Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Travel Tuesday- Traveling With Kids

As I think we know, I do not have kids. I know when I do, Eric and my travel bug will have to tame itself due to budget changes and the fact that traveling with kids can be just difficult sometimes. It’s unlikely that I will visit Peru or Italy with young children, but I would like them to see some special places in the United States.

Eric and I both traveled a fair amount as children so sometimes we discuss our philosophies behind travel with children. I think the biggest debate in our minds is whether children gain a lot of important knowledge and fun experiences while traveling or whether it is a bit “wasted” on them because they don’t fully appreciate what they are seeing. I think there is a little bit of both in this and it really depends on the personalities of the kids and where you take them. Some children will embrace a new experience and enjoy it and others will be dreaming of getting back to movies and video games with their friends.


I found a great article from Budget Travel on CNN about the 15 Landmarks (in the USA) that Every Child Should See By Age 15. Below I have listed these landmarks, whether I saw them by age 15, and whether I agree all kids should see it.

Grand Canyon, Arizona- I saw at age 25.

Yes. The Grand Canyon is cool and at a young age you probably won’t mind the tiny hotel rooms. The article recommends some things to do on the West Rim, so that’s worth considering since the South Rim was pretty uneventful.

Redwood National Park, California- Technically, never seen but I have been to Muir Woods.

Yes. What kid doesn’t love playing in the woods? Bonus points for being near San Francisco and other kid-friendly things.

Monticello, Virginia- I saw at age 15, whew!

Maybe. I think a kid who is into history may be more excited about this. It’s pretty, but I wouldn’t go out of my way for it. I enjoyed other parts of VA more at age 15.

The Freedom Trail, Massachusetts- I saw at 10 (maybe before, can’t remember).

Yes. I know I’m bias, but it’s history every American kid should know. Plus I was a huge fan of Mike’s Pastry rock candy as a kid, which is at the end of the freedom trail!

Niagara Falls, New York- I saw at age 24.

Yes. Go to the Canadian side though, and try to stay clear of the ridiculous Vegas-style attractions nearby. Kids will love the Maid of the Mist, the Whirlpool Jet Boat Rides, and the deck view area under the falls. If the “kids” are over 21, there are some awesome wineries nearby as well. Just say’

The National Mall, Washington DC- I saw at age 10.

Yes. DC is a must-do for kids in my opinion. There is so much to see and do but one of my personal favorites? The Air and Space Museum.

Williamsburg, Virginia- I’ve never seen.

Yes. I know I just said I haven’t been there, but kids love this kind of thing so I still think they should go.

Walt Disney World Resort, Florida- I saw at age 9.

Yes. Okay, maybe not as educational as the others listed, what kid does not LOVE Disney World? It’s simply a must-do for most kids.

Independence Hall, Pennsylvania- I’ve never seen.

Yes. I have to say yes for this one based on the history aspect alone. You may want to check out this website, Liberty's Kids, to give your kids a little background. I will say the article mentions ghost tours based on true stories as a kid-friendly idea. You know your own kids, but this would’ve given me nightmares as a kid. I’d like to go now though!

Alcatraz Island, California- I saw at age 24.

Yes. It may not be for every kid but most I know would love to visit a famous jail. Plus, the kids will love the whole ferry experience and running around at a place where criminals once did.

Ellis Island, New York- I’ve never seen.

Yes. I went to NYC in fifth grade and we didn’t go to Ellis Island. However, for kids today I think it’s worth seeing. The US is getting more and more multicultural every day and kids should know about the immigration experience back then and now.

Yellowstone National Park- Wyoming, Montana and Idaho- I’ve never seen.

Yes. Eric went at age 17 so I consulted him for this. He thinks the idea of seeing buffalo, bears, elk up close could be enough to convince children under 15 of the coolness of Yellowstone. I wonder a bit about their ability to appreciate the beauty of the place, but it depends on the kid.

Fenway Park, Massachusetts- I saw at a young age, obviously!

Yes. Like you expected me to say otherwise? I actually have a condition for this one, I think all kids from Boston and all kids interested in baseball should see Fenway by age 15. Kids who have heard all about Babe Ruth and Ted Williams or even are current fans of baseball will love it!

Carters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, Idaho- I’ve never seen.

Maybe. It certainly sounds pretty awesome, but I don’t know enough about it to say for sure. Also, is it hard to get to Idaho with kids?

San Diego Zoo, California- I’ve never seen.

Yes. I’ve never been, but who hasn’t heard of the greatness that is the San Diego Zoo?

I guess I agree with Budget Travel, huh? That being said, I don’t think kids MUST see all of these places, I just think they happen to be places it is cool to take your kids to. For an absolutely must see list, I would want to know your family lives and what their interests are. This is a good start though!

Have you ever been to these landmarks? Would your recommend them to people with children? Would you add any places to the list? If you don't live in the US, where would you go in your country?



  1. I went to Independence Hall when I was 18 and was soooo disappointed. There was only 2 rooms and I was like, "This is it?" Hahaha...

  2. i've been to lots of landmarks and i'd recommend all of them. even if they're "boring" they are landmarks. but i don't think i saw many of them before 15. i did see walden pond/henry david thoreau's "house" (or rather the site) at a young age and was SO DISAPPOINTED that the actual house wasn't still standing.

  3. Um, I have not been to any of those landmarks! Wow... I have so not well-traveled! But i will see Washington DC this weekend, so I can check one off. ;)

    The thing is, there were 5 kids in my family so going on a vacation just wasn't in the cards for us. I flew for the first time at age 19 - but I think I have probably seen more than the average 30 year old now, so I def made up for it in my 20s. ;)

    When/if I have kids, I would like them to see more of the US. Maybe a family trip every couple of years? But I was just talking to a co-worker today, and I know this makes me a 'fun hater' but i really do not think I will ever take my kids to Disney World!

