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Best vacation with a toddler?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
We desperately need a family vacation; I was wondering if anyone has any experience with vacationing with a toddler (20 mos old)? What did or did not work?

One caveat is that DS will have to be with us, we won't put him in a nursery or anything. DS generally likes hotels and kids museums, but DH's tolerance for a kid museum is minimal. DS won't really sit through a long meal these days; he's also pretty shy- I don't think people dressed up as cartoons would impress him but would rather scare him. We all went on a cruise when he was 11 mos and it was great- he had lots of fun running around the ship and enjoyed the long dinners (I guess because a whole staff was catering to him), but we couldn't take him in the pool and I was sort of feeling like we were missing out on the fun evening events that weren't toddler appropriate. Anyway, just scouting for ideas/locations/hotels/resorts, etc...
post #2 of 20
we take our ds everywhere with us. our last vacation was in costa rica. it was great because we spent a lot of time playing on the beach and hiking. he did great. we always brought our ergo with us but he rarely wanted to be in it. he still talks about the "sand crabs" which were really hermit crabs and our trip was about 5 months ago. so, i'd say anything that involves being outside a lot would be fun.
post #3 of 20
no idea but watching this thred... we thought about vegas while the lights and stuff might overstimulate, we thought about how FAST the meals would be...pizza in NY,NY, crepes in france, buffets(oooo lots of variety for food!), pools, walking around and not getting in and out of a car, aquariams to see, clean bathrooms(love that!) I know it seems like a weird place...but it's not a bad idea I think. We just went three years ago before having dd or I would go back... I just feel it's to soon. They also have a fao toys there (three story tall, big fancy toy store)
post #4 of 20
We've only ever taken the kids camping, but they've always loved it. Without anything to distract us (the parents), we find that we really give them so much more of our attention than we do in regular life. So of course they love it!

We tend to prefer camping at the beach.

post #5 of 20
We went camping near the beach this summer in a great community. You could pick either tent or cabin, there was a pool and swingsets too. That was so fun, and just being able to see so many stars was awesome. Ds was about 20 mo. old and he still talks about it. We have also done a couple beach towns along the CA coast, Santa Barbara and Carmel. We all had so much fun since there was a lot to do and lots of nature to explore. I have some friends who have gone to Hawaii and loved it also! Good luck!
post #6 of 20
We're just in the talking stages of our next vacation. Our youngest will likely be 2-2.5 y.o. when we go. We're thinking the Mayan Riviera. . Playa Del Carmen or around that area. From what I've seen/heard there seems to be a good mix. Hiking, Mayan ruins, beaches, wildlife.

There's all sort of places where toddlers can have fun.
post #7 of 20
I saw your title and I was going to suggest a cruise. Then I saw that you already tried that! We've taken my DD on several cruises and for us it is an ideal vacation. She's older now (7yrs) and loves going to the kids club for a few hours at night so DH and I can have some couple time.

Maybe the beach? We've been to Sanibel in Fl and it was so fun and relaxing. The place we rented had a kitchen, so we could eat in if we wanted to. There are tons of shells on the beach in Sanabel too. We spent hours just collecting shells. Our hotel was right on the beach so it was easy to go back to the room to use the restroom or grab a snack. We also did a sunset cruise and saw dolphins. There are some family friendly restaurants there as well.

I want to go back there this summer!

I've been to Vegas twice in the past few years and would not bring my DD there. At least not to any of the major hotels. With all of the places I've been to, you need to go directly through the casino to get anywhere. Besides the fact that it would be way over-stimulating for my DD, the casinos are filled with smoke. I was so grossed out by the smell of smoke the entire time we were there. Plus anywhere that we went to eat, we had a major wait. It was fine for me and DH and we had fun, but I don't think DD would have enjoyed it.
post #8 of 20
Defientely the beach, you can rent a little apartment and have everything you need plus a relaxing vacation.

Maybe an all inclusive resort would be perfect too that way you wont have to cook
post #9 of 20
Another vote for the beach. We've been to the Outer Banks, NC twice with DD--once when she was 10 months old and last year when she was 22 months. We rented a house, so had a homey space with washer/dryer, full kitchen, etc. It was great because we had the option of just hanging at the pool or the beach or getting out and about exploring (lighthouse, aquarium, shopping, etc.). Whichever suited our (and a toddler's!) mood.

We went at the end of September, which was great--no crowds, but still warm enough to swim. Loved it and can't wait to go back this year.
post #10 of 20
One time I read an article about taking kids on vacation that was really good. Sometimes it's better to stay close to home so you dont have to deal with airplanes, or really long car rides. So, do you have any cool state parks, zoos, aquariums near where you live? You could just do a quick drive to a place close to you, stay in kid friendly hotel with a pool, hang out at the park, have a picnic, just wander and take your time. Much less stressful and yet still totally a relaxing vacation!
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
I really enjoyed reading about everyone's vacations! I'll have to live vicariously for you for the time being. We finally decided on a long weekend close to home in DC. We never go there anymore, so it'll be nice to rediscover it. We splurged on a 4-star hotel (at a discount rate of course) and most of the museums and attractions are free there, so we can let him run around the museums for a bit.

