Traveling with kids can be hard. There are times you wonder if loading up the car seats, all the luggage, and just the stuff that comes with kids, then dragging it through the airport or loading it in the car is all worth it. Travel is rarely seamless and adding kids into the mix just makes room for a few more things to go wrong. But it’s worth it. It is so worth it. I cannot think of a trip that we have been on that we would look back on and say, “Man, that was not even worth it a little bit. Why did we do that to ourselves?” Because once you get to your destination and you see your kids enjoying themselves, exploring, playing, laughing, smiling, and just being kids; you realize this is why you travel. To see and experience, to make memories, and be together. There may be meltdowns, stress and a whole slew of things that could go wrong but those are all moments that you learn from, you can look back on and laugh years down the road (hopefully). And there are those amazing moments that you will always remember with a smile.
Something that we have learned along the way is that our family cannot just “go hard” the entire trip. We need days to recharge and reset. We have made the mistake of trying to get everything in we wanted to do before and we ended up with utterly exhausted children and parents. We try to make a list of absolute must do’s and then things that if we get to, great, if not, that’s okay too. Every family is different. I applaud the families that can go hard and still have energy left after the trip is over. That’s just not us.
We knew going into our Disneyland trip that we would needs some recharge days or we wouldn’t be at our best so we tentatively planned some beach days. Our first recharge day it was raining so we decided to find an aquarium and spend the day there. We drove to Long Beach and went to the Aquarium of the Pacific. We ended up spending all afternoon there. It was one of the best aquariums we have been to. The kids got to touch sharks and cownose rays. The jellyfish were beautiful and the sea lion show was wonderful. I highly recommend visiting if you are in the area.
Our second recharge day was spent at Little Corona Beach. This beach was recommended to us by a friend and as soon as she said tide pools we knew this was our kind of beach.
It was beautiful. It didn’t take long for the kids to run straight into the ocean, despite it being pretty cold. Olivia took a couple of dives into the water and got back up laughing. They love searching for creatures and found some tiny crabs plus a lot of seashells that came home with us.
We went back and conquered Disneyland again after this trip to the beach. The day before our trip was over we gave the kids the choice to go back to Disney or go to the beach. They chose to go to the beach but wanted to make sure they got their souvenirs from Disney. We quickly agreed. One more day at the beach sounded amazing and just the way we wanted to end our trip. We headed to Huntington Beach and spent the afternoon chasing waves, making art in the sand and building sand cities.
It was the best way to end our trip. This trip took more planning than we normally do because we just had to figure out the best way to fit in all of our must do’s but balance it with days of recharging. We had a week and we made the most of it. I can’t say there is anything we missed out on because we didn’t spend everyday at Disneyland. The kids got to do what they wanted, see who they wanted and they also got to experience other parts of Southern California. It was a great mix of being extremely active and taking it slow. On our drive home we started talking about our next trip to Disneyland. We decided waiting two years would be ideal and instead of 3-4 days at Disney we would do two and then spend the rest of our time on the beach because really, that’s where we see the kids at their happiest.