13 Jul 10 Fun Things to Try on Your Next Family Vacation
Once the lawn turns green and leaves return to the trees we know that summer is on the horizon. Since we live in Minnesota and winters are typically very cold and long, we get excited. Each summer we look forward to going on vacation and this year was no exception. I grew up in Bend, Oregon and they have one of the top 4th of July celebrations in the nation. Now that I have kids I thought it would be great to join in this year. Sadly, Josh had to stay home in Minneapolis to work, so I made the journey back to Oregon on my own with Chase and Kate in tow.
For this visit I made it my goal to do something fun with the kids each day to make this the most memorable trip possible. Most of the things we’ve done have been new experiences, which is super exciting. Since Kate is a bit young we primarily chose activities that Chase would enjoy. So far we’ve had a blast and I highly recommend trying this on your next vacation.
Here are 10 fun things to try that we have enjoyed this week! Try a few or all of them on your next vacation!
- Take part in a local celebration, whether it’s for a holiday or a gathering, such as a summer festival. We traveled all the way from Minneapolis so that Chase and Kate could participate in their first 4th of July Pet Parade. I was in this parade as a kid, so it was very special having my kids in the parade. This is a major event, as the sidewalks are packed with spectators who cheer on over 8,000 parade participants. Some kids dress up and there are hundreds, if not thousands, of pets ranging from dogs and turkeys to exotic snakes. Thankfully I wasn’t too close to the snakes, as I’m scared to death of them! Chase and Kate did a great job, though towards the end of the parade route Chase fell asleep. It was hilarious! After the parade we made our way to Drake Park for all of the festivities. Chase got to sit inside of a fire truck and he catapulted a rubber duck into the river. The day ended with a family barbeque. We had a wonderful day and I hope to be back for another 4th of July sometime soon!
- Be a spectator at a sporting event, whether professional or even a local park and recreation league. Bend doesn’t have a professional sports team, so we chose the next best option – kickball! Chase played in the dugout while watching his Auntie Claire play in her kickball league. There were a bunch of other kids in there with him and he had a great time! I love how the team puts up a child safety gate so that all of the kids can play while the parents are on the field. Such a fun experience for Chase!
- Find a new park to explore. There are a couple of parks near where my parents live and Chase jumps on every opportunity to swing and play on the slides. It’s a great way for him to run around and burn off energy. If you’re unfamiliar with the area you can always use Google to find local parks.
- Take a day trip within a few hours tops of where you are staying. We took a day trip to Odell Lake to Gramps and Gramma’s cabin. Look for all of the highlights in my previous blog post!
- Spend an afternoon at the swimming pool. Gramps and Chase checked out the local swimming pool and Chase had a ball. He even went down a big waterslide with Gramps! After being in the pool for almost an hour he cried when we told him it was time to go. I have a water baby on my hands!
- Go to a movie. This is especially a good option if there is inclement weather. The weather cooled down a bit and Gramma and I took Chase to the movie theater for his very first movie. We saw Finding Dory and for the most part Chase seemed to enjoy it. He ate almost half the bag of popcorn all by himself! Towards the end of the movie he became a bit restless, so we left a few minutes early. Overall, he did a great job!
- If possible, spend an evening with family or friends. We had a wonderful evening at Auntie Claire and Uncle Joe’s house. The food we ate was delicious and we shared many laughs! Chase played with their two sweet puppies, Wendell and LD. At one point during the evening Chase entertained himself by climbing in and out of the dog crate. He is such a silly boy! Auntie Claire and Uncle Joe even made Chase a special camping t-shirt. It’s adorable!
- Try a new restaurant. I love pizza and there is a new place in Bend, MOD Pizza, where you can design your own artisan-style pizza. The best part is that you can add as many toppings as you want and the price doesn’t increase. They have awesome homemade lemonade, which I highly recommend! I hope to try a few more new restaurants during this trip!
- Go on a walk. There is a great route that we take that goes through my parents’ neighborhood and along the Deschutes River by the new Bend Whitewater Park. Check out the website for more information about the park. It’s crazy to see people surfing in the river! Our walk takes us by a couple of parks, which Chase thinks is great! We end by going over the footbridge in Drake Park and back to the house. It’s a fun walk and I try to go as often as possible! Many places have walking trails and I recommend looking online for specifics in your area.
- Attend a family-friendly concert. Some of our friends have a folk band and they performed in the park during our visit home. Chase had a great time playing in the grass during the show and when he got thirsty Gramma got him a blackberry smoothie. He loved it! During the summer there are often local festivals and concerts, so be on the lookout for such activities when you’re on vacation.
Above all, have fun and go with the flow! We had a great time and many memories were made!