I Ask: Where Should We Go On Our Summer Vacation?

Scott and I need to plan our summer family vacation RIGHT NOW because I’m teaching again this summer, and I can’t take my blogging buddies with me — tuition would be too high, and some of them should NOT be trusted with driving or sharp objects.  And by some of them, I mean me.

Details you need:
1) We have one week in the summer (Friday-Sunday)
2) We have two kids who will be almost five and two
3) We live in Virginia
4) I’m allergic to people.

In 2008, we went to The Tyler Place, which is like summer camp except less drugs, but we went off-season and had only one kid so it was way cheaper. Also, we got stuck on Lake Champlain for at least three hours on our last day. And eventually had to paddle our sailboat home.

This is when I realized that the camera man wasn't going to save us. He was laughing too hard. We still came in second in the regatta. So who had the last laugh then? Probably the first boat.

We’ve looked into Disney cruises, which are not really cheaper and have giant animals that attempt to hug you.

The first and last cruise I went on was in 2003 to Alaska.

FINALLY! A picture that embodies the full extent of my coolness. Because I am standing on a GLACIER!

And while I loved seeing some of the sights, I was disappointed with the cruise food. And that pretty much ruined cruising for me. Also, someone stole my cell phone. Or I left in on the deck and it fell into the ocean. Either way, I blames Pierre.

What I really liked about Alaska is that the animals weren’t trying to hug you AT ALL. They mostly wanted to eat you.

At MOOSE VS. BEAR no hugging occurred. Being asked to leave the store perhaps, but no hugging.

In general, we like a combination of things to do and laziness. I don’t want to have to eat out for every meal. And I’d like to not be in charge of entertaining my children every minute of the trip. Also, I don’t mind SOME people also being at this mysterious destination as long as they don’t talk to me. Or look at me. And I have to be able to take pictures of them for a future blog post.

If this describes your home, please leave your address in the comment section below.

Otherwise, I ask: Where should we go for our summer vacation?

The answer: Although all these answer were spectacular and we found the coolest places like STAYING IN A TREEHOUSE (thanks @a_mowrer!), we chose none of them.  But we are staying somewhere… I’m just too paranoid to say.  Maybe as we get closer?

This post was sponsored by Lice Happens because when a company contacts me and says: We take bugs out of people’s hair. I think: Late Enough. They are in MD, DC, VA, DE, PA, NJ, and OH. You can read about how they’ve helped parents and kids feel less weird about having lice here. And if you have my family over to your house for our summer vacation and you and I get lice, we don’t have to feel gross. We just call them to learn how to pick each others’ hair like loving monkeys.

Disclaimer: A sponsored post on LateEnough.com does not mean someone told me what to write; it means that I wrote this post and wrote the paragraph below it linking to the entity who gave me money. They are reading this post for the first time, right now just like you. If you’re interested in sponsoring a post, email me: alex{at}lateenough{dot}com.

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

44 thoughts on “I Ask: Where Should We Go On Our Summer Vacation?

  1. Nag’s Head, NC! We rented a beach house there with my hub’s family and it was a blast! Perfect combination of fun and relaxing. I warn you though, I did come home with a bit of a souvenir. *ahem* It was that fun. And she’ll be a year in like 3 weeks.

  2. Okay… I have two of places that are at the top of my vacation to do list…
    The first is Bald Head Island (if you want to try the beach thing).
    http://www.baldheadisland.com/explore/index.aspx
    My second is Chattanooga, Tennessee. (I am still trying to convince Scott on this one)
    I personally have looked into two places to stay out there too… perfect for the kids and the kids in us.
    http://www.chattanoogafun.com/exit.asp?page=www.choochoo.com&visit=222
    (Train car hotel rooms =fun)
    and
    http://www.chattanoogafun.com/exit.asp?page=www.halesbarmarina.com&visit=8367 (for a more rustic experience)

    1. I live in Chattanooga and it is really cool. There are tons of things to do here! It is an up and coming city and for the most part not too many people. During the summer and early fall there are free concerts downtown on Friday nights. Really there are just a lot of things to do. DM me on twitter or email me if you want more info.

