My family is way overdue for a vacation, but as all you Moms out there know, traveling with kids is not relaxing, so in many ways I've been putting it off as long as I could, figuring that the older the kids are the easier they'll be to deal with. We'll see.
This will be our first family roadtrip, and really my first really long road trip in a long time. I drove cross country twice with my now husband when we were in college, but that was before I had my license so he did most of the driving. I spent most of the ride playing dj (trying to keep the portable CD player balanced so it wouldn't skip with every bump), and reading useless facts out of our AAA Triptik. To this day I still remember that Amarillo TX is the Helium capital of the world.
So where are we going? NC, SC, FL and GA. Here's the 10 day itinerary....
Day 1 - Chicago to Asheville, NC to visit my husband's uncle
Day 2 - stay in Asheville - we're thinking of going to check out part of the Smoky Mountain National Park. Not sure what parts are the most kid friendly. Our little guy is only 2 so he's the limiting factor on how far we could go.
Day 3 - in the afternoon head to Columbia, SC. My husband has a golf buddy who lives there. They have a couple of kids, so that should be easy enough.
Day 4 - stay in Columbia
Day 5 - head to Jacksonville - probably stop in Savannah on the way. I have no idea where to go once we're there, but have heard it's gorgeous and since we're going right by, would be the perfect lunchtime stop
Day 6 and 7 - stay in Jacksonville visiting my husband's other uncle. This one has 3 kids of his and tons of grandkids. We're already planning on hitting the beach, not sure what else.
Day 8 - leave Jacksonville for Atlanta where we'll be staying with a college friend. He doesn't have any kids of his own, but the kids know and love him.
Day 9 - in Atlanta - I was looking at Stone Mountain seems like there is tons to do there.
Day 10 - Time for the longass drive home. 12.5 hours.
It's going to be crazy. A total of 2200 miles roundtrip over 10 days. My sister thinks we're nuts and we probably are, but the fact is the the uncles are getting older and have never met our kids. The friend in Columbia is a golf buddy of my husband's who has kids of his own. Finally the college friend has been to visit us a few times when in town for business, and the kids kept asking when they could visit him. Put that all together and we have a roadtrip to the Southeast planned for August - probably not the best time of year to visiting Hotlanta and the rest of them, but it's been in the 90s and 100s here the past couple of days, and at least in Jacksonville we'll be near the beach.
My oldest daughter (7) will be pretty good about keeping herself entertained. She loves to read, so as long as we have a stack of books for her before we leave, she should be ok. The middle one (5) is starting to read chapter books as well, and still naps pretty well in her car seat. If I get some crafty things that she can't mark the car up with, she should be ok as well. The little guy (2) also naps easily in his carseat, but he will obviously be the hardest one to keep entertained. We do have the DVD player in the car so will use that as well.
I plan on stocking up on new books and car friendly games in the next couple of weeks. If anyone has any suggestions, beyond what I've already listed I'd love to hear it. And if you live in/or have been to any of those areas, kid-friendly activity and restaurant suggestions would be appreciated.