top summer essentials 2019

Happy Memorial Day! The unofficial start of Summer is here — the kids are almost out of school, travel plans are on the calendar, and trips to the beach or pool will be starting. Here’s our top 10 all-time summer essentials round-up:

#1 Eco-Friendly Sunscreen

Remember the days of putting baby oil on to tan – I remember my mom doing this?!  I’m relieved that we are being more careful when out in the sun by wearing good sunscreen, but think twice before putting your favorite sunscreen on your kids!  Many sunscreens have toxic chemicals that leach right into your kids skin and bloodstream. TheEveryGirl just released a great article of the best non-toxic sunscreens of 2019.

All three of my go-to sunscreens I put on my 3 year old made the list!

#1 Goddess Garden Baby Sunscreen – SPF 50

6oz – $17.99

#2 Thinkbaby Sunscreen – SPF 50+

3oz $12.99

#3 Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sunscreen Sport Stick SPF 30

$12.95 at

This makes it SUPER easy to apply to my kid’s face, neck, ears and I even use it on his body if I’m out and about and need to apply sunscreen quickly without any mess on my hands.

I use Babo Botanicals Daily Sheet Tinted Sunscreen on my face and I love it!

1.7 ounces – $20.95

#2 ZizzyBee Bags

It’s annoying to always be asking, “Where’s the sunscreen?” or digging in the beach bag trying to find it every time.

ZizzyBee Bags are the perfect solution to hold all your swim gear – sunscreen, goggles, arm swimmies, change of dry clothes, and I even put my son’s wet bathing suit in a ZizzyBee Bag when I leave the beach.

ZizzyBee Bags are awesome to use year-round:

  • Travel bag – awesome for toiletries or important items that you reach for often when traveling.
  • Toy bag for kids – we load up our ZizzyBee Bag with toys for the road when traveling. Makes clean up easy too!
  • Purse Clutter – the only things in my purse are my wallet, phone, keys and everything else goes inside my ZizzyBee Bag.
  • Grab and go back for walking, going to the park, etc. No need to lug a diaper bag – fits wipes, diapers, bottles and more.
  • I use at the gym to create an instant hang shower bag that holds all my stuff.
  • Awesome teacher gift
  • Stocking Stuffer gift.
  • AND so much more.

ZizzyBee Bags save 1000+ single use plastic ziplock bags a year! We will have more plastic in the ocean than fish by the year 2050 so don’t bring plastic to the beach and help save our oceans…

And there’s one more thing you can do and is another reason why I love ZizzyBee Bags because they launched this amazing initiative. You can Take The Plastic Pledge here to help save our oceans.

3-pack LARGE – $22.95

summer small beach bag#3 Protective Swimwear

Snapperrock UPF 50+ Protection Swimwear for kids and adults are my all-time favorite.

I love the designs plus they are fast drying, lightweight, and blocks 98% of the suns harmful rays.

Starting at $46 at

I also came across another company called Otterwings and they have UPF50+ swim shirts made of soft material that have a pair of connectable, fabric covered water wings.

Regular $49.95 – SALE $29.95 at

#4 Tillow Beach Towel

This is awesome! How many times do you lay on a beach towel and grab for your clothes, bunch them up and use as a pillow?

This beach towel has a built in pillow – hence the name Tillow (towel + pillow).

• Large Towel
• Removable Beach Chair Strap so towel does not fly off.
• Removable Orthopedic Foam Pillow
• Touchscreen Pocket and Headphone Hole
• Turns into a Bag to carry
• Water-resistant storage pocket

Starting at $19.95 at

#5 Bogg Bag

Lack of beach bags that could suit a family’s needs sparked the creation of the Bogg Bag. Needs were simple: a bag large enough to carry everything, that wouldn’t fall over and spill, and that could be rinsed at the end of the day. After coming up short, the founders decided to make their own.

  • Use at the beach, pool, gym, school, for shopping or play.
  • Three great sizes
  • Many great color options
  • Look great carrying anything where ever you go!
  • Option to customize and accessorize your Bogg Bag too.

$59.99 at

#6 Eco Water Bottle

Ditch the plastic whenever you go to the beach so make sure to bring eco water bottles for all.

A cool tip is fill the water bottles up with water and freeze them the night before, then take them to the beach and as ice melts you have cold water all day long.

For kids we LOVE Pacific Baby eco water bottles.

This water bottle is produced from food-grade stainless steel and reduces by 98% the amount of plastic in your child’s drinking bottle.

  • Leak-proof
  • Dishwasher-safe
  • Keep liquids warm or cold for up to 10 hours!
  • BPA, BPS, PVC, Phthalates, and Lead Free
  • 98% less exposure to petroleum-based plastics.

$17.95 – Pacific Baby

For adults we love Hydroflask eco water bottles.

32 oz Tumbler – Hydroflask is $39.95.

