open Saturdays and Sundays through May 15 at Kings Dominion. Also, be sure to come back for the Memorial Weekend Salute (May 28-30), Star Spangled Celebration (July 2-4), KidsFest (July 16-17, 23-24) and Great Pumpkin Festival (September 19-October 30). Have fun. :)

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company in conjunction with Blog Meets Brand. I have been compensated for my participation. However, all opinions are my own.  

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15 Fun Things to Do in Hilton Head with Kids http://kidventurous.com/hilton-head-family-vacation/ http://kidventurous.com/hilton-head-family-vacation/#respond Thu, 14 Apr 2016 12:00:31 +0000 http://kidventurous.com/?p=9500 Over Spring Break in mid-March, not only did we explore Myrtle Beach, but we also spent a few days exploring Hilton Head, SC. This was our first Hilton Head family vacation and there was so much to see and do, especially with kids. We loved riding our bikes and kayaking along the waterways in Hilton Head. And, of course, the […]

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Over Spring Break in mid-March, not only did we explore Myrtle Beach, but we also spent a few days exploring Hilton Head, SC. This was our first Hilton Head family vacation and there was so much to see and do, especially with kids.

We loved riding our bikes and kayaking along the waterways in Hilton Head. And, of course, the beaches are fantastic. We had just three or four days in town, but I definitely could have spent more time here. Take a look at the 15 must-do’s if you’re considering a Hilton Head family vacation.

1. Stay at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort. There are a variety of hotels and rentals to book in Hilton Head, but we loved Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, which has a variety of home and villa rentals that are perfect for families. It’s quiet and serene, but there’s plenty to do, too.

Hilton Head Family Vacation

Our vacation rental at Palmetto Dunes had a fantastic full kitchen.

We stayed in a two-bedroom condo (740 Queens Grant) at Palmetto Dunes Oceanfront Resort, which worked perfectly for my family of six (there was a pull-out sofa for two of my kids). Our condo had a full kitchen, a washer and dryer and a good-size family room. There was plenty of space to move.

The beach was a short walk from our condo, as was a bike rental shop, tennis courts, three golf courses, a kayaking lagoon, a convenience store and Big Jim’s Restaurant (be sure to order the nachos). There were also loads of bike paths. One of my favorite things about Hilton Head and Palmetto Dunes is that it is so bike-friendly. You can truly bike everywhere that you need to go on your Hilton Head family vacation.

Hilton Head Family Vacation

There’s just so much to do at Palmetto Dunes in Hilton Head.

Within Palmetto Dunes, look for daily activities, like golf clinics, tennis exhibitions and live music. There’s even a Nachos Day at Big Jim’s on Saturdays. I will tell you that Martini Monday at Big Jim’s is popular, so if you want to eat dinner there on Mondays, get there early to beat the crowd.

2. Rent Bikes and Explore the Island. There are lots of bike rental shops on the island, but since we were staying at Palmetto Dunes, we rented ours from Hilton Head Outfitters. You can rent all kinds of bikes, as well as bike baskets and helmets, even kiddie carts. We opted for tandem bikes, which my six- and eight-year-olds absolutely loved. As a bonus, Hilton Head Outfitters delivered our bikes right to our condo.

Hilton Head Family Vacation

We rode our bikes everyday while in Hilton Head. An absolute highlight.

3. Play Pickleball. Introduced last summer at Palmetto Dunes, pickleball has quickly become one of the most popular activities at the resort. A mixture of tennis, badminton and ping pong, Palmetto Dunes offers pickleball lessons several times a week, as well as daily round robins. Kids will love hitting back and forth with over-sized paddles and softball-sized balls.

4. Go on a Boat Cruise. There are several cruises available on Hilton Head, including dolphin and nature cruises, but we opted for a pirate cruise with Pirates of Hilton Head, which sets sail from Harbour Town at Sea Pines Resort. This was our first pirate cruise and the “pirates” on board were amazingly good with the kids. Even my older girls (10 & 12) loved spraying water cannons at Stinky Pete. Highly recommend.

Hilton Head Family Vacation

The cruise with Pirates of Hilton Head was such a treat for the kids.

5. Tour a Lowcountry Plantation. It’s a must to check out a Lowcountry plantation while in South Carolina. Rose Hill Mansion is said to be the only antebellum plantation house left in Beaufort County. Guided tours are offered weekdays at 2 pm. No children under six-years-old are allowed on the tour. Since Rose Hill Mansion is a private residence, reservations are required.

