Memories of Family Vacation: Part One

Happy Friday! I hope it has been a good week.  Has it been hot where you are?  For us Northern Hemisphere folks…summer seems to be in full swing!  I don’t complain about summer’s temperatures but I will admit the low 90s are about my “comfortable” limit!  I know many around the United States are having much higher temps and difficult situations due to the heat – and I feel for them.  I pray they get a break soon.

With summer at its peak, so many thoughts (and the family wagons) are turned towards vacation!  These days, my husband and I typically enjoy off-season vacations but, like many, when the kids were school-age, summer meant time for vacation!  It was the same when my brother and I were young.  We always vacationed right in the middle of summer….right alongside just about every other middle-class Suburban family of four:)

We always drove.  I do not remember every flying together as a family.  Vacation or for any other reason.  And we always drove….south!  To Florida.  Always.  My dad loved (read that, LOVED) Florida.  Loved the palm trees.  The fresh squeezed orange juice at the welcome center.  Loved the beach and, yes, loved Disney.  He loved it all.

I do remember my mom – once or twice – vaguely trying to suggest an alternate destination for summer.  But, who was she kidding?  Our family wagon knew only one vacation route.  Interstate 95S….and Florida bound!!  My dad would create a travel retreat in our green family station wagon.  Seats folded down and several layers of quilts or blankets created a backseat sweeter than any RV!  One year (WAY before technology had made it into vehicles), my dad rigged a small, portable black and white tv to some type of moon-shaped antenna on top of the car and, just like that, we were famous.  The whole neighborhood came by to see the amazing invention!  Were we really going to watch tv in a car??

We visited Disney World the first summer that it was open.  Any idea what year that was?  1971….yes, I was not even ten so my brother and I both qualified for a child’s ticket.  The cost for a full day at Disney that year?  ONE DOLLAR.  I’m not even kidding.  The adult ticket was $3.50.   I don’t remember a lot about Disney in those first years but I do have a lot of fun memories from visits made when I was in my teens.  One year we took my grandparents along.  We did not often vacation with them (as a lot of families do) so having them with us was super fun.  It was also a “once in a lifetime” type vacation for the two of them.  It was a great time for everyone!!

In the years before there was Disney, our vacations were always at Daytona Beach. Again, I do not remember much about those vacations; however, I do remember my dad’s friend (a family friend actually) would often travel with us.  He was a bachelor and we all enjoyed it when we would vacation together.  One year was especially memorable.  The first night of our trip (whether going to Orlando or Daytona), we always stopped in Savannah.  Occasionally the Howard Johnsons but usually The Holiday Inn.  Hotels were often “motel” style with one-story buildings and rooms that faced a courtyard or opened to the pool area through sliding glass doors.  One morning, we discovered several rooms had been broken into during the night.  Occupied rooms!  No one was injured or even disturbed…they were just robbed of their wallets and watches while they slept.  Including our friend!  So creepy!!  By the way, we carried on with our vacation!!:)

One thing the adults liked to do while on vacation was go to the dog races.  Don’t ask (and please don’t hate) but they really enjoyed it.  The three of them would make a night of it.  But what about us two kiddos?  Mom would call down to the lobby and the hotel would send over a babysitter!!  No joke.  Some random stranger would arrive at our hotel room and stay the evening with us while all the responsible adults left.  Well, it seemed completely reasonable at the time!

This post originally began (in my thoughts) as favorite memories with my own children.  Oh but what fun memories of vacations with Mom, Dad and my brother.  Don’t even ask him about the quiet game!!  Too funny!  However, I think vacation memories will have to continue next week.  Until then, have a great weekend ahead!  Let me know where you used to go on vacation.  I’d loved to know!!

