I love living in the South. Mostly because it’s all I’ve ever known. So, I’ve adapted to the area. Now that Haley is older, a fun vacation is a must. Looking for a vacation has changed so much since I’m older now. I’m not looking at the “hottest vacation spots.” I’m looking for places where kids are accepted. Where it’s okay if your 9 month old throws a temper tantrum. I’m looking for kid friendly vacation spots. Plus, since I’m such a Southern girl, being in the south is a must. 

It’s finally Summer here in good ole Georgia. The frizzy hair and sunburned skin is a definite sign of a hot, humid Georgia summer. What better way to cool off in this southern heat than take a family vacation? We all know that vacation is huge in the summer. The kids are out of school. It may be easier for you to take vacation from work. You may be a teacher, so you’re enjoying your summer break, too. No matter what reason you need to “release,” you want to make sure you enjoy your vacation.

I have yet to travel out of the South. I’d like to one day. Because, of course, I know there’s a huge world outside of the Georgia/South Carolina border. We just haven’t had the chance. All of our vacations have consisted of local, southern destinations. Minus visits to places like Gatlinburg, Tennessee. But, let’s face is, that’s still the south.

I visited Gatlinburg often as a child. It was my grandparent’s favorite place to visit. So, we at least made a visit once yearly. But, most of the time it was more like 2-3 trips per year. As I got older, my interest shifted. I wanted to go on vacation with my friends. I wanted to visit “hip” vacation spots. Gatlinburg was not considered “hip.”

As a teenager, and into early adulthood, my friends and I were frequent fliers at places like Tybee Island and Atlanta. Now my family and I are still frequent fliers in Tybee. But, we only visit Atlanta for kid friendly attractions. Not to visit bars or go to concerts. Although we still will travel to Atlanta for a good concert. But, now, we’re frequent fliers in Gatlinburg again, too. Due to their high volume of kid friendly attractions.

It doesn’t matter if you live in the South or if you’re visiting for the summer. If you want acceptance from the people around you when your 9 month old starts screaming, these kid friendly vacation spots are perfect.

kid friendly vacation

Riverbanks Zoo

Riverbanks Zoo is located in Columbia, South Carolina. Our family tries to visit the zoo at least once a year. They recently added a 3 acre children’s garden. We haven’t been able to visit since that addition. But, I heard it has a pretty cool splash pad for the kids.

Of course Riverbanks also offers the sight of a zoo. Plus they even have a “Kangaroo Walk.” Where you can walk along a trail that has Kangaroos on each side of you. These Kangaroos are freely roaming near the trail. It’s pretty neat.

kid friendly vacation

EdVenture Children’s Museum

EdVenture is another great attraction in Columbia. They have tons of exhibits geared towards children. From the “Wags & Whiskers” exhibit to “The Cooking Lab” exhibit. If you want to fuel your kids imagination, EdVenture is the place to do it.

They also let you throw birthday parties there, too. How awesome is that?! I want a birthday party at EdVenture!

kid friendly vacation

Ripley’s Aquarium of The Smokies

Whenever we visit Gatlinburg, Tennessee, we always make sure to visit the aquarium. The aquarium has a ton of displays. A lot of the displays you can even get up close and personal with the under the sea creatures.

Ripley’s Aquarium of The Smokies is also in a great location. It’s within walking distance of a lot of kid friendly attractions in the Gatlinburg area. It’s really a fun attraction for the whole family. We enjoy our trip there every year.

kid friendly vacation

Tybee Island, GA

Tybee Island was a favorite of mine even as a teenager. Nothing has changed as I’ve entered into adulthood. Our family still loves visiting Tybee. Tybee has also had a lot of media exposure lately, too. The beach is the scene in many popular movies. Movies like: “The Last Song”, “Baywatch”, “The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water”, “The Conspirator”, and “Dirty Grandpa.”

It’s your typical beach atmosphere. Tons of beach. So, lots of water and sand time. Souvenir shops, ice cream, and candy.

Keep in mind, party goers still enjoy the Tybee atmosphere. So, more than likely during vacation, you’ll encounter a party goer or two. But, police presence on Tybee is tight. I once got a parking ticket because my meter print out wasn’t on the right side of my dashboard. Yep, they mean business.

Tybee is also close to Savannah. Savannah is a beautiful and historic city. There are so many things to discover on River Street. Including River Street Candy which is to die for! Plus, if your kids are adventurous (and probably older) they’ll love the trolley tours. They host quite a few ghost tours. One of their ghost tours is even in a hearse!

kid friendly vacation

Splash In The ‘Boro

We’ve visited Splash In The ‘Boro a few times. Once when the kids were way younger. Haley had just turned two. Then when Haley was 4. They have an area for the younger kids. It has a shallow water area. A lot of splash pad features. Water shooters. It’s a lot of fun.

The times we have been it wasn’t that crowded. But, I’ve heard it gets pretty crowded some days.

It’s a fun place to visit.

kid friendly vacation

Cherokee, North Carolina

Our family loves visiting Cherokee. But, I’ve also heard it isn’t some peoples cup of tea. Cherokee is an Indian reservation in North Carolina. There’s a lot of history here. There’s a neat museum that covers the Cherokee history as well.

Plus, it’s right by the Great Smoky Mountains. A drive through there is beautiful. Right on the other side of the mountains, too, of course is Gatlinburg.

There’s not many attractions in Cherokee. But, the history there makes it worth a stop. Plus, there’s a lot of neat stores to visit. We like visiting in the winter because of the snow. We don’t get a lot of snow here. So, the beautiful snow topped mountains are to die for. The only downside is when it snows most of the shops shut down. Spring is really the best time to go for the attractions.

kid friendly vacation

These are places we’ve visited with our young kids. We still want to visit the Atlanta Aquarium and Disneyworld. But, we haven’t had the chance, yet. Soon, though. Soon. 

Where’s your favorite vacation travel destination for you and your family? Let me know! Especially if it’s in the south. I’d love to add it to this list.

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