As a kid, Spring Break meant staying home watching TV and sleeping in for a week. As a “treat,” I may have gotten to go to work with my mom one of those days and sit in an empty conference room or office with a book. Times have indeed changed since the latchkey kid days of staying home alone and hanging around the house during a week off from school. As I became an adult and observed co-workers with families, I was shocked at the cultural shift of trips and vacations during Spring Break. Travel during Spring Break is consistently busy, with planes filling up and hotels and resorts selling out. While I never envisioned traveling during such a busy time of the year, especially when many other families were traveling, now that I have my own family, I can see the value in using the time to reconnect and pause from the busyness of life. Additionally, with a six-year-old, four-year-old, and newborn, I’d prefer going somewhere to keep them busy rather than having to keep them active and entertained for a week without school!
WHY BROKEN BOW?
While going somewhere and having a getaway sounded great, we didn’t want a vacation with three kids to leave us more worn out than we had started. The best option for our family would be to take a few days, unplug from the busyness, and head to the woods in Broken Bow, Oklahoma. For me, this has become my peaceful, happy place. From both couples trips to family trips Broken Bow, for us, is the perfect place to reset and allow the boys to run wild and see the beauty of nature God created. Here are some of the main reasons we love it:
It’s only a 3-hour drive from the north Dallas suburbs where we live.
Im a glamper, not a true camper, so all of the luxury cabin options create the perfect environment for relaxing and being in nature with all the modern amenities of being at home.
The wooded areas are beautiful. Perfect for the kids to run around and for adults to mentally unplug from all of the details and responsibilities that are constantly running through our minds.
Theres plenty of activities nearby if you are looking for more to do, like boating, fishing, a petting zoo, and wineries.
KEEPING THE KIDS BUSY AND OFF THE SCREENS
This was our first time traveling to Broken Bow as a family of 5. Our boys were a little older, so we wanted to find some outdoor activities to keep them busy and off their screens. We found the perfect cabin Lilypad Lodge to rent, with a catch-and-release pond in front of it. This was perfect because the boys could walk outside and go fishing with my husband. Seeing the look on their face when they caught a fish warmed my heart so much. Here are some activities we did with the boys to keep them busy. Now I will be honest, they DID still have screen time, but it was usually in the evenings once we were winding down from the day:
Fishing. Our boys loved this so much, it was their first time fishing, and they were so proud of themselves for catching fish.
Board Games. We packed our own, and our cabin had several as well. We played some of our boy’s favorites as a family
and taught them some new ones.
Pizza Making. As I mentioned, most cabins there come with all of the luxuries of home, including full-sized kitchens. I packed all the ingredients for the boys to make their personal-sized pizzas for dinner, which they enjoyed.
Smores. We roasted Smores on the fire outdoors. They love this messy but tasty tradition.
Exploring. I have them put on their rain boots/fishing boots and let them know it’s okay to get dirty! The boys loved walking around wooded areas, splashing in puddles and creeks, picking up branches and rocks, and finding new bugs they don’t usually see at home.
FINDING THE PERFECT RENTAL CABIN
This was our fourth trip to Broken Bow. What I love most as a glamper is the conveniences of home. Most of the cabins in the area have full-sized kitchens, washers and dryers, master bedroom suites, bunk rooms for the kids, and games or gaming rooms. We have personally stayed in smaller “honeymoon” style cabins when it’s just my husband and I, as well as larger multi-family cabins when we’ve traveled with several families. This was our first time in a cabin for just our family of five. We found the perfect cabin in Lilypad Lodge, both with the convenience of the pond, a bunk bed room for the boys, and a master large enough to place our newborns pack and play comfortably.
- The best way to search for Cabins is to go to VRBO either through their website or app, as most rental cabins in the area are listed there.
- Once you find one you like, you can search online by the cabin name or management company name to see if the cabin has a separate rental listing from a local rental company or is personally by the owner. I do this before booking directly on VRBO because the rates are often lower on the management company/individual website than they are VRBO due to the additional fees tacked on to VRBO.
- Check their refund policy if you book directly with the cabin owner or management company. One of the good things about VRBO is the insurance and often the cancellation timing for a full or partial refund should you need one. Be sure to understand what policies are in place if you choose to go directly through their site.
MAKING LASTING MEMORIES
Let’s face it, no matter how prepared you are or how much you plan, traveling with young children can be stressful. Having them outside their everyday environments is often fun for them, but it is a lot of work for us as mothers to ensure they have everything they need. A lot of planning, packing, and prepping goes into each of these moments that turn into memories for our kiddos. When Im overwhelmed with prepping for a trip, or we get there, and one of my kids is having a meltdown over something that is just not that critical, I remind myself that the one thing I can’t get back in time. They are only little once, so try to enjoy these moments, even though, at times, they may seemingly feel thankless. The smiles on their faces become etched in our brains and memories of those perfect moments. They may not remember every detail, but as they get older, they will reflect on whatever you did as a family and remember that they were happy. So be encouraged as you create perfect moments with your family.