22 oz Tumbler – Hydroflask is $29.95.

tumbler eco water cup

We love Life Factory bottles because they are reusable glass instead of plastic.

Starting at $14.99 at

What are your favorite summer essentials?

#7 Lock & Lock Insulated Cooler Bag

My mom LOVES QVC so I often get surprise packages in the mail and the most recent one was this awesome cooler!  We bought a couple soft coolers at the grocery store and one was too small and the other one leaks when ice melted, but this one is AWESOME!

best cooler for beachIt’s very roomy, yet still lightweight and compact enough to lug to the beach, pool, or on the boat. Fits a whole bag of ice in there easily and can fit a ton of foods and drinks too.

  • Flat top opening, zip closure, long shoulder strap
  • Insulated interior with leak-proof lining
  • Measures approximately 14-1/2″ x 10-1/4″ x 9-3/4″
  • Outer cover 100% polyester
  • Wipe clean with damp cloth
  • Trendy looking!

Here’s my husband holding it in the boat marina over the 4th of July:

best summer insulated cooler

$21.50 at QVC

#8 Two Elephants Summer’s Essential Beach Vault

Wouldn’t it be so much more relaxing to not have to worry about valuables getting taken or wet/sandy when at the beach?

The Beach Vault by Two Elephants is an amazing gadget that is a must for summer. This unique, cork-screw safe holds your phone, wallet, keys and other valuables with an air-tight, water proof lid. Once closed, just screw into the sand and cover with your towel!

$34.99 on Amazonbeach safe for sand

#9 Sturdy Sand Coasters

These are genius!  Turtlebacks all-terrain drink holders prevent drink spills and dirty drink bottoms at the beach, picnics, camping, tailgating, backyards and everywhere else.

They speak for themselves and are so awesome.

$5 each at

#10 Non-Toxic Nail Polish + Non-Toxic Jewelry

Summer is the perfect time to paint those little piggies and where some adorable non-toxic jewelry!

Did you know regular nail polish eats a hole right through a Styrofoam plate within minutes? Say bye-bye to toxic nail polish and use Piggy Paint this summer instead!

  • natural, eco-friendly nail polish for kids. SOPHi is its sister brand for adults!
  • non-toxic & hypoallergenic
  • dries to a hard, durable finish that can easily be removed (use eco-friendly, low odor Piggy Paint nail polish remover!).
  • made in the USA! Invented by a mom 🙂
  • Available in an assortment of gift sets perfect for Holidays and other special occasions.

$7.99 at

Did you also know that most kids jewelry has toxic chemicals like lead?  We wouldn’t let our kids play with lead paint, so ditch the lead jewelry too!

Chanteur Designs not only has adorable summer jewelry for kids, but that have an amazing mission.

As a father of two daughters in the age of likes; selfies; and technology, Chanteur is a family where we remind our girls that beauty starts from within and radiates out. Chanteur is on a mission to teach young kids to embrace their unique differences and authentic selves (which builds confidence!) and to be kind every day (especially when no one is looking). If we are all beautiful on the inside, then we can shine bright on the outside.

Here are some of our summer kids jewelry favorites:

Crystal Ice Cream Leverback Earrings


Type : Leverback Earring

Material : Sterling Silver with Rhodium

Stone : made with Swarovski elements

Heart Size : 8mm

Age : young child-teen


Use code SUMMER to get a free necklace with your order of $50+.

Crystal Strawberry Leverback Earring


  • Type : Screwback Earrings
  • Material : 925 Silver, White Gold plated
  • Stone : Made With Swarovski Elements
  • Strawberry Size : 10 MM
  • Age : Young Child-7


Use code SUMMER to get a free necklace with your order of $50+.

Life is out of the norm right now – usually families would be jet setting to different destinations around the world, kids in summer camp, pools open, beaches packed, fairs and festivals, and more summer fun but many of this has come to a screeching halt leaving parents at home with their kids.

Instead of one or two big trips like families may usually do that cost thousands of dollars, enjoy the rest of August and even September doing smaller 2 day getaways nearby where you can drive to.

Here are 10 ideas for cheap, getaways with kids this summer 2020:

#1 Groupon Deals

Groupon has some amazing travel deals right now. With many pools closed kids right now would be happy with a hotel with a pool they can use.

Some deals on 7.21.20:

$123/night at The Villages at Ocean Edge in The Cape. Beautiful resort-style hotel with restaurants, pool, and more.

The Glen House near Mount Washington in New Hampshire is only $84/night. Beautiful rooms, pool, gym, and outside seating with fire pits. North Conway has amazing hiking trails and swimming holes with waterfalls – safe enough for kids (and most swimming holes are FREE!). One has a $3 Parking Fee but that’s cheap. Here are some of the best swimming holes:

The Ramada by Wyndham near Niagra Falls is only $36/night!

Crown Reef Beach Resort and Waterpark in Myrtle Beach is only $69 per night.

