Finding Family Activities While Traveling With Kids

One of the best parts of my job is helping families find fun things to do in our community while they're visiting. As a smaller town and even smaller surrounding towns, people are surprised - and fascinated - to see what we really have to offer. And now that summer is here, we're sharing even more tips and ideas.

Here's my secret: whether you're passing through small towns, staying overnight in a new place, or exploring the big city as a family, there are always kid-friendly things to do. Here's where to start.

Steer clear of big-name websites and head straight for the city's tourism website. Check out Meet Ottumwa for a great example. You'll find listings with much more detail, the stories behind attractions, and often itineraries premade for your interests. Talk about taking the hard work out of planning a trip!

From there, check out your destination's events calendar. Especially at this time of year, there are lots of festivals, fairs, and concerts every weekend. You'll probably find some with carnivals as part of the festivities, as well as great food and good music.

Once you get to your vacation spot, go visit their tourist information centers. We have all kinds of brochures, maps, and recommendations for every family and every interest. Asking the locals is the easiest way to learn where all the cool, family-friendly spots are. Plus ... swag!

Into the outdoors? Parks and playgrounds are great places to enjoy the sunshine and burn off some energy. Think splash pads, picnic areas, trails, and nature centers. We had a family visit last weekend, and they said the hiking trail that included Horse Thief Cave, where Jesse James reportedly hid some stolen horses, was the best part of the whole trip.

Get inside and cool off at your destination's local museums, stores, restaurants, and performing arts centers. This is the time to try all those local places that you don't have at home. You can go to that chain brand anytime - get out and meet the people who can your vacation spot home.

Where has your family traveled to that was a fabulous experience?


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