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Check out these 40 fun places to get out and about with the kids—go with the family, just the kids, or plan a day trip!
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Every trip—to the grocery store, the park, or the beach—always seems to require a huge amount.
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Summer means day trips and family trips—a chance to explore some new places and give your kids a chance to see other parts of the world or have new experiences.
So today we’re sharing a free printable list of 40+ fun places to go with your kids and some quick travel tips to get your family ready for adventure!
Trust me, I’ve been transporting, carting, and traveling with my kids to nature centers, factory tours, historic sites, etc. for 20 years.
We have a great selection! And great moments on the road (see our 27 travel hacks and road trip tips).
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We had a 2 hour drive to see the sites and when I opened the back of the car, I realized I had forgotten my snack bag (
I also remember leaving my keys in the car when my kids visited the farmer’s market in mid-July.
That day I took my son to a golf outing over an hour away from home – my 3 year old and I wanted to check out the local children’s center and nature area.
But guess whose shoes he decided to take out of the driveway before getting into the car?
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Guess who was too busy to make sure both kids had shoes.
Yet every summer, my kids ask what fun places we’re going to explore this year, so I must be doing something right.
Here are our best tips, our favorite things to pack with related links, and a free printable list to inspire you to get outdoors and adventure!
So now we pack our ‘what if’ bags with the essentials for a great day –
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Many of our trips require driving – let’s face it, we live in the Midwest, and most are over an hour away!
And not all “Fun Places Near Me” are nearby – so encourage your kids to collect things to do while on the road.
We limit kids’ technology time on road trips – driving is a great time to bond, which is really hard to do if kids are always watching movies.
We don’t bring any DVD players or iPads on trips of less than 3 hours in the car.
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Instead, our kids choose things they can do in the car, such as paint, dry erase board and markers, knitting, travel-size drawings, and other creative activities. When they were young, they loved having water WOW! Also the car’s dashboard.
I also love pairing a road trip with 40+ free printable games and activities that include printables of interesting places we might stop this summer (like national parks or historic sites).
Another great life skill for older kids is having them help you on your journey! Keep a kid-friendly atlas in the car and teach them how to read maps and road signs while traveling.
Headphones for kids is the first thing we grab as we all love music, but we don’t necessarily love each other’s music 😉
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Plus, if kids decide to take a quick nap on the commute or want to read without all the distractions, they’ll work to block out other sounds.
We always pack some books – my kids are big readers, so a few great books will speed up the drive. We also love reading audiobooks and audiobooks – try Audiobook and get two free audiobooks
Travel Tip: Keep a box in your trunk or in the back seat of your car and load it with “fresh” library books before each trip! It’s a fun way to read them 😉
Heck, my kids can’t seem to walk from home to the library without telling me how “hungry” they are and need a snack.
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To be honest, I’m usually hungry every few hours, so it’s good to feed my mom too 😉
Water is #1 item on our daily travel/road trip list – having a reusable water bottle or drinking glass for everyone is a must on our summer trip!
Travel tip: Not only do we use water bottles in the car, but since many of our day trips include nature centers, hikes, and zoos, we always need to have water with us during our visits, so this saves us from having to buy extra drinks. After we arrived.
When it comes to food items, we like to bring easy-to-eat pieces of fruit (bananas, apples, grapes) and granola bars, protein bars, or healthy snack mixes to grab.
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Not only does it hold snacks, but it also has a flat surface that kids can use on the go.
I know you’ll be sitting in the car on a bunch of trips, but sorry, those shiny skates aren’t going to cut it on the hiking trail or among the wood chips on the playground.
We’re a pretty active family, so most of our daily trips involve some form of walking, hiking, or climbing.
Sometimes it even involves horseback riding or wading through streams. We always make sure everyone has sturdy and comfortable shoes for our daily commute.
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Travel Tip: I’ve learned over the years, plan the activity that requires the most energy for the morning – and then move on to other things you want to do that day.
Especially in the summer, it’s better to go for a walk or a trip to the playground in the morning when it’s cooler, and enjoy an indoor attraction in the afternoon.
So now you have an idea of what to wear and what to bring on your next TOTALLY AWESOME day trip – but where can you go?
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Want to make the most of your Coney Island adventure? This Coney Island activity is great for kids!
For the ultimate New York (in summer) experience, head to Coney Island for a day at the New York Aquarium, walk the boardwalk, grab a sizzling hot dog, and if you play your cards right, even set off fireworks on the beach. Not to mention, Luna Park is also one of the best theme parks ever for kids and toddlers, and did we mention it’s on the beach?
Check out our favorite things to do around Coney Island during the summer months below. It tops our list of amazing day trips with kids. Never fear: If it rains, you can always hit one of our favorite local indoor amusement parks.
Kids will love sticking this iconic sand under the umbrella. Expect a series of great days along the three-mile beach and boardwalk, but with enough adults, the memories are worth taking with you. If you want more space to yourself, head to the east end of the peninsula and find a spot in the sand at Brighton or Manhattan Beach, both on the quieter side. During the summer months, stop by on Monday evenings to watch the family sizzle
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Don’t miss great photos, including the annual Mermaid Parade and Sand Carving Contest, playing on a 40-foot, inflatable screen on West 10th Street.
Coney Island’s Luna Park offers nothing but good times during the summer. There’s plenty to do for all ages, from ‘extreme thrills’ to ‘mild thrills’, with squealing rides for the little ones (like the Beach Swim and Spinning Bowls at the Tea Party), and thrills like Lynn’s Cafe and Cone, but Not terrible. Like the Island Hang Glider and the thrilling (definitely scream-worthy) Lightning Bolt, Slingshot and the classic Coney Island Hurricane. There’s also a ton of classic games, from Whac A Mole to Water Race. As an added bonus, during certain parts of the summer, Luna Park also offers free ride credit for good scores.
After a day of fun in the sun, there’s nothing like Nathan’s loaded dog and cold water. Chili Cheese Dog, a pile of shredded, cheesy fries, or double-beef cheese or bacon.
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