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Window Seat or Aisle Seat: Traveling with Tots & Teens

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Struggling to find summer travel ideas that suit kids of all ages? In her Window Seat or Aisle Seat column this month Kerri Zane, author of It Takes All 5: A Single Mom’s Guide to Finding the REAL One, on sale now, examines  vacation experiences that work for tots and teens. Find out some new options to keep the whole family entertained from summer to winter breaks.

Whether you are parents of a blended family or several families interested in traveling together, trying to find a vacation spot that will suit the tots as well as the teens in your party may not be as easy as it sounds. Often, when on vacation, kids get to the point where they just don’t want to hang out and entertain each other anymore. And frequently the planned activities are better for older kids not the young ones or vice versa. Having been in that situation myself, I decided hunt for travel destinations that include activities to keep everyone entertained all at once.

Florida has the Keys

The Florida Keys & Key West are a great destination for families with teens and small children. Not only are there activities and attractions for the entire family, but also there are many family-friendly resorts like Hawks Cay Resort.

On Key Largo there is a Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center, where you can walk amongst the wild birds and your children can feed the birds. At John Pennekamp State Park, take a glass bottom boat tour or spend a few hours snorkeling. Dolphins Plus, a dolphin and marine mammal research and education facility,  you and your children to not only learn all about these gentle creatures you can even swim with them.

Islamorada is known for Theater of the Sea, which has live dolphin, sea lion and parrot shows. At Robbie’s Marina kids can hold bait over the dock and watch as the tarpon fish rise up from the water in a powerful flash of silver and green and eat out of the palm of their hands.

The Turtle Hospital started out as the Buena Vista Motel, with tarpon and other marine wildlife in the motel’s saltwater swimming pool. Today it is the only state-licensed veterinary hospital in the world dedicated solely to treating sea turtles. Your family can tour the facility’s grounds, meet the many turtles living at the center and lend a hand through their many volunteer programs.

In the Lower Keys, Big Pine Kayak Adventures has kayak tours, catamaran cruises or shallow water fishing,  or, for a self-guided option, you can just relax at Bahia Honda State Park.

Hidden Treasure in Oklahoma

International Geocaching logo

Have you heard of geocaching? Geocaching is a worldwide game of hiding and seeking treasures. A scavenger hunt, if you will. Geocachers place, or identify, a geocache in the world, pinpoint its location using GPS technology and then share the geocache’s existence and location online. Anyone, especially families, with a GPS unit, can then try to locate the geocache.

In the Beavers Bend State Park area of Southeastern Oklahoma, there are hundreds of caches for your seeking and enjoyment. You will see and enjoy beautiful mountains, serene lakes, tall pine trees, scenic rivers and great hiking trails all while learning and having fun as a family. Before you come to McCurtain County, log on to the official Global GPS Cache Hunt Site – Type in zip code: 74728 or other zip codes in McCurtain County and view the descriptions of caches and select several in the Beavers Bend State Park area that will be fun, entertaining, challenging and educational. Most have a difficulty rating from easy to difficult.

The area also boasts deep mountain lakes surrounded by National Forests; log cabins and camping grounds nestled in the towering pines and clear running rivers. Your family can camp in Beavers Bend State Park, trout fish, kayak, canoe, paddleboat, golf, swim, hike, and bike to see a variety of indigenous wildlife including deer, turkey, raccoons and bald eagles. To make reservations visit McCurtain County Getaways online or call 800-528-7337.