SO Mini Vacations

Updated on June 17, 2010
N.K. asks from Toledo, OH
27 answers

I am literally craving a vacation! My husband really doesn't want to fly anywhere because he says our daughter is too young (she'll be 2 next month so she's really not THAT young). It's fine we can drive somewhere but that limites our options. Does anyone have any recommendations that are in Ohio, Michigan, Indianna, Kentucky, W. Verginia, Pennsylvania, or Illinois? (we are in Toledo so I want somewhere that isn't too terribly long of a drive) I just want somewhere fun yet relaxing and somewhere that is accomidating & fun for a toddler!
Thanks in advance

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone! We are definitely leaning more towards the choices that involve getting a hotel (not into camping that much and I don't want to have to cook every meal either haha) but we have a lot to look into now so THANKS! Also, for those that said our daughter isn't too young to fly I agree but my husband doesn't & honestly it's ok as long as we go somewhere. Last year we visited my husband’s family in Dayton, OH area (like we do regularly) and then went on to Kentucky. We stayed in a hotel for 2 nights and did the aquarium & zoo. Thanks again for the ideas!

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M.S.

answers from Bloomington on

we love the COSI museum in columbus and the boonshoft in dayton!!! really fun places to take the kids!

st lous is really fun, and everything there is free-- zoo, museums, etc. the arch is awesome and the zoo has this amazing penguin house.

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S.D.

answers from Indianapolis on

Totally recommend Holiday World in Santa Claus, IN. The Koch family is absolutely committed to families with children of all ages. Stay in a cabin or on-site RV at Lake Rudolph next door. Plenty to do at LR as well, and it's great to be able to stop what you're doing for an afternoon nap(s).

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M.P.

answers from Bloomington on

Holiday World in Santa Claus Indiana is a wonderful amusement park. They have an awesome water park with lots of things for the little ones. They also have rides she can ride on as well. They have free parking, free sunscreen and free soft drinks. There's a campground, cabins and hotels near there as well.

http://www.holidayworld.com

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R.M.

answers from Topeka on

I don't know of specific locations in that part of the country. You could look on each states web page to see a list of their major attractions. Think like a 2 year old, look for some place with a zoo, or a childrens museum or science adventure center. But don't just plan things for her, do something YOU want to do too, there are lots of things that the whole family can enjoy. Maybe a water park or a Six Flags type park, take along an ice chest and plan lunches in the park to save money and for something fun for her to do.Just be imaginative, you will find something fun on the internet to make for a great vacation!!

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R.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

I have three kids, 8, 6 and 1 and we've always gone for mini-vacations - about 3-4 times a year to local destinations here in CA within a few hours way like San Diego, Palm Springs, Oxnard. Anywhere that there's a pool, my kids LOVE. If you're excited, your daughter will be too. Do things you enjoy. We love to hike and have always taken our kids hiking, from birth until now. You point out things, talk about it. We're taking our kids this summer on a big trip to Hawaii- a five hour plane ride may be challenging with a one year old, but he'll be with us and have fun. What I've learned being a parent the last 8 years is the kids love to just with with you and have quality bonding time with you. My kids love to do anything we do with them, hiking, swimming, paddle boating. Don't get caught up in finding the exact thing for a toddler. Sure you can look for a playground anywhere you go, but just have quality time together. Enjoy!

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M.P.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Did you know that Ohio has some amazing state park lodges? They are gorgeous and are very resort-like in grounds and amenities. They are inexpensive as well. We stayed at Geneva Lodge last year and had a blast. It was so nice and clean, had an indoor and outdoor pool, nice restaurant, game room, snack bar, exercise room. Its right on Lake Erie so lots to do. Plus the little village of Geneva on the Lake is so kitschy and fun.

Here's a link for you:
http://www.ohiostateparklodges.com/

I hear there are lots of fun places in Michigan on the lake so I would definitely check that.

If you want to come into PA and can spend a little more money you should look into Nemacolin Woodlands. Gorgeous resort and spa with every amenity you could think of. People come from all over the country to this resort it is that highly rated.

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A.R.

answers from Toledo on

We went to Pike Lake State Park (OH) last summer, near Chillicothe & Washington Court House. It's small, has a nice lake w/ beach, fishing & boat rentals, playground, bike trail, disk golf & great cabins w/ screened porch & grill, or campsites if that's your thing. There is a wonderful nature center, and a naturalist is on staff and hosts *kid-oriented* programs 2-4 times per week. My kids were 3 & 5 and loved it. We're planning to go back again this year!

You might also consider Ft Wayne, IN. There is the Children's Zoo (reciprocal w/ Toledo Zoo), Science Central (hands-on kids' stuff), the Botanical Conservatory (butterflies & fairies through end of June), plus the rivers and city parks.

