Summer Fun: 5 Ways to Have the Best Family Vacations

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Jane Warren
Jane is an avid watersports fan, who enjoys boating, scuba diving, swimming, and water skiing. She loves to travel, especially to locations where she can participate in water sport activities. Jane also loves animals, and writes articles educating consumers on pet care, and the joys of owning a pet. Now that the kids are grown, she has time for doing the things she enjoys!
Jane Warren
Jane Warren
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It doesn’t take a sixth sense to notice summer vacation coming around the corner. You’ll see it everywhere: the weddings that are scheduled, the invites to barbecues, and the requisite family vacation planning. After all the years, I will admit that planning a vacation is not easy, but you can avoid the big traps if you know how to plan ahead. It starts with communication.

It might sound strange, but all of the family vacations that didn’t work started with an idea that was positive. One failure involved a long road trip to the home of my in-laws; another included a stop at a famous poet’s house. In both cases, we planned that trip because of things we thought we should do, not what we wanted to do. I finally told my husband, “From now on, our family vacations will only be about fun.” It worked.

Here are 5 ways to have the best family vacations:

1. Save the education for later. Even though everyone ought to know Robert Frost poems by heart, you could regret it if you spend your summer vacation trekking to his old New England cottage. The same stands for museum trips and other educational vacations. My husband and I made the mistake once, at Colonial Williamsburg. Even though the idea was sound, we weren’t listening to the kids. We had more fun at the outlet shops outside of Williamsburg.
Airhead tube camp
2. Get to a source of fun for everyone. Sitting at the kitchen table, most grownups don’t see themselves riding in an Airhead tube behind a boat at the lake. However, once you get there, it is the most fun you’ll ever have. I remember the summer my husband and I set aside all other ideas and took the kids to the lake for 2 weeks. My biggest concerns the whole time were tanning lotion and where to find dry towels. The memories continue to stand out in my mind.


Make relaxation your chief priority. If you want thrills, set up the right circumstances for excitement. If you are coming off a long stretch of hard work, shoot for pure relaxation. Your body will thank you and so will your spouse and children. I always adjust our summer vacations specifically to what part of the summer they arrive in. If it’s the beginning, I think only about catching up on sleep, and sun.

4. Choose relatives carefully – at least on vacation. The saying that you can’t choose your relatives ought to be repeated when planning a vacation. You can’t change your family, but you can decide which family members you see on your vacation. I remember trying to dissuade my husband when he hoped we could visit his aunt and uncle in Western Pennsylvania one summer. They are great people, but it wasn’t the getaway the rest of us had in mind. The kids complained all the way; I joined in on the way back.

5. Let nature do the talking. The lakes and oceans of the world draw you in during the summertime. Let them put you under their spell. My entire family has always been in love with the beach. I know better than to keep them away from water when we take our cherished vacations together. It tops my list as well.

When the family agrees on a vacation spot, everyone is going to put aside minor differences and concentrate on having fun. There is plenty of time to focus on educational trips and visits to relatives who aren’t exactly at their best on vacations. It should be about your family strengthening its bond and making memories that will last forever.

“The Sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” –Jacques Cousteau

About the Author

Jane Warren is a water sports enthusiast and freelance writer. Whether on the ocean using her Garmin waterproof GPS or on the beach in a swimsuit, Jane knows her way around the water.