How to Reduce Stress and Create a Fun Trip When Traveling With Kids

Taking trips with your family can be loads of fun. But between restless kids and a long car or plane ride, it can also be a test of patience. There’s no reason to be stressed before you even arrive at your destination. With the right preparation and planning, your travel time can be just as enjoyable and fun as the rest of the trip.

Involve Your Kids in the Planning

Your kids will be less fussy about traveling if they are looking forward to the destination. The best way to get them excited is to involve them in choosing the destination. This doesn’t mean letting them decide on anywhere they can think of. Provide them with three parent-approved options and let them make the final decision.

Sometimes, though, you already have the destination picked out. Maybe you’re heading out of state to visit another family or it’s somewhere you and your spouse have been wanting to go. In these instances, present your child with some fun activities they can do once you arrive. Giving your kids something to look forward to will help them cooperate during the trip. If you’re looking for family-friendly activities at your destination, look for family-oriented travel guides to point you in the right direction.

Depending on the age of your child, LifeHacker recommends using this planning time as a learning opportunity. You can teach them lessons on how to budget, how to account for travel time, or how to maintain a healthy routine away from home. Or use these moments to teach them about the destination itself.

Pre-Trip Preparations

When you have young kids, packing should not be left to the last minute. Your Modern Family recommends laying out an outfit for each day a week in advance before you leave. This will save you the last-minute stress of running around trying to get everything together. Pack it all up the day before then grab last minute items like pillows and stuffed animals the day of.

Some parents recommend placing each day’s outfit in a one-gallon Ziploc bag. This not only allows you to easily see that you have enough outfits, but it also helps everything in one place. The bags can later double as a laundry bag for dirty clothes. If you have a baby or toddler, it is a smart idea to pack an extra set of clothes in an easily accessible place in case there are any accidents.

Keep Them Entertained

On long trips, kids are known to become restless. You’ll need to choose your travel toys wisely. Whether you are going by plane or by car, there is only so much you can bring. Load up your iPad or tablet with plenty of games and videos. Creating a road trip scavenger hunt or playing license plate bingo is another great way to distract them too.

If there is an age discrepancy between your kids, consider purchasing the older one some child-friendly headphones. This way, if their younger sibling starts to cry or act out, they have an easy escape and you only have to deal with one upset child at a time.

Pack in the Snacks

Snacks are a necessary component of any trip, but even more so with kids. Parents Magazine says if you have to choose between the two, overpack snacks and underpack toys. Kids are at their crankiest when they don’t have enough familiar foods to eat.

While it’s tempting to stock up on junk food for a long trip, you run the risk of getting everyone a sugar high while being stuck in a small space. Instead, pack a variety of healthy foods to keep your family happy. Classic PB&Js, crackers, veggies with hummus, wrap sandwiches, and protein boxes are great options to pack into your cooler.

Hit the Road

There’s no reason the journey to your destination can’t be as enjoyable as the trip itself. Of course, no family trip is complete without a few unexpected road bumps, but the right planning and preparation can make it so much smoother. It’s time to hit the road.


Photo courtesy of Pexels.




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Sanibel Island is located in Florida. It’s the best place to collect seashells in the WORLD. First settled 12,000 years ago by Nomadic Indians. The total population is 18,000 with 15 miles long beaches. Sanibel has zero stoplights. Do you know that many well-known pirates such as Blackbeard live here?


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5 Local Birds You’ll Spot on the Beaches of Sanibel

Sanibel Island is known for its beautiful migratory bird population. In fact, there are over 250 birds recognized for being in Sanibel at all different times of the year. Some species are fairly common, while others are very rare. Every bird is special in its own way, but we are excited to tell you about our favorite birds that you can spot around Sanibel!

1. The Great Egret


Great Egrets are among Southwest Florida’s most iconic feathered residents. This bird also known as the common egret, large egret or (in the Old World) great white heron, is a large, widely-distributed egret, with four subspecies found in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and southern Europe. Distributed across most of the tropical and warmer temperate regions of the world. It builds tree nests in colonies close to water.

2. Roseate Spoonbill


The roseate spoonbill (Platalea ajaja) (sometimes placed in its own genus Ajaja) is a gregarious wading bird of the ibis and spoonbill family, Threskiornithidae. It is a resident breeder in South America mostly east of the Andes, and in coastal regions of the Caribbean,Central America, Mexico, the Gulf Coast of the United States and on central Florida’s Atlantic coast Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge adjoined with NASA Kennedy Space Center.

