Name: Annika (2.5)
Location: Redding, CA
Favorite Family-Friendly Place To See or Thing To Do Here: Actually, our final destination was not Redding. We were on a road trip from Los Angeles to Seattle so we didn't get to see too much of the city. However, we did see a great deal of the Santiago Calatrava Sundial Bridge at the Turtle Bay Exploration Park. If you are traveling in California on the 5 freeway this is a fantastic place to let the kids run around and learn about architecture and botany. It's right off the freeway and it's free. Walking on this bridge might have been the best part of the entire trip for Annika.
Best Tip for Traveling with Kids: When doing a road trip with toddlers I find it's imperative to take good break and let the kids run around, eat and explore what they want to explore. Whether you map it out to stop at place like Turtle Bay Park or it's the back parking lot of a Target (and often kids don't know the difference at this age) they need to get that energy out. Watching an ant crawl for 20 minutes is letting "brain energy" out. I've found good stops make sitting in the car for hours much more tolerable.
Favorite Way to Make it Feel Like Home: Music always makes Annika feel at home. Listening to the same CDs and singing the same songs always seems to settler her down. Any place will become comfortable to her if she hears a song she knows.
An Item you MUST Take With You While Traveling: Never leave the stroller at home. We made the mistake once of leaving all our strollers. Never again. Take a cheap umbrella stroller, anything. Just don't leave for a trip without wheels. I know many toddlers don't want to sit in a stroller but when you're in new places and possibly walking much more than usual they'll want it. They'll often nap in it because they're overtired from the new adventures. Worse case scenario, if they don't use it, you can put your shopping bags in it.