We always cherish the memories we spend time with our family. Enjoying childhood moments with the family, and those family bonding moments are always ingrained in our memories. Some of the most memorable highlights of our childhood are always those precious moments when we’re out on a day trip with our family. Oh, how we loved those moments! As a kid, we would often talk about the day trips our parents took us to, and narrate every adventure to our friends and schoolmates for weeks on end.
Now that you’re a parent, you’d want your kids to experience those memorable outings, too. Today, parents have a much more bewildering array of options when it comes to planning day trips for kids.
How to Prepare for Day Trips for Kids
As fun-filled as day trips can be for kids and everyone involved, it needs careful, well thought out planning and preparation to pull off. Memorable trips don’t just happen without a plan.
Ideally your preparation for a day trip should begin with the following:
Plan with the Kids
It’s their day, after all! If you don’t try to get their input, understand where they like to go, and what they like to do, you may as well stay at home. It’s important to listen to them. After all, you won’t have a good day trip if your kids aren’t having a good time.
Prepare a Budget
Having decided where you’d go for your day trip, the next step is to determine how much it’s going to cost you. You need to consider the food expenses for the whole family, gas or travel expenses, accomodation or rental spaces (if any), as well as miscellaneous expenses.
Once you’ve computed an estimated budget for the whole day trip, decide firmly to stick to the budget. Any unplanned spending could cause serious strain on your family’s finances. So, if you couldn’t afford it or if the cost is way above your budget, it’s best to look for more affordable alternatives. Remember, spend wisely.
Food and Transportation
These items are distinct, but it’s usually ideal to combine them as one. Take into consideration whether you’re going to be using your own vehicle or public transportation. You should also decide if you’ll be bringing a packed food or eat out.
Generally, taking along something to eat while still spending a little on snacks is an ideal cost-saving tip and a means of adding more fun to your trip.
Set the Rules
It may be a day trip for the kids, but that shouldn’t make them forget who’s in charge. Firmly set rules for the day trip, and make everyone understand the need to follow them.
Give them an incentive to stick to the rules you’ve set, and a punishment for those who disobey, throw a tantrum, or misbehave.
Mind the Weather
Obviously weather is going to play a big part in what places and activities you plan for day trip. Make sure you check your weather app or local weather station before planning the day.
And if it looks like the weather may not be in your favor, you can always plan a fun rainy day at home with the kids!
Depending on the season, some activities might not be appropriate either. No kid wants to go to a waterpark during winter! We have lots of great resources for seasonal activities for families, some you can even do at home, including fall family activities, fun summer activities, and of course, winter activities for kids!
Ideas for Day Trips for Kids
Having dispensed with all preparation tips, let’s now look at actual ideas for day trips for kids, which mom and dad can also enjoy.
1. Beach Day
During the summer or even if it’s just warm weather, this is an amazing way to have a day trip, especially if you live close to the beach. Aside from swimming, there are lots of activities you can do on the beach, like having a beach-side picnic or playing beach soccer or volleyball.
Make sure to take your swimming gear if you plan to swim, and be sure to obey all safety rules.
One helpful tip—avoid peak season if you want a genuine family-focused beach-side fun.
2. Visit a Science Museum or Planetarium
There’s no better way to tease and stimulate a child’s innate sense of curiosity than a visit to a science museum and planetarium. Be prepared, however, with the endless questions they have upon seeing all the possibilities science offers. Don’t worry, though. Often, there are museum guides who entertain questions.
Science museums and planetariums alike offer educational information about science and space in the form of visual and interactive arts. Visiting one is also a good way to engage your little ones to an unconventional form of learning.
Don’t forget to account for the entrance fees they charge.
3. Visit the Zoo
Like a visit to a science museum, a visit to the zoo is educational for kids, too. If you’re planning to go on a day trip at the zoo, find out one nearby and what kinds of animals they house. It’s important that the zoo of your choice contains at least one animal your kid would be excited to see.
Also, make sure that the zoo has a petting section where kids are allowed to interact with certain animals. Look out for ticket discounts and visiting times that best suits you. And, most importantly, check whether the zoo allows family picnics so you could have the option to bring in a packed lunch.
4. Go to a Safari Park
Unlike a zoo, a safari or wildlife park doesn’t hold animals in designated pens. Instead animals are free to roam wild in their natural habitat. Visitors can view animals by driving through the safari grounds in the safety of a safari vehicle, guided by the safari employees.
If you’re opting for this kind of day trip, it’s important to remind your kids to be in their best behavior. Also, it’s important to be cautious and look after them at all times. Don’t get out of the vehicle under any circumstances, unless sanctioned by the ranger.
Do your research well before the trip, as some safari parks don’t accept children in certain areas and situations for safety purposes. Aside from the precautions you have to take, safari day trips are an incredible experience for kids.
5. Visit an Animal Farm
Unlike safaris or zoos, an animal farm is exactly as its name implies. It’s a farm where animals are bred for commercial purposes. They could be regular animals, rare and exotic ones, or a combination of both common and exotic animals.
Some farms welcome educational and recreational visits, and often make arrangements to make them pleasant. Children get to learn about the animals, share in their feeding activities, and also get to pet them.