9 thoughts on “Memories of Family Vacation: Part One

  1. Ahhh you triggered memories of my own family vacations as a child! Such happy times! Howard Johnson and Holiday Inn were also places we stayed. We even camped a few times and as hot as it was – my siblings and I still get lots of laughs from recalling those adventures. We also visited Florida and enjoyed St. Augustine – Castillo de San Marcos and the oldest schoolhouse, Destin/Panama City was a huge favorite and frequently visited (before all the high-rise units were built and the beaches had all those lovely sand dunes), Cape Kennedy (now Cape Canaveral), Orlando where we enjoyed the magical Disney World, Miami – the only thing I remember about this trip was a hotdog that was served split down the middle, served on a grilled bun all flattened down and I refused to eat it because it was not served the way I was used to – yes, I was one of THOSE kids), and Saint Petersburg where an aunt, uncle and cousins lived. We had adventures in other states as well, but Florida was always one of our favorite destinations. Thanks for letting me share my fond memories with you as well. Looking forward to your part two.

  2. What fun memories! Thanks for sharing and looking forward to part II. Walt would be rolling in his grave, I think, if he knew about what was happening with Disney with regard to prices and, well, everything. That is neat that you were there the year it opened. We had a station wagon but there were five of us kids so there was not a lot of excess space, lol. We didn’t have the money to vacation- we took a couple of longer road trips but it was not an every year thing for us. I do like to read about what others experienced. It sounds like you made some great memories.

  3. What fun memories. I so loved hearing about your childhood family vacations.
    Thank you for linking up with Sweet Tea & Friends this month. Can’t wait to meet you here next month.

  4. I loved this so much! Of course, for my family, it was just the opposite direction, because we already lived in Florida, so we went north to Ohio usually, where my maternal grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins lived. I’ve written about it in my blog a few times. We always camped on the way up and back in the mountains…in tents. This was during the early 60’s mostly, and actually before most of the interstate highways were even built yet! Such wonderful memories. We rarely if ever stayed in a motel. Too expensive for our family of 4 kids and 2 adults packed into a somewhat compact car without air conditioning! Your memories are such fun. I loved every bit of it, except for the robbery of the motel rooms and even your friend! Strange stuff for back in those days! Thank you for sharing your fun times with us. Glad you all enjoyed coming to “The Sunshine State”. We are still a great vacation destination, but we try to avoid all of those tourist places as much as possible. Too many crowds now…we enjoy our peace and quiet in the north central part of the state, where Mickey Mouse has not invaded yet, and I sincerely hope he never does…or any of his friends. LOL.

    1. I’ve read some of your vacation memory posts – what fun!! And, I hope you can keep Mickey and friends far from your beautiful neck of the woods!! So glad you stopped by, Pamela!!

  5. we didnt go on vacation much as a family when we were young …sad but true … we traveled when we moved because my dad was in the military … and i think we used vacations to go visit family because that was the only time we could see them … i do remember traveling across country.when we moved from east coast to west .in our station wagon /third bench seat in the back faced the rear … we thought that was so cool ….. we also put seats down so we could sleep… ive never been to disney either .. haha …but very hard to believe how cheap it was to get into disney …amazing !
    i learned something from you today hahaha….you will laugh im sure … the difference between a hotel and motel … i never could figure that out and no one offered the info i should of asked you jen lol…

  6. I feel the same way about Florida but by the time my oldest was 9 and I realized they had really only ever experienced New England and Florida/Disney, I made sure we started to branch out and see other parts of the world too. I do miss Florida, palm trees, and even the parks on the years we don’t get there though. I can not get over the inflation rate at Disney! LOL– especially now with so much being NOT included in the ticket price. One of my uncle’s managed a Holiday Inn so we often stayed at them when my family traveled when I was a kid; he’d call ahead and get us a discount using his employee perks and yes, we mostly drove wherever we were going too (though I do remember a few flights!). I do remember sitting on the floor when we traveled and using my seat as a table or laying down in the waaay back and coloring. Though I do know when my boys were young that many family resorts (like Disney!) still offer babysitting services so parents could enjoy a night out alone.

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