In WV (where I'm from) there are terrific state parks & forests, great fishing, and many historic railways if your daughter likes trains. Most of these would be 5-6 hours drive for you.

I'm new to Defiance, OH and am continually amazed at the great inexpensive & free things to do around here. If you need more info, especially about WV, email me privately. Good luck!

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A.H.

answers from Toledo on

I think I am a bit late with this post, but ...
we love long weekends to Chicago. I hear the Indianapolis Children's Museum is awesome. Lake Erie & Lake Michigan offer some fun family activities. There are several indoor waterparks in your area.
Have fun!

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J.T.

answers from Savannah on

The whole notion that your daughter is too young to fly is not a really valid excuse (my son is 14 months and has flown on 4 cross-country flights-- it was never THAT big of a deal), but....
Aquarium, definitely for your daughter. Bright colorful fish and they typically have fun games and activities, touch pools, etc. A great zoo is the next best thing, but just remember if it's going to be really hot, that takes a little bit of the fun out of it (maybe I think about this too much since Orlando is ridiculous hot through Oct). Try finding a hotel with a great pool, or even an indoor waterpark. I don't know what your budget is, but there is a resort in the Poconos (PA) that has a HUGE indoor waterpark, up in the mountains, activities for the kids... they'll even amuse your child while you do adult things!

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D.K.

answers from Indianapolis on

How about FRENCH LICK, Indiana? We LOVE it there! Lots of little things like a train (original train & tracks) ride thru the countryside of French Lick, complete w/ a mock train robbery. There is a new indoor water park - very nice at the top of the hill. Marengo Cave is close by and Santa Claus Indiana isn't that far from there either - HOLIDAY WORLD.

Holiday World has two parks, a water park and regular rides. VERY clean. We LOVE it there. There is also a place for camping next to the grounds if that floats your boat. Free sunscreen and free drinks throughout both parks. Great for all ages......INCLUDING "BIG KIDS" : )

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S.C.

answers from Fort Wayne on

I've hear great things about Sesame Place. I don't know if your daughter would be too young for that or not.

For the life of me I can't remember the name of the hotel, but I know it was in Indianapolis. The hotel had a private pool in the room! An actual pool! How crazy! I've looked and looked and can't find the name of it anywhere. That would be a total blast! We wanted to take our kids there this past winter, but like I said, I can't find the information on it. :(

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M.W.

answers from Elkhart on

Someone else mentioned Hershey PA, and that is a great spot to take a youngster. It can be a bit expensive, though. Your daughter will probably enjoy a day at the beach, a day at the zoo, etc. Whatever you decide, have fun being together and getting away from everyday work stuff!

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D.B.

answers from Toledo on

N.-

We have a condo in Harbor Springs MI that we rent out to vacationers. It is in an absoultely beautiful location with a great view. We are in a resort complex with 2 outdoor pools and 1 indoor pool. There is also an outdoor and an indoor hottub. There are two playgrounds, tennis courts, fishing ponds, and hiking trails. We are 30 min. from Macinac Island, where you can rent bikes with a kiddy seat on the back. Or, there is a great biking trail that goes from Harbor Springs all the way to Charlovix along the water. We are min. away from beautiful beaches and lakes including Petoskey State Park. Our condo is approx. a 5 1/2 hr drive from Toledo. If interested please email me @ [email protected]____.com.

D.

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R.P.

answers from Youngstown on

we flew to Florida when our youngest was 15 months! All went fine.

we love Rehoboth Beach Deleware... if you decide to go there, I can tell you all the good places to go and the BEST hotel to stay in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We have been there probably 6-8 times

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H.D.

answers from Cleveland on

Have you gone to the Islands? We were just at Kelleys Island over the weekend ~ there's putt-putt, the beach, Glacial Grooves, & more. Hershey park sounds fun too. We're from the Cleveland area & have driven to Pocahontas County ~ kinda by Snowshoe. There's Cass Scenic Railroad ~ you can go part way or all the way up the mountain. There's even a spot to get off & look around & take a tour. You can also go to Senica Caverns ~ it's pretty interesting. Good luck & have fun!

C.B.

answers from Kansas City on

well i know kentucky (and probably all those places) has incredible lakes and campgrounds if you're into that...and if you're not into camping there are always cabins. i think it was lake catherine (or katherine?) that we stayed at some years back that was just awesome. they had really nice cabins too, electricity, running water...

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J.R.

answers from Cincinnati on

Hi N.! Come to Cincinnati! You can go to Kings Island, The Beach Waterpark, Coney Island and Sunlight Pool, Great Wolf Lodge, the Newport Aquarium, the Zoo, the Cincinnati Museum Center (it has a great Children's Museum.) There is tons of stuff to do right around our great town! I hope you find something great to do and enjoy a mini-vacation!