6. Explore the Coastal Discovery Museum. Relax and enjoy a walk around the grounds at the Coastal Discovery Museum. Take the Honey Horn Trail around the property for lovely water views and Spanish moss hanging from the live oak trees. Kids will love the Kids Zone inside the Discovery House. The museum also offers guided walks and nature tours, even “kids only adventures,” several days a week.

Hilton Head Family Vacation

Take a walk along the Honey Horn Trail at the Coastal Discovery Museum.

7. Play a Round of Miniature Golf. Hilton Head may not be the Mini Golf Capital of the World, like nearby Myrtle Beach, but it’s still a definite highlight while on a Hilton Head family vacation. Try Adventure Cove, which has two 18-hole miniature golf courses (Paradise Falls and Lost Lagoon). There’s even an arcade. While in town, pick up a copy of 101 Things to Do, the free visitors magazine, for money-saving coupons.

8. Get Out on the Water. There’s so much to do on the water on Hilton Head Island. You can go stand-up up paddleboarding, tubing, wakeboarding, sailing, water skiing. The list goes on and on. We opted for kayaking around Palmetto Dunes, which you can rent from Hilton Head Outfitters. You can get right on the water behind the shop and we did so in our single and double kayaks. So much fun.

Hilton Head Family Vacation

We loved kayaking as a family while in Hilton Head.

9. Watch the Sun Set. There’s nothing like a good beach sunset. Sure, Hilton Head may be on the east coast, but you can still catch some amazing views as the sun dips below the horizon. Head to Shelter Cove Harbour or Harbour Town, both of which are popular spots for catching the sunset. Vagabond Cruise also offers several sunset dinner cruises.

10. Try Out a Treetop Canopy Tour. I can’t lie, I love a good treetop canopy tour, so I was super excited for our two-hour aerial adventure through the trees with Zipline Hilton Head. We walked across tight ropes, traversed cargo nets and made our way across various obstacles. The staff is amazing there too, even guiding my son across the first “element,” as they say. The second time on the course, my son crossed no problem.

Hilton Head Family Vacation

The guides were fantastic at Zipline Hilton Head, even helping my son cross this element.

11. Climb a Lighthouse. Climb 114 steps to the top of the Harbour Town Lighthouse at Sea Pines Resort. Stop on your way up to check out various artifacts and photographs. Take in the views from the top and pick up some souvenirs at the gift shop at the top of the lighthouse. Or, just grab an ice cream cone at the base of the lighthouse like my kids did while I went to the top of the lighthouse. :)

12. Go Horseback Riding. Head to Lawton Stables for a one-hour guided tour on horseback. It’s a great way to explore the Lowcountry of South Carolina. While trail rides are for riders ages eight and up, Lawton Stables also offers pony rides for kids ages seven and younger. It’s a great way for little ones to enjoy their own ride on a friendly Shetland Pony.

Hilton Head Family Vacation

Take time for a one-hour horseback trail ride at Lawton Stables.

13. Go Crabbing. Head out on a sport crabbing cruise on board the Crabber J II with Adventure Cruises out of Shelter Cove Harbour. Plan to motor out into the calm waters of Broad Creek to fish for blue crabs, but be warned, it can get competitive. Catch the most crabs and win a coveted Crabber J II t-shirt. Also, keep your eyes peeled for dolphins playing during this nearly two-hour cruise.

14. Visit the Small Animal Farm. In addition to horseback trail rides and pony rides, make sure to visit with the goats, alpacas and pigs at the free animal farm at Lawton Stables. There’s even a deer named Callie who walks freely around the petting area. Lawton Stables offers food that you can buy to feed the animals while you are there.

Hilton Head Family Vacation

We loved petting the alpacas at the animal farm at Lawton Stables.

15. Take a Boat Cruise to Savannah. Given Savannah is just a riverboat cruise away (or 45 minutes by car), hop aboard the Spirit of Harbour Town for a historic cruise of Savannah. Riverboats depart twice a week and allow for plenty of time to explore and eat lunch in Savannah before heading back to Hilton Head. You can buy tickets for guided tours of Savannah’s historic district right on the boat.

Have you been on a Hilton Head family vacation in South Carolina? I’d love to hear your favorite things to do with kids.

