You can love everything about a destination, but after your family has visited the same spot multiple times they may start to feel as if they’ve done and seen everything the location has to offer. When a vacation destination fits your budget, lifestyle and the amount of time you have for getting there, you may not want to give it up, no matter how many times you’ve already been there.
So how can you ensure the fifth (or 15th) visit feels as fun and exciting as the first?
Here are six tips for keeping your favorite summer vacation spot feeling fresh year after year:
* Try different accommodations — Trying new accommodations can help give you a fresh perspective on a location. If your family always stays in a budget hotel, consider a rental by owner next time. If you’re used to luxury accommodations, stay in a campground for a different experience. Destinations that are popular spots for repeat visitors often have a variety of accommodations as diverse as the travelers who visit. For example, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina — one of the East Coast’s most popular destinations for repeat visitors — you can find accommodations that range from luxury hotels to budget motels, campgrounds to beach house rentals, all-inclusive resorts to all-suites accommodations.
* Vary dining options — It’s easy to get in a rut when you’re eating on the fly, especially if you’re eating for convenience rather than experience. However, every destination has its own regional cuisine. If your family sticks with fast food or chain restaurants, switch things up by trying a restaurant that specializes in regional food. If you usually avoid touristy restaurants, try one for the experience next time. Online travel websites are great resources for getting an idea of an area’s dining options.
* Stay in different areas — Popular destinations typically have different areas within the region. If your family always stays in the same area when visiting your preferred vacation spot, switching to a new neighborhood could help you discover new things to see and do. For example, North Myrtle Beach gives visitors easy access to all the attractions and beaches the region has to offer but is often quieter and less crowded than the Grand Strand area. Staying near Broadway at the Beach, one of the city’s shopping and entertainment venues, will be a different experience than staying in a beachfront hotel.
* Mix it up with new travel companions — No rule says family vacations can’t include extended family or good friends. Try planning your family vacation with relatives or friends with whom you don’t normally travel. Visiting a familiar area with new people can help you see it in a new way through their eyes. Plus, fun shared is fun doubled, and kids may enjoy activities more if they can share it with a peer.
* Plan a different theme each year — Popular destinations rarely have just one type of fun to offer. You can make each trip feel new by choosing a theme and engaging in activities that fit that theme. For example, for an adventure-themed Myrtle Beach vacation, put Shark Wake Park and Go Ape Adventures, a zip-line and treetop excursion, on your itinerary. For an outdoor theme, take a relaxing kayak tour, try paddle board yoga, and feast on a sea-to-table meal at Wicked Tuna on the MarshWalk. Culture and history can combine when you explore historic Brookgreen Gardens’ outdoor sculpture gardens and visit Hopsewee Plantation for a tour and afternoon high tea.
* Go at a different time of year — Some destinations virtually shut down when their high season ends, but others, like Myrtle Beach, stay vibrant year-round. If your favorite vacation spot has year-round attractions, try visiting in the off-season. Often, hotels and resorts offer great deals to attract travelers during the off-season, plus thinner crowds can mean shorter lines for popular attractions — and the chance to experience a familiar destination in a new way.
Finally, advice from travel websites and visitors bureaus can help you better understand what you might have been missing on earlier visits to your chosen vacation spot. For example, at www.fatrav.com, you can find information on hotels, dining, shopping, attractions and more.