38 answers

Family Vacation for Single Mom

I was wondering if anyone has ideas / suggestions for taking a family vacation with my two boys (ages 8 and 3). I am recently separated but I don't want this to deter me from giving my kids experiences including having a great vacation. The problem is that I've never traveled alone with the kids and I'm not sure what would be a good vacation that is not only safe but one that I can manage both kids on my own. Thanks in advance!

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I don't know how to thank everyone for all of the wonderful responses! I think we'll probably go to Sea World in San Antonio this summer (it's a short enough drive for me to make) and next year I think I will save up for a cruise. Thank you everyone!

Featured Answers

Hi T. H.
You would not believe all the activities on a cruise ship for children. I believe it is one of the safest ways to travel. Some cruise lines have at different times of the year free cruises for children under age 17 when traveling with a parent. Costa Cruises lines cruises from Florida.
D. D. in Texas of cruisingclowns.com
If you would like more information or my help, send me an email. Thanks

My coworker (also a single mom) took her 2 daughters to Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, TX (outside of Dallas). Its a child-oriented/family resort. She said they had a blast.


I always hold camping in high esteem!

It's affordable, It is interesting for all ages and it revives the spirit.

How about lost Maples or Garner State Park. Or Krause Springs , it is only 45 minutes away and they have all the eminities plus plenty of swimming and other kids for them to play with. Good Luck!

More Answers

Depends if you want to fly someplace ...San Diego Zoo(you can drive here too, but it's a long trip). If you want to drive someplace...San Antonio Zoo & Sea World (Fiesta Texas may be a little much with the ages of your two) or maybe Dallas/Ft. Worth...Ft. Worth Zoo, Dallas Aquarium (here too, Six Flags may be a little much). There is also day trips like Schliterbaun(sp?), they have special tubes you can get for the younger one

My parents were not separated, but my dad hated to travel. So Mom packed up the station wagon with at lease 4 of us six kids (sometimes one or two cousins too) and away we went. The first trip I can remember is when I was 4 1/2, my oldest brother just returned from Vietnam, so Mom made it a special trip and we went to the San Diego Zoo. Anyway, best of luck & happy traveling.


I'm a single mom with an 11 y.o. We love, love, love to go to Freeport to the beach. Load up early stay all day and either come home or stay in Clute. They have several newer, smaller hotels. I think the last time we stayed at Comfort Suites. Leave all your beach stuff in the car, order pizza, get up the next morning, put clean bathing suit on and do it all over again. At Freeport you can park on the beach and they have port-a-potties (or I take a camping chair potty). You're close to the car this way in case someone wants to lay down and take a nap. My 11 y.o. still needs to be closely monitored so this is an easy vacation for us.

Hope this helps.


Don't know your budget but saw that Travel Zoo has 3-4 day all-inclusive Mexican vacation packages - the service at these places is just immpecable and you can get some good alone time to rejuvenate while the kids play with other kids in their childcare programs. I have the same issue (single aprent to a 30 mo. old) and just being able to have some adult conversation, relax and maybe even have a drink wothout guilt is the best cure!

I'm coming back to check on ideas from others - great question.

Good luck!

Hi T.,

Try go to website port-royal.com make sure to check the dates for CHEAPER prices and very reasonable. It is across from the ocean.

If you invite more people or family members it will cheaper and they very spacious with kitchen, washer and dryer and living area. etc.


Ms. M.

Chalk Bluff Park in Uvalde, TX is great! It is not very expensive at all! There's a playground, put-put golf, petting zoo, pony rides, and it's right on the river. I believe it's the Nueces river, but looks as clear, cold and beautiful as the Frio river! It is really really nice. We have a 4 yr. old and have opted to go there from now instead of the Frio every year. Here's the website:
Good luck!

Hi T.,
My kids (10 year old boy/girl twins) and I just recently stayed at the Nickelodeon hotel in Orlando. The website is www.nickhotel.com and the kids loved it. Their pools are mini water parks and they have a huge arcade, salon, food court and free shuttles to the nearby parks. We also went to Universal Studios Islands of Adventures. Your kids aren't quite as old as mine so they may not like the roller coasters, but Seuss World was great. Next time we'll get the 2-park pass and go to both Universal parks. Most of the attractions were bigger than just double-seaters so we didn't have to split up to ride anything. They have a lot of interactive dinner theater-type things in Orlando - we went to a pirate themed one that was fun. We drove from Texas to Orlando with an overnight stop both directions. If you plan to drive it, don't forget to budget extra for gas - it's even more ridiculous there! I've been a single mom for 8 years now and I promise, you can do this. It takes a little more advanced planning, but the bonding time is so worth it! Good luck! - L.