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Free Ebook: 25 City Adventures for Families http://kidventurous.com/free-ebook-25-city-adventures-families/ http://kidventurous.com/free-ebook-25-city-adventures-families/#respond Wed, 13 Apr 2016 13:45:50 +0000 http://kidventurous.com/?p=9494 Earlier this year, I was asked by Lonely Planet to contribute to a free family travel ebook they were putting together to help families like you plan out adventures with your kids. Of course, I had to say yes. They wanted me to contribute my best tips on traveling with kids in New Orleans, and since I was just there […]

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Free Ebook: 25 City Adventures for Families Earlier this year, I was asked by Lonely Planet to contribute to a free family travel ebook they were putting together to help families like you plan out adventures with your kids. Of course, I had to say yes. They wanted me to contribute my best tips on traveling with kids in New Orleans, and since I was just there in June with my four kids, it was a perfect match.

So today, I’m happy to let you know about 25 City Adventures for Families from Lonely Planet. This free ebook includes tips and advice on the best places to go, must-see attractions, even money-saving tips when traveling to various cities with kids. The cities featured in this ebook are among the best for kids and range from Amsterdam to San Francisco to Tokyo.

There are even a few cities in this ebook that I wouldn’t have originally considered as family destinations, like Ho Chi Minh City and Marrakesh, but after reading the sections for these cities, I’m sold. I may need to book my ticket this afternoon. I had no idea about the French-inspired architecture or the Cu Chi Tunnels in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City. Sounds like a win for both me and the kids. :)

Enjoy this free ebook, and be sure to check out the Lonely Planet Kids website (beware of the burping hamburger…that’s all I’ll say). Lonely Planet also has lots of books for sale that are great for kids, like Adventures in Famous Places, Adventures in Smelly Places and Adventures in Noisy Places.

Are you on Twitter? Okay, first, follow me at @kidventurous. Then, stop by and participate in Lonely Planet’s Twitter Chat about family travel and their new ebook on city adventures for families on Wednesday, April 20 at 3 pm ET. See you there!

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Best Family-Friendly Hotels in New York City http://kidventurous.com/new-york-city-family-hotels/ http://kidventurous.com/new-york-city-family-hotels/#respond Mon, 11 Apr 2016 13:32:00 +0000 http://kidventurous.com/?p=9414 We love New York City. It’s less than five hours from where we live outside Washington, DC and it’s such a fun place to visit with kids, as well as teens. We loved taking the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty and enjoying the night views from the top of the Empire State Building. Even just exploring the city […]

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Best New York City Family HotelsWe love New York City. It’s less than five hours from where we live outside Washington, DC and it’s such a fun place to visit with kids, as well as teens. We loved taking the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty and enjoying the night views from the top of the Empire State Building. Even just exploring the city by subway was a lot of fun.

One look online and you’ll find many hotel options all over town, even in Brooklyn and Queens. After a few visits, you may know just what part of town you want to stay in, but I personally still love and recommend staying in and around Times Square.

Yes, tourists do gravitate toward Times Square, but it’s also easy to get around with Times Square as a home base. There are lots of different subway lines in Times Square and a lot of my kids’ favorites are in Times Square too, like M&Ms World and Hershey’s Chocolate World. Here are my picks for the best New York City family hotels.

New York City Family Hotels

 

The Muse Hotel

The Muse Hotel in Manhattan is in the perfect location for all of your family fun. At only one block away from Times Square, this hotel is centrally located so that you can make the most of your trip to New York City. The Muse is the perfect hotel to stay at if your vacation includes seeing a show on Broadway.

When you check into The Muse Hotel your children will receive a customized gift that might include matchbox cars, coloring books, kid-friendly city guidebooks and more. They also offer free wi-fi and kid-sized bathrobes. For parents, there is a complimentary wine reception in the lobby from 5 to 6 pm (this is always a favorite of mine).

Best New York City Family Hotels

Ask about the “Mini Muse” program at The Muse Hotel. This package includes a morning chocolate milk, nightly juice or sparkling cider, fun animal print bathrobes and a scavenger hunt around the hotel and nearby kid-friendly attractions. Or, check out the “Inner Artist” package, which includes a private art lesson and a clay kit for in-room fun.

Click here for more details and the latest rates at The Muse Hotel

Le Parker Meridien

Le Parker Meridien in New York City is another fantastic option for families. It is also centrally-located in the heart of the city and is within walking distance to over 40 theatres and dozens of shops and restaurants. The rooms are spacious and quiet — something that is difficult to find in Manhattan. As a bonus, many rooms offer excellent views of the Empire State Building and the Hudson River.