#2 Camping

Camping is super affordable and we were able to find openings just two weeks before going. You can even choose an RV or cabin in case you don’t have tent equipment. Odetah Camping Resort in Connecticut has cabins for $96 a night.

#3 Seaside Inn with a Pool

There are a ton of seaside towns that have the ocean beach only a mile or two away and the inns have outside pools. Bring the kids between the beach and the pool for a fun and relaxing getaway.

#4 Air B n B

Pick a place where there are hiking trails, lakes to swim in and other outdoor fun and then search on Air b n b for a place to stay. You can find really great deals in lesser visited areas but still just as much fun – perhaps more fun with less crowds!

#5 River Trip

Riding a bunch of tubes down the river tied together is very fun. Make sure the river is calm and safe for your kiddos. Bring tents to camp or book motels at the end of the river once done to make a night of it. Floating the Saco River in Maine is iconic.

There’s this amazing place called Saco River Tubing that provides life jackets, your tubes, floating coolers, and more for your float down the river. You park your car there, the shuttle brings you and your gear up the river, and you float back down to your car. Along the way stop at sandy beaches with rope swings – the crystal clear water is beautiful and about 3 feet deep depending on river levels. The 1.5 mile float is calm and great for kids.

A two night, three day trip really is the perfect getaway. It’s long enough to feel like a vacation yet short enough to not spend a ton of time or money. Have fun!

We recently went camping and it was super fun! Instead of flying to a destination this year, we are planning fun roadtrips. Check out these 12 roadtrip ideas with kids for summer.

Now, I don’t mind roughing it a bit, but I do like my camping to have comforts like a pool and/or a lake for swimming, clean bathrooms, and a cabin instead of a tent. My husband is from Europe and it was his first time going camping in America. As we pulled up to the campground he said, “This is like a resort! Nothing like camping where I’m from.” So yeah, Americans are guilty of glamping but when you’re more comfortable and have a variety of activities to do, it’s much more fun and easier when you have kids.

It was also our four year old’s first time camping and he loved it! Everything went smoothly except for the one time we just had showered in the bathhouse 100 feet from our cabin and as I was holding all the toiletries — in our ZizzyBee Bag of course (best eco travel bag to hold toiletries and more) — my son dropped his towel, booked it out the door, and ran butt naked all the way up the hill to our campsite. I freaked out at first but then as I looked up towards our cabin I saw a naked toddler running to Papa so I had to laugh about it after. All that quarantine hiking truly paid off!

We ended up packing everything we needed and did not forget anything so here’s the ultimate camping packing list for families if you are staying in an RV or Cabin like we did. If you are tenting it, of course you would need to bring your tent and inflatable mattress for comfort.

Keep in mind, this was also for two nights only so adjust the items according to how long you will stay:

Ultimate Family Camping List – What to Pack

  • Medicines (we are a holistic family but I have asthma so I always put my inhaler first on the list)
  • Paper towels, wipes, and cleaning spray 
  • Backpack / Beach Bag
  • Small Beach Cooler (we love this beach cooler by Lock N Lock although the turquoise color we have is sold out)
  • Large 70 quart cooler – we got this one at Home Depot and love it.
  • 1 big water jug (the Poland Spring one with the spout or three gallons should be enough for a few days)
  • Food (see food list below)
  • Bottle Option or Bottle Keeper with bottle opener (this was a gift for Father’s Day – bottle holder that keeps beers cold for 4 hours and protects glass beer bottles from breaking – plus has a built in bottle opener)
  • Wine opener (or get twist off wine bottles)
  • First aid kit (peroxide spray and band-aids)
  • Tick spray / Bug Spray (Ya-Ya Tick Repellent is the best eco tick repellent and is AMAZING – we use it for hiking and never have a tick (We got it because we had three ticks on us beginning this spring — not one issue after we used it and we hike deep in the woods. AND it keeps mosquitoes away, too!)
  • Bug candle (we grabbed our patio bug candle)
  • Sunscreen (click to see the best eco sunscreens for kids and adults – we will say that our all-time favorite is ThinkBaby eco sunscreen – cool tip: put a tiny, tiny dab on your fingers, rub together and use to style and spike your son’s hair!)
  • Goggles (adult pair and kids pair)
  • Dino float – we got this huge dino float from Grammie and it was a huge it – all the kids wanted to try it!
    giant kids trex float
  • Air pump for float – we ordered one off Amazon with a car adapter – it’s easier than blowing it up manually!
  • Wearable swim tube for toddlers and babies – our son cannot quite swim yet so he wears his swim tube and this keeps him safe near water. He cannot take it off and if he jumps in, he doesn’t go under.
  • Flip flops for shower – any public shower you must wear flip flops!
  • Big lighter to light grill and campfire.
  • Paper – newspaper or printer paper to help start fire.
  • Bathing suits – I bring two for me and two for my son but my husband just brings one.
  • Towels – bring a lot! We brought 5 beach towels and three bath towels.
  • Pillows – our cabin required bedding
  • Sheets
  • Blankets
  • Water bottles
  • 3 beach chairs (great to sit around the fire too)
  • Table cloth
  • Lanterns/flashlights (make sure new batteries and everything charged up)
  • Hoodies
  • Grill basket (we cooked shishkabobs in this on the camp grill)
  • Regular Cards (we played cards during naptime)
  • UNO (we played as a family)
  • Olive Oil spray (for grill and burgers not to stick)
  • Paper plates, cups, silverware, sharp knife, aerated knife, big spoon 
  • Tin foil
  • Clothes, pants, socks (a ton of extra socks for kids – they get wet and dirty quick), sneakers, undies, shirts, tanks, dresses, shorts, PJs, sneakers, extra sandals – mine broke while I was camping…tripped on a rock.
  • Wood chips and coal
  • Printed spooky stories to read around campfire (our 4 year old’s idea)
  • Roasting sticks (those long marshmallow ones – great for hot dogs too)
  • Marshmallows (we get the healthier ones in the organic section – check out Dandies – organic healthy marshmallows)
  • Graham crackers – I get these healthy, gluten-free graham crackers
  • Chocolate (I get organic dark chocolate – Endangered Species Chocolate is so good!)
  • Napkins
  • Toilet Paper
  • Tiny fan – in cabins with electricity and no A/C this helped a ton to circulate the air at night while sleeping and during naps – we used as white noise for our son)
  • Toys – so we always pack our ZizzyBee Bag with travel toys – these are the best eco travel bags.
  • Water shoes – it’s easier to put kids in water shoes – we bring crocs and then these other pair that are like sneakers
  • Dish soap
  • Sponge
  • Old pan for fire cooking (if you plan on cooking breakfast on the fire – we made blueberry muffins and had these instead)
  • Plastic ziplock bags (large) – We don’t use plastic as a rule but to put food in and protect against critters these were a big help. For non food storage we use ZizzyBee Bags – cords/chargers, toys, toiletries, etc.
  • Phone charger
  • iPad (our campground had free wifi throughout)
  • iPad charger
  • Toothbrushes + toothpastes (our son has his own)
  • Toiletries including kids bath soap (bring a cup to wash your kids hair in the stand up shower) – makeup, deodorant, comb, shampoo, conditioner, soap, hair styling products, shaver
  • Face Masks
  • Sanitizer spray  – we stay away from the toxic stuff and instead use this natural hand sanitizer spray called Everyone Hand Sanitizer – the lemon coconut is my favorite. They are sold out but they have the wipes right now and hopefully back in stock soon. You can also make an essential oils sanitizer -here is a DIY recipe for a non-toxic natural hand sanitizer.
  • Trash bags – we used four in two nights so bring a lot.
  • Big ice packets from freezer – so we use EveryPlate to get affordable dinners 3x a week – only $30! Saves us $100+ a week from not making an extra grocery store trip. They ship food with these giant freezer packs – eco and reusbale! So we keep them in the freezer for our cooler. Try EveryPlate for just $10 using this link. (3 dinners for two for $10!)
  • Little skewers – if you want to skewer veggies these are nice to have
  • JBL speaker – we have a splash resistant portable speaker that works via bluetooth so we can play music.
  • Beach bucket and shovel for kid
  • Raincoats just in case
  • Metal spatula for flipping burgers
  • Tongs for grabbing corn or hot dogs
  • Big grill fork
  • Grill brush to clean grill
  • Cutting board
  • Vitamins

Food and Drink

  • Booze: Bon & Viv spiked selters (I love these – no carbs and no sugar), beer, and wine.
  • Water was on the list above and we brought fizzy water too – water is all we drink in our house.
  • Chicken – marinated the day of
  • Pork for kebobs – marinated the day of
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Bell Peppers
  • Mushrooms (for skewered veggies)
  • Cucumbers
  • Mayo
  • Ketchup – we use this agave based gluten-free ketchup – it’s amazing! Corn Syrup ketchup is the worst especially for kids.
  • Graham crackers – gluten free
  • Chocolate – organic dark chocolate
  • Marshmallows – Dandies organic healthy ones
  • Butter – we use Ghee!
  • Snacks (veggie straws, chips, pretzels, chips and salsa)
  • Turkey Hot dogs
  • Burgers
  • Chicken burgers
  • Rolls (hot dogs and burger)
  • Cheese slices
  • Vegan cheese slices (my husband eats cheese and I eat no dairy so I love these Go Veggie dairy-free cheese slices that melts well)
  • Mayo
  • Red onion
  • Lettuce
  • Potato salad (I made before and brought with us)
  • Broccoli Crunch Salad (I picked up from the deli – so good!)
  • Berries
  • Apples
  • Watermelon – cut up ahead of time so it’s easy
  • Blueberry muffins – I made these delicious, moist paleo blueberry muffins with no wheat and no sugar. Came out great!