  3. Bald Head Island, NC, for sure! No cars, not overcrowded at all. You get a golf cart with your house rental – so much fun – and no car seats for a week! Go to the club and swim, go to the beach, see baby turtles make their way to the sea… heaven. There are no chains and only a few stores and restaurants. My daughter is a patient of your husband’s so I expect extra good medical care if you go with BHI. 😉

  4. My two favorite mountain towns:

    Denver, CO: Lots to see and do, a great Children’s Museum, summer weather is very favorable, very family friendly. Boulder, The Stanley Hotel (AKA the hotel that inspired The Shining), and Garden of the Gods (pretty amazing red rock structures) are not far either. All make for good day trips. Hubby is from there so we’ve made many trips.

    Boone, NC: Lived there for grad school. Beautiful weather in the summer. Rent a cabin and enjoy day hikes on the Blue Ridge Parkway, great restaurants in a small college town, and peaceful scenery. Not as touristy as some places so this might be good if you’re looking for “quiet”.

    You’ve already been to my other favorite place (Alaska) and most other places I’d recommend would be good for a couples getaway but not necessarily for kids.

  5. PS We love Disney cruises and are going on our second in November but you do have the people factor to deal with. I am now thinking my choices are too extreme for you.. one probably has too little entertainment and one probably has too much. Can I still get extra good medical care?

  6. Obviously Salt Lake City is the way to go. Fun, easy hikes during the day and as a bonus you get to see your favorite person of all time

  7. Don’t take a summer vacation! Wait until the fall. Specifically, the first week in October, when he have lots of balloons in the sky here in the Q.

    You can stay in my house. I promise not to look at or talk to you,* and I make awesome coffee!

    *Not in the morning, at least. I don’t like mornings any better than you do. By lunch, I’m mostly finished hating the whole world. Usually.

  8. I HIGHLY recommend the Cape Hatteras KOA (Kampground of America). We got a camping lodge that had A/C, kitchenette, master bedroom, bunk beds in another bedroom, living room and private bathroom w/ a shower. Outside was a nice firepit. TONS of kids activities altho not packed. There are like 3 swimming pools, a pillow bounce (like a moonbounce on crack), outside movies, a camp store and restaurants all around. The beach is literally over the dune – a very short walk. It’s fairly cheap – you can eat in or eat out. Because it’s Hatteras there aren’t a lot of people IMO. KG LOVED it. We could hang by the pool or by the beach or play putt putt golf or watch movies outside. Super neat.

    http://www.koa.com

  9. We have vacationed in Wrightsville Beach, NC many times and it’s delightful. Condos are rented, Wilmington is nearby, there is sand. Oh! and there is Cracker Barrell in town (and I loooove the Crack Shack, so this makes it the most ideal of vacations for me as I am very pro-gravy).

  10. Myrtle Beach, SC. It’s goofy, fun, kid friendly, and moderately priced. You’ll like the Miracle Strip (that’s not a gentleman’s club) and the kids will enjoy all the amusement parks.

    Wait, you are allergic to people.

    I’ve always wanted to go to South Dakota and see Mt Rushmore, Deadwood, and the historical stuff. My parents rave about it. I suck as a travel agent.

    1. When I saw your comment pop up I thought: YES SHE INVITED US TO FRANCE. But instead you were reading my blogging post. Thank goodness you read this post too or my whole day would’ve been ruined. Make some room!

