Looking for Vacation Ideas?
We live around the Ohio and Kentucky area. The Lord has blessed us financially where we can take a vacation finally without being in debt.
We have a pre-teen daughter and I admit planning vacations can cause negative stress!
How do you plan for your family vacation? Do you use an agent? Do you ask your church members what they did? Do your research online?
If you are near the Ohio and Kentucky area, what are some vacation spots that you have found around here that are hidden gems and affordable?
We need to decide on our family vacation for this summer as well. Typically it will include a camping trip and travel to our home in the Midwest. That may not sound like much but the camping typically at some incredible spot and the family gathering in the midwest is always fun. One year we traveled through Kentucky and while there to Mammoth National Park and the caves. That is one of the best caves in the United States. Carlsbad Cavern does not hold a candle to the one in Kentucky. And Mammoth is only second best to one in Mexico. Our stay on the other end is always free with family and now that we own a house north of Ohio. I will tell ya if you make it to Mackinaw Island in MI, you will have a great time. It’s not cheap staying there, but what a place, what an experience, wow!
We travel quite a bit, sometimes with the kids, sometimes without. Always plan and book the trip myself, as it’s kind of a hobby. Hard to make recommendations without knowing more about what you would enjoy doing (amusement park, wilderness adventure, explore a big city, beach time, etc), how long you want to be gone, and what kind of budget you have. Sounds like this is a trip with your daughter so that at least rules out the romantic getaway options.
I’d suggest against choosing prepaid rates for hotels or rental cars, unless the discount is massive (usually isn’t). That was you have flexibility if plans change and you can keep checking rates as your trip approaches. Sometimes they will drop and you can rebook are the lower rate. I’ve saved hundreds of dollars this way, mostly with rental cars but sometimes hotels too.
Another option to consider is a vacation rental property. This is where you rent a house, condo, etc. from a private individual. We usually book through VRBO. The advantage is that you then usually have a full kitchen to make meals (if you want to save money and not eat out a ton), and more space. Easier to get a two bedroom option this way, so your DD can have her own space and you can enjoy vacation sex 😉
We do what is affordable, and we do all the planning. My husband likes nature, so he often is looking for state parks or natural attractions for us to visit in whatever area we go.
I admit that we have been blessed with paid for trips or free to very cheap places to stay because of being in ministry, and therefore our vacations are around those opportunities.
I’m like luvabug, planning trips is a hobby of mine. I research everything online and use Trip Advisor for ideas and traveler ratings. Something else I use, which most people don’t think of, is Instagram to look at photos others have posted of hotels and points of interest.
I’m familiar with the areas you mentioned. How far are you willing to drive? What are your interests? Besides the amusement parks mentioned, Ohio has great zoos in Cincy, Columbus, Cleveland, and Toledo. Each of those cities have plenty of other things to do that you could combine with a zoo, if that’s something your pre-teen would enjoy.
Another great destination is the Dayton Air Force Museum. I have zero interest in that kind of thing, but it blew me away. And it’s free! You could then head to Indianapolis to their zoo. They also have a fabulous art museum and a nice river walk area downtown, with other museums, all within walking distance.
If any of those cities appeal to you, let me know and I can give you other ideas specific to each one.
As @luvabug99 said, we might need more information to go on. We didn’t do much vacationing growing up (couldn’t afford it), and certainly don’t now, but here are some options:
Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari: Amusement+water park in southern IN (possibly too far west for you?)
King’s Island: Amusement+water park in a northeastern Cincinnati suburb.
Cedar Point: Roller coaster capital of the world in northern Ohio (possibly too far north for you?)
I was going to suggest Indiana Beach, but it looks like it was announced just 9 days ago that it is permanently closed. 🙁
Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area: Natural area located in southwestern KY (possibly too southwest for you?)
I think that’s it off the top of my head. Pretty standard stuff that is well known in the area, but maybe it’s useful?
I’ve been thinking and here are some more ideas:
The Wilds outside Zanesville and then head over to Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, WV
Pittsburgh and Kennywood
Greenfield Village and Henry Ford Museum outside of Detroit
Neil Armstrong Museum and then head up to Toledo area. Maumee Bay is a nice state park resort nearby.
My daughter went on vacation with my brother’s family several years ago when she and her cousins were pre-teens. They enjoyed a Great Wolf Lodge somewhere in that area. They also went to Cedar Point and she said it was fun but hard to navigate.