Summer Vacation?

Take me back to the beach Mommy!

Before our cap cod trip, it had been eons since we’d gone on vacation anywhere.  I’m lucky enough to work in academia where the vacation benefits are outstanding (more than 4 weeks a year!) so it’s high time we took a summer getaway, but we’re kind of stuck on where.

We have my sister (and friends, hi Kari!) in LA, but that seems like a tough trip with a toddler because it’s just sort of real life just on the opposite coast. We also have good friends in Portland, but they are the only people we know there – how long can you REALLY impose yourself on one family without wearing out your welcome (and it’s a long way to go for anything less than a week).

Jasper LOVED the beach, so that’s a strong candidate. In fact, we’ve been dreaming about a trip to the Beaches resort in the Turks & Caicos, even though this is nothing we EVER would have considered pre-Jasper.. all inclusive becomes a lot more appealing when you have a toddler, particularly in a place that is essentially one giant water park!   But a tropical vacation seems best saved for fall or winter, and more importantly, for after hurricane season.

So renting a beach house somewhere within driving distance a la the cape cod trip seems like a great idea, but there are just so many possibilities I’m not even sure where to start looking! I suggested the Jersey shore, which Jeff promptly vetoed (I think the TV series probably had some influence there.)

Do any of you northeast dwellers have any good suggestions?  Word of mouth is always better than a random internet search…

Thanks as always :)

PS: someone in Jasper’s daycare class was diagnosed with Scabies!!! Ewwwwwwww.

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Janineb says:

I am terrible at NE geography. How far are you from the Carolina Coast? The Outerbanks in NC are AMAZING and so family friendly! My family rents 2 big beach houses every year and have a blast:

Katie says:

Check out the Tyler Place resort (in MA, I think). It looks like so much fun! Your fee includes a parent’s helper for when Mommy and Daddy want to be alone for a little bit:)

Amanda says:

Oh, and I forgot..
I have been to Turks & Caicos……amazing, it was amazing because I left my little one at home. I don’t imagine that it would be so amazing with a little one. Daytime would be great, but as I do not trust the “island nannies” you would be stuck in your room come 7pm my love.

Amanda says:

Hey you,
We haven’t “spoken” in forever….but please know that if you choose to come see Rox in LA, you will be sooooooo welcome to hang with us and do many, many things here with little Stella that are not “real life”. She is a fantastic tour guide and would be more than happy to educate little Jasper on the ways of the west. Did I mention that we have a guest house?????
Would love to finally meet you guys!!
Big kiss,

jbhat says:

If you DO go to Portland, and if you DO incorporate a trip to Seattle, you could come and see ME, because that’s where I live. !!!

But a beach in your neck of the woods may be more practical. Have fun planning.


Paula says:

As a mom of three kids who has been to Beaches, I can tell you it is fabulous! However, given the cost and Jasper’s age, I would advise waiting another 2 years. He really isn’t old enough to take advantage of the amenities that you pay for when you book a Beaches vacation. If you want a great beach location with plenty of children’s activities and also enjoyable for you, I suggest Maine or the Adirondacks.

Kelly says:

We just took a trip down to Virginia Beach and our 19-month daughter had a blast. Everything is all in one place – beach, boardwalk, shopping, etc. Also, there’s an aquarium for rainy days and if you’re into it, Busch Gardens is only about an hour away and has a Sesame Street section specifically for young kids. Also, the Outer Banks are always a good option.

Brooke says:

York Beach Maine!!!!
Probably the most kid friendly beach area I have yet to go to. I grew up there, and then moved back there and hope to start my own family here because I never found a place I loved as much!!
I have also been to the Turks-and hands down would suggest YB Maine this time of year over the turks-save that for a winter or spring getaway!
HUGE playground butts up against the short sands beach (called Ellis Park). It has an old school type of board walk that has candle pin bowling alley and mini golf under the same roof, a fun o rama-old arcade which has whack a mole and skee ball all on the board walk AND quaint shops to include The Goldenrod which is famous for its penny candy counter and saltwater taffy (with the real taffy pulling original machine still in the window making the kisses) and of course york wild animal kingdom and amusement park. The smell of warm sugar and flavors wafts through the air all around the shops and beaches-its sooooo incredible! My nephews (2 and 3) think I am the bomb because this is where I take them when they come up.
You can rent a house close to short sands or on long sands (all walkable distances to the short sands beach with sidewalks for ease of stroller use). It is my FAVORITE place to do photography-so many kids :) And close day trips are Portsmouth NH (15 mins away) as well as Perkins Cove (5 mins), ME and Wells (15 mins) or kennebunkport (20 mins). Nothing beats the rocky coasts of Maine-and I have been all over cape cod!
Feel free to ping me if you would like more details, I would be happy to help you enjoy my area of the world :)
Since I am a local I can help you a lot with suggestions of places to go, stay eat, etc as well as some really great scenic things too. It’s exactly an hour from boston (straight up 95)!

