Let’s Talk Vacation. Like a Kid-Free Vacation.

Here in Northern Virginia, we woke up to about another inch or two of fresh snow. Not much but enough for preschool to have a two-hour delay. And since the majority of the United States are experiencing colder-than-normal temperatures, it seems like as good of a time as any to discuss summer vacations. While Clay and I have had the occasional night away since having kids and we’ve taken quite a few family vacations, we haven’t taken the quintessential ‘just us’ vacation. Not unless you count our four-day house hunting trip to Lawton, OK back in January 2011. And I do not count that. Sorry Lawton.

In addition to our New England Extravaganza (as we’re calling our planned 2014 summer family vacation), Clay and I are planning a trip for just the two of us (cue Bill Whithers or Will Smith…both versions are equally annoying). The children and Lucy will be livin’ it up with the grandparents while we fly off to some exotic locale without having to worry about carseats, strollers, or kid-friendly snacks. There is just one small problem – we don’t know where we are going just yet.

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We have a handful of vacation destinations that we’re planning to experience with the kids once they’re a little older, so places like Hawaii and Disney World are not in the running for this upcoming trip. And we’re ruling those places we’ve already been on a ‘just-us’ vacation pre-kids (Bahamas, Southern California, Montreal, New York City, etc…). We’re not swimming in a gold coin pool every night so we’re keeping cost in mind. And we will only have about 5-7 days for this vacation so we’re a little hesitant to fly somewhere in Europe with such a limited timeframe (and budget). Oh – and a cruise does not appeal to us at this time (or frankly, anytime). so that’s out too. So now that you know the places we don’t want to go, here are some vacations that we’re considering…

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Juneau and Sitka, Alaska. When we visited Alaska (Anchorage area) in August 2011, we fell in love. Unfortunately, the possibility for us to be stationed up there is almost nil so it is resigned to a vacation destination for the time being. However, I am not sure if it will work with our timeframe and budget…we’ll see.

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Banff, Alberta, Canada is also on the short list and one of Canada’s most popular tourist destinations. I’ve never been shy about our love for Canada and we’d love to explore a province that neither one us has been to before.

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Napa Valley, California and Yosemite National Park. Wine and the outdoors? Yes, please. A day in San Francisco would be quite nice too.

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Jackson Hole and Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. To be honest, this location is the current front-runner. It works with our timeframe and appears to be financially feasible. While hiking may not be everyone’s recipe for a perfect vacation, I can’t think of a better way to spend some alone time with the man to whom I am contractually obliged.

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An All-inclusive Resort. This option is sort of like a record skip. The above options have the common thread of outdoorsy-type adventure and an all-inclusive resort is the complete opposite. But we do love the beach. However, I doubt this option will prevail.

So there you have it – our short list. If money and time were no object, we’d be going to Scotland or Ireland or France or Germany or (you catch the drift)… But unless there is some sort of Hail Mary miracle, I think we’re going somewhere in the US or the Caribbean. I suppose there is always next year. And while there is a small chance of us getting stationed overseas, with all of the defense budget cuts taking place (at this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if the government starts asking Clay to pay for the privilege of serving his country), those opportunities are becoming more and more of a pipe dream. C’est la vie.

What has been the best kid-free vacation you’ve taken? I am totally open to suggestions!

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19 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Vacation. Like a Kid-Free Vacation.

  1. Anonymous January 29, 2014 / 10:51 am

    All of your out west ideas have one big negative (to me) in that you will be several time zones removed from your kids which could be problematic and then there is the jet lag issue. Have you looked at Quebec (we loved it there when we visited) or Nova Scotia, St. Johns, etc? All are beautiful, you can be outdoors, they all have lots of history and scenery, and they are in the same time zone. Also wouldn’t take very long to get there, also a consideration if you only have 5 days or so – you don’t want two of those days to be taken up with travel. Are you going to be at your folks for the 4th of July? We will be there!!!!! Along with Miss Harley!
    Aunt Sue

    • Karen January 29, 2014 / 9:39 pm

      I’d love to go to Nova Scotia. We haven’t considered St. Johns…that could be really cool!

  2. Erika January 29, 2014 / 11:17 am

    It is do timely that you posted this. We’ve been discussing a child-free vacation too and are working with the same limitations (time, finances). I hadn’t thought about a few of the places you’ve mentioned. Hooray for other people brainstorming for me!

    On a random side note, we’re planning a New England extravaganza before we move out of Delaware this summer. Small world 🙂

    • Karen January 29, 2014 / 9:37 pm

      Whenever you come up with your short list, please share! Apparently we’re in the cool-kids club by planning a New England extravaganza this sumer. 🙂

  3. Alexandra January 29, 2014 / 1:11 pm

    The hiking trips all sound like places that have good potential for family vacations so they wouldn’t be my first choice for a sans-kids getaway. What about Puerto Rico? You don’t have to do the all-inclusive resort thing, I loved the city of San Juan. I’d also think about Key West or Bermuda.

