Vacation options for wide age-range of children?

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thatme
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Vacation options for wide age-range of children?

Post by thatme »

This forum is very knowledgeable so I’d like a few vacation recommendations if you don’t mind. The problem is the age spacing — 2 adults, 4 kids aged 8-11, and 1 INFANT (approximately 10 months this summer). We’re in Denver if that helps, and we’re open to flying or driving — but for financial and logistical reasons, driving is probably easier. I’ve been researching Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Grand Canyon, and a beach trip (either east coast or Galveston). I also thought the Wisconsin Dells (lots of indoor water parks) would be fun but I think the fun would wear off in a day or two and there’s not much else in the area. I’m at a loss on what will be fun for everyone, and it’s possible the perfect thing doesnt exist, but maybe there are good things I’m missing.

My perfect vacation would be renting a cabin on a lake and doing nothing for a week. My kids like activities. And the baby likes sleep. HELP??
golfCaddy
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Re: Vacation options for wide age-range of children?

Post by golfCaddy »

Why don't you go someplace in your home state? If this is in the winter, the adults and kids could ski/snowboard. If it's in the summer, some of the mountain towns have downhill mountain biking, white water rafting, ziplines, and golf.
MarvinK
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Re: Vacation options for wide age-range of children?

Post by MarvinK »

Have you looked into YMCA of the Rockies?
Estes Park / Snow Mountain Ranch.
We had 3 reunions there with a wide variety of ages (think 50 ppl)
Cafeteria and many activities were walkable.
A few activities we had to drive to (horseback riding)
Most cabins have kitchens too, for the meals/favorite snacks to self-prepare.
It may not be a far-away vacation?
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CoinCounter
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Re: Vacation options for wide age-range of children?

Post by CoinCounter »

A cruise. Each kid can find an age-appropriate group. Lots of organized activities. Self-contained so they can run wild.
I think what I am seeing here is the ol' behavioral finance trap of loss aversion. Namely, folks rate losses twice as bad as the corresponding gains. Get over it. Get over loss aversion. - livesoft
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Watty
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Re: Vacation options for wide age-range of children?

Post by Watty »

thatme wrote: Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:28 pm My perfect vacation would be renting a cabin on a lake and doing nothing for a week. My kids like activities. And the baby likes sleep. HELP??
That would be great.

In any area with cabins and a lake in Colorado there should be plenty of things for the older kids to do and you could bring along things like games in case there was a rainy day. Many resort areas have lots of trails and bike rentals.

If possible you might consider bringing a grandparent or two along to help take care of the infant so the parents could have a break.
motorcyclesarecool
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Re: Vacation options for wide age-range of children?

Post by motorcyclesarecool »

CoinCounter wrote: Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:50 pm A Disney cruise. Each kid can find an age-appropriate group. Lots of organized activities. Self-contained so they can run wild.
Fixed it for you...
Understand that choosing an HDHP is very much a "red pill" approach. Most would rather pay higher premiums for a $20 copay per visit. They will think you weird for choosing an HSA.
denovo
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Re: Vacation options for wide age-range of children?

Post by denovo »

Is there an option to leave the infant with an aunt, uncle, or grandparent?
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HIinvestor
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Re: Vacation options for wide age-range of children?

Post by HIinvestor »

Yellowstone is lovely but you have to hustle if you want reservations in the park. If you want to stay near the entrance in Gardiner, Absorka Lodge has a lot of rustic cabins and a store and restaurants. You can get picked up and have a private tour with your own private guide with Yellowstone Association. They can tailor the tour to see what you request—I wanted baby animals, so that’s what we saw a lot of. You can fish and hike.

Glacier National Park is also lovely and not too far from CO. They have a range of accommodations. You can fish and hike there as well.
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thatme
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Re: Vacation options for wide age-range of children?

Post by thatme »

Great recommendations, thank you.

To answer a few questions:

I should have been more clear -- this is planning for a summer vacation (so no skiing, etc.). I know many of the popular things fill up (beach houses, Yellowstone) so we're trying to get our heads around this soon.

No real chance of a relative coming along or watching the baby. Most of ours tend to be enthusiastic at first, but that wears off the closer we get and then people have to work unexpectedly, etc... better not to plan on that.

I like the idea of Glacier NP; I'll look into that a bit.

Keep the ideas coming!
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djpeteski
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Re: Vacation options for wide age-range of children?

Post by djpeteski »

CoinCounter wrote: Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:50 pm A cruise. Each kid can find an age-appropriate group. Lots of organized activities. Self-contained so they can run wild.
Second, and I would go so far as recommending a Carnival Cruise of at least a week. The shorter ones, tend to be "booze cruises".

If you have a teenage boy, they will be feed sufficiently. Always a dicey proposition otherwise.
Carnival does games that the whole family can participate in: giant Jenga and Guess Who, photo scavenger hunts, etc.