3. American White Pelican


Among the world’s heaviest flying birds, the American White Pelican migrates to Florida’s balmy shores, seeking reprieve from harsh northern winters. These massive water birds are easily distinguishable from their cousins—the brown pelicans—due to their snow-white complexion, striking yellow-orange beak and black flight-feathers, which are only visible when their wings expand.

4. American Peregrine Falcon


Few species cover ground – or air for that matter – quite like the American Peregrine Falcon. Incredibly powerful and fast, these predatory birds soar astonishing distances to hunt and breed. During Florida summers, you’re likely to see them perched on high branches, waiting patiently to swoop in and strike upon unsuspecting shorebirds.

5. Anhinga


The Anhinga is named for an ancient Brazilian word meaning “snakebird.” These birds hunt for prey by cruising just below the surface of shallow waters, leaving only their head and slender neck exposed. At first glance, this behavior makes them look very similar to a slithering snake.


Top 3 Vacation Rentals On Sanibel Island

If you are in Sanibel Island, vacation rental on the coastline is a must, the sound of the ocean will be the only thing you hear instead of noisy neighbors if you choose to stay in a vacation rental. Your family will have all the room they need to spread out, and it will be easier to plan quality time when you have a living room and kitchen to utilize. Watching the sunset from your private balcony, you will be glad you chose to stay in a Sanibel Island vacation rental. Here is the list of top 3 vacation rental on Sanibel Island;

1. Island Inn

Island Inn was established in 1895. This Inn was a great place to stay for a nice quiet get away with or without kids. Located right on the beachfront and surrounded by the unspoiled beauty of Sanibel Island, Island Inn is truly a place where you can relax and enjoy the company of those around you. The rooms are updated and comfortable. Lots to do while there kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming and shelling. The pool is heated for the cooler days and the restaurant was great for dinner.

3111 W Gulf Dr, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-5697

2. Sanibel Mooring

Sanibel Moorings has an amazing vacation waiting for you, from a romantic getaway for two to a fun-filled escape for the whole family, their island playground is the perfect setting for making each moment unforgettable. With a wide variety of activities and Sanibel world famous shelling beach just steps from your door. Sanibel Moorings offers the conveniences of a resort location with all the advantages of a private home. Their fully furnished 1, 2 and 3 bedroom vacation rental condo suites all feature a living room, dining area, full kitchen and a large, private screened lanai.

845 E Gulf Dr, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-7096

3. Waterside Inn on The Beach

Waterside Inn Beach Resort Sanibel Island offers accommodations to meet your vacation rental needs. Theiy have beachfront cottages and condominiums so you can plan a romantic holiday for two or a large family gathering. Their Sanibel Island vacation condos and waterfront cottages are just steps away from the sugar white sandy beach renowned for shelling. With many features like swimming pool, BBQ grills, and shuffleboard courts and Island activities include fishing, swimming. shelling and surfing.

3033 W Gulf Dr, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-5609


1. Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum


One of the favorite activities of visitors to the beaches of Sanibel is shell collecting. Colorful, pretty, mysterious, small, and big, the shells make interesting souvenirs. But, why not learn a bit about them so that you can differentiate between your shells and determining whether one is a common fig shell, a banded tulip, ajunonia, or a pen shell? The best place to learn about the shells and the animals that made them is the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum. If you are looking for unique things to see & do on your Florida getaway, this museum will delight visitors of all ages.

This fascinating museum was established 20 years ago and contains some of the largest shells in the world, such as the Goliath conch, the Atlantic trumpet triton, the lightning whelk, and the horse conch. The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is one of the best things to do on Sanibel Island FL for couples and families. There are exhibits of Sanibel shells and shells from all over the world and fossils of shells such as the Ecphora, which lived almost 30 million years ago. The museum is also a wonderful place to learn about the original inhabitants of Sanibel, the Calusa people. You can discover a little about their lives and the uses they had for shells in their daily lives.

2. Sanibel Historical Museum and Village


Sanibel Historical Museum and Village, founded in 1984, tells the story of the life of early residents of Sanibel through the seven historic houses they lived and worked in. It is the story of the Calusa people, Spanish conquerors and the early pioneers who made their home on the island in the 1800s. The historic buildings were moved to the Historic Village from their original locations and restored to the original look, and they are furnished with antique furniture, clothes, household items, tools, and kitchen gadgets.Among others, there is the 1896 Sanibel School House for White Children with original desks, the 1913 Rutland House, a typical “cracker” house made of Florida pine with eleven-foot ceilings and a wide hallway to keep it cool, and the 1900 Sanibel Packing House, where local farmers brought their vegetables, citrus fruits, and other produce to be packed and shipped “up north.” The museum holds frequent special events, concerts, and lectures.

