Summer days are fast approaching and I’m already anticipating the kids’ cries of “Mom! We’re bored!” In an attempt to prevent that from happening this year, we started planning our family vacation the day after school started in the fall. You might ask why we start planning the family vacation so early. It’s simple … we live on a $30,000 a year budget and have to carefully plan luxuries such as vacations in order to stick to that budget.
Do you remember the day you tried to hold your breath? You sucked in as much air as possible. You were sure it would be enough. You prepared your mind and body for the greatest feat on Earth only to have that feat last for seconds not minutes and then the air escaped like it does when you blow up a balloon and let it go. It flies around the room and your eyes can barely follow the excitement. They want to make sense of the pattern. They want to figure out how it works but they can’t because you are filled with the same wonder, joy, and excitement that comes with laughing so hard your sides ache.
It was late Friday evening. I knew summer was coming up and I know how important travel is to myself and my family. I closed my eyes and decided I wanted to take my children somewhere different this year. I was tired of their faces being stuck to iPads. I was over being stuck in traffic. I didn’t want to take them to another overrun expensive city. I wanted someplace special and different. That was in driving distance to our house.
We chose Indiana. Indiana, you say? What is there? The truth is everything you never knew you were missing. We first drove to Lafayette, Indiana where we were hosted.
This is where we stayed while we were there the best Lafayette bed and breakfast
You can read our full review of the Black Blanket Farms B&B it is the place to stay if you are visiting Purdue University. They are located at:
7440 West 125 North, West Lafayette, IN 47906
I know people just think there are farms in Indiana and that is true but there is so much more to do. This Iternary is one every family can enjoy. It was excellent from my younger children and my teenager. It sounded like so much fun that my best friend and her husband joined us as we explored everything from fine dining to wolves.
Our first big adventure was Wolf Park Howl Night. Located at 4004 E 800 N, Battle Ground, IN 47920. This park featured actual wolves and we had the opportunity to not only learn about these creatures but to communicate with them. We enjoyed learning about foxes, bison, and the wolves. There were trails to walk and they even had an interactive education center. The children enjoyed this activity so much that they told everyone we met that they also need to see the show. It was a Howling Good Time was had by all.
The next morning we awoke to a fantastic breakfast prepared by Black Blanket Farms B&B
Just down the road from the best bed and breakfast in Lafayette is the Celery Bog located at 1620 Lindberg Rd, West Lafayette, IN 47906. This wetland is a 105-acre bog it is perfect for a family walk, bird lover, naturalist, or someone who enjoys nature’s beauty. We had a wonderful time looking at the birds and walking each path.
Then we went to one of the best Zoo’s I have ever been to. The Columbian Park and Zoo was FREE. I couldn’t believe that this magnificent place was accessible to everyone. It is located at 1915 Scott St, Lafayette, IN 47904. The zoo director Heather was incredible and this experience is one my kids are still bragging about. The zoo offers many educational opportunities for the community in both private and public functions. We were treated to behind the scene tour and had access to all the animals that are available for public events. It is a wonderful program that allows the Zoo to bring the animals to people who can’t get to the zoo.
That expedition made us hungry and thank goodness for the East End Grill on 1016 Main St, Lafayette, IN 47901. The service, staff, and food were top notch. If you crave fall off the bone ribs, salads that will feed a small army like mine, and shrimp and grits that will convert you to a southerner. I highly suggest you drive as far as necessary even if it is from Virginia to try the East End Grill.
When planning a trip it is important for us to include as much local history as possible in our stay. The Wabash &Erie Canal allowed us to do that. We were able to walk through their interactive museum, take a tour of the Reed Case home, and then we took a journey back in time down the canal. Delphi is a city I wish I spent more time in. The people were so nice and there seemed to be boundless amounts of history to uncover.
Wabash & Erie Canal tour is located at 1030 N Washington St, Delphi, IN 46923. You can not only take a tour here but you can camp here. The kids loved this tour. We learned how the canal was used to deliver the mail. The museum was also fun and I would include this on your schedule. It was both informative and fun.
