Vacationing with a Toddler

This is a hot topic on my mind this month. I’m planning our first family vacation and I find myself running into a brick wall: What can we do with our 18-month-old toddler that involves minimum tantrums? It’s made me think about what I do with my toddler here at home, and I thought I would share some of our favorite things to do in the spring and summer:

1. Nature walks. By far this is one of my favorite summer activities. I go for mild hiking trails or we simply explore around a few trees. My daughter loves stepping on leaves and pointing out birds! Sometimes we bring the stroller, but if it’s a safe area we hold hands.

2. The Mystery Hole (http://www.mysteryhole.com/). This is geared more toward young children than toddlers, and I enjoyed taking my cousins to visit. The name says it all!

3. The Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine (http://www.beckleymine.com/). Again, geared more toward young children, but I’ve explored the museum and buildings with my daughter. It’s interesting for adults, too, and older children would enjoy the mine tour.

4. Swimming. This is another favorite. She’s into water right now, and we love to hang out on the sandy beach where we can dig in the sand or splash at the water’s edge. The textures are fascinating.

5. Any state park. Our state parks are gorgeous, several are within 45 minutes from ACE, and they can be wonderful resources for exhausting hyper toddlers with playgrounds and areas for nature walks. Hawks Nest, Babcock, Grandview and Carnifex Ferry are a few of my favorites. Different parks offer different history and scenery.

6. Remember meals and nap time! This is vital for a toddler, and it’s a great way for the family to catch their breath for a few minutes.

Vacationing with a young child or toddler can seem challenging, but there are many options if you know where to look! On that note, if anyone from Gatlinburg, Tenn., has any tips for me …

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