5 Must-Do Activities for Summer Vacation with Kids

5 Must-Do Activities for Summer Vacation with Kids

Discover fun, affordable ways to make memories on every family vacation.

By Tricia P

My favorite memories growing up were from my family vacations. It wasn’t the destination that made the lasting memory; it was the adventure and laughter that I shared with my family. I’ve tried to create the same experiences for my family by starting traditions that we do on every vacation.

Here are five ideas to incorporate into your summer vacation that will quickly become a part of every trip.

Vacations in my family always start with a countdown. Counting down the days before we leave for a trip builds excitement. When my kids were little, we made calendars and marked off each day until our trip. Our calendars have now progressed to phone applications that digitally count down—but no matter the media—a countdown is always a part of our family vacations.

Shopping for souvenirs is an essential part of our vacations. I bring home a Christmas ornament from every city we visit. Our Christmas tree showcases all of our favorite memories. My daughter chooses a t-shirt from our vacation destination and my son always picks out a keychain. These souvenirs are easy to find and don't take up too much room in our suitcases. It’s fun to remember our summer vacations throughout the year through our souvenirs.

Our family vacations always include a new adventure. We search for something new to experience as a family. It can be surfing, rafting, zip lining, or just trying a new food. Ask the concierge at the hotel for activity or restaurant suggestions. My family looks forward to trying and learning about new things, so every vacation includes a new challenge to tackle together.

Some of my favorite memories of vacation involve playing games with my family after a long day of touring. It’s fun to talk about the day and relax together. Put all of the electronics away and play a game together. My family game staple is “Spoons”. A deck of cards and some plastic spoons or objects are all that you need to play. Any amount of players can join in, so it is a great choice when traveling with others.


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Postcards are an easy and inexpensive way to build memories that are part of every vacation. My kids mail postcards to their friends and extended family members. We bring stamps from home to avoid making an extra stop on vacation. Try having the kids pick out postcards and mail them home to themselves. The kids will be excited by the mail and they will have a nice memento with a postmark from the city. The postcards can then be displayed on their bulletin boards, in a photo album, or in their memory boxes.

Traditions bond families and give everyone something to look forward to. Incorporate these simple ideas in to your summer vacation and make every vacation meaningful and memorable.

You may also enjoy:

Our Favorite Travel Souvenir Ideas

Summer Vacation Travel Tips

Beach Vacation Packing List

5 Tips on How to Plan a Trip

Tricia writes for Hilton Mom Voyage and lives in Phoenix with her husband, 12 year-old daughter and 10 year-old son. She is a special education teacher for elementary students. Her family's favorite memories have been when they are on vacation.

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