Tonya began her blog when her husband’s job unexpectedly took the family on the road as a means to keep in touch with those “back home”. Together, they’ve spent hundreds of nights in hotels, and even lived in their motor home for over a year! They may no longer live “on the road” as a full-time RV family, but don’t expect to find them at home, this homeschool family is on a quest to explore North America one adventure at a time.
How long have you been traveling with your kids?
My husband and I have always traveled with our kids. I don’t ever remember not traveling just because we were parents. In fact, while many people stop traveling once the children arrive, we pretty much began traveling once we had children.
We wanted our children to realize that the world was a much larger place than just the little bubble that we lived in, so we made travel a priority. Since they were young, we’ve taken every opportunity presented to further our horizons. We made travel a priority. Sometimes that meant driving an hour from home for a visit to the zoo and sometimes, if we had a bit more money or more time, we’d branch out further.
When the kids were babies, they would sleep in their carseats, as they grew we would entertain them with busy books, special “car only” toys, listen to books on tape, play games or watch movies. We still play the “I’m going on a road trip, and I’m going to pack __________” memory game. We also taught our kids that they didn’t need to be entertained every moment. With three teenagers, our road trips are pretty quiet now, as they prefer to listen to their iPods, text, or play games on their smartphones.
Though we have not visited an exotic locale halfway across the world, we have spent time exploring the United States. One day we hope to branch out to other countries and continents, but for now, we’re content to explore the US one national park, amusement park, science center and state at a time.
What’s your family’s favorite destination and why?
Choosing a favorite destination is not an easy task. As a homeschooling family, we’ve used our travels as an extension of our classroom. Many of our travel ideas have been a direct result of something we were reading or learning about in school.
Not all of our trips have been educational, though we never fail to learn something new; sometimes a family just needs to have fun. That’s why Disney World tops our all-time favorites list. My husband told me that just watching our kid’s faces as they interacted with the Disney characters was worth every penny we saved for that special vacation! There’s a reason Disney is called the “Happiest Place on Earth!”
My oldest son attended a special Star Wars event at Disney with me last year that pretty much tops the list of all awesomeness.
My 17 yr. old son loves anything history, The Virginia War Museum, National D-Day Museum in New Orleans, the Alamo, and Washington, DC, top his list.
My daughter is partial to the beach. We spent several months in Virginia Beach so in her eyes, everything else we’ve ever done pales in comparison, although New York City might be a top contender.
My husband and I enjoy touring historic homes like Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina or Stan Hywett Hall in Akron, Ohio. We all appreciate the outdoors and loved the scenic views from our cruise to Alaska in 2011.
Have any travel plans coming up?
Hmmmm…future trips? We’ll be heading to Cincinnati, Orlando and Toronto as a family. I’m pretty sure we’ll through a few more quick trips to the list.
We’re very spontaneous and prefer to pack up and go with little notice but now that the kids are getting older, it’s a bit more difficult to work around everyone’s schedules. Our spur of the moment family getaways are drawing to an end, but spontaneity works well for a romantic couple get away from my husband and I.
When you’re not exploring the world with your family, you call Ohio home. Do you have any recommendations on things to see or do for families visiting Ohio?
Do I ever! There is so much to love about Ohio. I highly recommend the top three most visited areas in the Buckeye State- Lake Erie Islands & Shores, Amish Country and Hocking Hills. Each area is vastly different, but offer a plethora of options for families.
I’ve been fascinated by Lake Erie since I was a little girl so I try to visit as often as I can just to feel the breeze coming off the lake. I enjoy the lakeviews, lighthouses and taking the ferry to Put-in-Bay on South Bass or Kelleys Island, but you’ll also find the Kalahari Indoor Water Park, Great Wolf Lodge and world famous Cedar Point, a favorite for my teens.
It may surprise you to know that Ohio boasts the largest population of Amish in the world. Highlights of Amish Country include Amish baked goods, cheese factories and beautiful hand-crafted items. You can even tour an Amish home and ride in a horse drawn buggy!
The Hocking Hills region is a popular place for hikers and photographers, offering stunning views any time of year. We’ve spent time at the State Park in a cozy cabin by night while exploring the trails by day. Old Man’s Cave, named for a hermit that actually took residence in the cave, Conkle’s Hollow and Rock House are three of our favorite trails.
I’d also suggest a visit to The Wilds, an animal conservation park in Southern Ohio that will have you thinking you’ve traveled beyond North America.
Tonya is married to her high school sweetheart and mom to three great homeschooled teenagers and a rescued pound puppy. She loves to travel, write, take pictures and share travel tips and trip advice with anyone who asks. Tonya writes about fun, family-friendly, educational travel on her blog The Traveling Praters. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
Thanks Tonya for participating in the Meet the Family Travel Blogger series. I can’t wait to meet you next year in Toronto (or maybe my family will drive up to Ohio for a short road trip – Hocking Hills looks gorgeous)!
Do you have a favorite travel blogger you want to see in a Meet the Family Travel Bloggers post? Let me know.