What is the most relaxing vacation you've taken with young kids (toddler & preschool age)?
nectarine / 2288 posts
The only place I've ever seen parents look legit relaxed is kauai. We've been quite a few places with our little and there's always some sort of hiccup. Kauai is for sure on our list of places to take her soon
pomegranate / 3904 posts
We like beach vacations. We have gone to Florida and Hawaii with ours, both were great. My parents also went with us to Hawaii, which was helpful because of the super long flight and just help in general.
nectarine / 2964 posts
Anything that :
1. I didn't have to plan it
2. I didn't have to set an alarm and get up to go somewhere
3. Has a beach that has a drink menu, and I get to lay there for a day
To me our recent Disney Cruise trip was very relaxing as we didn't have big plans to conquer. We were in Hawaii (Big Island) over Christmas, and it was stressful because DH hushed us to go here and there, walk 3 miles (!!) on a dirt non-path to a allegedly green sand beach....etc. Too many activities with too little time, that was stressful.
honeydew / 7463 posts
2 stand out:
Nizuc resort in Cancun. Phenomenal. Kids club with drop off at ANY age, private nanny services, top notch food (we live in NYC and they had a lot of the same restaurants we have), and we got a room with a plunge pool on the balcony so that during naps we could still be outside. It was the most relaxing a kids vacay could ever be. Also spa is unreal there.
Boca Beach Club was very similar. No plunge pool and not as many frills but still an excellent kids pool and adult pool. Great beach and beach service. Food still great but not as good as Nizuc. Kids club and Nanny services. We only used Nanny at night for both places - so we could do a nice adult dinner and drinks.
We are in Miami right now at the Loews. Has a lot of the perks mentioned above but just not as “relaxing” of a vibe. Smaller so lots more people per square foot. Kids club has more restrictions. Etc. But still great for what we need.
2 requirements for us on a kid vacation are kids club with drop off and suites - we can’t stay in a traditional hotel room with kids for various reasons.
We also make sure that we take turns getting some alone time (like I am by the pool alone right now while DH has our son in the kids club, yesterday my husband took a walk and relaxed while DS napped). And when we’re all together we tag team so it’s not too taxing on one of us. BUT we have yet to vacation with two kids yet (left 2 month old at home).
squash / 13208 posts
I have never had a relaxing vacation with kids....those 2 words do not go together! lol
@Mamaof2: hmm very true. I am the most relaxed when my kid is at school LOL
apricot / 264 posts
I haven’t had a relaxing vacation with kids. Mine are 5 and under.
We’ve gone to the beach and Disney World with them. While I wouldn’t say it was relaxing, Disney was by far the better trip. Everyone had fun, kids were constantly entertained, and we love rides. The beach is nice but more work in my opinion. The sand, water, and lugging around gear is tiring.
wonderful pear / 26210 posts
cantaloupe / 6017 posts
We go stay on the coast with my parents for a week every summer. My parents play with my kids and I read on the deck. It’s a family owned house so I don’t have to stress about money. We make cocktails and cook dinners together.
apricot / 374 posts
Anything with grandparents (or whoever) along to help watch the kids! Otherwise I concur with @Mamatimes3. Last summer we attempted a long weekend in Clearwater with our toddler, but chasing him around the beach was anything but relaxing -- by Day 2 we were at Disney!
wonderful kiwi / 23653 posts
I haven't been on been yet, but it would have to have the following for sure -
1) Direct flight less than 4 hours
3) My parents are with us
kiwi / 705 posts
We’ve done a lot of trips with our kids and I would really call any of them relaxing. Hawaii was the closest and Disney cruises have been fun, but life with my kids is just not relaxing!
We’re in China for vacation right now and the kids and I are lying in bed watching tv (it’s 3:30am and we’re jet lagged). So it’s kind of more relaxing then home, but there are a lot of stress points throughout the day, both at home and away.
pomelo / 5534 posts
We’ve only been on two vacations since we became a family of four, but they’ve both been pretty relaxing. We did Coconut Bay in St Lucia, which was wonderful - the kids club takes babies so our youngest took his first nap there every day, and then they both took a second nap so one person would relax on the balcony and the other person got some free time. And then we went to Marival in Mexico, which was also great - a dedicated kids pool which, when combined with two kids in puddle jumpers, let us relax a little, plus we were there with the extended family so we had help and coverage to do some couple dinners.
I think it helps that I’ve been able to go into these trips with no expectations.
blogger / pomegranate / 3299 posts
I am with @Mamaof2 no trip with my kids is relaxing. It is fun and memorable and I think a really important part of our family dynamic but it has never been relaxing. I also don't have the expectation of relaxation so there is no disappointment. I know every time I travel with the kids it will be a lot of work, I will be exhausted when we get back but we will make some great memories.