The hotel offers a gym, basketball court and an indoor pool. There are several kid-friendly dining options within the hotel’s restaurants, Norma’s and The Burger Joint, or you can check out some of the family-friendly restaurants within walking distance.

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Le Parker Meridien is just two blocks away from Central Park so your family can enjoy tennis, horseback riding and plenty of hiking and biking options within the park.

Click here for more details and the latest rates at Le Parker Meridien.

Hotel Wales

If you have your eye on a room on the Upper East Side, book a stay with your kids at Hotel Wales. It’s within two blocks of Central Park and is close to kid-friendly restaurants, like Marco Polo Pizza Café, as well as The Guggenheim and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

As a bonus, Hotel Wales offers Family Suites with kitchenettes for those that are planning an extended stay and want to save a little money by cooking some of their own food. Hotel Wales also offers several specials including discounts when you book your room in advance and a package that includes museum passes for the museums on Museum Mile.

Best New York City Family Hotels

If your trip to New York is focused on visiting museums, this hotel is a great pick. Or, if shopping at American Girl Place or the Nintendo World Store is on your agenda, Hotel Wales has you covered too. It’s just a few minutes away from both places, as well as the Central Park Zoo.

Click here for more details and the latest rates at Hotel Wales.

Travel Inn Hotel

If you are looking for a good budget option for your family, check into the Travel Inn Hotel. The hotel boasts a great outdoor pool (so rare in the city) that the kids will love on warm sunny days after a full day of touring around New York City.

The location of the hotel is central to the city, close to the major subway lines and within 10 minutes of Times Square. It’s located within the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood which offers many great restaurant options.

The rooms are a nice size which makes them more comfortable for a family. Rooms also boast a microwave and a mini fridge, making the Travel Inn Hotel an economical pick for those who want to bring meals and snacks back to the room.

Click here for more details and the latest rates at the Travel Inn Hotel.

Omni Berkshire Place

Just a 10 minute walk from Grand Central Station, the Omni Berkshire Place is another wonderful option for a family stay. The hotel is close to lots of family-friendly attractions, including Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center and The Museum of Modern Art

At check-in, your kids will receive a little package with some games and other fun surprises. You will also want to sign up for the free loyalty program which will give you free wi-fi access during your stay plus free beverages delivered to your room.

Best New York City Family Hotels

Start your day with the breakfast buffet at The Art of Breakfast inside the hotel or venture out to a variety of restaurants that are within easy walking distance of the hotel. You can also request a mini fridge in your room if you plan to keep any food with you at the hotel.

For fans of American Girl dolls, ask about the American Girl Package, which includes a special doll bed, breakfast in the hotel and a special evening treat of milk and cookies with the turndown service.

Click here for more details and the latest rates at the Omni Berkshire Place.

What would you add to this list of the best New York City family hotels? Let me know in the comments section below. 

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Exploring with Kids: Long Weekend in Galveston http://kidventurous.com/things-to-do-in-galveston-with-kids/ http://kidventurous.com/things-to-do-in-galveston-with-kids/#respond Wed, 06 Apr 2016 14:02:43 +0000 http://kidventurous.com/?p=9396 Last June, my kids and I had the opportunity to explore Galveston, TX as part of our cross-country road trip. I wanted to mix up our trip stops, and less than two weeks into our trip, we were definitely ready for an adventure at the beach. This was our first time in Galveston and we were excited to explore a […]

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Things to Do in GalvestonLast June, my kids and I had the opportunity to explore Galveston, TX as part of our cross-country road trip. I wanted to mix up our trip stops, and less than two weeks into our trip, we were definitely ready for an adventure at the beach.

This was our first time in Galveston and we were excited to explore a beach town right on the Gulf of Mexico. We were also thrilled by all the things to do in Galveston, like the amusement rides at Pleasure Pier and the aquarium at Moody Gardens.

Whether you have a long weekend, or even a week, you’ll find so many things to do in Galveston. Here’s the scoop on where to stay, what to do and where to eat. Have fun. :)

Where to Stay 

After nearly two weeks in hotels, we were excited to stay in a two-bedroom bayside condo in Galveston that I booked through FlipKey. The condo was absolutely delightful and we were so happy to settle in, if only for a couple of days. A short walk to the beach, the condo is toward the end of Galveston in a quiet area with few hotels. So relaxing.