One of my favorite memories is some kids asking if they could take a picture of my back. The teen club was having a photo scavenger hunt of their own and these boys needed a picture of a guy with a hairy back. Great fun.
CFOKevin
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Re: Vacation options for wide age-range of children?

Post by CFOKevin »

Those are perfect ages for a Wisconsin Dells trip. In the summer, the water park action all shifts outdoors. You could stay at one of the lodge homes at the Wilderness or rent somewhere within half an hour through VRBO or AirBnB. Lots of family friendly activities in addition to the water park (mini golf, go karts, etc.). Get out of town for a day at Devils Lake State park for hiking and beach/lake time (only 30 minutes away), or venture to Madison (one hour away) for more refined family stuff (free zoo, nice Children's Museum, etc.).

All that said, many families in Wisconsin look to take a trip to CO in the summer, maybe look into a house swap?
livesoft
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Re: Vacation options for wide age-range of children?

Post by livesoft »

I might be biased since I live close enough to Galveston to avoid it. For Texas beaches, Mustang Island or South Padre Island would be my choices. For something like this, you have to decide if you are going to cook every evening or go out. Generally, it is not a problem to eat breakfast and lunch (leftovers?) in your condo every day. However, the person doing the evening cooking and clean-up is not getting a vacation.

Since oldest is 11, they cannot really escape their parents by borrowing the car. :)

Fly to San Antonio, see the Alamo, maybe SeaWorld, then drive down to a condo on the beach near Corpus and have good time.
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masha12
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Re: Vacation options for wide age-range of children?

Post by masha12 »

I suggest the Black Hills. If you go in June, it is not yet peak season and there are a lot of fun things to do in the area.
MDfive21
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Re: Vacation options for wide age-range of children?

Post by MDfive21 »

livesoft wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:07 am I might be biased since I live close enough to Galveston to avoid it. For Texas beaches, Mustang Island or South Padre Island would be my choices. For something like this, you have to decide if you are going to cook every evening or go out. Generally, it is not a problem to eat breakfast and lunch (leftovers?) in your condo every day. However, the person doing the evening cooking and clean-up is not getting a vacation.

Since oldest is 11, they cannot really escape their parents by borrowing the car. :)

Fly to San Antonio, see the Alamo, maybe SeaWorld, then drive down to a condo on the beach near Corpus and have good time.
you beat me to it. if you're looking for a destination beach, G-town is not it. there's some good food and culture in Galveston but if i were planning a big vacation and had to go to texas, i wouldn't go to any of the beaches here really.

hit the lakes in the hill country west of Austin. you can find airbnb/vrbo/homeaway properties that will accommodate your large group near any of the lakes, lake travis being the most populous and within 30-50 minutes of austin.
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mhc
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Re: Vacation options for wide age-range of children?

Post by mhc »

OP,

I live just north of you. We have taken road trips with our kids ever since they were born. If you have not been to Yellowstone, I highly recommend it. I didn't see mention of the length of the trip. Here are my recommendations.

1 week trip: drive to Jackson and spend the night, next day drive through Teton NP to Yellowstone. Spend 5 nights in Yellowstone. Drive back through Thermopolis and spend the night there. Drive home next day.

2 week trip: You could throw in Glacier. Stay on west side of park. We really liked Whitefish. Maybe hit Waterton in Canada.

3 week trip: You could throw in Banff.

This summer we are looking at Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier, Banff, Jasper and then back home. We have been to the first 3, so we won't spend much time there. Round trip we are looking at 3000 miles. We love long road trips.

A few years ago we went to the Dells. If you go, look at the Wilderness Resort. We spent 5 nights there. My family did not want to leave. There is so much to do in the area.
travelnut11
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Re: Vacation options for wide age-range of children?

Post by travelnut11 »

thatme wrote: Mon Feb 05, 2018 10:28 pm I also thought the Wisconsin Dells (lots of indoor water parks) would be fun but I think the fun would wear off in a day or two and there’s not much else in the area.
Strongly disagree. You can easily entertain yourselves in the Dells/Madison area for a week. I live in Madison about an hour from the Dells and we have lots of great stuff for kids that age. The waterparks will be a huge hit in the Dells or you can go hiking in Devils Lake. We took two 2 year-olds and a 7 month old to the Wilderness resort last summer and it was great! We rented a huge 3 bedroom condo and the Wilderness has both indoor and outdoor waterparks should the weather be not great. You can fly direct from Denver to Madison on United or (if you're feeling brave) Frontier.

Interestingly we're doing the reverse and heading to CO this summer because my sister is getting married in Crested Butte.

