• Jil

    Heather, I am disappointed in you. That list does not include your butt.

  • Melanie

    Palm Springs has become my family’s default place for vacations. It’s relaxed and there’s lots to do in the area. I absolutely hate staying in hotels with my kids, so we rent a house or condo there. We can spread out a bit, prepare most of our own meals, do laundry, etc. The only downside is that it’s a looooong day of flying for us to get there.

  • Dee

    When I was a kid my parents took us to historic Williamsburg Virginia, where they have a beautifully re-created colonial village and you can really get a great idea of history there. We had been traveling for a while and had seen a lot of sights in Washington DC. My brother and I were about 11 and 13. You’d think we would appreciate Williamsburg, right?! Nope. We insisted we couldn’t take ANY MORE HISTORY and spent the entire day in the swimming pool of the Holiday Inn. So here’s the takeaway: Yes, take the kids to Williamsburg. No, don’t make it the last stop on your Educational Trip. Make it the first stop. Promise them if they pay attention that the next day they can go to the huge amusement park nearby. Really.

  • Windy Pixels

    As a kid I mostly recall my vacations being a giant lamefest for my Mom. My Dad drove, she sat in the middle of the minivan to field all us kids and our needs, and we would do three day trips down to Memphis to visit my grandparents. I really don’t think vacations were ever relaxing for my parents. Maybe that’s why I struggle to relax on vacation now… But during downtime they were fixing meals, cleaning us, doing mountains of laundry, ugh. I imagine a cruise would have been a much better use of time, but with my Dad’s job as a contractor we never knew when he was or was not working. That planning ahead part was impossible.

  • Bob

    Our kids were born in Greece (island of Crete), so there was that. We took the babies all over that island, and let me tell you – Greek people love children. It was absolutely better to take them rather than trying to find a sitter while we traveled. (Museums were a trial, but still worth it.)

    As they were growing up, we took them many places in the U.S. and most recently my wife took our daughter to London as a college graduation present.

    Yes, traveling with small children is a challenge, but the benefits outweigh the problems. For us, anyway. YMMV.

  • Debra

    Boyfriend! Boyfriend! Thanks for sharing that little peak. It says more than words need to!
    Much Love to you, your babies, your family, and YOUR BOYFRIEND! YEAH!!!!!

  • foundmercy

    Priceless mommy smile while holding Marlo. <3

  • Heather Armstrong

    I’ve heard that about several places in Europe, that the people love kids so much that it makes it seem like you’ve got several hands helping out. Good to know that about Greece.

  • Heather Armstrong

    When we traveled to Moab earlier this year we rented a condo and it was so much easier on everyone than staying in a hotel. Just that simple access to a kitchen makes the hugest difference.

  • Heather Armstrong

    38. MY BUTT.

  • Doreen Leppa Schiebe

    Visit Edina, MN in the summer, ’cause, honey, it is COLD here! It’s 10:20 am, the sun is shinning and it’s only 17degrees!

  • acm

    No real favorite trips yet as a parent — indeed one’s ability to relax or enjoy oneself is undermined by the ceaseless broadcastings of dissatisfaction and disappointment. Ugh. A family summer camp week worked out pretty well, though, as kids and parents got to go in different directions for half the day, come back together for meals and some afternoon activities — will do that again a couple more years.

    As a kid I loved cross-country camping trips to the Rocky Mountains and other parts West. I also look forward to showing my kid some places in Europe, as we love those trips so much (and someday her mastery of Spanish will make seeing some new places easier too)…

  • Lindzgrl

    Totally jealous of your cabin. I think waiting until your kids are older is great—this way they will actually remember the trips!

  • Nicole B.

    Grandmommies cabin looks so nice & peaceful. AND THERE ARE WEAPONS ON THE WALL!? I can’t believe the house is still standing with you know who…:)

  • Rebecca Fleur Lockwood

    It is true about Southern Europe and their inclusion of children in all they do. Greece is fabulous but not great if you like your kids in bed by 8pm latest!

  • Jennifer Cafferty-Davis

    As a child, my parents introduced my brother and me to many places. I am doing that with my children as well. BUT……no place is a better vacation than the cabin in the mountains. Every other vacation had rules. There are no rules at the cabin. ;)

  • chuck

    I took my two children to Disney World in August. Yes, August, in 1992, when they were young. We had so much fun that they still talk about the trip when we are together. Then the two large photo albums come out and we look at the photos and laugh hysterically. We somehow avoided heatstroke. All of us. Not having heatstroke was fun.

