Growing up, my parents were not really the "Let's go to Florida and stay in a condo and drink Corona Lights for a week" kind of people. They loved adventure and passed it on to us. Another thing about my family vacations is that we drove. All places listed were driven to in a minivan packed with six people and the occasional dog.
Every family trip was somewhere different and we came back with memories that will last a lifetime. Whether it was a sketchy gas station bathroom at 3AM in Texas or collecting glass remnants from Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi, we always came back with stories.
1. Biloxi, Mississippi
Somehow we managed to fit six people in a hotel room meant for four. My memories of Biloxi include my sister being stung by a jellyfish, my brother getting violently sunburnt on the back of his leg (and not stop complaining about it), and my mother bonding with our IHOP waitress. We visited Mississippi when the effects on Katrina were still incredibly prominent. Being just a kid at the time, I think it opened my eyes to how natural disasters do not just happen. They continue to happen many years after.
2. Hilton Head, South Carolina
One of our first family trips, Hilton Head is one I do not quite recall. We spent my third birthday there. However, I do remember our condo being close to some sort of canal and we had to be careful of alligators.
3. Huntsville, Alabama
We were situated in a cabin in a Monte Sano State Park. However, our vacation was blighted by my brother slicing open his knee while riding a bike on a gravel road. He received ten stitches. While he and my parents were at the hospital, my sisters and I made banners for his homecoming. One specifically read "Peter The Brave". Nevertheless, we finished the vacation with Pete in a bandaged knee and wheelchair.
4. Ontario, Canada
Our first family trip out of the country, my maternal grandma came with us. This trip was the setting of the incredible story of how my dad and brother got lost for several hours in the Canadian wilderness. We actually had to call the police. Another highlight of the trip was me freaking out at the border because I did not have my carseat buckled because I was taking off my pink teddy bear sweatshirt and being terrified that I would get in trouble by the border police.
5. Galveston, Texas
Galveston Lifestyle Instagram
Besides the trip being absolutely freezing, my family made one of the best sand castle I have ever seen. Castle does not even do our creation justice. It was more of an expansive city.
6. Traverse City, Michigan
Another vacation tainted by injury. During this trip, at an grocery adventure to Meijer, my sister Nancy decided it would be a good idea to push me on a shopping cart and then let me go flying in the middle of a parking lot. I ended up jumping off to avoid hitting a car and was then run over by the shopping cart. However, this vacay was the outing to Moomer's Homemade Ice Cream which is situated on a real dairy farm and boy do they make good ice cream.
7. Kalispell, Montana
Discover Kalispell Montana Instagram
Home of my uncle and his family, Montana is one of my favorite places in the world. I have been four times and each time I think, "Wow, I am in love with this place." The mountains, lakes, and people make it superior to anywhere I have traveled.