So our menu consisted of blueberry muffins and fruit for breakfast (one day we ate at the diner close by), and for lunch hot dogs or burgers, and for dinner we had chicken with potato salad; pork kebobs with fresh cut up veggies; and burgers to choose from. Plus snacks and s’mores (guilt-free because of the healthy substitutions).

Even though we had a cabin we had to walk to the bathroom – not too far away and the facilities were clean enough. Next time however, we will go camping at a place that has cabins with bathrooms and kitchens inside. The cabin we stayed in was $96 a night and the cabins at other places with a bathroom and kitchen inside are only $140 to $150 a night so it’s worth the extra luxury.

Want to avoid flying in 2020 but still want to travel with the kids?  Pack up the car and hit the road to these fun destinations around the United States instead!

There’s something special about going on a road trip. Playing games in the car, eating snacks on the way, singing songs, simply looking at the world pass by, and it’s especially exciting to arrive at your destination. Roadtrips are more adventurous for kids compared to long airport lines, stuffy airplanes, crowds of people, and perfectly manicured resorts.

Where ever the summer takes you, remember to pack ZizzyBee Bags!  Our reusable bags replace 1000+ plastic ziplock style bags a year.

Use for:

  • Travel toy bag for the kids
  • Toiletries
  • Swim gear (goggles, sunglasses, sunscreen, change of clothes, etc.)
  • Puzzle pieces, crayons, paper and other games
  • Makeup
  • Snacks
  • Quick grab-n-go diaper and wipes bag for baby
  • Cords and chargers
  • And much more!


Here are 12 roadtrip ideas with the kids this summer:

Tip: If any of these are too far to drive to, just search for the same type of activity in your area!

#1 Camping / Glamping

Camping when I grew up meant sleeping in a tent, but nowadays “glamping” definitely has its perks. Glamping is a combination or camping and luxury – aka “glam.”

Strawberry Park

Strawberry Park is an award-winning 160-acre campground nestled in the heart of southeastern Connecticut, just minutes from Mystic Seaport, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun Casinos. Three huge swimming pool, showers with electricity, RV Trailers, log cabins, themed weekends, tons of fun activities throughout the

Click to view best campground in Connecticut.

Photo by Strawberry Park

Asheville Glamping

Asheville, NC is a magnificent place to visit. It held the title of Beer Capital of America for having the most breweries per capita – remember, most breweries and family-friendly.

“Most glamping sites include the basics: weatherproof shelter, chairs, fire ring and picnic table. Stay in tents on platforms, yurts and more. Inside, find comfortable beds – often with sheets and towels. Not all glampsites are created equal, so amenities vary greatly. While some glamping communities offer resort-like packages, others keep it simple.” ( – glamping in Asheville, NC)

Here’s a glamping tent in Asheville that sleeps 8 and even has a slide for kids!  

Moose Meadow Lodge

Try a private, luxury log cabin camping in Waterbury, Vermont at the Moose Meadow Lodge. Nestled on 86 secluded acres in the Green Mountains, this glamping site offers four luxury guest rooms and a treehouse for rent. Just minutes from many Vermont attractions including skiing, hiking, biking, hunting, fishing, antiquing, and fine dining. Click for more info – Moose Meadow Lodge in Vermont.

#2 Indoor Water Park

Pump House Indoor Waterpark (Jay, VT)

Photo by Mommy Gearest –

Vermont made the list again with their indoor waterpark resort, the Pump House Indoor Waterpark. With slides, rapids where you float through, Flowrider surfing, indoor and outdoor pools, hot tubs, and even snacks and drinks at the poolside bar, this waterpark has a little something for everyone. Kids will love it!

Check out this amazing blog by Mommy Gearest – Things to Do at Pump House Indoor Waterpark in Jay, Vermont.

Epic Waters Indoor Water Park

Photo by Little Feet Big Adventures –

Epic Waters Indoor Water Park in Grand Prairie, Texas is the largest indoor water park in Texas – they do say everything is bigger in Texas! This park is 80,000 square feet and has 11 water slides, 300-gallon tipping bucket, lazy river, sprinklers, pools, and much more. They even have a retractable roof to enjoy the real sunshine!  

Click for more – biggest indoor water park in Texas and check out this fabulous blog by Little Feet Big Adventures to see a review of Epic Waters Indoor Water Park in Texas.

#3 Swimming Holes & Hiking

Swimming holes are one of my favorite memories of a child up at the Kancamangus Highway in North Conway, NH.

Swimming holes are places where water collects in pools deep enough to swim from rivers (usually with waterfalls too). The entire family can have a dip to cool off. Most are free too. I love the ones that you have to hike a little bit to get to. The water is always so clean and refreshing.

