From the time my two daughters were born, I have loved showing them the world, keep thing them busy and engaging them in activities. They didn’t sleep until noon, they were helpful around the house and always had friends and many things to do.
This was never more true than when we went on vacation. While I would have enjoyed just finding a nice beach to sleep on all day, they wanted to do things. So we traveled to cities, starting our action packed 14-hour days and ending them with a happy state of pure exhaustion.
My girls are young adults now. They have come to appreciate the value of just relaxing and enjoying each other’s company in places that mean something to us. We have learned some sneaky ways to make incredible memories without the constant sense of being on the go.
- Find a beautiful area and walk the town. It’s amazing how much you see that is not on a map. Just enjoying what’s in the windows, or a corner café gives me a lot more time to talk with my family and to learn what they like these days.
- Discover a secret destination. On a recent trip to Monterey, my daughter took us to an incredible waterfall at Julia Pfeiffer State Park. It was a bit of a drive and a short hike, that ultimately led us to one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen! We had time to talk, listen to music and take in the view as we drove down Highway 1 and enjoyed on of the most scenic coasts in the U.S.
- Take in a show. Rather than going for something more ambitious like deep sea diving, we chose the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It is a magnificent way to see and learn about the life in the Bay in a leisurely way together. We could move at our own pace and see what we wanted to see.
- Enjoy the veranda. We chose a hotel that specifically had amazing balconies, so we could relax, invite friends over in the area and enjoy the view. There is something truly magical about looking at one of the most beautiful places in the world while you’re in your pajamas! The Portola Resort is a true “home away from home” and provided the perfect setting to slow down and enjoy my family.
- Create a tradition. Part of the fun of a great vacation is looking forward to coming back. For us, we found an incredible bakery in nearby Carmel that we adore and it is truly the first stop whenever we return. The Tuscan ambiance and the incredible treats make it a perfect tradition that is just ours.
Life is about making memories we cherish with people we love. Slowing down to truly treasure our time together is the secret to a vacation we will truly enjoy and remember and won’t exhaust us in the process!
Anne Leedom is the Founder of Parentingbookmark.com, a website offering tips on raising great kids. She is also the Founder of NetConnectPublicity.com, a premier online PR firm based in Northern California. She frequently writes on family and travel for The Portola Resort and is a guest contributor on many national websites. For more information visit www.parentingbookmark.com.