I was told you can’t go to Lafayette and not have pizza at Bruno’s 12 Brown St, West Lafayette, IN 47906. I found this restaurant to be nostalgic and a museum to sports heroes. I know my teenager really enjoyed looking at all the great stuff on the walls. It was a family-friendly spot packed with food options.
We had a busy day so we decided to squeeze in one more activity to make sure the kids were tired. I took them on a walk on the
John T. Myer’s Pedestrian Bridge/Wabash Heritage Trail at 100 Tapawingo Dr, West Lafayette, IN 47906.
It featured a small playground, ice skating rink, and numerous trails for the biker or walker. It was really lovely and the kids had a fantastic time feeding the ducks.
What tour would be complete without a visit to the University of Purdue? 101 N Grant St #110, West Lafayette, IN 47907 It is always important to see what each University has to offer and Purdue is known for Engineering. They also have a large student-run airport. The founder had many caveats to his donation like the buildings had to be made of stone, they could only be four feet tall, and they have the most astronauts at 24. We were lucky enough to score a private tour of the basketball facilities which was a teenagers dream come true. There is another fun fact they have the only Mcdonalds that isn’t red and yellow.
I really enjoy taking my children to see art and really there is no greater example of functional art than architecture. The Samara house at 1301 Woodland Ave, West Lafayette, IN 47906 by Frank Loyd Wright was both inspirational and functional. We were hosted by Linda Eales who shared the home with us. It was fascinating to see how every detail was thought of. She was both a knowledgeable and gracious hostess. I think my favorite part of the tour was seeing how everything is a perfect square.
Have you ever had Peanut butter on a burger and washed it down with the best root beer ever? You are missing out if you haven’t. I mean look at my lunch. It tasted better than it looks if you can imagine that! Triple XXX Family Restaurant 2 N Salisbury St, West Lafayette, IN 47906. I will admit that we brought home some root beer and my husband who has traveled the world told me it was the best root beer he has ever had!
Next, we went to the Sweet Revolution Bake Shop on 109 N 5th Street, Lafayette, IN. If you are gluten-free and even if you aren’t I say grab a brownie no grab a dozen. Then get the cheesecake and their savory pies. We could have eaten there for every meal. I saw no reason to leave the owners were nice and the food was incredible.
Our last event for the day was a visit to the Tippecanoe Battlefield located at 200 Battleground Ave, Battle Ground, IN 47920. The museum was the perfect way for us to get the most out of our visit. There were interactive areas, a movie, and plenty of artifacts to help you teach your children more about the people that came before us and their plights.
When I agreed to visit Layfette, Indiana my expectations were not set very high. I didn’t realize how much I would gain from my experience in their community. I had no idea how much fun my children would have. I didn’t know that we will build memories that would last for a lifetime. I now tell all my friends to consider Indiana when thinking about family destinations we were able to find plenty of things to do that suited our eclectic interests.
Farm at Prophetstown & Prophetstown State Park – 5545 Swisher Road, West Lafayette, IN 47906
If you are looking for more places to go, Indiana,
Check out Where to Eat in Indiana
As you may have heard my husband met bed bugs. It wasn’t pretty and in fact most hotels do not have a policy when you meet them in the middle of the night. That’s why I made a list of must haves for a traveler. My gift ideas for people who travel are very useful and for sure they will love.
What do you do when your son says, “I am bored?” You know besides roll your eyes and think to yourself, “again”. You decide you are going to surprise him with a birthday he will not forget. You know that your number one goal this year and going forward is to fill your children’s lives with memories instead of stuff. You think where can I get the most value for my money? Then it hits you! Great Wolf Lodge has the best value for your money.
