34 answers

Great Vacation Ideas with a 1 and 4 Year Old

I'm looking for some great vacation ideas to go with my 2 children. I'm leaning toward some sort of national park vacation, but I don't know...Everything is tough with a 1 year old, but great ideas are welcomed. Everything i find online says it's great for kids because they have babysitting facilities--which is totally not the kind of vacation we want. Want to be outside, doing stuff. Not just sitting on a beach, or hiring strangers to watch the kids. Thanks in advance for your help and ideas!

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Featured Answers

Hi K.,

You might like Dutch Wonderland. It's in PA not far from Hershey Park. If you go in the warm weather, they have a great water area for little ones.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

I have a 5, 3 & 1 year old so I can relate. We would never leave our children with a babysitter either!

Last summer we spent 10 days up at Smugglers Notch resort in Vermont, it was WONDERFUL!!! Yes they have all the services you don't want (babysitter, day camps, etc.) but we did not use them. There is so much to do for adults and children together, hiking, fishing, daily games and activities, pools, a lake, bike riding - you name it. It was the BEST family vacation I have ever taken - it was so good we bought a time share and are going back every year...

There are no "hotel" rooms, but all the rooms are condo/townhouse type places. The one we stayed in was off the main resort, you could walk back and forth, but it was a little further away with it's own pool and work out room. Each pool in the resort has some sought of water park for the kids - some water slide which are for the older kids, but others just have sprayers and wading pools/lazy river type things.

GOOD LUCK!!

1 mom found this helpful

Best thing you can do? A cruise. You only have to unpack once, there are a million activities on board, there is time for relaxation and time for entertainment, the food is abundant and available at all times... We went when our kids were just your kids' ages and it was a great experience for everyone.

1 mom found this helpful

I also have a 4yr old and a 1yr old and for the summer I have planned mini vacations. we are driving down to Sesame place however before getting to sesame place we are stopping in New Jersey at the land of make believe my girls had a great time there last year. Stay the entire day go to dinner and get a hotel for the night. In the morning continue our drive to Sesame Place stay the entire day again dinner and a hotel. The next day we are going to the Crayola factory which is on the way spend the day again the same routine dinner hotel and the next day were on our way back home. This way we spend family time in the car, enjoy different hotels, get some pool time in and the kids get to go to different parks. I know it may sound expensive but honestly it's not you just have to really plan. The Jersey shore wildwood crest is a really great place for kids. They have an amazing boardwalk, the beach, etc. Also not that expensive. Nantucket- Jetties beach is great you can go windsurfing, rent some kayak's, go for a ride on a sail boat, fly some kites the kids love this kind of stuff.

1 mom found this helpful

Hello,
I don't know how far you want to go or where you are but the George S. Eccles Dinosaur Park in Ogden, Utah is a great place. My family and I went there almost 2 years ago; my kids were 5, 2, and 5 months at the time. Everyone had a great time. There is a Museum inside and park outside to stroll around in with replicas of dinosaurs large and tiny. There is also a playground. There is an area for larger kids and one for smaller kids in the playground. Also, outside there is a big sandbox so the kids can "excavate" dino bones. We stayed at the KOA in Salt Lake in one of their log cabins. Everyone had a great time!
Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

My parents always took regular vacations with the 3 of us and just made it kid-friendly themselves. For instance, if we did go to the beach, we'd have to spend time looking for different types of shells/rocks and see how many feathers we could find. We'd talk about tides (yes, a 4 yo can have a rudimentary understanding of tides if you visit the beach at high tide one day & low tide another) and different marine animals. Beachside shops usually have things like coral, sand dollars and sea stars for sale; you can go into the shops and talk about how these were once living creatures and talk about protecting their environment. Basically, make the vacation one big learning adventure!

My parents also took us camping quite a bit when we were that age, and it's something my own husband & I have done with our little ones. Our oldest was around 2 and our middle child was 9 months when we first took them camping. We were concerned as to how they'd do in a tent, away from their normal sleeping environment, but there's so much playing and teaching that can be done with them outdoors (Mom & Dad don't have anything else to do, really, so it's fantastic for we parents, too!), that the kids are plum tuckered by bedtime and go to sleep without any complaints. :oD We're planning on camping again this summer, and our youngest will be only 6 months old.

I guess what I'm saying is try to see regular, everyday things through your children's eyes, and you can make just about any vacation destination fun for them.

Best wishes,
~C.~

1 mom found this helpful

We have been taking our two kids to New Hampishire since I had my daugther 7 yrs ago. They are now 4 & 7. We have a blast, we have a time-share at Attatish Mt - located within mins is Storyland - a park designed just for the little ones and within 45 mins you have Santas Village - where it's X-mas all year round. We have done small trails with them but this last year we actually made it up a waterfall - now that Derek is 4 , he's having a bettter time on the trails. I plan to go there forever - it is fun for everyone! If you want more info , just e-mail me
C.

1 mom found this helpful

hello~
Have you considered vacationing with another couple w/kids (or dogs, even)? My husband and I have done this several times, making plans with friends with kids or dogs, renting a house for a long weekend or as long as a week (upstate NY, Austin TX, Outer Banks, NC) and it's been a blast every time. You can switch off babysitting duties, relax during naps and the kids have others to play with.
Have fun!
Trae

1 mom found this helpful

Hi K.,

You might like Dutch Wonderland. It's in PA not far from Hershey Park. If you go in the warm weather, they have a great water area for little ones.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

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