Is there a boat trip on your family’s vacation
“bucket list”? Child psychologists say we should
spend quality time with our children and
grandchildren. I agree wholeheartedly, and
I cannot think of any time that has more built
in quality than the time you can spend with a
child on a boat cruise.
No, that’s not a trip on one of those giant
cruise ships, but a vacation on a vessel with
two or three cabins and a small galley.
And the water you cruise can be salty or fresh.
It makes no difference whether you are cruising
off the coast of Florida, on the Great Lakes,
Chesapeake Bay or a lake in Colorado.
There are many opportunities to charter a boat,
take a sailing class or simply “hang out” on or
near the water.
There’s no better family vacation with as many
options and adventures from swimming, kayaking
and learning about history to fishing, shelling,
star gazing and more. And the beauty of
each one of those opportunities is that you do
it together as a family. To me that’s
quality time with a capital “Q”.
Vic and I have some experience here with the
boats and the kids. We have gone on
weeklong cruises with a brother, sister-in-law,
dog and three nieces, all grown up now.
Experience has taught us the best cruises are
those with “to do” lists that follow a pretty
regular schedule every day. This helps to
avoid the question, “Are we there yet?” We
are fortunate here in southwest Florida since we
have so much to keep all family members engaged,
and the same can be said of other boating venues
in other parts of the country:
Dolphin watching. We set up “watches” on
the bow. These entertaining creatures love to
swim, jump and do flips in the waves produced by
many boats. It’s a better show than Sea
World because it’s the Real World!
Exploring. We launch the dinghy and motor
or paddle to a deserted beach so everyone can
look for special shells and other treasures like
shark’s teeth. I suppose that where there
are shark’s teeth there must be …oh, never mind.
The beach is always beautiful and the treasures
are always fascinating.
Swimming. A swim in the surf is great fun, but
we also try to arrange a swim in the pool at a
marina. In fact, many of our local marinas
offer great amenities – pool, tennis, dining,
etc. So, just for the cost of docking
overnight, the family has access to a first
Fishing. Hereabouts a piece of shrimp on a
little hook does the job almost every time. It’s
great to schedule fishing before dinner.
That gives anglers young and old a chance to
catch something for the grill. Make sure
you get a photo of that.
There’s also reading, star gazing, letter
writing and even story writing. Teachers
still ask for essays about
what-I-did-on-my-vacation though they are
probably input and not written out long hand.
What a great way to get a head start on that
Memories are made of vacations like this.
And the kids won’t even have to argue about who
is taking up too much room in the car!
There is no bad seat on the deck of a boat.
Relax and enjoy. Plus, you don’t even have
to pack and unpack!
Additionally, everyone on board comprises the
crew and that means each has his or her regular
jobs, answering to the captain. That’s a
nice blend of the lighthearted and discipline.
Come to think of it, the rules for a successful
cruise are the same as those for a successful
Whether your vacations plans take you far away
or keep you close, think about some time on the
water, you might find that experience and the
lessons learned and shared by all the makings of
the best family vacation ever.