Well, we have returned from our trip with our 4 yr old grand daughter, AddyJo. We squeezed this trip in between her 1st dance recital and my niece's high school graduation party. The first part is not beach related but grammies and pappys out there may be interested. We left Sunday morning for Pigeon Forge , TN. It is about an 8 hr drive...normally...with a 4 yr old it took a bit longer...we got a good rate at a Quality Inn & Suites for 3 nights($181.00). The rooms were basic but they had a good hot breakfast and a heated kid's pool. That is why I chose this particular hotel. The kiddie pool was a real hit with Addy and allowed her to burn up energy from the long drive and be ready to go to bed. The next day was DOLLYWOOD. Terry and I have been there several times. So we were familiar with the park. We spent the entire day at the kiddie area of the park. We knew there would be many rides that she was big enough to ride either herself or with Terry or me. She had such a good time. I will say Addy & I had spent alot of time on the internet before this trip so we knew what rides would work for her size and age. The park was not overly crowded that day and lines were short. We did eat at the park, as they were having their BBQ festival...it was yummy! Addy ate a corn dog and fries. We returned to our rooms and walked to Baskin Robbins for ice cream because Addy liked the pink and blue sign. Next day we spent the morning at the Aquarium(jammed packed with families...but still fun) and rode the aerial tram in Gatlinburg...Addy loved both...no fear even on the tram...saw the bear exhibit at Ober Gatlinburg... walked through downtown Gatlinburg...came back to the hotel and ate fast food from Wendy's...grammie and pappy were pooped...thank goodness so was Addy....we went to bed! Next morning it was OFF TO THE BEACH!!!!
Trip is normally 7-8 hours...but again we made many stops so it took longer but we arrived in Surfside with plenty of time to run down to the ocean for Addy's 1st look. I can only say it was priceless...she loved it from the 1st moment. We stayed at the Surfside Beach Resort. This is a very central location in Surfside. Close by are places to eat, get ice cream,has beach access, Fuller Park playground is just down the street(nice and shady), and a basic beach store is just across the street.
After we were able to drag Addy away from the ocean, we ate dinner at River City Cafe(a favorite of ours). The burgers are all good, it is kid friendly, and we could walk there. Addy did have a hard time with putting the peanut shells on the floor
I had a Nacho Crunch burger, Terry had an Angus burger, Addy had a corn dog. Simple, basic, yummy.
We walked to the beach store and bought sand toys for Addy...nicer than the ones we saw at WalMart and not expensive.
Back to the room to get settled in and hit the sack...
Addy and I were up early the next morning to hit the beach. So slathered with sunscreen we ventured out. I really thought she would be more afraid of the water. Wrong assumption! She loved the water...the waves...(I did not let her go far from me...she did not even mind getting the salt water in her face or mouth...she laughed when she got knocked down...played in the water...played in the sand repeat...for about two hours...then we went back to the room...sand encrusted Addy rinsed off at the outdoor shower but still needed a bath...took care of that...ate some yogurt in the room...went to the laundromat...then ate lunch at Hamburger Joe's in Surfside. basically a burger place but you can get adult drinks if you chose...They were very kid friendly...An older gentleman was outside on the front porch as we got there and made a huge fuss over Addy(I figure maybe this was "Joe") anyway, as soon as we were seated he came to the table with a small order of fries for Addy to nibble on as we waited to order and get our food...very nice
Again, this is a burger place...not a huge menu...Terry and I each had BBQ sandwiches...Addy had a (what else) a CORN DOG!
We then returned to the hotel...got the stroller out and walked to the park. Addy played for more than an hour...she made a bunch of friends. The kids were all nice and the equipment was great. There are restrooms there, also. Next, after we persuaded Addy it was time to leave(she did not leave willingly) We took a long walk to the northern end of Surfside and back to the hotel(...mmm...good nap for Addy) got ice cream at Sophia's across from the hotel...relaxed in the room...Addy played with her sand toys in the bathtub...and was ready for bed...YAY!!!!
Next day more beach...more playground...then late breakfast at Omega Pancakes...and off to BATB where SURPRISE...there was a firefighters challenge going on...Terry is the Chief of our local VFD...so he was really happy to see this...Addy had fallen asleep in her car seat...so he went off to explore...and I leaned back for a siesta and some facebook time and relaxing in the car...later we walked around BATB. Addy rode several of the pavilion rides...we had italian ices to cool off...and returned to the hotel...Terry walked over to Sophia's for carry out...Coney dogs for us and CORN DOG for Addy(see a pattern here). Early to bed as we had a long ride the next day...headed to niece's grad party.
We drove to Summersville, WV. We spent the night in a Country Inn & Suites...clean, basic, good price...we ate dinner at Applebee's because we got a discount for showing our room keys...Terry & I both had steaks...Addy had...yes, a corn dog, oh well!
Got up the next morning, had breakfast at Bob Evans, and headed to Wexford, PA. for the party. We caught up with familyand had a great time. took off for OH about 8:00pm...got to my son's place about 10:00pm...surprisingly, Addy stayed awake until we got there. She was sure happy to see her Dad...would see Mom the next day when Dad went to work.
It was a good trip...a little whirlwind but fun to see things through a 4yr olds eyes...we laughed alot...We did tell my son not to ask us to babysit any this week...
Some things we learned as grandparents going on vacation...with 4 yr old...
..4 yr olds are not to big for a stroller...we have a JEEP Liberty stroller..3 wheels...nice and big...easy to maneuver...except in tightest spaces
...a thermos sippy cup is worth the money
...disposable cameras are a lot of fun for a 4 yr old
...a dvd player in the car is super for long rides...so is a DS...
...iphones are wonderful entertaiment in restaurants while waiting to get in or waiting on food...Addy esp like scooby doo on you tube...
...2 days is perfect for a quick intro to the beach
...kids can live on corn dogs and fries
...always travel with gogurt yogurt in the car...no muss no fuss...
...the timer on the iphone is great for when it is close to time to change activities or go to bed...we taught Addy how to find the icon...set the timer to 3 minutes and touch start...never had a problem she was ready to to whatever when the timer went off
...kids learn a lot in preschool...Addy had no trouble finding the numbers on the elevators and rooms...she had no trouble making friends at the playground and beach
...going on vacation with a grand child is more fun than going on vacation with your own kids...
This was likely way to long...and not totally beach but it sure was fun...now to anticipate our "adult" vaction in August!