SUM­MER PLAN­NING SPE­CIAL SEC­TION

Va­ca­tion­ing is a won­der­ful op­por­tu­nity for cre­at­ing mem­o­ries that last a life­time. e.

South Florida Times - - FRONT PAGE - Staff Re­port

(BPT) - It's hard to be­lieve it, but the kids who were la­beled "mil­len­ni­als" have all grown up and started their own fam­i­lies. As this next gen­er­a­tion en­ters the realm of par­ent­hood, many will be think­ing about what they want to do and where they want to go for their fam­ily va­ca­tion.

Need­less to say, for a young fam­ily plan­ning a va­ca­tion, things will be a lit­tle dif­fer­ent than when mom and dad trav­eled. Now it's all about the kids and mak­ing mem­o­ries to­gether. For those who are look­ing to get away with the fam­ily this year, here are some es­sen­tial in­gre­di­ents for mak­ing a mem­o­rable va­ca­tion.

1. Be on the look­out for "firsts." Par­ent­ing is a se­ries of mile­stones and firsts: first steps, first words, first day of school. When you and your fam­ily step off the plane or out of the car, get ready, be­cause there's go­ing to be a whole lot of firsts, and it might be a lit­tle over­whelm­ing! Travel to a des­ti­na­tion like Myr­tle Beach, South Carolina, where from the first step into the ocean to watch­ing dol­phins jump through the waves, you can ex­pect some un­for­get­table mo­ments.

2. Come as you are. When de­cid­ing where to go, pick some­place you can be your­self, where you can re­lax, ex­pe­ri­ence some­thing new and let the kids be kids. Leave ev­ery­thing else at home and en­joy the easy, laid-back beach-lov­ing life­style. South Carolina's iconic Myr­tle Beach boasts over 60 miles of sandy beach, board­walks, amuse­ment parks and over 1,800 restau­rants. With so much to offer, all you need to do is show up!

3. Play­ing is learn­ing. Par­ents know that their kids learn best when they're at play. Va­ca­tions are a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity for learn­ing through play. Min­utes away from the ocean at Myr­tle Beach is Won­der-Works, an amuse­ment park with over 50,000 square feet of en­ter­tain­ment and ed­u­ca­tion, what they call "edu-tain­ment." Here kids can learn about nat­u­ral dis­as­ters, space ex­plo­ration, art, and tire them­selves out play­ing laser tag, tack­ling an in­door ropes course and much more. 4. Take a day to go ex­plore. Many par­ents find that one of the truly re­ward­ing parts of trav­el­ing with young kids is that their sense of won­der and dis­cov­ery is con­ta­gious. If you found a beau­ti­ful beach-side re­sort, it can be hard to leave. Take even a half day to ex­plore nearby nat­u­ral won­ders, such as those found at Hunt­ing­ton Beach State Park, and you'll be re­warded with thou­sands of se­cluded acres for you and your fam­ily to ex­plore. 5. En­joy the lit­tle things. No mat­ter how well you plan, it's im­pos­si­ble to an­tic­i­pate all of the small, in­ti­mate mo­ments that make a va­ca­tion so mem­o­rable. Whether it's a per­fect sun­set, a newly built sand cas­tle or a bucket full of sand dol­lars, there are hun­dreds of lit­tle de­tails that await, so be ready!

You can choose what­ever in­gre­di­ents you want to put into your next fam­ily va­ca­tion - sun­shine, blue sky, an ocean, sand beaches, plenty of di­ver­sions. It only takes a few of th­ese to make mem­o­ries that will last a life­time.

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