The condo has a well-stocked kitchen, which made it easy for the kids to get breakfast on their own each morning (I picked up cereal and donuts at a nearby Walmart) and for me to prepare a fairly basic dinner, like tacos, in the evening. The condo is part of the Pointe West Resort and Beach Club, so we even had access to a large kiddie pool, a fitness center and a BBQ area. Nice.

Things to Do in Galveston

The owners of this vacation rental were fantastic and made sure we had everything we needed. Plus, it was easy to get into the condo using a security keypad after our drive. Even better, it was great to have a washer and dryer. Not that I wanted to do laundry on vacation, but it was nice to be able to do the wash from the convenience of the condo.

There are a lot of vacation rental options in Galveston, making it a great choice for families, but if you do want to stay in a hotel while in Galveston, there are several great picks. Look to the Moody Gardens Hotel, San Luis Resort or TownePlace Suites by Marriott Galveston. All three are great for families.

Things to Do in Galveston

What to Do 

It’s easy to get around Galveston as a family. Of course, it’s a must to splash around on the beaches, but there are a number of kid-friendly attractions across the island, like Moody Gardens and Pleasure Pier. If you go, here are a few of my top things to do in Galveston.

Moody Gardens. My kids absolutely loved Moody Gardens. You can easily spend an entire day there and still not explore all of the attractions, including a ropes course, a waterpark, a paddlewheel boat, an aquarium and a rainforest experience. And, of course, the SpongeBob SubPants Adventure.

Things to Do in Galveston

Pleasure Pier. For midway games and a giant ferris wheel, it’s a must to visit Pleasure Pier. There are so many family-friendly rides and games, even a place to take antique photos. There are lots of shops and restaurants at Pleasure Pier, making it the perfect stop for a bite and after-dinner fun with the kids.

Tree Sculpture Tour. Print out a map and walk around the East End Historical District in Galveston to check out all kinds of sculptures made out of trees. There are 20 sculptures located in the historical district that range from a mermaid holding a clam shell to Toto from The Wizard of Oz. So cute.

Things to Do in Galveston

Treasure Island Tour Train. For a narrated overview of Galveston, hop aboard the Treasure Island Tour Train. This 90-minute guided tour covers 17 miles across Galveston, highlighting the historic homes, the downtown business district, the shrimp fleet, Moody Mansion and other key places of interest. 

Moody Mansion. Take a self-guided tour to explore 20 rooms inside Moody Mansion, which was once owned by the Moody family, one of the most powerful families in Texas. Be sure to stop in the garage for “Auto Fever,” an exhibit dedicated to the history of the automobile in the U.S. and Texas.

Things to Do in Galveston

East End Lagoon Nature Park and Preserve. From hiking and kayaking to fishing and crabbing, you’ll want to head to East End Lagoon Nature Park and Preserve to explore nature in Galveston. The nature park is also a great spot for bird watching and taking photos of animals and plants all around you. 

Where to Eat 

There are a number of restaurants in Galveston that are perfect for kids and families. Here are a few to check out during your visit.

Sunflower Bakery & Café. Located in the East End Historical District, Sunflower Bakery & Café is a great place to stop for a bite while checking out the tree sculptures. Look for fresh seafood, salads and made-to-order sandwiches.

Things to Do in Galveston

Café Michael Burger. Just off the beach, Café Michael Burger is a super-casual place to stop for burgers and more. Their burgers were even ranked among the top-50 in all of Texas. Try the Island Burger.

Shrimp ‘N Stuff. You can’t go to a beach town without sampling the seafood, so head to Shrimp ‘N Stuff. Look for coconut shrimp, fish tacos, fried crawfish and plenty of po-boy sandwiches.

Hey Mikey’s Ice Cream. It’s a must to head to Hey Mikey’s Ice Cream where you and the kids will find more than two dozen flavors of ice cream, like Candy Bar Overload and Thin Mint Cookie. They have nearly 10 flavors of Italian Ice, too.

Have you been to Galveston with your kids? I’d love to hear about some of your favorite things to do in Galveston, as well as your favorite places to eat as a family. 

