In the 10 years that we've been a family-with-kids, we've done 2 really big vacations. One was a trip to Pennsylvania. We went to Sesame Place and visited family in a mountain family home in the northeastern part of the state. That was in 2008. In 2013, we took the Big Plunge and we did Disney World.
Aside from those 2 vacations, our travel mostly consists of road trips for long weekends. We have visited Cincinnati, St. Louis, Louisville, southern Indiana (Holiday World), and one of our favorite cities to visit - Fort Wayne, IN. We've also done "staycations" right here in Indianapolis.
Generally speaking, when doing a road trip to a city, I prefer to stay in a downtown hotel. If it's a city I am already familiar with, I'm ok staying in the suburbs if it's less expensive - but generally, I like being central to most of the activities we will be doing. When we stayed downtown in St. Louis, we were able to walk to a lot of the items on our agenda.
One of my favorite ways to learn about a city is to use TripAdvisor. Type in where you're going and you can find the best rated restaurants, attractions, hotels. It's great to read reviews from people who have been there recently. I use it as a tool to plan our trip - I like to have an idea of what restaurants are nearby the hotel, near the attractions we are visiting.
This summer, I've already done a weekend away with Christy and we visited the eastern part of Indiana (Richmond and Cambridge City).
Coming up, the family is going to Fort Wayne for a 3 day weekend that will be jam packed with a baseball game, Ribfest, Make Music Day, the Children's Zoo, Science Center, and more.
Later in the summer, I'd love to get to southern Indiana and visit some of the local caves and maybe hit Holiday World.
I think that there is great bonding that happens in a family when you travel together. It's exciting - even if it is frustrating sometimes - to stay in a new place and navigate a new city. Yes, we all take turns getting cranky. Yes, we wear ourselves out sometimes trying to cram in all the fun things. But that's part of what leads to the fun and the memories.
We enjoy doing fun things right here in our own area, of course. And there are things I want to do this summer that we haven't done together before - like visit the Monon Center in Carmel or drive to Prophetstown State Park to visit their water park or spend an afternoon along the Canal downtown or go hiking in a state park.
But something is different when you go somewhere new. When you have to rely on each other in a different way. When you can step away from chores and jobs and such.
So we will be doing what we can to make this summer fun - we will be visiting different places in our state. There won't be any trips to the ocean or airplane trips to faraway places. But we will spend time together in the car, listening to Harry Potter on audio, fighting traffic jams, using GPS to find new places, experiencing new-to-us restaurants, having fun with just each other.