The Best Vacation Spots for ADHD Families
From embarking on a road-trip banjo quest to swimming with dolphins in Dubai — ADDitude readers share their most memorable family trips.
The best vacation spot is rarely crystal clear or unanimously chosen. A secluded cabin brings you blissful tranquility, but your bored child with ADHD considers it cruel punishment. You love long, lazy beach days, but your child with sensory processing disorder despises sand and sunblock. The hustle-bustle of a big city energizes you, but it triggers overstimulation in your child with anxiety, who has a meltdown.
ADDitude readers have navigated it all — and more — so we asked them to share their best family vacations and what made them great for everyone. The results may surprise you — and feed some vacation ideas for spring or summer break.
What is your family’s favorite vacation spot? Share your stories in the Comments section below.
“Our best vacation ever was renting a cottage in Lubec, Maine. We hiked the trails, fished for mackerel, and ate blueberry pie at a July 4th church fundraiser. We had books for rainy days and did lots of physical exercise on sunny days. It was a delightful week for everyone! — Anonymous
“We go to the Renaissance Fair every year. The weekend is just long enough for everyone to relax, but not so long that everyone gets over-stimulated and gripes at each other.” — Anonymous
“Last spring, we traveled with another family whose son is one of our son’s best friends to Costa Rica. The boys could be active and surf, and they had the freedom to do their own thing. Our son is an only child, so we have found that coordinating travel a peer is best and allows us to plan an active vacation.” — Anonymous
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“Our best vacation was when we drove from Michigan to Florida looking for a banjo. We took three days to drive down. We tried a bunch of mom-and-pop restaurants and stopped at any pawn shop or antique store that looked cool” — Anonymous
“The best family vacation we had was a train trip, where we could play cards and have conversations while looking out the window. Our son has inattentive ADHD, but this worked for all of us because when he was distracted by awesome scenery and he could get up and move around as needed. There was enough different about the trip that he had a good amount of stimulation the entire time.” — Anonymous
“YMCA family camp! It was great. There was less waiting around and downtime than most vacations. There were no meals to prepare or restaurants to endure and lots of awesome activities for sensory seekers. It was a relief to be able to say ‘yes’ to the kids all day.” — Anonymous
“Our best family vacation was camping on Manitoulin Island in Ontario. Since we were outside, we had plenty of ways to expend energy.” —Anonymous
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“Dubai. We stayed at a hotel with a waterpark and the opportunity to swim with dolphins. There was the exotic-ness of the Arabian world and the Old Quarter, but also an indoor ski resort where you can interact with penguins.” — Anonymous
“My kids had been asking me for a day off for weeks, and while I’m not a fan of blowing off school, a friend asked me to join her and her kids to an indoor waterpark only 45 minutes away. I couldn’t turn down such a tempting offer, and it was awesome! Affordable, close by, and we returned to our routine without missing much. I can’t recommend that kind of day trip enough!” — Anonymous
“South Dakota and Yellowstone National Park go down as one of our best family vacations because there was so much to see and do from visiting Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park, Badlands National Park, Wall Drug store to seeing all the animals at Yellowstone. Everyone had a blast.” — Anonymous
“We go again and again to the beaches in San Diego. There are no real expectations or plans for the trip, just a lot of beach time, crashing in the waves and playing in the sand. My kids sleep so well after a day at the beach, it is like a gift.” — Anonymous
“Walt Disney World. Our entire extended family went for one week. Everyone had fun and got along. The adults felt like kids again, and experiencing that ‘Disney magic’ through the eyes of a child is indescribable.” — Anonymous
Best Family Vacation: Next Steps
- Read: Saving Vacations are Supposed to Be, Fun Right?!?
- Blog: What 3 Days of Camping Taught Me About My Son
- Learn: A Guide to the Best Trips for People with ADHD
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