North Conway – Kancamangus Highway

Stay at a B&B near the White Mountains in North Conway, NH and spend your days visiting swimming holes. Pack a lunch or enjoy the plenty of local restaurants in the area.

A stay at the Old Red Inn & Cottages are around $150 a night during peak season. They even have a beautiful pool to swim in and each morning breakfast is served B&B style. The owners are so lovely and make you feel instantly at home.

Here are some of the many swimming holes to visit in the area:

  • Dianna’s Baths
  • Lower Falls
  • Little Eddy (a local, unknown gem)
  • Paradise Sawyer Brook Bartlett
  • Champney Falls

The Daily Adventures of Me Blog wrote about some great hiking trails and captured beautiful waterfalls to visit near North Conway, NH.

Photo by The Daily Adventures of Me –

#4 Explore a Cave

Emerald Cave – Willow Beach, AZ

In the afternoon light, Emerald Cave is gorgeous. A great place to picnic and kayak to the cave. There are Emerald Cave Kayak Tours you can buy tours.  Live Like Pete is a great blog – check out his review of kayaking the Black Canyon which includes Emerald Cave.

Photo by Live Like Pete – www.

BONUS: this is only 1.5 hours from downtown Las Vegas, Nevada!

Carlsbad Caverns – New Mexico

Photo by Inspired Imperfection –

Formed from sulfuric acid erosion of underground limestone deposits, the Carlsbad Caverns are tucked into the Chihuahuan Desert and include 119 known caves. “Carlsbad Cavern includes a large cave chamber, the Big Room, a natural limestone chamber which is almost 4,000 feet (1,220 m) long, 625 feet (191 m) wide, and 255 feet (78 m) high at the highest point. It is the third largest chamber in North America and the seventh largest in the world.” (www.newmexico.orgvisitor information New Mexico)Visitors are free to take a self-guided tour or sign up for a guided tour.  

There’s a really interesting blog called Inspired Imperfection that has a blog review of Carlsbad Cave.

#5 Rent a Boathouse

Skip renting a house on land, what about sleeping on the water?  Houseboats are literally floating houses. Everything you need to live and sleep comfortably is provided except you are floating on the water. has 29 houseboating destinations to choose from with a variety of rentals to choose.

Dale Hollow Lake, Tennessee

Dale Hollow Lake is known for being a party spot where nearly every marina rents out houseboats. “Lined with evergreen trees and sandy beaches, Dale Hollow Lake is a gorgeous body of water in Northern Tennessee.” (Rent a houseboat on Dale Hollow Lake – Also famous for their small-mouthed bass if your family likes fishing!

Lake Billy Chinook – Oregon

“Lake Billy Chinook is a canyon lake in Oregon, its clear waters flowing between the deep carved banks of the Crooked, Deschutes, and Metolius Rivers. The dam has made this convergence a reservoir instead of a three-in-one river, but the lake is unusually narrow. The unique width of Lake Billy Chinook however makes houseboating that much more interesting. Boating between the intense cliffs in the bright summer or in the cooler spring isn’t quite like boating anywhere else.” (Rent a Houseboat on Lake Billy Chinook)

#6 Rent a House

I was at a conference once and heard the story of the guy who started Airbnb. It started with him meeting a stranger one night at a bar – another guy. The guy was sharing a story on how the hotel he booked did not have a room for him when he arrived. He had no place to stay. The guy invited him to stay on his couch. So the idea popped in his head to book your home to travelers. For four years they tried to get funding and kept hearing, no. Then one day they finally got funding and now it’s a $38 billion dollar business.

It’s fun to look at rentals on Air b n b. For the summer filter your search to include beachfront or a pool so you and the kids can have a way to cool off without having to go far from the rental – or leave at all!

Start searching for summer house rentals in your favorite areas.

Photo by

#7 Tiny House Escape

Ever want to spend a night in a tiny house? Well now you can and the best ones are emerged in nature like this Tiny House Resort in the Cat Skill Mountains. They have multiple tiny houses to choose from all equipped with everything you need – just like a mini house!  With nature all around you, the kids will love playing in the babbling creek and seeing the beautiful waterfall.

Click to see this Tiny House Resort in Nature.

Photo by

#8 Tropical Hotel Getaway

Photo by Deposit Photos

Ft. Lauderdale – Sheraton

Want to feel like you are in the Caribbean without flying? Florida is a great place to book a hotel and enjoy the sunny days and palms swaying in the wind while you sip a drink and the kids play in the pool. Oh and by the way the turquoise, warm ocean and white sandy beach is only steps away, too! This hotel has the best service and the Blackened Grouper Sandwich is the best I’ve eaten EVER!

Southernmost Seaside Resort – Key West

This seaside, colonial-style hotel is a block from Duval Street’s boutiques and eateries, a 3-minute walk from the southernmost point in the continental U.S. and an 11-minute walk to the Ernest Hemingway House and Museum. Book today and check prices for Florida Keys hotel resorts here.