I am a mother of a 7 year old girl.last summer we stumbled onto a campsite in Waller, Tx (about 1 1/2 hours away from Pearland).
It was named Yogi Bear Campsite. They are very kid friendly. yogi bear comes and visits every day at the flag pole. and everyday and night they have a different activity for the kids. They also have a small petting zoo, minature golf, and an awesome water park with mini slides for the kids. It's very affordable also. You can tent camp, RV camp, or rent a small cabin. We Went with another family who had a 4 year son and he was always on the move. Everyone loved it. It's going to be a long weekend trip for us again this year.

I always hold camping in high esteem!

It's affordable, It is interesting for all ages and it revives the spirit.

How about lost Maples or Garner State Park. Or Krause Springs , it is only 45 minutes away and they have all the eminities plus plenty of swimming and other kids for them to play with. Good Luck!

I don't know where you live,but a location close by would be a good idea. What about going to Galveston and taking the boys to Schlitterbahn.it's a great waterpark...there is a hotel close by and there is also Moody Gardens with a great beach. Hope this helps.

What about a state park. My family goes to these all of the time. There are many things to see and do. It is easy to keep up with kids and safe also.

I vote for the beach, you could rent a little studio right on the beach like in Galveston or Port Aransas (assuming you live in Texas I guess) any way what a nice way to connect with your boys! Whatever you do, I hope that you and your boys have a great time! I went camping with my son once just he and I and we really bonded! We didn't have much fun (it just happened to be the same day that that tornado hit and wiped out Jerryl and we were right down the road) but we had a great time just being together in a different enviroment!best of times to you on your VACA.

Hi T.,
How about a cruise out of Galveston? I have been on 9 cruises and Carnival has so many activities for kids of all ages. You can do things together and also have time for yourself.

T., I too had the same thoughts about making sure my kids didn't miss out on anything once I separated and subsequently divorced. When spring break rolled around that year, we booked a hotel on the beach in Corpus, they were pumped just to have a hotel with a pool and a beach to play on.....we bought ALL the sand toys they could handle! And, the weather turned bad.....so, we packed up, checked out, drove to San Antonio the next day....it was a beautiful drive! We had a hard time finding a hotel, but finally found an inexpensive one about 10 min from Seaworld.....got up the next morning, went to Seaworld and.....the weather turned bad! We were drenched ducks by the time we left the park at just 1:00 in the afternoon. So, we went to the hotel, cleaned up, ended up at a Dave & Busters, then back at Seaworld the next day......this was the first time I had ever taken my kids on a vacation (other than to see family) by myself. Yes, it went FAR from the way it was planned, but the kids still talk about it like it was the best time! My point for sharing was that just make sure you have an open mind and maybe keep some of what you have planned to yourself just in case it doesn't all work out. My youngest was a few years older than your youngest, so it wasn't too terribly difficult.

Corpus does have the USS Lexington which is very neat and the Texas Aquarium (right next door). Also, they have a really cool children's museum.

As for San Antonio, I have taken my kids so many times and they NEVER get tired of it! They love to go to the Riverwalk, and the drive-thru safari (at the caverns....your hotel will have info on it or you can find it online I am sure), and the San Antonio zoo is really nice and they have an area to fish and to also picnic and you can take a train ride. There is a hotel on the riverwalk called Hawthorne Suites (it's on St. Mary's St) which caters to families and is on the part of the riverwalk that is away from all of the partying. They have a wonderful breakfast and you can pull out of the lot and drive about 5 miles to the zoo.

Hope this helps! Let me know if you need help finding any info or if you have any questions!

Hope this helps!

Mayan Dude Ranch in Bandera, TX. I took my son there when he was 6. He loved it, it was affordable, and we felt safe.

A little trip to tour BlueBell Icecream in Brenham has always been a fun thing to do for our family.

