Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Top Ten Favorite Family Vacation Spots I have Been To

1)  St. Simon island, Georgia
This island was so unique and we had a blast there.  They had tree faces carved into different trees and we spent time searching for all of them.  It was a kid friendly town with a huge playground and lots to do.  There are also other islands right near St. Simon's that have other things to do.  Cumberland Island actually has a wild horse population that you can hike and see.  We rode bikes all over the island and got to see so many different birds that I had always wanted to see (roseate spoonbill for one!)  Plus we went to the sea turtle sanctuary which was awesome.

2)  Traverse City, Michigan
This is one of two places we went a lot as a kid.  They have a cherry festival in July that is oh so much fun to go to.  Plus you are near Lake Michigan and my particular favorite place where the Platte River meets up with Lake Michigan.  Traverse City itself has a lot of cool little restaurants and shopping. Taking a canoe trip is another favorite thing to do up there.  We used to love camping at the Platte River camp ground.
3)  Grayling, Michiga
We used to camp there a lot at a state park called Hartwick Pines.  This is home of the critically endangered Kirtland's Warbler.  I got to see one as a kid which didn't mean much to me then, but now as an avid birder I am proud of it.  There is a little log church at Hartwick pines that is so beautiful and there was a whole bunch of buildings related to the logging operation back in the day (but this was years ago so who knows what is there now.)  But as a kid, I remember hating the outhouses.  I was pretty sure that was torture.  The Au Sable river is another awesome place to visit.
4)  Blue Ridge, Georgia
This is very similar to Gatlinburg, Tennessee but not as touristy.  It is in the Smokey mountains and near the white water rafting area that was used in the Olympics when they were in Georgia.  We went white water rafting  while we were down there two times ago which was a blast.  Blue Ridge itself is a small town with shopping and quaint little restaurants.  Overall it is a lot cheaper to rent a cabin here than it is in Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge.  Oh and get some soup from Ingles grocery store while you are there.  The chicken noodle is amazingly yummy.
Unpacking Sucks-- More Blue Ridge pics

5)  Drummond Island, Michigan
It has been years since I have been here, but I loved family vacations here when I was a teen.  There is next to nothing to do on this island except outside fun with only one small grocery store and a couple restaurants.  We rode bikes, fished, hiked.  On one hiking trip, my parents even saw a big brown bear.  This island is off the upper peninsula of Michigan and is so pretty.  One day when Destructo is older, I really look forward to going back there with him and Mr. Destructo.

6)  Chattanooga, Tennessee
This is a fun spot for a few nights getaway if you live close enough.  The aquarium there is spectacular and we had a blast checking out all the fish. There was also a zoo. There are tons of restaurants and shops and a huge park for the kids to play at.  There are also an art district and night time entertainment.  We always find something fun to do when we are in Chattanooga whether it is for a day or a few nights. 
Aquarium at not quite 5 months

Aquarium at 15 months

Brick boats on the streets (And yes my kid normally has clothes on haha he was sweaty hot so I was letting him cool down for a minute since it was 95 degrees out.

The man made river that runs in front of the aquarium that all the kids play in

7)  Destin, Florida
 We first had to go there for a friend's wedding and loved it.  I bird watched so much and loved the white sand beaches and the warm ocean.  This was where we went back for our family vacation this year and Destructo loved the ocean.  We enjoyed hiking at some of the national parks and shopping and eating in some of the seafood restaurants in town.  There is plenty to do here for sure.
More Destin pics in this post 
The cool pelican at the ocean

Waves rolling in on the beach

8)  Costa Rica
We went here on our honeymoon and loved it.  I would like to take Destructo and his future sibling back at some point in the future.  Maybe once they are 10ish or so.  I can just picture us as a family exploring the rain forest. 
9)  Lexington, Kentucky
Okay this isn't the best family vacation probably but I love Lexington.  I did an internship on a thoroughbred breeding farm in 2005 for six months and fell in love with the town.  I plan on taking a weekend trip there at some point when Destructo is a bit bigger to enjoy Keeneland race track and take him to the horse park. 

10)  Somewhere west of the Mississippi river.
 Now this one I don't know where exactly we will go.  I have a number of places that have always sounded nice such as Colorado, San Francisco, Washington state.  We shall see.  I just know that I have only been west of the Mississippi once in my life and that was when I just drove over it to say I had.  Haha

So where are your favorite family vacation spots?   

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