The 9 Best Trips to Take While Your Kids Live at Home


Child tries sashimi for the first time.We have 18 years with our children before they graduate and go to school or enter the workforce. The good news is that no matter how old your children are (yes, even if they have flown the coop), the best time to start creating these memories is now.

Here are nine trips to take with your kids, at any age, but especially now.

Beach Getaway

In Dallas, we are just four hours away from Galveston where we have access to a long Texas coastline. If you’re not boarding a cruise ship, keep driving south to Port Aransas. A family favorite, Port Aransas near Corpus Christi is an easy trip to make, especially for kids that have never seen a beach.

Florida is an easy flight or a 1-2 day road trip away and has a great selection of Gulf and Atlantic beaches. 30-A towns like Seaside and Watercolor are among our favorites.

College and/or Career Inspiration

As kids get closer to college age, it’s important to show them different campuses, so that they can choose the right school for them. But, for children that are younger, you can nurture their interests. New York City is a great place for kids interested in finance, fashion, or art. Monterrey or San Diego are great cities for an aspiring marine biologist. For a child interested in paleontology, visit Glen Rose or South Dakota.

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Mother and child walk in the sand together at duskHistorical & Cultural Trips

Our kids learn Spanish in the dual language program at their schools. A trip to Oaxaca, rich in traditions, is something that I hope to do with them. We’ve already been to Mexico City, Puerto Escondido, Cabo, and we are headed to Guatemala soon.

For kids that love history — or parents that want to make it come alive — Washington, D.C. and Boston are must-sees, stateside. Across the pond, Normandy is an easy add-on to a Paris trip, and will give little history buffs an eyewitness perspective of the magnitude of World War II. Likewise, Churchill’s War Rooms in London put you in the center of the action.

International Trip

If you are lucky enough to have a U.S. passport, you have the freedom to travel to 189 countries without a visa. That is astonishing. London, Paris, and Italy are great options, but there’s a whole world out there, so don’t feel constrained to those popular destinations. If you are concerned about language barriers, try Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore or somewhere else where English is spoken.

Muti-Generational Trip

Many of us find ourselves at the age where the grandparents are getting older but still able to do things with the kids. A trip together provides opportunities for the grandkids to connect more with their grandparents. It also may provide couples the opportunity to sneak in a romantic date in a beautiful location without the kids one night. We have visited Iceland, Hawaii, Mexico, and taken a Disney cruise with grandparents and they are highlights for us all.

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Child hugs a giant tree in a national forest.National Park Adventure

I’ve never heard of anyone regretting a trip to one of our 63 National Parks. The National Park Service has a slogan, “Find Your Park,” because there is one for everyone whether you like hiking, spelunking, sledding, watching wildlife, or something else. It’s true. Our family’s favorites are Yellowstone, Smoky Mountains, Big Bend and the Grand Canyon.

Recently, we did a two-week trip around the Southwest focusing on National Parks. One important tip — don’t sit on this. If you want to go, plan ahead because lodges fill up as soon as availability is released, and many parks require a timed entry.

Road Trip

If time or budget is a concern, a road trip is a great option. You can make the most of your time on the road by making stops along the way to get up close and personal with the varied landscapes right outside your window. Mountains, lakes, oceans, caves and forests are all at our fingertips. We have great cities with iconic landmarks and great food.

For longer hauls, maximize your trip by scheduling time to see loved ones in addition to your travel adventures. On our family’s annual road trip to Chicago, a 15-hour drive from Dallas, to see my sister and her family, we stay in Springfield, Missouri to see my mother-in-law, too. We get a twofer along the way because we pass the St. Louis Arch, cross over the Mississippi River, and pass the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln.

Theme Park Trip

Disney is perhaps the most controversial pick that I could make. People have strong opinions for or against the park. Truthfully, I shudder at the expense, but I will say that it is magical to experience the parks through your children’s eyes. Although this trip requires next-level endurance from parents, it is effortless in the sense that you know everything will be handled with top-notch service and safety.

Other popular theme parks include Universal Studios and Cedar Point in Ohio where families experience thrilling roller coasters.

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Volunteer Trips

A volunteer trip is a great way to show your kids the importance of giving back. Many churches organize trips, but you can do so on your own by looking up opportunities with a non-profit in your country of choice. In Puerto Escondido, for example, we helped release turtles into the ocean. To see the babies go to the ocean was an unforgettable experience. It’s simple and rewarding to incorporate a service activity into your vacation’s itinerary.

If you’ve never thought strategically about the trips that you take with your kids, I encourage you to do so now, no matter their age. Your kids will learn life-long lessons in a short amount of time, and you will all relish the memories for years to come.


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