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A.C.

answers from Bloomington on

State parks are a great way to go! Also, Columbus, Ohio, has COSI (the Center of Science and Industry), which is a great children's museum and there are lots of malls with playgrounds and parks at which to play around the city. There's always a festival or something going on, and the Short North District on High St just north of downtown has some awesome little boutique shops and art galleries for you and your husband to explore. And, of course, there's the Columbus Zoo, which is just amazing! If you can drive a little farther, Indianapolis is a great city to explore. The Indianapolis Children's Museum is the largest in the nation and is great for all ages. There's a Holiday Inn on the northwest side that includes Caribbean Cove, an indoor water park with a perfect splash area for little ones. There are lots of great museums (especially, the Indianapolis Museum of Art) around town, and White River Parkway has the Indianapolis Zoo, the Indiana State Museum, the Eiteljorg Museum, and the NCAA Hall of Fame museum. You can catch any kind of game, really, and Circle Center Mall is my favorite downtown! The farthest option (maybe) is Chicago. I was just there this weekend and discovered the Lincoln Park Zoo and Conservatory, which are absolutely free! There are loads of museums and other attractions (Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, the Planetarium, the Museum of Science and Industry) that have kid friendly activities, exhibits. Michigan Ave/The Magnificent Mile is an awesome experience of shopping and dining, and it includes places like American Girl Place and The Lego Store. Millennium Park is fun to visit. The only thing I haven't seen is Navy Pier, which will be for my next trip, I think. I hope those ideas give you something to think about!

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S.S.

answers from Toledo on

A few places we are looking into over the next 6-12 months.

Washington DC (my sister lives there, but there is SO much to do for all ages-obviously a long drive, about 8 hours from BG)
The Crayola Factory (about an hour and a half from DC, not sure where)
Hershey, Pennsylvania
Sesame Street Place (near Philadelphia)

I am anxious to read the responses you get since we are in the same position and live outside BG.

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R.G.

answers from Fort Wayne on

There is also the Indiana Dunes in Northern Indiana if you want more of a beach vacation without the worries of the oil spill.
http://www.indianadunes.com/

I do agree with the person who posted things to do in Ft. Wayne, IN (we live nearby). The zoo & botanical gardens are wonderful for younger kids. I would recommend waiting till your daughter is a bit older before going to science central. My daughter was almost 4 when we took her & there was some things she couldn't do yet & she got frustrated
Good luck on picking and have a great time on vacation!

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J.T.

answers from Toledo on

mackinal island is fun

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K.B.

answers from Cincinnati on

We are attempting camping this year at Hocking Hills. When I was younger that was our vacation. 3 or 4 days at a campsite in a camper. Now we are tenting. It's inexpensive, you don't have to go far and it's still tons of fun! There are lots of camp grounds that have places to hike, ride bikes around, and swim in a pool. How relaxing it is to sit around the campfire at night and just enjoy each others company.

M.P.

answers from Lafayette on

my reccomendation is Indiana Beach in Monticello Indiana. Its a small amusement park. reletively cheap, and they have rides your two year old could ride. They also have a water park. They have camping close by, or cottages and hotels you could stay at. its a pretty kid friendly place. i've lived in monticello my whole life, its a small town, but the beach is fun. feel free to email me with any questions about it if you want. [email protected]____.com

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S.D.

answers from Indianapolis on

OK, so obviously there are TONS of choices...what about Pokagon State Park north of Ft. Wayne? If you don't like camping, they have a lodge you can get rooms in. It's really beautiful! There are also a couple wineries near by if you like wine tasting, an outlet mall, mini golf, etc...so you don't have to ONLY stay in the state park if nature isn't your thing. It would only be a couple hours for you, it's right near 80/90 and 69.

Petoskey State Park in MI is also really nice.

Hershey Park in PA is fun. You can tour the factory and there's an amusement park as well.

C.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

Honestly, I think your daughter is a bit too young for a vacation. I have twins boy/girl (19mos), and the only place we've taken them to is Wild Animal Park which is where we live in CA. Our twins enjoyed some of it since they like animals but soon got tired. We were thinking of taking our twins when they turn 2, to like Legoland. I would suggest you look up something over the internet. Good luck!

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J.D.

answers from Cincinnati on

Indianapolis Indiana has some stuff to do. they have a zoo, childrens museum and other things.

Chicago is fun but not necessarily for a 2 year old. Philadelphia also has a lot to do.

St Louis Mossouri has a lot to do. I don't know how far that is. We went as a family last year. They have a city museum which is fun for the entire family. They have a zoo which is free and the animals are out where you can see them not hidden away. There is also another musuem type place which is hands on. We went on a rainy day and it was horrible.

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L.K.

answers from Cleveland on

Have you did Great Wolf lodge in Sandusky yet?? It was a blast and my 2 year old loved it! We went in the winter but now the weather is nice there is so much to do in Sandusky and from Toledo not that bad of a ride!! Good Luck!

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