11 Trips Every Mother Should Take with Her Daughter or Son
When you take a mom-child relationship on the road, both parties can learn something new, not to mention have a trip they'll never forget.
The one they’ll never forget
When Mandy Michelle Carter’s son was three months old, she took him on his first trip. In the six years since, they’ve been more than 100 places together—along with his little sister. From weekend trips throughout Florida including St. Augustine, Delray, Miami, and the Keys to Caribbean cruises and long road trips through the mountains, Carter says the value of traveling with children is the uninterrupted time you have with them. In addition to opening their worldview, it opens a new perspective of the globe and its people. Carter says “Travel also allows you to learn and experience new things with them, instead of always teaching them, you get to learn together.” Though there might not be one single trip her children will never forget, considering they all have their value, she loves that her son still remembers the time he touched a dolphin…when he was only four years old! Check out the best family travel destination in every state.
The one where the roles reverse
For Jaclyn Dorney, taking her mom, Mary Stackhouse, back to Walt Disney World for the first time in several decades was the opportunity to turn the tables on their mother/daughter relationship. At the age of 29, Dorney not only brought her three children along for the trip to the Happiest Place on Earth but invited her mother to experience the magic again. “They always say it is one thing to see the magic in your children’s eyes but—wow—I never thought it could be reversed,” she shared. “I loved being able to see the magic in my mom’s eyes.” These “experience” gifts are perfect for your loved ones who never ask for anything.
The one where you just hang out
As a California girl, Korinna Peterson jumped at the chance to take her daughter, Moa Isobel, to the Big Apple when she was just two years old. As a dramatic change of place compared to their hometown, she was able to enjoy the bustle of the city, at a toddler’s pace. “We took our sweet time being lazy and exploring the many nooks and playgrounds of Central Park, lounged as we ate stale hot dogs by its lake, explored museums, zoos, and gardens, and dined late nights as we buzzed through Time Square,” she shares. “I distinctly remember watching my child on the merry-go-round at Bryant Park while Edith Piaf was playing and the crisp evening air brushing against my face. I almost cried thinking that this little child is one tough cookie and can really hang,” she remembers. It was the first time when my daughter was really old enough to actively ‘hang out’ and it really actually felt like a genuine girl’s trip because we were able to enjoy, relax and indulge,” she added. Don’t miss 13 of the best girls’ weekend getaways in America.
The road trip
Brenda Fredericks had a full car when she loaded up her children: 22-year-old Hailey, 20-year-old son Jeremy, and their 7-year old pup Marlo to drive cross-country. As a lifelong dream, exploring the country with her most precious cargo along for the journey made the experience that much more of a dream come true. They drove to Mt. Rainier, toured through Portland, explored the coast of California, walked across the Golden Gate Bridge and toured the Grand Canyon. The close quarters might seem like a lot—and they were—but the trip brought the whole gang back together. “Being in a small Toyota together for two weeks, and with our dog, was beautiful, simple, and down to earth,” Fredericks says. “We got to know each other deeper. We got to be more patient, open up and look at ourselves. We had some of the best times ever on that trip.” Don’t miss the strangest roadside attraction in every state.
The cultural immersion
Though Misha Gillingham writes about luxury travel for a living, there are some experiences that have no price tag, including taking her 12-year-old daughter Liliana to Amangiri in Canyon Point, Utah. “We got to see the very picturesque Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell, the Grand Staircase, and many other breathtaking desert landscapes. We rode horses through the desert sunset, to a special place in the wilderness that Amangiri has for private dinners. Two Navajo chefs cooked us dinner over an open fire and told us about their people, then they did a Navajo dance which was quite fascinating,” she recalls.
In addition to the Instagram-worthy moments, Gillingham says introducing her daughter to a new way of life with a rich history was both eye-opening and enriching. “It was a true learning and bonding experience from start to finish, taking us away from our normal busy lives and out into the wild. We felt free and happy, and got to learn about the Navajo people,” she says.
The one where you let her call the shots
As every mother knows, it’s exciting, fulfilling, and bittersweet to watch your children collect birthday candles. With each year, they reap more confidence and independence, yet it can sometimes feel like they’re slipping away from under your thumb. But as Rachel Sutherland learned during a trip to New York City with her 12-year-old daughter Vivian, allowing your children to be their most authentic selves and have a hand in planning can help you understand just how creative and intelligent they are as people.