  11. I have lots of suggestions, some of which some people have already suggested.

    1. Boone/Blowing Rock, NC – I went to Appalachian State so this is always first on my list for vacations. It is beautiful and shouldn’t be too, too hot in the summer. Probably in the 80s. Walk around downtown Boone and Blowing Rock. Most shops are privately owned so you are going to find some really cool stuff. There is a park in the middle of downtown Blowing Rock too for the kids to burn off some energy. But be warned, there are LOTS of hippies so be prepared for the smell of patchuli and the sight of unshaven arm pits. 🙂 You can also rent a cabin which means you can cook most of your meals but there are also some GREAT restaurants. Try Storie Street Grille (go for lunch and order the BLT with fried green tomatoes) in Blowing Rock and Cafe Portofino (I recommend the arrabiatta pasta) in Boone. You can take the kids up to the Grandfather Mountain Swinging bridge. They also have a mini-zoo there with eagles, bears, etc. You can also take the kids to Mystery Hill in Boone. It’s one of those places where the gravity seems off b/c of how the building was built into the mountain. But beware…it makes me sick (literally – its an inner ear thing). But the kids will love it! Also, you are right by the Blue Ridge Parkway so you could hike lots of trails and go to Price Park. Only thing is cabins can be pricey. You are probably going to spend twice as much in this area then you would somewhere like Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge, TN.

    2. That brings me to my second recommendation – Gatlingburg/Pigeon Forge, TN. TONS of stuff for the kids to do and plenty of good shopping. Shows, an aquarium, outlet shopping, and do I need to mention…DOLLYWOOD (I love me some Dolly!). Like I said, you are going to spend a lot less on a cabin there but there will more likely be more people here than in the Boone/Blowing Rock area.

    3. Bald Head Island, NC – This is probably going to be your most expensive option. The only place to eat on the island is the Country Club which is WAY too pricey. Plus, you will need to bring all your groceries with you b/c buying them on the island will cost you 2x – 3x as much. The only way to travel on the island is by golf cart so you half to get all your luggage, beach stuff, groceries, etc. on the ferry then on a golf cart to the house. And if your kids are in the middle of a meltdown this could be a serious problem. Positive – Virtually no one on the island. Negative – Here you will end up entertaining your kids on your own mostly. Yes there’s a lighthouse, a beach, and swampy areas for them to see some of the island wildlife (including alligators) but my guess is you will spend most of your time on the beach or in the house as you’ve probably seen all there is to see on the island by day 2 or 3. Also, you might be able to see sea turtles. You’d have to contact someone in charge of wildlife on the island for this though.

    4. Ocean Isle Beach, NC – This is where my family and I go almost every summer. It’s a great family friendly beach about an hour North of Myrtle Beach. You can rent golf carts to drive around OR drive your car. There’s some cute restaurants, putt putt, and a quaint little ice cream parlor to visit in the evenings. You will find more people here than Bald Head Island but not nearly as many people as in Myrtle. And most of the people will be families, not partying teenagers and college students. It’s just about an hour drive to Myrtle so you could go a couple days to shows, the amusement park, and outlet shops if you wanted and be able to come back to a more peaceful environment.

    Let me know if you want more info on ANY of these places. I have tons more info to give!! 🙂

    1. On Bald Head, you can eat at the clubs (I know Shoals has poolside which is casual or inside which is fancy), the Maritime Market, or Eb and Flo’s. I’m not sure if you’ve been since they finished the new ferry terminal but it is really easy – you pull up, take out your luggage, the people take it right there, you separate your stuff when you get on the island, and then it is taken on the tram to your rental. You don’t handle your luggage on the ferry or put it on yourself. The tram is what takes everyone to their rentals so you don’t have access to the golf cart until you are dropped off at your house.

      They post signs about the sea turtle hatchings and you can also visit the turtle conservancy to find out more about it.

      1. Its been about 5 years since I’ve been. And, you’re right they do handle all your luggage for you. The market is much more pricey than a typical grocery store and we just couldn’t afford to shop there. With the club, if you aren’t a member you have to pay for a temporary membership to eat, swim, etc. If I’m not mistaken thats another $100 a person. I think. I can’t remember. Bald Head is GREAT and if you can shell out a little more money…it’s totally worth it!! It’s been one of my favorite places I’ve been so far!