    If you really want to do something different, Iceland is only about a 4 hour flight – not really like flying to Europe in my experience.

    • Karen January 29, 2014 / 9:36 pm

      We’re both itching to do some serious hiking and until our kids are 10+, I don’t see it being a realistic family vacation activity (so at least 10 years from now…). We’ve considered Puerto Rico and Bermuda and we’re not ruling them out. Where did you stay in San Juan? I’ve heard there are some military discounts for hotels to be found…

      • Alexandra January 29, 2014 / 10:30 pm

        If you really want to do serious hiking, what about Peru? I have friends/family that have been and said it’s amazing. There’s not even a time zone change!

      • Karen January 30, 2014 / 8:02 am

        Oh man, I’d love to go to Peru. I priced out a trip there about a month ago and I couldn’t find really anything (safe) under 5K for 5 days. I have a bunch of price alerts set up…we’ll see. 🙂

        I just hope with all of this vacation talk that plans don’t fall through and we end up not even taking a vacation. I could totally cry at that thought.

        Thanks for all of your suggestions!

  4. coffeeandjetplanes January 29, 2014 / 7:54 pm

    To be honest, I wouldn’t recommend doing Napa and Yosemite in the same trip if it’s only a week. Generally it takes a whole day to get from one to the other (depending on traffic), and they’re both great places to spend a week, but I would say wine tasting and vineyard touring is a GREAT kid-free vacation. That may be a personal bias, though, since I’m from Sonoma valley 😉

    PS The Napa Wine Train is awesome.

    • Karen January 29, 2014 / 9:34 pm

      Thank you for the advice on Napa and Yosemite. I haven’t been to either place so I am relying on Google Maps for distance and time estimations. The Napa Wine Train sounds awesome!

      • coffeeandjetplanes January 30, 2014 / 1:23 pm

        There are hiking trails around Napa, too! Just FYI. I mean it’s no Yosemite, but there are still some really nice ones.

  5. jadesabre9 January 30, 2014 / 9:03 am

    I’ve always been curious about that area of Wyoming, though I’ve never been. Mountains are gorgeous, so I’m liking your choices. I take it you’ve done Colorado and/or Tennessee (or maybe they are on your “with kids” list)?

  6. Meagan January 30, 2014 / 10:28 pm

    I am dreaming of our kid free vacation sometime next year too. I turn 30, it’s our 10 year anniversary and it will be our first time ever away from both our boys. We are nerds though and heading to Disney World alone. I’m sure where ever you guys go you’ll have fun!

  7. jen February 4, 2014 / 5:41 am

    Monterey!

    I know I said it before, but if you want wine, hiking, beautiful scenery, Monterey is your spot. You could fly to SFO and see SF for the first say two days, then rent a car and drive to Monterey/Carmel (just under two hours usually).

    No traffic on the Carmel Valley wine route, and there even is a bus that runs from that road to hotels in Monterey.

    You could hike/explore at Point Lobos, drive HWY up to Big Sur..

    Great places to eat and drink in those cities as well 🙂

  8. mydaysni February 4, 2014 / 3:21 pm

    My husband and I wanted a short weekend 2 years ago, and living in uk we thought Europe. It was working out more expensive than I thought so just for a laugh I priced New York and got us flights and central accommodation for about 600pounds each – that can’t be more than 1000dollars. That was for four nights, and although it flew in it was brilliant. I want to go back, though now I have two kids that would need a babysitter instead of one. So my recommendation is NYC, or if u ever did fancy somewhere in Europe price it. It may be cheaper than you think.

  9. kbriemer@hotmail.com February 5, 2014 / 4:39 pm

    Seattle…Plenty to explore, and Canada is just a short drive away. Especially if you are going in July/August timeframe.

    If you are looking for caribbean, St John or Ti Kaye in St Lucia.

  10. Anonymous February 11, 2014 / 12:18 pm

    We also really loves St. Thomas when we were there over New Year’s and St. John’s is just a ferry ride away with lots of hiking trails.
    Aunt Sue

  11. wanderlynn February 12, 2014 / 4:57 pm

    OOF! Tough pickings! These all look amazing and could totally be on our Kids-Free list, too. We’ve spent just two nights away from our kids (well, kid, we were pregnant with the second), at a lovely little cabin on Lake Superior just south of Grand Marais. It was perfection. We plan to do that again this summer when we return to the States.

    Our all-time best pre-kids vacation was Costa Rica, when we lucked into a free villa. Marvelous hiking and beaches, what’s not to love?

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