  4. Where on the list I've been:
    Red Wood NP: I was there when I was about seven. Growing up with a forest for a backyard and doing camping trips four or five times a year, I wasn't really that enthralled by it. It was just another forest. Now that I'm older, I'd like to see it again because now I know more about it.
    Alcatraz, CA: been there a few times because we did a lot of camping trips down the coast and SF was usually the end point for us. Loved it every time I went.
    Yellowstone NP: It was the same issue as with Redwood when I was there (I think I was about 12). Would love to go now.
    SD Zoo: Hells to the Yeah!
    And I went to Disneyland, does that count?

    As for places in (Western) Canada that I'd suggest with a kid:
    Royal Tyrrell Museum (often called Drumheller Dinosaur Museum), AB: went when I was about ten and I thought it was the coolest place EVER!
    Whale Watching, Vancouver Island, BC: It can be a bit pricy if you have a large family, but at the right time of year (April or October is best) it is better than a zoo! Plus, what kid doesn't love riding a zodiac or was that just me as a child?
    Science World, Vancouver, BC (I think it's now called "Telus World of Science". Whatever.) I first went when I was eight and I've been going every couple of years since. I'm 30 now and I still get super excited about the idea of a day at Science World.
    Barkerville, BC: I was a huge, giantic dork who loved history (wait, what do I mean 'was'?) and I thought Barkerville was the bee's knees.
    If you can get to Haida Gwaii, it's pretty impressive at any age but it's not cheap to get there and then it's not cheap once you're there. There are lots of similar (although not quite as spectacular) places all along BC's coast which a kid with an interest in the outdoor world would love.

  5. I tried to go to Crater's of the moon when I was at a job site in Idaho, but it didn't work out. I'd say perhaps combine Crater's with a ski trip to Jackson Hole or perhaps Yellowstone. They are each about 1.5-2 hours away. I went to Yellowstone in the winter and it was AWESOME! The lodge was empty and I went on a snowshoe hike around Old Faithful.

  6. I've only been to Disney World (age 16) and Niagara Falls Canadian side (age 20). However, Anthony and I have been talking about an east coast trip forever now and still haven't decided if the trip we talk about will include the kiddos or we will scale down what we want to do to include kiddos. We both are history nerds and have never been to Washington DC. That is high on our list of places we want to go and take our kids. We are more of a relaxing vacation type of people (as were our parents) so I spent many summers in Northern Michigan staying at various lakes in cabins for the week. I think a must see for people who live in MI is Mackinaw Island. Also, I love our coasts in Michigan and our kids will be seeing a lot of that! Umm..we have discussed an out west trip as well because his sis and bro in law live in Montana but we cant muster the enthusiasm for Montana hahaha.

  7. We didn't really go on BIG trips. We'd usually go down to southern B.C. (Okanagan - which is sooo close to where I now live, heh!) and rent a house on the lake with some other family members for a couple of weeks, then we'd usually go to the west edmonton mall once a year or so and stay right in the mall.

    I think I want to travel a bit more with my kids but I'm not sure if I would take them on big ticket trips (like to Europe) I LOVE the way that Eric and I did Europe together when we were older (and my parents totally helped us with that trip) so I think I would do that for my kids too.

    I would like to take them to Disneyland though. I didn't get to go until I was 16 and I didn't think it was quite as "magical" then :)

  8. I've only been to one of these places: Disney World because it's just 2 hours away from where I live. ;) But, man, traveling is expensive, especially traveling with kids! And I'm not sure some kids (this includes me) would really grasp the history behind a lot of these places. When I was a kid, I just wanted to go on vacation to have fun!

  9. I love that last picture!! You were such an adorable little girl with your curls! I bet your mom sang that same song to you that my mom sang to me, "There was a little girl, who had a little curl, right in the middle of her forehead...."

    Anyway, I haven't been to a whole lot of places, but I do feel that I've been privileged compared to many people in the US, even though I haven't really traveled a whole lot. Nick has been EVERYWHERE!! Jerk. haha, jk.

  10. I would recommend many of these things on the list to families. I haven’t seen as many of them as you have, but my kids will give me an excuse to catch up. This year my wife and I decided to take the kids on a more educational summer vacation and they will study about Washington D.C. the end of Spring semester with my wife’s home school. They usually have access to TV on their iPhones because of my DISH Network Slingbox at home. This time I will limit access to the DVR recordings about D.C. from Discovery and Discovery Kids that way they can learn while they are “indulging.”

  11. I was suggested this web site by way of my cousin.
    I'm no longer positive whether this put up is written by means of him as nobody else understand such specific about my trouble. You're amazing!

    Thank you!
    My blog :: Work from home

  12. My relatives always say that I am wasting my time here at web, however
    I know I am getting know-how daily by reading thes good articles.
    Look into my page :: how to make apps

  13. Just want to say your article is as astonishing.
    The clearness in your post is simply nice and i could assume you're an expert on this subject. Well with your permission allow me to grab your feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the gratifying work.
    My web page - how to download movies

  14. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this matter to be actually
    something which I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complicated and very broad for me.
    I'm looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!
    My website ; immobilienalanya.net

  15. Terrific article! This is the type of info that should be shared around
    the web. Shame on the search engines for not positioning this post
    higher! Come on over and consult with my website .
    Thank you =)
    My page: http://yellowbookinus.com/