If you’re looking for a place that’s perfect for a family vacation, North Carolina will tick all the boxes. It’s got big cities, amazing rural regions, and great transport links and amenities wherever you want to go.
Of course taking the kids with you on a long journey comes with its challenges, so here are some slices of advice to help you serve up a stress-free NC trip for everyone involved.
Avoid the busiest times at the airport, e.g. CLT
The quickest way to get to North Carolina from out of state is by air, and yet if you’re traveling this way then there are all sorts of complications which can make it a struggle when you’ve got children in tow.
The answer is to book flights that get into Charlotte Douglas International Airport during off-peak periods. The easiest way to do this is to avoid any flights which arrive between the hours of 5pm and 6pm, as this is when the airport is at its busiest.
You’ll be able to breeze through from arrivals, grab your bags from the carousel, and find onward transport without needing to push through crowds or queue.
Choose the best family-focused attractions and activities
Keeping the kids entertained and absorbed each day of your vacation might feel like a chore, but if you’ve put together a schedule that’s packed with things to do and see that you know they’ll enjoy, you’ll avoid any chance of boredom or grumpiness creeping in.
Whether you go for a ride on the Tweetsie Railroad and explore the Wild West theme park that accompanies it, or you check out the exotic animals at North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, there are kid-focused venues that you can book well in advance.
There are also educational experiences, like the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh, or the Battleship North Carolina which is docked in Wilmington.
Plan your day around mealtimes
This is good advice for any family vacation, and especially one in NC where you might be traveling longer distances to get between the various stop-offs on your itinerary each day.
Adults can be antsy if they are hungry, and kids are even more susceptible to bouts of poutiness when it’s been a while since they ate. So factor in breakfast, lunch and dinner on days out, and also bring healthy snacks to keep them topped up in between.
Rent a large enough vehicle
Another great feature of North Carolina are its scenic roads, from the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Outer Banks Scenic Byway. And if you’re flying in and then picking up a rental car, be sure that there’s enough space onboard to accommodate all of your luggage, and also give you room to maneuver inside the cabin.
Just because a compact might be the most affordable option offered, it’s better to spend a little more and get an SUV or a family-focused wagon. That way, you won’t have to spend a lot of time and effort every morning playing Tetris with the suitcases as you attempt to stuff them into the trunk.
Also consider the interior tech, especially if your kids are old enough to use smartphones and tablets. Having USB ports in the second row of seats so that portable devices can be charged is a godsend on long road trips with little ones onboard.
Don’t delay on planning your trip to North Carolina, as early organization makes all the difference, and will take the sting out of having kids along for the ride.