Grand Tetons, Yellowstone and Glacier are great options too. The baby definitely adds some intrigue but I'd say be grateful your baby likes sleep! :D
Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrowmindedness ...and many of our people need it solely on these accounts. - Mark Twain | | Life is either a daring adventure or it is nothing. - Helen Keller
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thatme
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Re: Vacation options for wide age-range of children?

Post by thatme »

mhc wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:22 am OP,

I live just north of you. We have taken road trips with our kids ever since they were born. If you have not been to Yellowstone, I highly recommend it. I didn't see mention of the length of the trip. Here are my recommendations.

1 week trip: drive to Jackson and spend the night, next day drive through Teton NP to Yellowstone. Spend 5 nights in Yellowstone. Drive back through Thermopolis and spend the night there. Drive home next day.

2 week trip: You could throw in Glacier. Stay on west side of park. We really liked Whitefish. Maybe hit Waterton in Canada.

3 week trip: You could throw in Banff.

This summer we are looking at Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier, Banff, Jasper and then back home. We have been to the first 3, so we won't spend much time there. Round trip we are looking at 3000 miles. We love long road trips.

A few years ago we went to the Dells. If you go, look at the Wilderness Resort. We spent 5 nights there. My family did not want to leave. There is so much to do in the area.

I would love to do a longer trip but can't really get off of work for that long this summer. And that's part of my hesitation with doing YNP... I would also want to do GT, Glacier, etc... maybe save that for a year when I have more time.

I've been to the Dells before for a few days (trying to escape a Chicago winter when I lived there), and it was a lot of fun, I just wondered whether it would get old after a few days. Glad to hear that's maybe not the case.
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thatme
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Re: Vacation options for wide age-range of children?

Post by thatme »

MDfive21 wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2018 10:13 am
livesoft wrote: Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:07 am I might be biased since I live close enough to Galveston to avoid it. For Texas beaches, Mustang Island or South Padre Island would be my choices. For something like this, you have to decide if you are going to cook every evening or go out. Generally, it is not a problem to eat breakfast and lunch (leftovers?) in your condo every day. However, the person doing the evening cooking and clean-up is not getting a vacation.

Since oldest is 11, they cannot really escape their parents by borrowing the car. :)

Fly to San Antonio, see the Alamo, maybe SeaWorld, then drive down to a condo on the beach near Corpus and have good time.
you beat me to it. if you're looking for a destination beach, G-town is not it. there's some good food and culture in Galveston but if i were planning a big vacation and had to go to texas, i wouldn't go to any of the beaches here really.

hit the lakes in the hill country west of Austin. you can find airbnb/vrbo/homeaway properties that will accommodate your large group near any of the lakes, lake travis being the most populous and within 30-50 minutes of austin.
Thanks for the Lake Travis recommendation. I have heard of it before, but couldn't have told you anything about it prior to this morning. I spent a few minutes poking around online and it might be exactly what I'm looking for. A good combo of relaxing, but things to do nearby (could easily rent a boat for 1/2 a day, there's a waterpark nearby, lots of hiking, etc...). And lots of the rentals seem to have pools... which I know the kids will love. I'm seriously considering that.
open_circuit
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Re: Vacation options for wide age-range of children?

Post by open_circuit »

I thought Wisconsin Dells is super tacky / kitchy when I took my kids a few years ago. We visited while we were in WI already, but I would not make a trip cross country just to visit there.
Twood
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Re: Vacation options for wide age-range of children?

Post by Twood »

Put baby in a pack (like a Kinderpack), and baby can sleep while everyone is out and about. Or a frame hiking pack such as the Deuter Kid Comfort 3, and you can bring the diapers, water, snacks, etc - baby needs to be at least 9 months old for this option.
btenny
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Re: Vacation options for wide age-range of children?

Post by btenny »

You might take the kids and their backpacks and bikes to Telluride for a week of fun. Stay in town near the San Miguel river. Rent a condo or a home. The older kids can fish from the river banks in town. You can go with them or just stay with your wife and the baby. The kids can ride their bikes all around town and up and down the mountain trails. The town is very small and almost totally void of cars so kids roam free all over. If they do not want to bike they can ride the free shuttle buses all over. They can hike and see the scenery. The town is really kid friendly and safe.

You and your wife and the baby can hike and bike or rent a Jeep and go 4 wheeling all over and up and down and all around the area. There are tons of old mining roads and claims and several small creeks for fishing and hiking and sight seeing. Go up the water fall at the end of town. See the first AC power plant in the US that was built by Nic Tesla. Four wheel to Silverton or other small towns in the area via high mountain dirt roads and Jeep trails.

Go to the movies in a oldie movie theater. Eat diner in town at one of the good restaurants. Set outside by the condo swimming pool. Soak in the hot tub. Or stay in and save money and cook at your condo.

Go fishing with the kids in the town stream or drive to one of the other area streams and fly fish for world class trout. There are tons of choices.