  • Katie B

    I was just talking about this with a friend. We’re like you and are waiting for big trips til the kiddos are older. We did take an 8 hour road trip once but it was AWFUL. The longest flight we’ve done is three hours non stop and I was definitely sweaty armpit city. Sometimes I feel like I should be that carefree world traveler taking my kids everywhere so their first memories are the Eiffel Tower or seeing kangaroos. But I know it wouldn’t be pleasurable for me and why spend thousands of dollars for flop sweat and panic attacks?

  • heja

    I am a believer in traveling with the kiddos. I think everything takes practice, so the more you do it, the better travelers they become. My two kids (ages 5 and 3) have been to Italy, San Francisco, Puerto Rico, St John, Seattle, San Francisco, Florida, and up and down the east coast in cars. We have camped, we have rented houses, we have stayed in hotel rooms. There have been disasters, and moments I wanted to die (but I have those moments at home too). But there have also been amazing memories. My daughter took her first steps in Rome, they still remember the leaning tower of Pisa, they love airplanes, they have been snorkling, and skiing. I want our big gifts to be gifts of travel, I plan to let them pick out whatever trip they want to take when they are 13 and 16 and make it happen.

  • Heather Armstrong

    Haha! My mom decorates that way so much it didn’t even dawn on me! You’re right. We could have all died!

  • Sonja

    We took our two year old toddler to Peru last year and while it definitely wasn’t relaxing (far from it!), it was a seriously fun adventure. And frankly, far different from any kind of travel we’d done previously. Peruvians love kids, especially as most of the Americans they see are the college student backpackers or the retired set (with more moolah). We took lots of pictures ourselves but we were ‘featured’ in about ten times as many pictures taken by locals. I got really used to being mobbed by schoolchildren and handing over my kid so families could take photos with the little boy from America. We were definitely outside of our comfort zone – but perhaps that’s not a bad thing when setting off to see the world? Best of luck with your travel adventures, Heather! I think a sense of adventure and expanded world view is a great gift to be able to give to your kids.

  • Heather Armstrong

    While out there I would turn my back for two seconds and my mother would slip them a candy bar. Every single time. And I’d just shrug.

  • Heather Armstrong

    THAT. I’ve heard they start SERVING dinner at 10? 11?

  • kp

    don’t forget SEATTLE. in the summer.

  • kmpinkel

    Our kids range in ages, 17, 12, 6 and 5, so travelling whilst entertaining all groups is the tricky part. However, we live in Michigan and there is nothing better than lake Michigan at any age. And it does not matter where on the coast. Whatever we do, we try to make outdoors a big part of it. Ideally, I would love to take them to places that are a better reflection of how other people in the world live. When our older ones where the only ones, we took them to Jamaica and stayed at an out the way place that was run by locals. Their whole families worked there, including their children. My kids mad friends with their heir kids and they were able to experience life through a locals eyes and that was priceless. I want my kids to continue to have those experiences well into adulthood. Those things are invaluable in how we look at the world and how we value people.

  • Lauren3

    Favorite trip? Probably all family vacations once I was old enough to start drinking with my parents. I also want to share a little family vacation “curse” — when we were younger, my sister and I were always allowed to each bring a friend along (we’re very far apart in age). FOUR TIMES our friends got their period *for the first time ever* while on vacation with us. My mom started mentioning this to our friends’ parents after the 3rd occurrence, and yes, her somewhat gleeful declaration of this fact weirded some of them out.

  • Kimberly Wydeen

    I just want to say it is great that you are already taking them on car trips and planning air travel at a young age. My family never lived closer than a 2 hour car ride away from us, so have always known how to pack a suitcase, get in a car, keep myself occupied, and be a guest somewhere. As for air travel, doing it as a kid takes some of the scare out it if, do it while you are too young to even consider the number of things that could go wrong. I can pack for a trip in about 15 minutes and never leave the house without a book to read, because you never know.

    My fiance always lived within a 30 minute radius from his family, and they are all shocked that we regularly drive further then that just to get to work.

  • Teal

    My family always camped, so we’ve driven great distances in our motor home. (We live in Indiana.) One of my favorite trips was when we drove out to Pennsylvania, New York state, and then all up & down the Outer Banks. It was an awesome trip. We’ve also driven to Florida several times. The only time I’ve ever flown was when we went out to Las Vegas. I would love to go there again!

  • cheekymuffy

    Patiently waiting for my invite to the cabin….

  • Meg

    I’m not kidding, Marlo with those slippers brought tears to my eyes. And how happy the dogs are. Okay, seriously, how happy ALL Y’ALL look. Beautiful. I wish your mother could, say, host strangers there, because the dog currently snoring next to me would LOVE to race around out there.