        1. Bald Head is incredible! 🙂 The market is definitely pricey for some things (like milk) but other things aren’t too horrific. We pack a lot of food in coolers and Rubbermaid tubs. The club memberships are per rental house – some come with them and some you have to pay extra for. Last year, it was $125 (total) for the Shoals Club and $150, $155, or $160 for the BHI Club depending on the type of membership you wanted. We stayed with 3 other families so we paid $31.25 per family for the Shoals Club.

          1. Ah…thats why I was thinking $100 per person then. My aunt owns a house on the island and when we went it was just my husband and I so we had to pay for both the memberships. Splitting the cost with other families/family members is definitely the way to go. When we went we packed food up to bring too. Especially milk and meat. Although we caught our own dinner too (probably my favorite part about staying on the island)! I don’t think the new ferry terminal was running although I’m not sure. My dad was already there so they came and picked us up on our own cart. Do you know when the hatching season for turtles is? My aunt is good friends with the lady in charge at the conservancy and I remember her saying when we went wasn’t a good time for it. We saw a couple nests but not as many as during hatching season.

  12. I don’t have any real recommendations. But I read about a tip for vacationing recently. You can get a cabin or a room with a kitchenette and then have groceries delivered. (Safeway does grocery delivery for example) That way you don’t have to try to find and navigate a new grocery store in a strange land. Of course that means you have to be at a place that’s in the delivery area of a store, but it’s something to keep in mind.

  13. It doesn’t matter where you go as long as you take a “nanny” or a “manny” i.e. a college age person to accompany you to entertain kids and babysit a couple of nights so you actually get a vacation and not simply a “change of scenery.”

  14. Dunno if you’ve ever taken Amtrak, but I love it. You might consider looking at trips you could take so that the kids could enjoy the train. If you get a sleeping compartment, it makes it a lot easier.

  15. come to Portland! I just say this out of selfish reasons, because I want to hang out with you. but there are a million super cool things to do between the city and mountains and waterfalls and rivers. and the coast is only an hour away. but really, I just want to hang out with you.

  16. Montana! It’s gorgeous here any time of year, and there aren’t many people (which would totally be why I live here!). We have Yellowstone Park, Glacier Park, the Missouri River and Forest Service cabins across the state that are a blast to rent, even with little kids. Flathead Lake is highly recommended; you can rent anything from a cabin to a mansion and have privacy, with fun little towns close by. Obviously you can handle bear and moose, so you have a leg up on the competition already. Remember – you only have to run faster than 1 person; the slowest becomes dinner. 😉

  17. Vegas! It’s never too early to introduce the kiddies to hookers and gambling. You’ve got your childcare pretty much covered. Kids love roulette.

    Colorado is nice, plenty of places to go without people- and if you want lots of funny pictures for your blog, just head to Boulder.

  18. OK, i’ve never been here or even to this state, but you should totally go to East Hill Farm! http://www.east-hill-farm.com. Why, you ask? Hehe so disclaimer-after the first half of a very busy weekend, i’m finally succumbing to the fact that im sick anf need to rest, but then I got bored consulted facebook and decided to plan your vacation on my couch (you’re welcome 🙂 ) I searched for family vacation sites-this place was recommended and it has lots og stuff for kids-they can do crafts, tour the barns and meet animals, pick out their own eggs-plus theres boating swimming water skiing walking anf running trails cozy rooms and home cooked meals horse back riding-and its family run. So exciting, I forget to punctuate! hehe plus its up north so it wont be as hot~ remember your virginia in the summer posts. I kinda wish I had kids to go visit animals w/ now. Maybe someday. Do it Alex. See this dream risr off the couch.
    Haha 🙂 it was a fun project on a sick day, if anything.

  19. –>We are also in Virginia and because I’ve lived in every corner of the state now, I enjoy heading south to OBX for a week long vacation. They have houses in various sizes and even condos with community pools. We lounge in the pool, head to the beach and go 4-wheeling on the beach to see the wild ponies that neither want to eat you or give you a hug.

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