If you time your visit with the mountain festivals you can see new films releases at the Telluride Film Festival or listen to some great music at the Telluride Jazz Festival or go see a Shakesphere play in the town park. These events bring more people so it is more crowded but then you have the event activities. So there are trade offs.

See below for some links. Enjoy and have fun and good luck.


https://www.telluride.com/activities
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractions ... orado.html
http://www.telluridearts.org/calendar-o ... n-the-park
http://telluridefilmfestival.org/
https://www.telluridejazz.org/
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mhc
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Re: Vacation options for wide age-range of children?

Post by mhc »

For a shorter trip (1 week), try staying in state. We have done this many years as a family. Here are some of our favorites.

Manitou Springs
Pikes Peak
North Pole
Garden of the Gods
Air Force Academy
Olympic training center
Florissant Natl Monument
Glenwood Springs
hot springs pool
adventure park
day trip to Aspen/Maroon Bells
Ouray
Mesa Verde

There is so much in Colorado to see and do with little driving. All these are family friendly activities.
tryterry
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Re: Vacation options for wide age-range of children?

Post by tryterry »

Legoland in Southern California is a little isolated but is a fun place. Lots of little bonuses in the hotel and the park itself that add on to the excitement
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thatme
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Re: Vacation options for wide age-range of children?

Post by thatme »

Just thought I'd post a follow-up:

As a result of this thread, we started looking into Lake Travis and it was perfect for what we wanted. We reserved a lake house through airbnb last night -- $240/night (including all fees and taxes) for six nights, a few blocks from the lake, restaurants, and a marina -- and the best part: it has a pool! That was the big driver for us -- the older kids can swim while the baby naps, etc... it seems to be a great compromise for this season of life for us. And it's only ~8 hours from my parents so they're likely to come for a few days as well, though we're not counting on it.

If we have more time next summer I'd love to explore some of the longer road trips up north but it's just not in the cards this summer. Thanks for the recommendations!
JBTX
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Re: Vacation options for wide age-range of children?

Post by JBTX »

It’s been decades but we used to go to this place as kids

http://www.callawaygardens.com

It would be a bit of a haul for you.

Stay in cabins, Golf, biking trails, man made lake with water skiing inckuding lessons, and Florida state circus is there in summer and has weekday programs and activities for kids.

If you choose TX I’d go with Austin hill country.
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thatme
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Re: Vacation options for wide age-range of children?

Post by thatme »

JBTX wrote: Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:49 am It’s been decades but we used to go to this place as kids

http://www.callawaygardens.com

It would be a bit of a haul for you.

Stay in cabins, Golf, biking trails, man made lake with water skiing inckuding lessons, and Florida state circus is there in summer and has weekday programs and activities for kids.

If you choose TX I’d go with Austin hill country.
I have relatives who live just down the road from Callaway and went tons of times when I was a kid (and even earned my junior forest ranger badge at the FDR park area nearby - can't recall the name). Good place if you're in the area, but too far this year. As I mentioned above, we decided on Lake Travis, it's going to be a great trip!
JBTX
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Re: Vacation options for wide age-range of children?

Post by JBTX »

thatme wrote: Wed Feb 07, 2018 1:16 pm
JBTX wrote: Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:49 am It’s been decades but we used to go to this place as kids

http://www.callawaygardens.com

It would be a bit of a haul for you.

Stay in cabins, Golf, biking trails, man made lake with water skiing inckuding lessons, and Florida state circus is there in summer and has weekday programs and activities for kids.

If you choose TX I’d go with Austin hill country.
I have relatives who live just down the road from Callaway and went tons of times when I was a kid (and even earned my junior forest ranger badge at the FDR park area nearby - can't recall the name). Good place if you're in the area, but too far this year. As I mentioned above, we decided on Lake Travis, it's going to be a great trip!
There is a big water park called schlitterbahn between Austin and San Antonio. I’ve never been. May be worth looking into for a day trip.
MDfive21
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Re: Vacation options for wide age-range of children?

Post by MDfive21 »

thatme wrote: Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:32 am Just thought I'd post a follow-up:

As a result of this thread, we started looking into Lake Travis and it was perfect for what we wanted. We reserved a lake house through airbnb last night -- $240/night (including all fees and taxes) for six nights, a few blocks from the lake, restaurants, and a marina -- and the best part: it has a pool! That was the big driver for us -- the older kids can swim while the baby naps, etc... it seems to be a great compromise for this season of life for us. And it's only ~8 hours from my parents so they're likely to come for a few days as well, though we're not counting on it.

If we have more time next summer I'd love to explore some of the longer road trips up north but it's just not in the cards this summer. Thanks for the recommendations!
good choice! you'll definitely enjoy your stay there.
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