I’m sure you have looked into going and thought that it might be expensive, but really it doesn’t have to be. The best part is Great Wolf Lodge has so much to offer that you can choose what to do. You can pack a lot of adventure in a short amount of time! You see if you purchase a room at Great Wolf you can come to the park before your room is ready. That means you can play even before your stay. We checked in and got our wristbands and complimentary wolf ears. They will also give you a schedule of activities that will take place throughout the day. The locker rooms made it easy to change into your swimsuit and get the party started. We did just that. We used the lockers to hold wallets, keys, and cell phones. They vary in sizes and prices start at just $15. At around 4 pm you will be able to get into your room. The best part is you receive a text when your room is ready. We were having such a great time we weren’t in a rush to get to our room. I should also let you know that you can play the next day. You will have to remove all your belongings from your room by 11:00 am. This is where the lockers prove handy once more. We placed the luggage in our vehicle and took only what we needed. When it was time to leave we used the locker rooms to take a quick shower and they even have a handy bathing suit dryer so you don’t have to take your swim suits home soaking wet. I can’t even tell you how reasonable that makes Great Wolf Lodge. You pay for one night of lodging and get two days of play. You will also score points with the kiddos because they will have a blast and definitely not be bored.Continue reading
It is almost that time of year when you wonder can I afford a vacation. You know the little voice in your head that goes over your expenses and charts your income. Then you think I bet I can but I have to make some choices on what to spend my budget on. These are my Travel with Kids Tips to save money and have a good time. There are really four large expenses to consider as you.
I know how to reduce all four of the above costs. You need a map, plan, wish list, and creativity. I recently took a trip to Hampton, VA with my family. I am a big fan of road trips so because of this and the fact that driving to your vacation destination can save some money, we decided to drive. I have three children so I decided to do some research to find things that could make the trip go as smoothly as possible and keep them entertained for the 2 hours drive. These tips work when we drive 11 hours away to Rhode Island each year and 13 Hours to Florida.
If you intend to fly then I suggest you fly out on Tuesday. I also suggest you create a profile on a site and set up alerts for deals on your destination. I start early and usually wait until I think I have the best deal possible.
We save a lot of money by using our credit cards and building up hotel points. I also suggest Air BNB. The best tip I have received is to look a couple miles out from your destination if you have a car you can save a lot of money by not being directly in the city. I know it may be a bit annoying but you can save hundreds a night. I always suggest a room with a kitchenette.
What will you eat? This is my favorite way to save because it is the easiest. You may think I am crazy but I feel like meals are the worst budget busters there are. We bring our Power Air Fryer and we cook one meal a day. When we travel we eat out for one meal a day. We usually make it a large lunch closer to dinner. I am able to cook a large breakfast and bring a snack for the kids. Then we eat lunch out which is typically 35% less than dinner per person. What have I made in our Power Air Fryer Oven?
I have made everything from fried pickles and baked chicken fingers recipes to fried fish, pizza, chicken, potatoes, and even burgers. I know my husband thinks I am crazy bringing it along but it is the perfect answer to staying within budget. I love how easy it is to use and how versatile it is. You just can’t go wrong with it and it helps us stay gluten-free and dairy-free so my husband doesn’t get sick when we are away. We spend $50- $100 for a family of five when eating out for dinner. We know that having our Power Air Fryer Oven saves us at least $75 a day. It is easy to use with preprogrammed options, easy cleanup and accessories to help you cook almost anything it is worth the cost.
What will you do while you are there? I look at the location I am going to and a google what free things are there to do in and then I put in the place. I have found so many wonderful locations that I had no idea were free. You can see what I did in Hampton, Va for free. We explored the city, history, and even met some animals.
The most important thing about traveling is creating memories and not debt that will live on long after the trip is gone.
Real Advice Gals Tips for Happy Travelers:
I came up with some really great free activities that kept them entertained.
The first thing I did was go on google and look up places where I could download some free printable games. The best place for these I found was
I found quite a few games that can be played multiple times without becoming boring. Instead of printing out multiple pages of the same games what I decided to do was to take report covers/ sheet protectors and slip the games inside. This way instead of using them one time and throwing them out, they could be used over and over again with dry erase markers. When we were done with the game we would erase and have new sheets. This is also nice because if a mistake was made it could be erased easily.Continue reading