6. Go to a Nature Park
Whether you live in a sprawling urban center, surrounded by industrial landmarks, or the suburbs, a visit to a nature park will always be an amazing and educational experience.
Visiting a nature park gives you the chance to see nature in its pristine and original form, undamaged by human habitation. Some plants and animals may be abundant within a nature park.
Nature parks are usually visited for fun activities, like hiking, camping, and picnics. Usually, it has a river where noncommercial fishing is allowed. Research ahead of time to know what activities are allowed in the nature park you wish to visit.
7. Visit an Amusement Park
Amusement parks are designated solely to amuse you and the kids. There are a lot of amusement parks you could choose from—Disneyland, Disney World, Universal Studios, Six Flags, and many more. Factor in what your kids like, and see which of the amusement parks is likely to give them the best experience.
Some amusement parks are more expensive than others, so do your research ahead of time and look for discount packages.
If you don’t want to spend too much on amusement parks, you could choose the most affordable and look for discount rates and packages available.
8. Visit a Dude Ranch
You can learn to ride horses, have a real campfire, spend lunch outdoors and have dinner under the stars, and learn the basics of horse riding.
If your kid’s bugging you for a pony, this can be your one-day chance to grant her that wish! Dude ranches offer a lot of collective and individual fun for the whole family, ranging from trail rides and cookouts to fishing trips and canoe rides.
If you’re the type of family who would like to enjoy a western experience, this kind of day trip would be fun for you and your kids.
9. Go on a Rafting Adventure
If you’re looking for some sophisticated sense of aquatic adventure trip together as a family, you can search online for rafting river resorts.
Rafting resorts, like the Colorado River Discovery in Arizona or the Adventures on the Gorge in West Virginia, offer rafting adventures for children as young as six years old. As a bonus, you can also get to enjoy treetop canopy tours, ziplines, fishing, hiking, and rock climbing.
10. Go to a Waterpark
Waterparks and other wet and wild destinations make the perfect day trip for kids! They get to explore sights and sounds from a variety of amazing aquatic ecosystems – and observe all the fascinating creatures in them – and they can also cool off on hot summer days with the watery thrills these attractions offer. From lazy river rides complete with waterfalls to wave pools and thrilling slides, there is something exciting for every age and energy level. The perfect day out is guaranteed!
11. Visit a Botanical Garden
Botanical gardens are a fantastic place to take the kids for a fun, nature-filled day out. They get to explore an array of fascinating plants and ecosystems in one place. The sights and smells alone make it an exciting, educational experience that your family will cherish. There is something for everyone to enjoy at a botanical garden; outdoor art installments, interactive exhibits, playgrounds, as well as shows and activities throughout the year. Take your kids on this unique adventure and they’ll be enthralled by the wonders of nature all around them!
12. Explore a Historical Site
Exploring historical sites can make a wonderful day trip destination for kids! Such trips will engage their minds and imaginations, allowing them to learn more about the past in an enjoyable environment. Visiting places of historical significance is an invaluable experience that young minds will never forget. From learning about our shared histories to landscapes of times gone by, historical sites are rife with opportunities for memorable adventures that you can share as a family. Whether witnessing things firsthand or using educational programs and activities, historical sites are guaranteed to provide your kids with amazing educational experiences they won’t forget!
13. Find a Family Entertainment Centers
Family Entertainment Centers are a perfect spot for kids to get out and enjoy some wonderful fun and entertainment. There’s so much to do – from thrilling rides and ball pits to arcades and concession stands. Everything is designed with families in mind, creating a safe environment for kids of all ages to explore and play. Nearby attractions like mini-golf or water parks often add a great variety of activities to the day trip. Amusement Centers guarantee a fantastic time together, full of laughter, memories made, and plenty of adventure!
14. Check out the Farmer’s Market
Taking a trip to the farmer’s market is an exciting experience for kids. It’s like a one-stop shop for fresh produce, handmade crafts, and delicious foods. Not only will they witness the hustle and bustle of farmers with their home-grown bounty, but they can also learn about local culture, get to know the people who grow and make their food, see where all of the wonderful edible treats come from, and perhaps “shop” with Mom or Dad. In addition to being educational, it brings families out of the house and gives them an opportunity to connect with their community in a fun environment.
The farmer’s market offers something for everyone: exotic fruits and veggies that may look strange or smell funny; handmade items like jewelry or soaps; freshly prepared snacks like pies, cakes, jams and jellies; local delicacies featuring regional ingredients; delicious fresh meals ready to take home. It’s even more fun when accompanied by live music! There’s always something different every week at the Farmer’s Market – making it a perfect activity for kids!
15. Explore new Playgrounds
All kids love going to a playground, but why not make it special and visit a couple playgrounds you’ve never taken the kids to before? Locate one, two, or even three new playgrounds on Google. Then plan a route to take you to all the new parks you plan to visit. Don’t forget to pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at one of the playgrounds. It’s a great time exploring a new area and you might even find your kids’ new favorite place to play!
Have a Day Trip Fun!
Kids love going on day trips, but nothing makes it more memorable than spending it with their parents.
Going on day trips as a family makes the whole experience richer and far more rewarding. Although day trips with kids can be tasking and tiring, it can also be the most rewarding and soul-energizing experiences of parenting.