Map of Sanibel Island

Sanibel Island & Captiva Island are located off the coast of southwest Florida, just west of Fort Myers, Florida. Fort Myers is situated between Naples, FL and Tampa, Fl. The Fort Myers Airport, Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW airport code), is located approximately 20 miles away from Sanibel Island.

credit: googlemaps

Sanibel Island measures roughly 12 miles long and three miles across at its widest. This island has two main roads that parallel each other.  Periwinkle Way, located at the four-way stop immediately past the Visitor Center, is the main thoroughfare.  West of the causeway, it leads to the island’s shopping and dining district.  Follow it east and you’ll pass a quieter commercial section, ending up at the Sanibel Lighthouse and its beach.  Gulf Drive, the other main route, roves past resorts, beaches, and homes at the water’s edge.  It is segmented into East, Middle, and West Gulf Drive.

credit: googlemaps

Periwinkle Way links, via Palm Ridge Road or Tarpon Bay Road, to Sanibel-Captiva Road, which continues on to Captiva Island.  Known locally as “San-Cap,” the road passes by most of Sanibel’s natural attractions, including the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation Center (SCCF), the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, and the Clinic for Rehabilitation of Wildlife (C.R.O.W.) facility. Captiva Island is connected to Sanibel by San-Cap Road.  Once you cross the short bridge at scenic Blind Pass, the road becomes Captiva Drive.  Follow it north and you’ll find two public beach accesses, plus restaurants, shops and resorts.


The closest Aquarium exhibit with Sanibel Island is Imaginarium Science Center. Located at 2000 Cranford Ave
Fort Myers, Florida, Imaginarium Science Center offers Animal Lab features a variety of native and non-native critters including American Alligators, Green Iguanas, Ball Pythons, a red Rat Snake, a Black-Tailed Prairie Dog, Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches, Turtles, White’s Tree Frogs and Mexican Axolotls.


The Imaginarium is the type of place where you can touch a cloud, become a weatherman (and get a souvenir video tape), brave a Florida thunderstorm, or even help excavate dinosaur remains. No visit is complete without taking part in the “Hurricane Experience,” the 45-mile-per-hour winds will truly blow you away. Live animal encounter shows take place each day where kids and adults can actually touch intriguing sea creatures such as stingrays. This is one exhibit you’ll need to reserve a seat for. Enjoy interactive sports and physics exhibits as well as a popular 3-D movie.

The Imaginarium is an incredible museum meets aquarium, hands-on experience, that promises to entertain and even inspire creativity. Here, children and their adult companions enjoy diverse diversions like running through rainstorms, experiencing tropical storm force winds and reporting about it on the museum TV screen. The museum’s exhibits also include the Dino Dig where kids look for real fossils, the Sporty Science Arena to test your physical skills and Tiny Town for kids under twelve. Outside, you’ll find the Fisheye Lagoon where you can feed sea creatures and learn about marine life. You can even feel some of the resident reptiles, mammals and fish in designated touch tanks and during programs. With demonstrations every hour and feedings twice daily, you’re sure to have fun in this underwater exploration. Tanks feature a variety of aquatic life including sea urchins, sea stars, flounder, snails, stingrays, puffer fish, and horseshoe crabs!There is always something creative going on at the Imaginarium.

Water Park

While Sanibel Island is home to beautiful beaches, the water parks are also the ones that keep on bringing visitors back time after time. Perfect for the year-round sunshine, they also often have gentler rides than roller-coaster parks, so they are fun for the whole family. Here are the best water parks Sanibel Island has to offer.

1. Sun Splash Family Water Park


Sun Splash Family Waterpark is Southwest Florida’s largest waterpark with more than 14 acres of slides, pools, food and fun for all ages. It is located at 400 Santa Barbara Blvd., just 2.5 miles north of Veterans Parkway in Cape Coral.  Kids go crazy for the adrenaline pumping speed slides and others that allow you to free fall through a five-and-a-half story drop. If that’s too much excitement, grab a float and peacefully bob down the Main Stream River Ride. There is
a Tot Spot for the little ones and plenty of chairs for mom and dad to stretch out in the sun. Food and concessions are available and lots of special deals are offered throughout the summer, so be sure to check the events calendar online.

This waterpark has the steepest, fastest, and most extreme attraction in the in Sanibel, the combination of them are Thunder Bump, Terror Tube and X-celator. All of them has 457 feet and you will slide drops down at speeds up to 40 feet per second and 30 mph! adrenaline pumping!. The water park closed from Monday-Friday. Only open Saturday-Sunday from 10 Am to 5 Pm.