#9 Drive a Highway

Sometimes driving in and of itself is a great trip! There are a ton of famous highways to drive and explore. Map out your trip and make stops along the way to swim, see landmarks, hike, eat, camp, shop, and more.

US Rt 100 in Florida Keys

Photo by Deposit Photos

Driving Rt. 100 in the Florida Keys is GORGEOUS. The National Geographic did a great story on this highway and says, “Embrace the laid-back Keys life on a classic drive down the Florida Keys Overseas Highway (U.S. 1). The roughly 100-mile (one-way) route island-hops along the southern rim of the Everglades and Florida Bay from Key Largo south to Key West. Featured stops celebrate all things Keys: fresh-caught seafood, old-school roadside attractions, and unspoiled state and national parks.” (The Ultimate Florida Keys Roadtrip)

Pacific Coast Highway

“The amazing thing about the Pacific Coast is that it is still mostly wild, open, and astoundingly beautiful country, where you can drive for miles and miles and have the scenery all to yourself.” (Plan a Pacific Coast Highway Trip – Road Trip USA)

Photo by Deposit Photos.

Road Trip USA listed all the great stops on the Pacific Coast Highway:

  • Olympic National Park, Washington – Combines the features of Maine’s rocky coast, the snowy peaks of the Rocky Mountains, and the unique rainforests of the Pacific Northwest
  • Astoria & Fort Clatsop, Oregon – Part of the extensive Lewis and Clark National Historic Park, Fort Clatsop is just outside the oldest American city west of the Rockies
  • “Dune Country,” Oregon – Hop out of the car and into a dune buggy to travel through some of the tallest sand dunes in the world
  • Redwood National Park, California – Stretch your legs with a walk through Lady Bird Johnson Grove
  • Mendocino, California – One of the prettiest towns on the California coast, and extra fun for fans of the TV show Murder, She Wrote
  • San Francisco, California – Easily one of the most enjoyable cities in the US and a great place to start, end, or spend a weekend along the Pacific Coast Highway
  • Monterey, California – Home to the excellent Monterey Bay Aquarium and the internationally famous Monterey Jazz Festival
  • San Simeon, California (Hearst Castle) – One of the truly unique attractions to see on a classic Highway 1 road trip
  • San Luis Obispo, California – A lively college town with a beautiful 18th-century Spanish mission to tour, and the Madonna Inn, one of the quirkiest places to spend a night
  • Los Angeles, California – Hollywood, Sunset Boulevard, and an intersection with another storied road trip: Route 66
  • San Diego, California – Beautiful beaches, grand buildings, and home to the San Diego Zoo, one of the largest and most popular zoos in the world”

(Plan a Pacific Coast Highway Trip – Road Trip USA)

Take a look at Big Sur – wow, this is worth it alone!

Big Sur is a sparsely populated region of the central California, United States coast where the Santa Lucia Mountains rise abruptly from the Pacific Ocean. The terrain offers stunning views, making Big Sur a popular tourist destination. Photo by

#10 Visit a National Park

National Parks are great for family roadtrips. gave 15 reasons why to visit a national park this summer – some of which are:

  • Affordable – even the most renowned parks are just a few bucks. $15 to $30 on average.
  • Convenient – every state has national parks so this it’s easy to get to one.
  • Discover Natural Wonders – national parks have many different eco systems and landscapes – they are stunningly beautiful and preserved.
  • Educational – a great way to teach your kids about nature, conservation, science and history all in one.
  • Healthy – National Parks require walking and hiking so it’s healthy to get moving with your entire family. Some parks you can even swim at!

North Cascades National Park, Washington

Located in Newhalem, Washington (110 miles north-east of Seattle), the North Cascades National Park has an alpine landscape including jagged peaks, glaciers, waterways, and forested valleys. It even has 300 glaciers! There are a ton of family-friendly hiking trails and things to do in North Cascades National Park.

Photo by Deposit Photos

Adirondak Park – New York says it best, “The Adirondack Regions feature over 100 welcoming communities, mountains, lakes, verdant valleys and steep cliffs. Spanning more than six million acres, the Adirondack Mountains are home to the largest protected natural area in the lower 48 of the United States. Like a patchwork quilt, the Adirondacks are made up of twelve distinct regional destinations, each offering their own brand of Adirondack adventure. From the endless canoeing and kayaking in the Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake regions, to the extensive hiking trails of the High Peaks Wilderness in the Lake Placid Region – discover an area as diverse in geography as it is in activities and events. Bicycle between wineries on the Adirondack Coast, or dive to sunken shipwrecks in the Adirondack Seaway near the Canadian Border. You’re invited to explore the Lake George Region’s family-friendly attractions and discover the Adirondack Tug Hill Plateau’s one-of-a-kind recreation opportunities…

Discover why the Adirondack Mountains are like no other place on earth. There are no park fees to enter, no gates that close at night, just a boundless natural preserve and the promise of adventure. Explore the hiking trails of the famed Adirondack High Peaks. Choose your own camping adventure under the stars. Unwind on the pristine lakes of an Adirondack paradise.