I miss traveling extensively overseas like we used to, but I am trying to be patient and content myself with exploring more things close t home like festivals and stuff my baby will like. I show him travel magazines and talk to him about all the places we'll see when he gets older (and mommy has a job again so we can afford it).

DH is adamantly against taking him on a plane until he's at least 3 and can understand what is going on somewhat. I don't think this would be a good age for a cruise, too many things we can't participate in with a toddler to make the cost worth it. So, we'll keep finding things closer to home to do.

This summer we're going to go to Sesame Street and Hershey PA at some point (we have family in PA we can stay with).
post #12 of 20
My DD has been on a plane 4 times already and she has done great every time. She flew the last time at 18 months and really understood what was going on, I anticipate she will even more when we fly again in March, so don't let that stop you.
post #13 of 20
We recently flew. . It was my DD's fourth flight (her first was at 2) and my DS's first flight and he was 9 months. He loved it, she loves it. He sat in his carseat looking out the window the entire trip down (3 hours), the trip back he slept from take-off to touch-down.

I myself have always hated flying. And each time I get anxious about how horrible it might be. It's my LOs that make it enjoyable for me because they get such a kick out of it.
post #14 of 20
We are going to Orlando for the second time. We went last year when ds was 13 months and this year he will be 25 months. We don't do Disney but choose Orlando because we can get straight through flights from our town and the flight is only 2 hours. We did the beach, and Sea World and our resort had a FANTASTIC pool - totally all about the kids and we spent lots of time there.
I highly suggest a condo type of rental or a house if you can swing it. That way on the days your toddler is overstimulated you can just cook dinner at your place and stay in. It really works for us.
post #15 of 20
definitely a place with a kitchen, like a timeshare or a little apartment. I went to the berkshires with a 6 y/o an 18 m/o and a 5 m/o last year and it was great. lots of low key activities.
post #16 of 20
We have a great vacation in Nov., went to Florida, got rooms that were suites with kitchenettes so we only ate out once (DS also cannot sit still in a restaurant). He loved the beach and the pool at the hotel. I was surprised that it was actually relaxing! And with the suite DH and I could have some adult time after DS went to sleep. It was really nice.
post #17 of 20
We just spent a week at the Sandestin resort in Destin, FL. It was great, lots of little areas to shop, three playgrounds for the kids, swimming pools, bicycles to rent, beach, shopping, restaurants, supermarket, miniature golf, and they rent condos and the cutest houses, all with full kitchens, etc. What's really fantastic is that once you are there they have this bus system that takes you all around the resort, so no need to strap the kid in the car anymore. We found it to be such a great place, we highly recommend it.

We've also taken my son to Europe when he was 2 1/2, we went to Wales and London and had a ball, as long as there are parks and outdoor spaces, kids do fine!
post #18 of 20
Originally Posted by lexbeach View Post
We've only ever taken the kids camping, but they've always loved it. Without anything to distract us (the parents), we find that we really give them so much more of our attention than we do in regular life. So of course they love it!

We tend to prefer camping at the beach.

Lex, What beaches campgrounds have been fun for you? We are in Amherst, and looking to plan a summer beach getaway.

For our part, we liked Grand Lake in Colorado. Great fun animal watching, paddle boats, perfect kiddie beach, min-golf and so on. Short hikes for kids, or bring a backpack carrier and picnic and nap in a gorgeous spot.
post #19 of 20
We live close to the beach and Orlando. The vacation budget is super tight so we spend money on what's most important for that trip. Last Aug. we took a long weekend to Miami and had a BLAST. We stayed at a hotel a little north and just drove down to South Beach and it was so fun. The hotel had a pool and we swam every night - even now if you ask DS what's to do in Miami he says, "Go swimming!" We enjoyed walking around South Beach and stuff, so much to see and it's free. We also went to the Miami MetroZoo (we were zoo members so it was free!) and that place is HUGE - easily a two-day zoo!
post #20 of 20
"Best" vacation is one where grandparents come too and play with grandchild.

I love flying for vacations, it makes me feel like I am really getting away and my daughter has never had a problem - first time at 3 months and regularly since then.

We have done europe, cape cod, florida, chicago. I basically find that my daughter is pretty happy to do whatever we are doing. It is so fun to be with daddy all day that she really doesn't care if it isn't a "child specific" activity.

In terms of having trouble with not sitting still for meals, I have found that even more upscale restaraunts don't really care if you come with a toddler right when they open. There aren't a lot of other people there so it makes dining easier.
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