When I was 25, I was a single mom of 2 boys myself. I also didn't want to deprive them of fun activities while I was both their mom and dad. One year I drove 4 hours to take them to an amusement park. I saved cans with the coupons on them so I could get a discount on the enterance, I packed a lunch so we could eat affordably, I bought 1 drink inside the park that gave discounts on refills. I gave them each a disposable camera so they could take pictures of what they wanted to, I bought them each a $10 souvenir cap. They had the best time. Before the trip I got the car a tune up including an oil change, and I made sure I had a hazard kit with cables, fuses, tow strap, nylon, and two gallons of water, just incase I needed it. All in all I spent less than $200 bucks, but I did have a place to stay for free. Another time I got a great rate on a room on South Padre Island, (a short 40 minutes away from home) and we spent the week there, again I packed food so we wouldn't have to eat out all the time. I think as long as you give them a camera and a journal, so they can keep track of what they loved, liked and didn't like about the trip, they will be fine, (even if you are just camping out in the back yard!!)

Good Luck and God Bless.

We did a family vacation to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to an all inclusive called Crown Paradise Club. It totally caters to younger children with a nice water park with about 12 slides in it, a pirates ship, etc. It includes a day care or for the older one a kids club. They provide you with a beeper to get in touch with you if need be. We went via Funjet and got a great price. http://www.funjet.com/
This is probably a 3* hotel, but it was great for us: small, on the beach, my daughter (2years) loved it. I think an 8 year old would like it too. Apparently there is one in Cancun too, but I don't know much about it.

Good luck to you.


I'm from just north of Corpus Christi, so I concur with all the recommendations for there (if you're not already in the area :-) ). Texas State Aquarium isn't very big, but it's very well done (and not being big makes it easier to keep track of little ones). They have a dolphin show and just opened up an outdoor theater where they do bird shows. There's also a nice little playground at the aquarium. We haven't done USS Lexington yet, because my son's a little young, but I've heard great things about it and it is right around the corner. Lots of beach, of course, and someone else mentioned the children's museum.

You might want to see if there's an available family member to go with you to help wrangle the boys (like maybe one or both of your parents). Good luck, and have fun!

I am a single mother of 4 beautiful girls. My husband left when I was 6 months pregnant with our 4 th child. I went on vacation with them about a month after he left.They were 9, 6 and 3 years old at that time.I didn't want my children to remember this as a tragic time and wanted to prove to myself I could do this on my own. As crazy as it sounds we headed to the beach on South Padre. I was lucky to have done some work for a friend and in return she got us a place to stay across from Slitterbaun in South Padre. It's called Destination South Padre. We stayed in a condo there above a fishing pier. Don't know if that would be your ideal place but we go back every year because we loved it so much. They could watch the boats come in with all the days catch, go down and fish on the pier for free (The men that run the pier fixed us up with poles and the right bait and took the fish off for us when we caught some and gave us tips on how to do it) I could never do this on my own. The dolphins came to feed on the fish so close that we didn't even need to go on the dolphin boats. We caught hermit crabs in the shallow water just a few steps away from the condo. They have a great play ground and pool as well. We could drive just across the street (or walk, it's that close) to the beach or Slitterbaun. The Shlitterbaun down there is not like the one up here. You don't have to carry tubes and stand in long lines. I put on swim shirts and life jackets and didn't have to worry about them. They have double tubes so I put the little one in with me and the other two in another. Between the tubes with bottoms and a life jacket they were safe. It was easy to stay together as well.It's great and even being pregnant with three kids I had no trouble at all. I have to say it was the most fun I had ever had with my kids. You get in on in the Shlitterbaun like river and float in your tubs to all the rides. You don't have to get out to get on the rides. Even floating around the river is so much fun. They have little rapids you go through. In the middle is a great water area for the kids with many different little slides and a shallow area to play. There is another area to the side for real little ones as well. We went to the beach and played. Got free kite flying lessons at the kite store and feed the sea turtles at the sea turtle refuge. My girls remember it as the best summer ever. Not the one that Mom and Dad separated. It is a tradition now. We save every year to just go back again. Good luck finding your ideal place.I hope this was helpful or at least encourages you to find ya'll special place.

Neal's on the River in Concan, TX outside of Leakey, TX...affordable cabin rentals, chuck wagon dinners, family time roasting marshmallows/making smores, floating/tubing the Frio River. Very fun family time and family memories.