    My father has brought us to London on the tail end of long business trips before, so we’ve been able to stay in his rented flats, which is the best way to travel, obviously. The last time we went my younger brother was finally grown up which made the trip much more pleasant, since we could all branch off and not have to do everything together. For example, he went . . . somewhere and I spent the day in St Paul’s including climbing alllllllllll the steps up to the very top and getting amazing pictures.
    We used to vacation on Martha’s Vineyard (when I was little) before it got too crowded, and that was always fun. As an adult, I prefer the Gulf of Mexico to the New England Atlantic because I’m a wimp with cold.

  • patches23

    I was walking around the shopping area of old town Stockholm one day when I heard a cry like no other. A boy about 3 had become separated from mom. Instantly there were three other women around him, comforting him until mom came running back. I was so impressed. Just taking care of the child, getting it done without the drama that can happen in this country. All was well. That kid is probably 16 today, so it made quite an impression.

  • Jen Wilson

    Vancouver! I love that city. We went there every second year when I was a kid. The trip there was a horrible HELLISH 16-20 hours in a non-air-conditioned van with my parents and three younger siblings and fights and tantrums and screaming and crying, but when we got there, we always had a blast. (This is why I didn’t have four kids.)

    We haven’t taken any vacations with our kids yet, but hope to. One day. :)

  • Natasha

    Rosemount here-yes wait until summer!!!! Brrr! But you should take the girls to Lake Mille Lacs, it’s breathtaking :)

  • Natasha

    I’ve always been a fancy hotel kinda girl when traveling. But we have 3 kids and a dog now….so we bought an RV. And I wouldn’t trade it for nothin. It has a KITCHEN. and POTTY. And beds where your children will actually sleep, because it’s familiar. Like home. We drive 2000+ miles every summer to the West Coast- Portland mainly, hubby has promised me Cali next summer :) to visit family. We even did it last summer with a newborn, and 2 yo, and a 7 yo. And our needy middle child dog. Easy peasy. And fun.
    And if you make it up here to Minnesota! definitely check out Lake Mille Lacs. My parents, siblings, and our family always rent a few cabins at Appledoorn Resort and it is beautiful. And peaceful. And I look forward to it-even with a newborn :)

  • Cindy

    Is that Matt in those photos?!

  • http://ferryfolk.com Danalan

    You’re within range of a day trip to Craters of the Moon – you can also stay overnight at the old, round Holiday Inn in Idaho Falls if you want to make a weekend of it. Anyway, go to Craters of the Moon in the high summer. Take big flashlights, water, jackets (it’s cold in the caves), and sturdy shoes. It’s awesome! Great walking caves, fascinating scenery, nature at it’s most interesting.

    Don’t take the dogs – not safe for them, too tough on their feet. You should go through Arco, past the early (and still operating) nuclear reactors, and loop down through Twin Falls for the full tourist special. I don’t know if Shoshone Ice Caves are any better than the caves full of ice at The Craters of the Moon, or not.

  • Matt

    mattmattmattmatt!

  • Savannah Stewart

    So glad I am not the only one who dreads taking their child on vacation…I am always clenching my teeth waiting for him to scream bloody murder because he hates public bathrooms! Changing table=torture table. Automatic hand dryer=the evil machine from hell that makes so much noise that I am certain the roof is going to detach revealing a helicopter and fly off.

    However, we just took a wonderful week getaway to Wisconsin. Granted I made sure we were within 3 hours of house as I didn’t want our toddler to meltdown, but it was so worth it. We are already planning to go back to the house on the beach that is dog friendly:) We also make the trip to see my family in Ohio which is 6 hours away and let’s just say that trip is less than fun….

  • Doreen

    That’s a grandma job. I can’t wait until my grandbaby is big enough to spoil!!

  • Mary Mahoney Weaver

    And once you’re here in Minnesota, travel about 3 hours west and you’ll be in the land of more than 1500 lakes in Otter Tail County! Worth the trip. Seriously.

  • Shey

    FABULOUS picture post! My favorite one in a long time…each picture was better than the last! I love seeing you in them, too. Thanks so much for sharing! Your kids seem to be doing wonderful!

  • Emily

    Out of all places, you list Edina… which is where I pretended I wasn’t from when I was in college ( going instead with the vague “Minneapolis”). I admit, it is nice, and friendlier than LA.

  • Natalie

    We fly to Philly from denver quite a few times a year. I have a 10 year old girl (angel) and an almost 2 year old boy (Tasmanian devil). Somehow though, even though I expect the absolute worst on the flight? Things almost always go pretty close to perfect.