Photo Credit: Sarah Page (Toto), J.R. Gordon (Moody Mansion), Katharine Shilcutt (Sunflower Bakery & Café)

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10 Things to Do as a Family at Great Smoky Mountains National Park http://kidventurous.com/great-smoky-mountains-trip/ http://kidventurous.com/great-smoky-mountains-trip/#respond Thu, 31 Mar 2016 16:58:35 +0000 http://kidventurous.com/?p=9338 We visited Great Smoky Mountains National Park last June. We explored the Tennessee side of the park, though there are access points from North Carolina. This Great Smoky Mountains trip was our first stop on our cross-country adventure. Consistently topping the list of the most-visited national parks, the Smoky Mountains offers more than 850 miles of hiking trails, including a […]

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Great Smoky Mountains TripWe visited Great Smoky Mountains National Park last June. We explored the Tennessee side of the park, though there are access points from North Carolina. This Great Smoky Mountains trip was our first stop on our cross-country adventure.

Consistently topping the list of the most-visited national parks, the Smoky Mountains offers more than 850 miles of hiking trails, including a section of the Appalachian Trail. Inside the park you’ll find waterfalls, colorful wildflowers, especially in the spring, and plenty of trails for biking and horseback riding.

We entered the park at the Sugarlands Visitor Center, which is just a few minutes drive from Pigeon Forge, TN. My kids loved the mix of hiking and exploring by day, then riding the ferris wheel and playing arcade games at the Island in Pigeon Forge at night.

Take a look at 10 things you must do if you take a Great Smoky Mountains trip. Have fun. :)

1. Stay Near the Park Entrance. If you aren’t planning to stay inside the park, I always suggest staying as close as you can to one of the park entrances. We stayed at Music Road Hotel. It’s just off Parkway in Pigeon Forge and has a huge water slide, a lazy river and a diving board. Even I went down the water slide a dozen times. It was the best iPad-free time we’ve had together as a family in some time. 

Great Smoky Mountains Trip

2. Attend a Ranger-Led Program. It’s a no-brainer, but if you take a Great Smoky Mountains trip, it’s a must to attend a ranger program. Pick up the free Smokies Guide newspaper when you arrive at the park or go online ahead of time to check out the schedule for the day(s) you’ll be at the park. 

3. Hike Up to Clingmans Dome. The entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park is 5-6 miles from Pigeon Forge. Stop in the Sugarland Visitors Center, then drive 45 minutes to Clingmans Dome. It’s another .5 mile hike (I can’t lie, it’s steep) up to the observation tower, but the views from the highest point in all of Tennessee are fantastic. 

Great Smoky Mountains Trip

4. Visit the Mountain Farm Museum. Adjacent to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center on the North Carolina side of the park, stop in the Mountain Farm Museum to learn about how families lived 100 years ago. Look for a farmhouse, a barn and a working blacksmith. There’s also a short, stroller-friendly trail that starts near the museum entrance and runs along the river. 

5. Hike the Appalachian Trail. Wait. What? Okay, fine, don’t hike the entire Appalachian Trail, but if you do decide to hike up to Clingmans Dome, look for the “Appalachian Trail” sign on the way down. Take a few steps on the trail and strike a pose in front of the sign to impress your friends.

Great Smoky Mountains Trip

6. Bike the Cades Cove Loop. Cades Cove Loop Road is popular among cyclists. Even better, the 11-mile road is closed to motor vehicles on Wednesdays and Saturdays until 10 am from early-May through late-September, so be sure to enjoy this car-free time on your bikes. Stop in Cades Cove for a short hike or to check out the historical buildings. 

7. Enjoy a Scenic Drive Around the Park. Most visitors that take a Great Smoky Mountains trip explore the park by car, so you won’t be alone if you opt to drive to various scenic lookouts across the park. The 11-mile Cades Cove Loop and Newfound Gap are among the most popular destinations among park motorists. 

Great Smoky Mountains Trip

8. Become a Junior Ranger. My kids love earning badges and patches at various national parks through the Junior Ranger program. You can pick up an activity booklet at any visitors center inside the park for $2.50. Complete a certain number of activities to receive a Junior Ranger badge. 

9. Get Your Parks Passport Stamped. Buy a National Parks Passport and head to one of the park’s visitors centers and you’ll get three cancellations stamps (one for the national park, one for the Appalachian Trail, which goes through the park, and one for the Trail of Tears).

Great Smoky Mountains Trip

10. Ride Aboard a Steam Train. Take a scenic rail trip on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. Excursions star at the historic depot in Bryson City, NC. These four-hour adventures offer incredible scenery and sightseeing layovers to see even more of the area. There are also packages that include a train trip as well as zip lines or a rafting adventure.

