I was at a BBQ recently with my 4-year-old daughter when she called me over to a little group of teenie-bopper girls she was sitting with. "Mom," she called in that infamous tell-tale voice, "We've got a problem." Upon my approach, however, I saw no spilled lemonade, everyone was smiling, and there wasn't a trace of blood anywhere. "What's the matter?" I asked, confused but not surprised. 4-year-old divas going on 35 always have a problem - they're like birds. They migrate to find drama and they usually go in flocks. "Somebody," she began, exaggeratedly peering around the group, "Has shorts on that are TOO short." She delivered her last line with all the confidence of an old grandmother lecturing those young whipper snappers, and no, to my horror and dismay, there was no way the comment went by unnoticed. It was well heard by everyone in the group. I wanted to melt into the floor. But she was right. Somebody DID have on shorts that were too short, and it was my 4-year-old that had the guile to address the problem.
Now the real question: how (and where) to vacation on a budget, with kids? We love road trips, live for adventures, are suckers for tourist traps and - in a perfect world - would take a vacation at least once a month. But we also have two little kids who are allergic to their car seats after 5 minutes, want to touch EVERYTHING, and have attention spans that are about as long as their eye-lashes. So where do we go? Here's a few of our favorites! And the best part? They're not Disney!