Gulfstream Condominiums in Corpus Christi, TX- 20 miles from Pt Aransas. Newly remodeled fully furnished condos on the beach (no boardwalk), game room, nice pool, hot tub. Near restaurants, Putt Putt golf, easy to get to Pt Aransas for shopping and eating out, deep sea fishing, dolphin watching, etc.

Lost Maples State Park, Leakey, TX- tent and/or trailer camping, hiking, fishing, near the Frio River for tubing/floating the river

Y.O. Ranch- cabin and/or room rental, pool, hot tub, chuck wagon, African Safari tour

New Braunfels- Schlitterbahn, float the Comal River, Gruene, TX (shopping, Gristmill restaurant), Children's Museum (hands on learning that is very fun for everyone)

Fredericksburg, TX- hike Enchanted Rock State Park, camping, Admiral Nimitz Museum, (sometimes there will be a live action drama with real WW2 weapons....boys love this), great restaurants, Wildseed Farm, Pioneer Museum, near to SA (Fiesta Texas, Sea World, River Walk, Alamo, IMAX theater)

Have fun! Hope some of these ideas might trigger an idea for making your own fun and memories!


T., I don't know if you have taken the boys to Sea World or not, but it is a wonderful vacation spot. You'll be able to manage with them there very well. It's family friendly and there is so much to captivate and hold their attention. They'll love seeing all the sea animals and shows and you will be able to have spaces (during the shows) to sit so that the 3 yr. old doesn't become too worn out. I'd go to their website and see if you can locate some discount coupons. Sometimes they even allow you to use certain Coke cans for discount promotions, etc. A travel agent may be able to work out a package for you that would include shuttle from your hotel, etc.



I'm not sure where you live but last year I was able to take my kids to Disney World on a single parent family vacation with Second Baptist Church in Houston. They made it very affordable. It was a great time and I felt confident and safe because I was with a big group of people all in the same boat as me, single parents. You may want to check into the churches in your community to see if they offer single parent bible study and summer vacations. Good luck.


I know staying in a hotel alone with kids scares me to death. My husband and I own an RV Resort on Medina Lake near San Antonio called Lake Medina RV Resort. We have fully furnished cabins complete with AC and a TV/DVD. It is a safe environment for kids to swim, fish, explore,ride bikes and relax in the country. It is on a 700 acre working cattle ranch with lots of wildlife throughout the resort. There is horseback riding 9 miles away and Sea World, Fiesta Texas or museums in San Antonio are just 45 mins to an hour drive. Bandera is a fun town to explore also. The website is lakemedinarvresort.net and the phone is 1-888-722-2640. Ask for me if you stay with us! I'd love to say hello in person.

Good luck!
G. Grothues

Hi T. H.
You would not believe all the activities on a cruise ship for children. I believe it is one of the safest ways to travel. Some cruise lines have at different times of the year free cruises for children under age 17 when traveling with a parent. Costa Cruises lines cruises from Florida.
D. D. in Texas of cruisingclowns.com
If you would like more information or my help, send me an email. Thanks

Children very often are happier in thier own beds. I would suggest letting them know you are going to have a day trip vacation this year with the final weekend at grandma's as a family. Just enjoying your Mom with the boys. For the vacation in town you can do bowling , water park, museum, zoo, if thier is a river to swim in do that, and when my sister was with her 2 kids a single mom, she went camping with the nieghbors. Good Luck!

Its hard to travel with little ones. We will sometimes take mini vacations instead of the big road trip style ones. We went to San Antonio last year. We stayed a few days, went to the zoo, the Alamo, Sea World and the river walk. We went to the wax museum and Ripley's Believe It or Not. IT only took a few days but My kids really enjoyed it. And I didn't have to drive day and night to get there.

My coworker (also a single mom) took her 2 daughters to Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, TX (outside of Dallas). Its a child-oriented/family resort. She said they had a blast.


I have taken my kids to the Dinosaur State Park in Glen Rose. Just outside of Dallas. It is a really neat place and lots of stuff boys would enjoy. There is also a "drive thru" safari type place there too, to catch some interesting animals. Best of Luck to you.

T., I am a mother of 6 year old triplet boys. We are looking at taking them to the beach, or camping. Camping to us means renting out a cabin, or a screened in cabin. Something that all you have to do it throw sheets on a bed and take the bug spray. The same with the beach, but renting a home on the beach. Best of luck to you. Keep your head up and know that God has chosen your path. Just keep him in your heart and you will do go for you and your boys. I hope you find something fun to do.
God bless, D.