Have you taken a Great Smoky Mountains trip? I’d love to hear your must-do activities while at the national park. 

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Myrtle Beach: Family Vacation Checklist http://kidventurous.com/best-myrtle-beach-attractions-for-kids/ http://kidventurous.com/best-myrtle-beach-attractions-for-kids/#respond Tue, 29 Mar 2016 20:27:10 +0000 http://kidventurous.com/?p=9248 We just got back from Myrtle Beach, SC on Saturday. This was our first time ever to Myrtle Beach and it was such a fun time. So, naturally, I had to put together a checklist to help other families make the most of a getaway to Myrtle Beach since there are definitely some must-do Myrtle Beach attractions for kids. 1. […]

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Myrtle Beach: Family Vacation Checklist

We just got back from Myrtle Beach, SC on Saturday. This was our first time ever to Myrtle Beach and it was such a fun time. So, naturally, I had to put together a checklist to help other families make the most of a getaway to Myrtle Beach since there are definitely some must-do Myrtle Beach attractions for kids.

1. Stay on the Beach. There are lots of hotels right on the beach. We stayed at Forest Dunes Oceanfront Resort, which was an easy crosswalk away from the beach. It was perfect because it was on a quiet street and wasn’t next door to a megahotel. It was also about a half-block away from a children’s playground.

Taking in the view from our Forest Dunes condo on the 17th floor.

Taking in the view from our Forest Dunes condo on the 17th floor.

We stayed in a three-bedroom condo at Forest Dunes Oceanfront Resort, which worked out perfectly for my family of six. Our condo had a full kitchen, a big family room, even chairs to take out to the beach. We stocked the kitchen for breakfast, but liked having a restaurant inside the hotel too. As a bonus, there are multiple pools, as well as a lazy river at the hotel.

It was nice having a full kitchen in our condo at Forest Dunes.

It was nice having a full kitchen in our condo at Forest Dunes.

2. Take the Kids to a Dinner Show. Shows are big in Myrtle Beach. I took the kids to Medieval Times one evening.  Not only did we get to eat dinner with our hands (chicken, corn on the cob, even tomato bisque), but we got to shout and root for our knight in the medieval tournament. It was also perfectly acceptable (and promoted) to boo the other knights. How fun is that?

The kids absolutely loved Medieval Times in Myrtle Beach.

The kids absolutely loved Medieval Times in Myrtle Beach.

Even better, our knight (the black and white knight) won the entire tournament. And, better than that, he picked my eight-year-old daughter out of the crowd to be the Queen of Love & Beauty. She got a tiara and a sash. There are lots of other shows in town too, but another good pick for kids is Pirates Voyage.

We cheered on the black and white knight at Medieval Times.

We cheered on the black and white knight at Medieval Times.

3. Explore Nearby Gardens. Head to Brookgreen Gardens in nearby Murrells Inlet and you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported to Europe as you explore the incredible sculpture gardens. I truly could have spent all afternoon wandering the gardens. It was an unexpected treat for a beach town.

The sculpture gardens are incredible at Brookgreen Gardens.

The sculpture gardens are incredible at Brookgreen Gardens.

Your kids, however, may prefer to head to the zoo to check out the brand new Nature Connects exhibit. The zoo is a lot of fun on its own, but add in a dozen sculptures made from LEGO bricks and you have the recipe for a successful outing. Look for a giant tortoise, a seven-foot long dragonfly, even a colorful peacock, all made from LEGO bricks.

Kids will love the new Nature Connects exhibit at Brookgreen Gardens.

Kids will love the new Nature Connects exhibit at Brookgreen Gardens.

4. Head to a Sugar Shop. I’d never been to a sugar shop before, but there are at least three in Myrtle Beach and we managed to check out two of them, including I LOVE SUGAR and IT’SUGAR. Somehow we missed Sugar Life, an ice cream parlor and candy store.

There are loads of sugar shops in Myrtle Beach.

There are loads of sugar shops in Myrtle Beach.

Inside these sugar shops, you’ll find nearly every candy imaginable, including lots and lots of bulk candies that you can load up on and take home. You’ll also find big (like really big) size candies, including a 24 oz box of Nerds and a 33 oz Kit Kat bar. Now that’s BIG.

Look for BIG sizes of candies at ITS'SUGAR.

Look for BIG sizes of candies at ITS’SUGAR.