Though Sutherland came with a basic itinerary of what they’d like to see, she left the rest of the adventure up to Vivian. She watched her child go from being intimidated by the crowds in Times Square on day one to navigating the subway like a pro by day three. “We hit Little Italy, Big Gay Ice Cream, took in a Broadway show, and shopped our hearts out at Macy’s and American Eagle. We bought cookies at Momofuku Milk Bar and ate them for breakfast the next day,” she shares.
And since they were far away from Vivian’s older brother and their hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina, they were able to chat about “girl stuff” —especially when they saw a topless mermaid. “The trip was a days-long reminder to me that my girl is smart, savvy, and kind. I can’t wait to book our next trip,” she shared.
The one where you’re both adults
Enthralled with the beauty of Iceland, Kristin Sluyk and her mom Debbie decided there was no better time to trek to this hot spot destination than now. At the age of 25 and 54 respectively, they packed their bags and prepared to check off a bucket list destination and experience the splendor and wonder of the city of Reykjavik and the south coast together. From relaxing in the Blue Lagoon with mud masks to exploring geysers and waterfalls, Kristin says they bonded over the unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience. “It was certainly an active five-day adventure, so when we got back to our hotel room it was nice to put on our fuzzy bathrobes, pour a glass of wine and talk about the wild experiences we had that day,” she says.
The one where you challenge yourselves mentally and physically
In 2012, Angelique Tatham, along with her two daughters Jessica and Sabrina, decided to walk the almost 500-mile Camino de Santiago. The pilgrimage used to be considered the walk to the end of the earth and is now a popular path that takes trekkers from Spain and Portugal to France. It can take weeks—and even months—to complete the whole trail, walking upwards of a half-marathon a day. “We cried, laughed and fought together but in the end, we bonded beyond anything else,” recalls Tatham of her journey with her daughters. “It gave us strength and perseverance we didn’t realize we had,” she says. Find out the best trips to take with your sister.
Making the world a better place, together
While in her 30s, Nora Livingstone took two animal conservation trips with her mom, Rena including one to Athens to help sea turtles and another to Kenya to benefit giraffes. In addition to witnessing the wonders of the animal kingdom and contributing to the planet, Nora shared it was the first time she was able to connect with her mom after moving out of her family home.
Even though they shared holidays together and used to travel frequently when she was a child, getting off the grid and away from their chaotic adult lives allowed them to catch up in a meaningful, uninterrupted way. “These trips helped us make more memories together and gave us things to laugh about when we are older,” she says. “She will always be a mum and I will always be her daughter, but on these trips, I was able to help her as much as she was able to help me. We grew a deeper bond as not just family but as friends.”
The one that fulfills dreams
On Mother’s Day in 2016, Suzanne Wolko surprised her almost 75-year-old mother, Dorothea, with a trip to check off her bucket list destinations: Paris, London, and New York. Though Suzanne traveled frequently, her mother was never able to go along for the ride but was always envious of her daughter’s postcards, memories, and photos. So using her travel reward points, Suzanne took her mom on an all expense paid trip, including first-class flights, complete with champagne and a bed, and separate rooms at the hotel so she could feel super spoiled. “I planned the activities in each city to give mom an overview of the favorites, but kept it easy to do so her recent knee surgery wouldn’t be bothered,” she says. Over the many time zones and cities, it was the chance of a lifetime to make her mother’s dreams come true. Find out a bucket list idea from every state.
The one to celebrate a milestone
To celebrate her son Leopold’s upcoming fifth birthday and his graduation from pre-K, Annie Fritz Linval decided to make him grin from ear-to-ear with a Disney cruise. Along with another pal with a son of the same age, the group set sail with Mickey, Minnie, and all of their friends. While aboard, the moms and sons enjoyed many meet-and-greets with famous Disney characters, went down the waterslide about 100 times, did crafts together, saw a Broadway-style show, and more. For Linval, the age was perfect: “With my son on the cusp of turning 5 and becoming a ‘big boy,’ I wanted to take a special trip just the two of us to commemorate the occasion. It’s a magical time where he’s old enough to understand things, yet young enough to buy into the make-believe/fantasy,” she shared. “His pure joy and innocence make him a delight to be around—and it was a treat for me, as much for him, to have a week of uninterrupted alone time together.” Next, find out 41 mini family vacations that won’t break the bank.