@erinbaderin: good to know about st Lucia! Since next trip will include a baby.
Same with the place I mentioned, Nizuc. They take kids any age! Not sure if they have napping facilities but you can drop off your baby for an hour or two and they’ll entertain. So many require potty training or a minimum age. At Nizuc we dropped him off for 2 hours and I sat at the pool and read and had 2 adult beverages. Ahhhhmazing.
@SweetiePie: Coconut Bay was AMAZING! The kids club ladies were lovely. We used to push him to sleep in the stroller and then wheel him into the nap room (they also had cribs, but he slept well in the stroller) which was air conditioned and had cameras, and they’d give us a phone and just call when he woke up. They also would have kept him if we’d wanted, but our three year old wouldn’t go so there wasn’t any point.
nectarine / 2262 posts
Agree w/others - no travel with my 2yo is relaxing, it is incredibly stressful. The "best" I would say are trips to visit my mom because we get an extra pair of hands and husband and I can get out for some date nights.
I think once the 2yo and soon to be born baby brother get old enough to be potty trained, sleep in regular beds, stop napping, and can eat whatever (I mean, even the 2yo I have to have milk, sippy cups, etc etc), it would be easier. (so maybe once they are school aged?) Right now if we go somewhere, I feel like it's 100x easier to stay at home.
It is depressing and I really want a vacation - even a weekend away - so badly.
apricot / 370 posts
There's a place in northern MI where you stay in individual cabins, but they have group breakfasts and dinners. It's located on an inland lake which is peaceful and great for little kids swimming and 1/4 mile from Lake Michigan which is an easy jaunt for sunsets and playing in the sand and waves. There are no TVs and no wifi outside the main cabin.
It's not everyone's cup of tea, but it's by far the most relaxing vacations we've taken with young kids. Food is mostly taken care of, they swim and run around with all the other kids/families (new friends each year) every day, and they're exhausted at night. There are many great day trips and activities in the nearby area, but for the most part, it's secluded.
clementine / 911 posts
Vacations got a lot easier once 2 naps dropped down to 1. I still wouldn't call it relaxing though. I think in order for me to truly relax, all kids will have to be past napping and able to entertain themselves for a good period of time.
coconut / 8078 posts
I also don’t expect a trip with kids to be relaxing, but we have had some great trips. Beach with extended family )but LO1 actually hates the beach!), international trip to visit extended family, a week in D.C., weekend trips to nearby cities. But I also like trips where I’m busy exploring new places. I can’t lay by the pool without turning into a lobster!
blogger / eggplant / 11551 posts
Hawaii - any island... I actually found it pretty relaxing. The beach and pool wore the kids out so they napped and slept so well. We had plenty of downtime in the middle of the day and at night, and just being surrounded by all that natural beauty made me relaxed.
No city vacation has ever been relaxing - just more of the same of what we would typically do, but at a new place with different things. Eating out, shopping, sightseeing, parks.
pineapple / 12053 posts
my first thought:
second thought: i'm not having a relaxing vacation with kids until my youngest (currently 38 weeks pregnant) is probably 8.
@Mamaof2: right, i only take trips with my kids. super fun, super hard, super worth it. but no relaxing vacations.
cantaloupe / 6060 posts
We were surprisingly relaxed by our vacation last year (kids were 2 and 5). I did of course expect to take care of certain things like meals but kept it really simple.
We drove 4 hours which to me is so much less stressful than flying (we stayed outside San Antonio). We had a condo with a closed door bedroom for us and a full kitchen and laundry. I meal planned and shopped once, then we could eat there without having to go out (stressful with my 2yo!) - we used our balcony a lot to eat. The resort had really nice amenities like a lazy river, walk in pool, sand beach with toys, putting green, playground, etc. All walking distance to the condo. It felt so relaxing to just walk back and forth as we wanted. I didn’t mind cooking because it was simple and things I knew everyone would eat. Naps were no problem. We spent a ton of time at the beach on the lazy river. This year we are going back, staying a day longer and planning to do less off resort for more time relaxing! Weather was great - it’s too hot here by summer but we went while big kids were still in school.
clementine / 935 posts
Honestly, we're the exception that find traveling with our kid relaxing. Not traveling alone relaxing, but more relaxing than being at home.
We've had relaxing trips to San Francisco, Maine, Seattle, and the beach. I think the most important thing is to go with low expectations, few plans, and a lot of flexibility.
