Skip to main content

How to Master the Family Vacation


from Mommy Shorts

Family Summer Vacation Tips

It's officially summer! That means time spent at the pool, the beach, the playground — playing outside in the sprinklers, chasing butterflies, catching fireflies and riding bikes. And with that comes loads of fun stuff like sunburns, bug bites, pool scrapes, splinters and heat rash. At least, that’s what I learned on a summer getaway to our friend’s beach house. As a family who spends the majority of our time living in New York City, a brief vacation with a plethora of grass, water and sand can be an eye-opening experience.

I mean — we had a blast! But only because I came prepared.

Picture this. It’s a sunny Saturday morning at my friend’s beach home as our families gather to kick off summer.... One moment, my daughter Mazzy is running around without a care in the world, barefoot in her bathing suit on our friend's brand new deck, sipping lemonade and spitting out watermelon pits, and the next moment she’s doubled over screaming in pain, holding her toe so tightly nobody can see it, while my husband Mike is lighting matches, and I’m debating between a tweezer and a needle, yelling, "Don't worry, sweetie! It won't hurt!"

Mazzy’s love for summer didn’t let her little splinter debacle stop her from jumping into the ocean, and the pool, for the remainder of our weekend. I swear my kids would wear their bathing suits 24/7 if I didn't force them to change into pajamas before bed…

The following Sunday, temperatures hit an all-time high, but we were lucky enough to stave off any bad sunburns, thanks to scads of sunscreen. I have a vivid childhood memory of getting burned so bad at my Grandma's house that taking a shower felt like Florida's version of torture, so I've spent my beach days slathered in sunblock and sheltered safely under an umbrella ever since. Well, at least until I had kids...

Turns out, summer is pretty boring when you are acting like an adult. It's nice to be forced out from under the comfort of your beach umbrella. That summer, I managed to impress my daughters by doing all the pool acrobatics and handstands I remember doing as a kid. And I got to play doctor when little mishaps happened, too.

Despite the minor setbacks, our weeklong visit turned out to be one for the books. Harlow went to town in the sand, and Mazzy conquered her fear of the ocean. We watched our children learn to fly a kite, test out a new bike and slobber all over their ice cream cones. We waved good-bye to our good friends with big smiles, feeling refreshed.

Summer is what childhood is all about, as long as you are fully prepared for the elements. You need to remember that while the sun might make your skin glow, the sweat makes you break out. You need to remember green grass and tall trees smell wonderful, but also might aggravate allergies. You have to know that bare feet and bathing suits might come with bug bites and splinters.

DIY travel planket

How to Make a DIY Travel Pillow Blanket

Learn how to craft this blanket-pillow combination, which is easy to make and perfect for summer road trips.

Vehicle first aid shopping guide

Printable Shopping Guide

Build your own first-aid kit for the car with our printable shopping guide.