A couple years ago my friend Amanda started – and posted – a list of 100 places she wants to take her kids. At the time I thought it was a great idea. Ambitious and overwhelming, maybe, but great! Maybe I could make a list of my own . . . nah. One hundred is a LOT, you know!?
But then a couple months ago, as Mark and I sat down with our calendar to plan our year (as much as anyone can plan an entire year in January), it dawned on me. We only have 12 more summers with Annalyn before she goes to college. If we take a family vacation each summer, that’s 12 vacations.
Wait! Stop the hands of time! IT’S GOING TOO FAST!
As it turns out, 100 was too many for me but 12 is not nearly enough!
After I broke the bad news of time’s passage and babies grow up and sang Sunrise, Sunset to Mark, we quit crying and started brainstorming. I Googled and clicked (and clicked and clicked), reading through list after list of “top family vacations” and “best destinations for kids.” Many of the lists overlapped, and some of the ideas were so outrageous that we could easily rule them out. We tried to be realistic while still letting ourselves dream big, and we finally came up with a list of 24 places we want to take our girls over the next dozen years.
Some of them are smaller trips, some are trips to visit friends, and some of them are long-shot, dream-big trips. Some of them are places we’ve been but want to go back with the kids (and/or each other). And some of them are simply family vacation destinations straight off those “family-friendly travel” lists. Here’s what we picked (in alphabetical order because I don’t know [if] when we’ll take each trip and it’s too hard to list them in order of awesome-ness):
- The Carolinas
- Grand Canyon
- Gulf of Mexico beach
- New York City
- Mount Rushmore
- New Orleans
- San Antonio
- San Francisco
- Seattle (or maybe Portland)
- Smoky Mountains
- Southern California
- Washington, DC
This summer we’re driving to Mount Rushmore, so we’ll cross one off the list. And we’d planned a short trip to Indianapolis, too, but that one’s up in the air.