Going on vacation as a kid was like living in a dream world for a week. Everything from flying in a plane and eating copious amounts of junk food to countless fun activities and sharing your hotel room with your siblings. The whole experience was amazing and memorable to say the least.
So with summer almost here and that final ring of the school bell approaching, let’s take a trip back in time to talk about the most popular vacation spots we visited as kids.
Could there be any other place as magical for kids? Disneyland was the cream of the vacation crop for children everywhere. High-fiving and snapping photos with all your favorite characters and Disney princesses, hopping on all the fantastic rides until you felt sick and then waking up the next day and doing it all over again. There was nothing better and there still isn’t. Disneyland is the promised land of kid vacations. Period.
Although it’s not on quite the pedestal that Disneyland reigns, Universal Studios was an amazing place that gave kids a peek into the imaginary worlds of their favorite movies. And while The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the new must-see attraction (and rightfully so, it’s literally magical), back when we were kids now-classic rides like E.T., Terminator 2 and Men in Black Alien Attack were all the rage.
They don’t call it one of the seven natural wonders of the world for nothing. The Grand Canyon lives up to its name and more, especially when viewed in person for the first time. As a child, the world already seems huge to you but nothing seems as vast and limitless like seeing the Grand Canyon (and probably the ocean). From safe viewing from atop to the hikes, tours and rafting trips inside it, the Grand Canyon has everything to leave young lungs breathless.
Whether it’s summer or winter, the Rocky Mountains (particularly, Colorado) have something for all seasons. It’s an all-in-one place where so many kids took a legit hike or hit the slopes for the first time. From tearing up that fresh powder to feeling what air at altitude is like, the Rocky Mountains and Colorado are places of adventure that left our hearts wanting more as soon as we returned home.
If you lived on the East coast, then you were probably team Atlantic. West coast, Pacific. Midwest … pick one. Like the Grand Canyon, visiting the beach for the first time left you in awe. The sheer vastness of the water alone left you feeling insignificant, and feeling the the steady and strong nature of the tide – forget about it. It’s where we first built sandcastles, boogie boarded, went parasailing, surfing or just ran as fast as we could head first into the waves. At the end of the vacation, our parents may have dragged us away from the beach, but they never washed the sand from our feet.
Whether it was Six Flags, Silver Dollar City, Cedar Point or your own local amusement park, it’s where we as kids fell in love with the thrill of it all. Doped up on cotton candy and funnel cakes, the adrenaline of the roller coasters and theme park rides along with the competition of the games was almost too much for us to absorb in just a single day. But we all remember conquering our first roller coaster loop-to-loop and that prize we almost won from the ring toss … almost, because those things are rigged.
Now that we’re older, vacations seem a lot like things, they just don’t make ‘em like they used to. In reality, they’re just the same, you just don’t have the nostalgia attached like you did back then as a rugrat. And speaking of nostalgia, now’s the time to digitize those overflowing photo albums and crammed drawers full of family vacation VHS tapes. It’s the perfect way to ensure reliving what it was like to meet Mickey and friends when you were still rocking scrunchies in your pigtails and acid washed overalls.