5. Go Shelling at Sunrise. It’s a must to wake up early to go shelling at sunrise. The views are fantastic and it’s the perfect time to hit the beach since the tide is going out and there are lots of shells to be found (there are lots of shell-seekers on the beach too).

There' s nothing like a Myrtle Beach sunrise.

There’ s nothing like a Myrtle Beach sunrise.

You’ll also want to keep your eyes open for tide pools to explore. If you see a huge group of squawking sea birds clustered together, you’ve likely found a tide pool. Take a walk on the beach or break out a metal detector to see if you and your kids can find some beach treasures.

6. Walk Along the Boardwalk. In any beach town, it’s a must to stroll along the boardwalk and Myrtle Beach is no different, though the boardwalk is not very long. You’ll find I LOVE SUGAR on the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, as well as multiple Ripley’s attractions and arcades.

Be sure to take a stroll along the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk.

Be sure to take a stroll along the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk.

We loved the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel, the 200-foot observation wheel that offered fantastic views up and down the beach. Our favorite though was being on top of the wheel and watching the riders get thrown up into the air on the Sling Shot Thrill Ride. I felt queasy just watching the riders.

Riding the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel is a must too.

Riding the Myrtle Beach SkyWheel is a must too.

7. Play a Round of Mini Golf. Since Myrtle Beach is the Mini Golf Capital of the World, it’s a must to play at least one round of miniature golf. We got our round in at Dragon’s Lair Fantasy Golf, which is located at Broadway at the Beach, the primary entertainment district in Myrtle Beach.

Myrtle Beach is the Mini Golf Capital of the World.

Myrtle Beach is the Mini Golf Capital of the World.

The kids had so much fun playing mini golf and incredibly there was not one fight the entire round. I still can’t believe it. Even better, I shot two holes in one on the course. As you can imagine, there are lots of mini golf courses in Myrtle Beach, but other good courses include Jungle Safari and Shipwreck Island.

There's a fun mini golf course around every corner in Myrtle Beach.

There’s a fun mini golf course around every corner in Myrtle Beach.

8. Get Your Fill of Seafood. If you’re not allergic to shellfish, try the seafood while in Myrtle Beach. I always think it’s a must to get seafood when in a beach town. We ate lunch one day at Mr. Fish, which is just a mile or so away from Forest Dunes. Oh my gosh, so good (I love fish tacos).

Mmmm...I love fish tacos. Photo Credit: Mr. Fish

Mmmm…I love fish tacos. Photo Credit: Mr. Fish

I was hesitant at first about Mr. Fish based on the name alone, but I’m glad we paid them a visit (the hotel suggested the restaurant one day for lunch). The food is very affordable, the service was speedy and we even got hush puppies to eat while waiting for our food. I couldn’t have asked for more. 

9. Say Hello to a Small Dog. I know, that sounds strange, right? But Myrtle Beach is very pet-friendly and there are little dogs everywhere. Whether I was running on the beach or catching the pink sunset with my kids while they played on the playground, there was always a friendly small dog nearby.

Myrtle Beach is very pet-friendly.

Myrtle Beach is very pet-friendly.

There are a lot of snowbirds in Myrtle Beach and many of them travel with their pets. So it wasn’t too surprising to see a water fountain just for pets. I saw these all over town, just steps away from the beach. I love that Myrtle Beach is such a pet-friendly destination.  

10. Go to Broadway at the Beach. As I noted above, Broadway at the Beach is the primary entertainment district in Myrtle Beach. Here there are loads of Myrtle Beach attractions for kids, including amusement rides and fun shops to explore (we easily spent 45 minutes in Marbles: The Brain Store).

WonderWorks is a must-visit in Myrtle Beach. We loved the Bubble Lab.

WonderWorks is a must-visit in Myrtle Beach. We loved the Bubble Lab.

WonderWorks is a must-visit while at Broadway at the Beach. The kids loved playing laser tag, laying on a bed of nails and blowing huge bubbles in the Bubble Lab. Our other favorite was Broadway Grand Prix, an awesome go-kart race park with tracks for everyone in the family. There’s even mini golf, bumper cars, arcade games and a rock climbing wall. We could have spent all afternoon here. :)

You won't want to miss the go-karts and bumper cars at Broadway Grand Prix.

You won’t want to miss the go-karts and bumper cars at Broadway Grand Prix.

What are some of your favorite Myrtle Beach attractions for kids? Let me know in the comments section below.

 

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