To make planning your visit to the Adirondacks easier, we offer a variety of FREE brochures available for download, with information about hiking across the region, scenic drives that include easy access to shopping and restaurants, as well as information about the best fishing spots and paddling.”

How fun!

#11 Visit an Island

Just because we are not hopping on a plane to visit the Bahamas or Aruba, doesn’t mean we cannot do a roadtrip to an island in the United States! You may have to take a ferry, but that’s all part of the fun.

Block Island

Block Island is special in so many ways. They say it’s unlike anywhere you have ever visited. Enjoy a beach day, bike ride around the island, kayak adventure, paddleboarding, or exploring the island, Block Island should make your list of summer destinations.

It’s actually pretty easy to get on the island. The island is only 12 miles off the Rhode Island coast so you can take a 15-minute plane ride from Westerly, Rhode Island; a half hour on the high speed ferry from Point Judith, Rhode Island; or just over an hour on the ferry from New London, Connecticut. There’s even a ferry from Montauk that brings visitors from Long Island and New York to this unique island. There’s also a new high speed ferry too that comes from Newport, RI.

On the island there is no traffic lights or big chain businesses. The landscape is breathtaking with pristine beaches. There are a ton of restaurants, music, art, and much more fun to enjoy on Block Island. Make it a day trip or overnight – there are a ton of B&B inns and air b n b rentals.

Click to get more information about visiting Block Island and where to stay / what to do.

Photo by Deposit Photos.

Duck, North Carolina

This is not technically an island, but is on a strip of land off the coast of North Carolina so it feel like an island. They call it the Outer Banks (there’s a great Netflix show too called The Outer Banks!).

According to the Town of Duck website, “The Town of Duck, North Carolina, is a thriving coastal community. We respect and value our delicate yet dynamic barrier island environment – clean waters and beaches, maritime forests, wetlands, and dunescapes. With an eclectic mix of independent businesses and the Duck Town Park and Boardwalk, Duck Village is a source of pride and the heart of Duck. Whether you are a resident, a first-time visitor, or someone who feels that Duck is your home away from home, we welcome you to explore the Town of Duck.” says: “Visitors and locals can roam 7 miles of beaches that are wide and uncrowded. A soundfront boardwalk makes getting around to Duck’s many shops and restaurants very pleasant, not to mention safe. Duck is one of those places where you can ditch the car and get around on bike or foot. Duck consistently ranks high on the Travel Channel’s annual America’s Best Beaches list and has been somewhere on the best beaches list since 2000. This is what the Travel Channel has to say about Duck. ‘Duck’s relative solitude and its vast array of neatly constructed rental homes make it ideal for families. That is, unless your family likes to go bar hopping until the wee hours, in which case you may be out of luck. … Still, while we admit Duck would never make the list for top spring break party spots, boredom is hardly a threat here.’

Duck may be our next stop this summer – sounds like a little slice of heaven if you ask me!

Photo by Deposit Photos

#12 Rent ATVs

Growing up in the country riding dirtbikes and fourwheelers (not called quads by the kids) was the thing to do and SO FUN. I love to give my kids a chance to experience the same things I did as a kid so renting ATVs is a great way to do this if you don’t own any or have the land to ride on.

“The Poconos” – Pennsylvania

The Poconos Mountains – often referred to as “the Poconos” are a beautiful place to visit. There are a ton of ATV rental places in the Poconos. says, “The four-county region is famous for its resorts, natural scenic beauty, 150 lakes including Lake Wallenpaupack, and quaint, historic towns. The varied landscape inspires a range of experiences, from the private and peaceful to the bold and exhilarating. Cottages & condos and hotels promote restful mountain moments while waterparks and adventure courses, offer excitement around every turn.” Click to learn more about what to do and where to stay in the Poconos.

Photo by Deposit Photos

Fat Daddy’s ATV Park – Georgia

FAT DADDY’S ATV PARK is 500 acres in Waycross, Georgia on the beautiful Satilla River. With miles of ATV trails and UTV trails, both sand and mud for riding, this park is fun for the whole family. There are even some sand hills for those who like more of an adrenaline rush. ATVs not your thing? Instead you can enjoy a relaxing day on the Satilla River. There is private camping available with bathroom and shower facilities. Now this may not be glamping, but a day of down and dirty muddin’ will keep a smile on everyone’s face. Learn more about this ATV rental park in Georgia.

Photo by Deposit Photos

What would you to add to this ultimate list of summer roadtrip ideas with kids?

August / September 2019

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