Hi T., my husband and I camped with our 4 kids. If the heat is a problem, some campgrounds have a/c cabins or you could rent a small camper. Some camper rentals will take the camper and set it up for you, then return to get it. Outdoors are always good for active kids. Most campers are friendly, helpful, tolerant people with kids or grandkids. The trails are clear for hiking or biking. Make sure there is either a pool or swimming area provided if there is a lake or river. Shorts, t-shirts, tennis shoes and swimsuits. Everything eaten cooked on a campfire is twice as good. Remember to keep plenty of water and juices handy to stay hydrated. Hope this appeals to you and your fellas!

Sea World is a great vacation spot for kids. And you can get discounted tickets at a girls scout shop. Also near San Antonio there is a Western Town you can look it up on the internet just type in Western Town near San Antonio that is real neat to visit with Kids.

Disney World is always a great vacation place. Begin your search online. You can have breakfast with Disney Characters and stay in nice hotels that cater to the ages of your children. You can select which theme parks you go to and most of all if you chose to dine on their main strip children eat free with paying adult. Check into it, you will really enjoy. They have several packages available.

My kids enjoyed going to Corpus Christi. You can visit the USS Lexington, the Aquarium and early in the morning the crabs on the beach are running back to the water. You can find a reasonably priced hotel with a pool.

Have fun!

A trip they may never forget...I know I never did. Glass bottom boats in san marcus texas. Its cheap but still fun. If you want I can send you information on it. I went whem I was a little kid and I dreamed about going there again someday...well in Feb I went for my honeymoon and still had fun. The kids will learn lots of things about fish and their surroundings. Adult tickets were maybe 8 dollars. Plus for extra bonuses theres also the Alamo, wild life place that you can feed the animals(real wildlife), caverns, and sea world not to far away. Again if you want information I wil be glad to send it to you plus I have videos and pictures. I had such a great time there that we are planing a family trip there for in the summer with or kids 12,7, and 5 years olds. So I know it will be safe you you and your little ones.

added _____________

I have been getting qestions on this ever since I wrote this so heres the information:)

Aquarena Center
921 Aquarena Springs Dr.
San Marcos, TX 78666
Phone: ###-###-####

Helicopter tours- starting at $39.
per person 1-877-655-7733

Guinness world records museum
www.haunted-guinness-crockett.com For anyone younger then 8 years old I dont suggest the haunted house. We had a couple of kids with our tour and they were scared beyond belief...lol.

The Alamo- www.TheAlamo.com

animals can go right to the windows.... www.WildlifeRanchTexas.com. the caverns are right next door, be ready to walk alot

Plus theres seaworld and other things over there that will entertain as well. I hope this helps you some.

I have more information on other things to do around there so if you want more just let me know. The trips I put up there are ones that you can do one aday and the kids would be happy and they will talk about it for the rest of the day. We really did have a wonderful time. We are planing another trip up there this summer and are going to do the same things plus add a couple more.

Hi.there T. sorry to hear that you are a single mother but it sounds like you are doing fine.and it sounds like you are a good mother to your childern.well seaworld is a lots of fun but they get very busy if i was to go there by my self with to young kids go during the week not so busy im sure yall would enjoy the beach and picking sea shells and going to the zoo thats a lot of fun for little ones yall just be safe. you would probaly feel better if you could take somebody along with you ask a freind a sister a cousin somebody so yall aint bye yall self.have fun and take care

My vote is for a cruise. They have lots of affordable cruises with activities for all ages.

Disney offers a cruise. It offers a wide variety of activities for every age level AND a daycare for much needed alone time for yourself. I have been talking about this with my husband as well. It is self contained and everything in is included in the price. It's a little pricey, but worth the peace of mind!!!

Hi T.! I think you should take them on a short cruise. I book SO MANY single moms and/or dads with their kids. I personally have taken my kids on four and they love it. There's something for everyone - even a kids club so that you can have some relax time too. If you are willing to be flexible with dates, then you can shop for the best prices...also they discount for the third and fourth passengers in the same cabin, so one of your rates would be reduced! I hope you find something you will all enjoy! They will have wonderful memories of traveling with you!


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