Raquel Hall says:

You should definalty check into some of the small towns along the West Coast of Michigan. Lake Michigan is beautiful and the sand is as soft as velvet. We have very family friendly cities located up and down the coast. Saugatuck is very well known for their artsy stuff… Grand Haven is very family oriented with a board walk and musical fountain. And Holland ( where you will find me) has gorgeous state parks and city parks. Also with fab shopping. Oh and if you happen to come…call me so you can take my sons pictures. Ha,ha,ha.

Aimee says:

Scabies is a zoonitic disease that is transferable between humans and animals. You either get it or you don’t. After working in vet hospitals for 16 years I am immune to scabies, ringworm, and poison oak. It all depends on your immune system. Good luck with that!

I am no help for your vacation. I live on the west coast, never been to the east coast minus airports. :-)

ariana says:

Ok, all of these amazing replies have 1) made me REALLY want to go to Beaches at the Turks and Caicos and 2) given me too many good ideas to know what to do with…

Thank you everyone, keep them coming!

Lisa says:

Definitely go to Turks and Caicos when you can- we went in March and it is to die for!!! The whole place was very kid friendly.

Lauren says:

I’m going to suggest Rehoboth or Dewey Beach in Delaware. Not a bad drive from Jersey, great beaches (but not super overwhelming), super family friendly, boardwalk (a good size-not overwhelming but still plenty to do), etc. There are lots of cute shops/restaurants too.

If you wanted to check out Ocean City for a larger boardwalk and more “Jersey Shore” like experience it’s only about a 20 minute drive.

kerri says:

we live in massachusetts. we just took our 15 month old to the white mountains in NH. there is ALOT to do there. santa’s village, storyland, clarks trading post, flume gorge, polar caves, gondola rides. and the free stuff like hanging out by the river, driving through the mountains…hiking…lots of flat hikes for little ones. (recommend a backpack) all around a great trip and we can’t wait to go back next summer! Jasper would totally dig it!

Lindsey says:

I vote Portland. We live in Portland and it’s gorgeous in the summer. There is a lot to do too! We had friends come from Dallas for a week last summer. They took a few days to drive up to Seattle (about 3 hours away) and spent a day at the beach. We also went up to our cabin in the mountains for two nights. It didn’t seem too long at all. Not to be scary blog lady but I’d be happy to meet up for a playdate too. My son, Bennett, is almost 18 months. In any case, Portland is a great place with lots of day (or few day trips around). And you definitely can’t beat the gorgeous weather with no humidity!

Stephanie says:

As someone who used to live in Rhode Island, I can second that it’s a nice place to visit (living there was another story!) Waterfire is awesome and definitely family-friendly. The zoo and children’s museum (also in Providence) are nice too. Newport is absolutely lovely – both the town and the beaches – it would be a wonderful place to stay. It’s definitely better to stay out at the beach and pop into Providence on the way in or out of town than to stay in Providence though, I think. Block Island is great too.

I love Maine – Camden is the cutest town in the world – with beaches, boating, hiking and more at your fingertips. Bar Harbor and Kennebunkport are beautiful too.

I know you were just at the Cape (Cod) but there are so many pretty towns (and islands!) that maybe a different portion of the Cape would be worth a look? If you stay somewhere near Hyannis, you’re close to the big carousel. :) Day trips to Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard (by ferry) are fun too.

As for Portland, if you came to Portland, Jasper could play with Ginger!!! We’d be happy to play tour guide and share our memberships to all of the kid attractions – zoo, science museum, children’s museum, etc. The Oregon Coast has lovely beaches (and mountains!) too.

