Plan Ahead & Ease the Pace
Some of the savviest travelers believe in minimal planning. But having children changes the game completely. Hunger and lack of sleep are to blame for untimely tantrums, and it’s not just the kids that turn sour. We get stressed out, then the kids get stressed out, and suddenly travel was a bad idea. Orchestrate proper nap and meal times for everyone, and opt to linger for longer. A minimum three-night stay is best to really set up camp. Your B&B becomes your launch pad for family adventures.
Where to Stay: Idaho’s Roosevelt Inn, a converted 1905 schoolhouse with three family suites, is perfect for children ages 6 and up. You’ll be staying near the Hiawatha Bike Trail and near beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene (perfect for kayaking and cruising). Note that the Silverwood Theme Park along with its Boulder Beach Water Park isn’t far.
Consider Activities for the Road & the Inn
When traveling sans kiddos, we’re in charge of alleviating our own boredom to make up the fun as we go. Add kids to the mix and suddenly we should have considered some entertainment. Screen time on phones and iPads can provide easy reprieve for everyone. But don’t forget old school simpler activities that will help the growing mind disconnect from these gadgets. Remember 20 questions? Or how about alphabet and memory games? For your stay, consider choosing a B&B that has everything to entertain you right on site.
Where to Stay: Roddy Tree Ranch Resort is a family-oriented rustic oasis on the Guadalupe River in Texas hill country. You’ve got two swimming pools, fishing holes (including a catch-and-release pond), a petting zoo, horseshoes, volleyball and badminton courts, a playground area, canoeing, nature walks, and more.
Experience Live Music in a Small Town
If a major metropolis is home for you, traveling to the countryside to stay in a small town can provide a calm respite from the big city bustle. Live country or folk music and dancing is a ton of fun for kids. Plus, you’ll find a down-to-earth friendliness in the locals that’s almost non-existent in busy urban centers.
Where to Stay: Wildflower, is a historical inn in Mountain View, Arkansas (said to be the folk music capital of the world). This B&B offers a surplus of discounts including mid-week savings and coupons for the Ozark Folk Center Craft Village, as well as evening music performances on the square.
Get Outdoors for Playtime
Whether your kids are used to the outdoors or not, nature’s playground is an ever-changing landscape, soothing the mind and sparking the imagination. Small B&Bs offer accommodations is natural settings you wouldn’t find surrounding a big hotel. Some stock up on sporting equipment for land games of all kinds, or floating devices like kayaks and inner tubes for water fun. Consider choosing a B&B located near one of the 58 U.S. National Parks for trails and intriguing information centers.
The Lodge on Little St. Simons Island in Georgia’s storied Golden Isles is open year-round, welcoming all children in the summer, and kids ages 8 and up year-round. Cast away with your family like Robinson Crusoe at this B&B, which I sonly accessible by boat. All-inclusive rates cover all three meals and all activities: Think birding, boating, beaching, and naturalist guided walks.
Explore the Art World
Art museums are often dismissed from the itinerary when kids are in tow. While it’s true that some youngsters tune out while staring at canvases high above their heads, it’s often because they aren’t engaged. If you can muster the patience to get to their level, you’ll be surprised how intrigued by art they can become. Their imaginations run wild, and sometimes they can provide the inspiration to you.
Four Kachinas Inn in Santa Fe, New Mexico is a perfectly located, family friendly B&B. The location is perfectly situated within walking distance to the Plaza, Railyard, and Canyon Road. You’ll be able to hoof it to the art galleries and quaint shops where you can experiment letting your kids be the guides.
For more travel advice, check out 9 B&B planning tips. Keep in mind that B&Bs are generally small, which means they often only have a few family-size suites, so book ahead to reserve your ideal spot.
—by Marguerite Richards