@Dahlia: I’m with you! It’s not as relaxing as going to a resort pre-kids, but if my option is being at home responsible for cooking and cleaning and daycare pickup, and the other option is being in a pool holding a mojito and watching my kids swim, I’m going to be super relaxed in that pool.
@erinbaderin: Exactly! Plus I have more fun exploring places with DD than playing the same games at home.
@erinbaderin: @Dahlia: Ditto!
nectarine / 2521 posts
@Iced Tea: An all inclusive resort in Punta Cana. It was apartments turned into a resort. We for a 2 bedroom apartment with a pool on the back deck as close to the pool as possible. We took our monitor and we were so close we could actually go sit at the pool and have lunch and drinks while watching our kid sleep on the monitor. It was super quiet and no kids club but was perfect for us.
persimmon / 1310 posts
Man, I'm so jealous of all the grandparent help! The lack of help is a major reason why I need a relaxing trip in the first place!
pomelo / 5866 posts
nectarine / 2972 posts
I think your game plan matters more than where you actually go. Things that have made family vacations enjoyable for us are:
-Very low expectation
-Very few plans. Instead I have a list of things we could do if we feel up for it. Also, don't tell the kids about these so they're not disappointed if you don't do them.
-No hotels. We do Airbnb so that everyone can have their own sleeping space and DH and I can't stay up and spend time together after the kids go to bed.
-Divide and concour. We don't have to do everything as a family. For example, DH might take the kids to the pool in the morning while I relax at our Airbnb and then I'll take DD out somewhere during DS's nap so that we both get a break.
-Staying long enough so that we can relax. We did a week last summer and it was perfect. Then we don't feel like we are rushing around and running out of time.
pomegranate / 3588 posts
We go on a yearly family vacation (started when my now 6 y/o was 15 months and I love it! We have access to a condo on a beach in Mexico through family. It is pretty relaxing for a vacation with kids in my opinion.
Here are the things that I think help for us:
-easy 4 hour drive in the car, can pack all the stuff
-staying at the condo with kitchen and 2 bedrooms helps us manage meals and personal space
-they sell mangos in the beach that are peeled and seasoned for you and we all love them
There is a lot of schlepping stuff but we have a pretty good system now. My daughter has taken the best naps of her life on those vacations!
clementine / 937 posts
@shabang: what is this place called? Seems like a good place for a reunion
eggplant / 11861 posts
Naples FL! We go every summer!!!
With that said, I Think having low expectations and being on their time is key! If You planned to be at the beach all day and they are over it by 11 etc....
coconut / 8472 posts
@SweetiePie: That’s exactly what we did with our kids on our Disney cruise. Dropped DD at the nursery and DS at the kids club and we went to the adult pool and had pina coladas and margaritas. It. Was. Heaven.
In general I really love each vacations. I kept a close eye on the kids, but both of them were really good about playing in the sand and only going ankle deep in the water. I would position my self in the water a foot or so deep, and they could play in front of me.
eggplant / 11706 posts
@Iced Tea: Our parents are retired, but they don't live anywhere near us. We do take them on some trips, but we pay their way. So the pros are, we get some help and can get a little alone time from the kids. The cons are---it's expensive to turn a trip for 4 (already pricey) into a trip for 6 with my in-laws or even 5 with just my mom.
We took my inlaws to Disney with us last summer. We got to leave the kids a couple nights and go back to the parks and that was nice. But we also had to pay for 4 adult tickets plus 1 kid, 5 reservations at Cinderella's round table (expensive for so-so food), etc. This summer, we're taking my mom on a cruise, so we had to get a second cabin and another flight. BUT, the bonus is that *maybe* I can get the kids to sleep with her in her cabin at least a couple of times! haha. We got her the bigger room with the pullout couch-bed just in case we can convince the kids to sleep with Nana.
Thanks for the input! I think I’ve given up in trying a relaxing trip just the four of us this year. It sounds like it would be very uncertain, and I’m too burned out to mentally deal with it if my relaxing trip fails.
Our friends invited us to join their Portland OR trip in July, renting a house together with our kids and theirs (similar ages). So I will go there, expecting some fun with friends, and trading childcare duties here and there.
If my husband’s parents finally come to visit from overseas this year, then maybe I can take an overnight trip alone to recharge. Though, at this point, I think I’m so burned out that I’d need a week! Impossible, I know.
nectarine / 2180 posts
@shabang: Walling you!
@Iced Tea: if I need a recharge, I would go away by myself for a night or two and leave the kids with DH. And I’m a total extrovert who loves being around people! But for real rest at this point, my kids can’t be there because I’m always thinking about what they need.
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