One place my kids LOVE visiting is Vancouver, BC. You could spend a week in Stanley Park alone (picture a very lush Central Park encircled by beaches on three sides, with mountains as a backdrop.) The aquarium is stellar, the zoo is great too, and the park has lots of pretty trails and gardens as well as a marina (two year olds love boats!)The city itself is beautiful – very clean, friendly and cosmopolitan. The food and shopping are wonderful, as is the art museum. You can ride a tram up to the top of Grouse Mountain and take in the view below. If you want to get out of the city, you can take a day trip via ferry to Victoria or the Sunshine Coast. And be sure not to miss the kids’ market at Granville Island: The water taxis are fun too. :)

Ava says:

Yeah, I vote your sister’s with an extended few days to drive up the coast to SF. Great weather, lots of stuff to do, good wine (an hour north), amazing food, and the company of G. How could you possibly say “No!”?
PS. Did I mention we have a fabulously comfortable guest bed?

Samantha says:

My husband and I did a vacation once on Block Island (an island in between RI and Long Island). It’s a great place and we loved it (although we did not have our son at the time it seemed like a very family friendly place). The beaches were great and there were tons of stuff to do. You can park your car on the mainland and take a ferry to the island (or you can ferry your car for extra $). But you don’t really need a car since the Island is so small and you can rent bikes by the day if you want to explore the Island. It’s also within close proximity to Newport and Providence (I have no idea where you live, so maybe if you live in RI that wouldn’t be such a big deal, lol). We spent two nights in Providence (did the Zoo, the whole Fire Water thing at night, some other local stuff), then visited Newport on our way down to Block Island. It was one of the best vacations we’ve ever taken and so relaxing and fun at the same time.

Good luck with your vacation planning!

Fiona says:

Scabies – I agree. Totally EWWWWW. Highly infectious. Might not appear straight away…keep an eye out. Disgusting!

I’m a brit….never crossed the Atlantic….no advice. But I hope you find something you want to do. We have the same problem. An 8 month old and no ideas what so ever. All inclusive does seem appealing though!!

Lindsay says:

If you are interested in water activities, beaches, hiking, water parks, etc and somewhere that you can drive to, Lake George in the NY Adirondacks is amazing this time of year. The south end of the lake is somewhat of a tourist trap, but the north end is gorgeous. I’d recommend the Bolton Landing area. And if you have the means, The Sagamore, (a large victorian era resort on a private island) is sooooo nice!

Shane says:

I’d LOVE to do an all inclusive family vacation place (maybe those Beaches ads on Sesame Street are getting to me). I think getting a few families together for a trip would be AMAZING. Oh to Scuba dive again :-)

“How long can you impose on a family?” – it depends on the family :-) Size and layout of the house and the location. ex: is the place already toddler proof? Do they understand needing early dinners/bed times?

SF Bay area could be a great place to explore – water parks, hikes, museums, zoos. Depending on what you do during the weekends, it could be a bit like home but with different activities. it could also be a good place for 3-5 days and then do a day trip or overnight somewhere else in CA.

East Coast wise – I used to do weeks on the Outer Banks of NC. Ava & I have talked about renting a huge house in Duck, NC w/ another family or two or three (last place I stayed at in Duck slept 20 in beds with a pool, hot tub, across the street from the ocean). It’s a lazy, beach relaxing location. Only odd thing for that area is weekly rentals run Sat afternoon check-in to the following Sat morning checkout. A bit of a drive from NY, but doable for a week. We were going to go it this year but BabyS’ timing didn’t work this summer.

Cost : You could do a bit of an expanded trip (extra few days) and book some shoots (prop free if you are flying) or partner w/ other photographers in the area for a ‘workshop’ (not so much teaching but a group skills development shoot). Then you can write off some of the costs as a business expense :-)

I’ll comment more if different ideas come to me. Hit me up directly if you have any ?s

Sara says:

I can’t help with vacation ideas right now as we live in Las Vegas, but I can *highly* recommend Beaches Turks & Caicos. We went in January for what we thought was a once-in-a-lifetime trip with our 1 and 3 year olds. It was such a wonderful trip that we’re saving to go back in a year or two!