My husband and I have had the luxury of being able to travel to some really incredible places together. We traveled to Fiji, Mexico, Hawaii, and the Dominican Republic. After our first baby was born, we recognized that our international travels may be more limited, but we still wanted to make annual vacations a priority. Keep in mind, my family lives in Wisconsin and we travel back to see them at least twice a year. This can put limitations on our travel options since so much time and money goes towards these trips. However, we’ve still managed to get several amazing trips in with the boys that were just as memorable as our time in Hawaii and Fiji.
Our favorite destination for kids under five is Hilton Head, SC. We’ve traveled to Marco Island, FL, Naples, FL, Charleston, SC, Savannah, GA, Ocean City, MD, Chicago, IL, and of course several Jersey Shore beaches. Hilton Head remains on the top of our list for the following reasons:
1). The walking paths will get you anywhere you need to go. The bars, restaurants and beaches are all within a short walking distance – a must with little ones!
2). The beach is stroller accessible! Meaning there is a rubber runway that allows you to push your stroller, without effort, all the way up to the water. Those that have tried pushing a stroller in sand know that this can the hardest workout of your life. And it’s not fun!
3). The beach has clean bathrooms, showers, and water splash pads. There is no fighting your kids with a hose to get all of the sand off of them. The splash pad makes it fun for the kids. There are even benches off to the side if you just want to sit and let them play for a while.
4) The condo that we stayed in (Coral Sands) made it so easy to get nap times in without feeling like we were stuck inside waiting for the kids to wake up. My husband and I would either sit and read on the balcony or we’d take turns laying by the pool. Who wants to be cooped up inside on vacation? Not me.
5) When the kids (or adults) got tired of the beach, the hotel/condo pool was just as much fun for everyone. It also had a splash pad area for the kids and a mini lazy river that was equally fun for adults. The resort offers a happy social hour every Monday which is a great way to meet people.
6) The island is really quiet and clean. It’s not commercialized and it is actually exactly how I pictured Hawaii to look. (I was in for a suprise the first time I visited Hawaii). Palm trees line the main road and the buildings are all set back so you really do feel like you’re in a tropical paradise. There are no high rise buildings so is feels open and freeing.
7) There are bike rentals everywhere. We rented bikes with seats for our kids to ride on the back. The boys were 1 and 2 at that time and we were able to bike the entire island with them. It was a great way to see other parts of the island and explore the various neighborhoods.
8) Lastly, Hilton Head is really geared towards simplicity. There is nothing obnoxious or overstated about the island. There are no boardwalks, waterparks or giant ferris wheels for the kids. What has me wanting to go back to Hilton Head year after year is that it’s beautifully understated. It’s a place where you go to enjoy nature and the simple things life has to offer. Nothing is overly fancy, but everything is really nice at the same time. The people in Hilton Head really value their island and it’s apparent by how well maintained and manicured everything is.
So if you’re still not convinced, really sit back and think what makes a vacation memorable for you. For me, simplicity creates a relaxing environment that both parents and kids can enjoy. And remember, the natural environment is a place for kids to connect and promote their creativity and imagination. It’s a place that stimulates the senses, creating a rich and fulfilling experience that will last a lifetime for all.