    We’ve been everywhere with our daughter, from Belize to Maine. Our son is well travelled by now too I guess, he’s got a few trips to NYC under his belt and San Fran, Moab, Wyoming, lots for a youngster. We just pack them up and hope for the best!

  • theboldsoul

    I’m 52 and only have had kids in my life for the past 6 years — they’re my husband’s; he’s French and we live in Paris. Which was always MY #1 Vacation Spot, but to my French loved ones you might as well say “Hey let’s go to Cleveland on our next vacation”. It’s their home town so they’re bored by it. The two oldest are now young adults who are in university, but the youngest is 12. A few years ago just before his 10th birthday, we took him to visit my family in New Jersey for two weeks; his first trip to America. We spent 3 days in New York City, staying in a HOTEL, which the boy loves to do (much like Leta). He enjoyed New York a lot. But no where NEAR as much as he loved… WILDWOOD, NEW JERSEY. Yes, the Jersey Shore has claimed a little French boy’s heart. We did nothing more exciting there than go to the beach, eat pancakes in the motel (a MOTEL! Woo-hoo!) diner, play mini-golf… oh, right, and the ARCADE GAMES! OMG the GAMES. Where you get TICKETS! That you can save up and later exchange for FREE STUFF! (Ha! Kid, do you have any idea how many thousands of quarters that “free” stuff costs us?) On the last hour of our last day in Wildwood, the boy hit the MONSTER JACKPOT (that was literally its name) on a boardwalk arcade game, and won over 3,000 tickets. That, combined with other tickets we’d collected over the 4 days we were there, bought the boy two small stuffed Angry Birds and a random bunch of other plastic crap.

    To this day, if you ask him about his best vacation ever? He’ll say Wildwood, New Jersey. It trumps Disneyland, Club Med in Turkey, and even Venice where he went with his mom on his fall school break this year. And I gotta say, Venice is MY second favorite vacation place, so the fact that my kid thinks Wildwood is EVEN BETTER THAN VENICE? Does this Jersey Girl’s heart proud. At least ONE of my step-kids “gets” the mystique of the Jersey Shore. My best childhood memories are of the Jersey Shore, so now I get to share that with him. :)

  • theboldsoul

    P.S. I’m pretty much of the belief that when traveling with kids as a family, it is NEVER a “vacation” for the mom. EVER. It will never be calm, restful, peaceful for the mom when she’s the one doing the laundry, planning, packing, and worrying about everyone else’s good time. That being said, maybe you need to redefine what “vacation” looks like if you’re traveling with your kids. It might not be restful at all. It might even been stressful in a lot of ways. That doesn’t mean it can’t still be a ton of fun in its own way. I think you should try going somewhere with them besides the cabin. Start with one of the less exotic places on your list – Edina Minnesota maybe? Or back to Tennessee? Then work your way up, as they get older, to places like London.

  • Windy Mayes

    Bring the girls to my house where there are 8 cats to torture and 2, count ‘em 2 teens to babysit. We can get drunk and watch GOT.

  • JennC

    We took our three kids to Brazil a few years ago when they were 7. I was a bit nervous, but they did surprising well, even on the ridiculously long flights, the inevitable delays and mishaps, and the weirdness of being in a place where you don’t speak the language. We had an amazing time!

  • Amy Sternthal Mendelblatt

    we take our 3 kids cross country twice a year, and I recently started traveling with them to my parents in the summer (by myself–which was frightening the first time, but since then, not so bad)
    This coming summer we’re headed to alaska on an ‘uncruise’ with them. I’m freaked out to have them on a small cruise ship–especially at night, but I’m sure it’ll be fine. right? what could possibly go wrong?

  • Amanda Olsen Brown

    We waited for YEARS before really traveling with our kids. They were nightmares to take anywhere so we figured it wasn’t worth all the work and expense to drag them someplace they wouldn’t even remember. That being said, we just got back from a 3 hr plan ride to my parents house in the frigid Canadian prairies and the flight was so pleasantly non-eventful, I almost couldn’t believe it. Now that the girls are 7,5, and 3 we didn’t have to pack playpen, strollers, diapers, etc. And no one crapped their pants! No one wailed when the plane took off nor continued to wail for the whole flight. They just looked out the window and ate snacks. I am glad we waited.

  • Chris Boardman

    the best trip we took with the kids was a trip to the East Coast when they were 9 and 8. We flew into D.C. and drove to Boston over the course of two weeks, stopping at all the historical sights along the way. My stepson is 25 now (his sister passed away in 2009 at the age of 22) but I still have their diaries from that trip which remind me that we even saw President Clinton in the Rose Garden and there is a picture of me and the kids on the ferry to Ellis Island with the WTC in the background. Treasured memories!