Have you ever planned a vacation that didn’t go quite as you had hoped for?!
I planned a trip to Michigan as an early Mother’s Day/girls trip for my mom and my daughter. I have been there plenty of times and I know just how much there is to do, how beautiful the scenery is and how relaxing it can be.
For this trip, we were heading to Holland, MI, which is known for their incredible tulip fields. The general idea was to wander around, visit some outdoor attractions, take some fun photos and walk along the beautiful beaches. (Here you can check out some of their attractions! https://www.holland.org/ )
But here’s a story of expectations vs. reality!
A trip planned for the last few days in April, you can usually count on some sunshine and comfortable temps. While trying to pack, I checked my weather app and the forecast went from 70’s and sun to 45 and snow! Michigan weather can change dramatically, so I was hoping for a miracle!
We headed out around 5AM to avoid any traffic. About an hour into our drive, my daughter had motion sickness and threw up all over my car! As my mom hopped into the back seat, I was racing to the nearest rest stop so we could get my daughter out of her clothes! Then it was a Detour over to Meijer for cleaning supplies, extra clothes and an espresso!
[Tip: When road-tripping, always make sure you have paper towels, cleaning solution and old sheets or towels handy! It’s also a good idea to dress your kid in old clothes for the long drive. I made a rookie mistake of dressing her in an adorable outfit, that ended up in the garbage! (P.S. I am usually well stocked with emergency kits, but I accidentally left it all in my garage after cleaning my car!)]
We finally made it to our destination! First place to visit was Windmill Island. It’s an adorable Dutch themed garden with the only working Dutch windmill in the U.S. This place brings in tons of visitors each year to see the fields of tulips and spring blooms. But thanks to an ugly, extended winter, the flowers that we came to see were delayed in blooming! We saw about the same amount of flowers that I have in my garden at home! To top it off, the winds were so high that it was hard even walking around the gardens!
By the end of the day, mother nature gave us a short break, calming the winds just enough for us to watch the sunset along the beach at Holland State Park. This was my daughter’s first time on a real beach and she was so excited to “make sandcastles”.
Critter Barn in Zeeland, MI is a hands-on farm for all ages to enjoy. My family LOVES animals, and my daughter is especially compassionate towards them. It may have been a chilly walk, but completely worth it to see all of their animals.
If you’re in the area and looking for a great cup of coffee check out Mainstreet Beanery in Zeeland, MI! You will not be disappointed! The white mocha was exactly what I needed after walking around in the cold all morning!
From there, we realized that it wasn’t getting any warmer and we weren’t going to be able to enjoy many outdoor activities much longer, so we took a drive along Lake Shore. It’s a beautiful, scenic drive along the lake with nature parks along the way.
You know what happened next? On the last day of April, it started to SNOW!! So we went headed back to the hotel and spent the rest of the day in the swimming pool!
While I was giving myself a hard time, thinking that this had quite possibly been the biggest failure of a trip, I wasn’t realizing just how much fun my daughter was having. The great part about toddlers is that they don’t understand that a plan was “ruined” by weather, they are happy just being with you and can find fun in any activity. Maybe not all trips go as planned, but as long as you have good company, you can make the most out of it!
If you have traveled to Michigan, please share some of your favorite to-dos and attractions! We will be heading back to in summer!
Here are a few other fun ways to spend your time when your vacation doesn’t go according to plan!
Road trip games! Toddlers are still learning, so road trip games are a fun way to tell teach them along the way. We like to point out water towers, farm animals, traffic lights (I’ve taught her what each color means!), street signs, characters that are on buildings, and so on. Look for the colors in nature, describe the weather conditions, listen for different sounds.
Sing-alongs and dance parties are another favorite for long trips!
Become a foodie! I’m certainly not a culinary aficionado, but when there’s not much else to do, testing out local restaurants can be so fun! Try something that’s new, check to see what that city is known for, or better yet – see if there are any spots that are known for something (ex: biggest slice of pizza, chicken wing contests, voted best donuts!) The Travel Channel has a ton of suggestions for each state!
Check out local shops! I have to admit, this isn’t always on my top to-do list, but you can find some pretty unique items! You can find some gems in those cute, quaint downtown areas and it’s always great to support a local shop!