2. Sun-N-Fun Lagoon


Located adjacent to Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples (CMON) in North Collier Regional Park, it provides a get wet, splashy sequel to a museum visit. The family can kick back in the lazy river or wave water pistol war, dare the five steep 38-foot slides, swim in the dive and lap pool or snooze on the sand beach. The little ones love the Turtle Cove Pool, where they can play with others their size – ages 5 to 12 – amid colorful fountains and showers. A concession operation sells food, ice cream, sunscreen, swim diapers and other pool and beach necessities.

Sun-N-Fun Lagoon is a family experience, therefore they ask that the appropriate swim attire is worn throughout your visit. In addition, children in diapers are required to use waterproof protectors. In order to guarantee their
guests to be comfort and safety, Sun-N-Fun Lagoons limiting their capacity. Admission into the park may be suspended during the day due to periods of high attendance.


Kids Arcade Parks

credit: imgrum/zoomersfun

Zoomers Amusement Park is an indoor and outdoor facility with a Family Fun Arcade, featuring  Winner’s Circle where great merchandise and the latest electronics can be won. Zoomers offer an amazing assortment of games, rides and attractions which are sure to make your experience a memorable occasion for all ages. Each of party rooms features panoramic views of the park and surrounding areas. Zoomers is a child’s dream place with Cobra Rollercoaster, Voodoo Island Mini Golf, 2 Go-Kart tracks, Bumper Boats, Tilt-A-Whirl, Go Kart Drop, Water Wars, and our six  Midway rides designed especially for younger children.

Located on Summerlin Road, Zoomer’s is conveniently close to Sanibel Island as well as Fort Myers Beach. Close to the Tamiami Trail (US-41) and easily accessed from the I-75, it provides a fun escape with hours of activity for all ages.

credit: instagram/zoomersfun

Go-karts are a major part of the fun with a slick Go-Kart Track for weaving skillfully around the tire-edged course. Parents take up the challenge to compete with their kids and youngsters as young as three years of age can ride along as there are two-seater karts as well as singles.

The family fun arcade is a great place to hide out from the heat or summer showers. From Pac-Man to Aliens and Kung-Fu to Whack-a-Mole there is a host of virtual entertainment for those who love games. You may even leave with a nice prize to take home.

There is no admission fee to Zoomers. You can purchase a Z-Card in any amount you wish.  Games and attractions at Zoomers range from $9.99 for adults accompanying a child and from $14.99 for children. If a parent chooses to ride with a child, the parent must pay for that specific ride.

Movie Theaters

When you going to Sanibel Island, you never thought about seeing a movie but when multiple days of bad weather, you need something different, watching movies is the best option. Sanibel Island has small but beautiful movie’s theater called Island Cinema. The Island Cinema has been a Sanibel tradition and landmark for over 20 years, with charming little theater (2 screens), Island Cinema always showing first-run movies.  They movie contracts range from 1 to 3 weeks long, depending on the movies are offered at that time. Showtimes generally change on Friday.

When you want to enjoy the movie on your vacation, Island Cinema open box office 30 minutes prior to first showtime of the day. Depending on weather, you will want to arrive before each showtime by 15-20 minutes for choice seating, but in certain circumstances like popular movies or bad weather, you may want to arrive earlier. For general admission ticket holders, the earlier you arrive will grant you a better choice of seats. For VIP ticket holders, you can arrive right at showtime when the concession line will be less crowded, and your seats will be saved where you intended when you purchased them.

Weather is the biggest determiner on whether they are busy or not. Generally sunny days mean you will have an easier time getting good seats. Stormy conditions almost guarantee they will sell out their shows, as they only have 59 seats per theater, 2 handicapped chairs that are removable in the front row, and the remainder of the rows seat 5 across.

Island Cinema privately owned and managed the theater, and are not affiliated with any third party ticketing website. You can visit this only movie’s theater on the island at 535 Tarpon Bay Rd. in the Bailey’s shopping center. The box-office generally opens 30 minutes prior to first showtime of each day.

Besides Island Cinema, Sanibel Island also has Big Arts. In 1979 Big Arts was created by and for the community, and owes its rich history to a small band of dedicated artists who drew inspiration from each other and from the breath-taking island beauty that
infused their work with grace and authenticity. They set out to create a special gathering place where artistic and educational experiences were accessible to all. Big Arts usually  serves with foreign films, documentaries and “edgy” independent films. Although unlike Cinema Island, but this place also an ideal visit if you want to relax watching movies at Sanibel Island.