There’s nothing like a trip back to your roots, and for me that place is Deerfield Beach, Florida. I am lucky that both my mom and older sister still live in the area where I grew up so visiting my hometown is easy and I get the added bonus of seeing my family. We try to get to Deerfield Beach at least every other year and usually plan our trip during the holidays since I’m sure you would agree that the weather is just a tad bit nicer in South Florida than Cincinnati during the winter months. While seeing family is the main impetus for us heading down, South Florida is a great place to take a road trip!
The drive down to Deerfield Beach from Cincinnati is 1100 miles and that never feels short but we have gotten so used to it that it really isn’t bad. Depending on how much time we have for our visit determines if we stop halfway and since we want all the time we can get in South Florida, we usually drive straight through leaving around 4 in the morning and arriving at my mom’s around midnight. That makes for a LONG day so we make sure to stop for extended breaks at rest areas so the kids (and the grownups!) can burn off pent up energy. We play tag, do jumping jacks, and just generally stretch out so that the cramped car doesn’t feel so torturous. I also pack lots of snacks for the drive like pretzels, grapes, trail mix and apples along with bottles of water.
Our favorite way to pass the time is with the game Rubberneckers which is really fun for all of us. It’s somewhat like a road trip scavenger hunt where you earn points by spotting things like clothes lines and railroad tracks. You get extra points if you force a reaction from the people in the cars around you like thumbs up signs and waves. The game definitely helps us pass the time more quickly and we play it several times on long trips. We also take magazines, books and a deck of cards. We don’t have a DVD player in the car so we don’t usually watch movies but sometimes download a couple to Dave’s iPad for when things get rough and the kids start fighting.
Deerfield Beach, Florida
Once we are finally in town, I love showing my kids the places I used to go when I was a kid. The atmosphere in Florida is pretty different than the mid west where they are growing up and they love the warm weather and getting to swim almost everyday. They also love spending time with their grandmas, aunts and uncles and cousins. There is a lot to do in South Florida! There are many great restaurants, museums, several zoos and places to shop. There are also many outdoor activities to enjoy. Some of my favorites are snorkeling at Biscayne National Park or John Pennekamp State Park and canoeing or hiking in Everglades National Park and we always try to make time to do at least one of these.
For the most part, the kids want to spend our entire visit swimming in the pool or playing at the beach so this is where we spend the majority of our time. I think Deerfield Beach is one of the prettiest beaches around and I love to go there. I have such great memories of my childhood at the beach and I spent most weekends in middle and high school hanging out there. Almost every Saturday I could I would pick up a large Cherry Slurpee from 7-11 and drive to the same spot close to the pier and hang out all day with my sisters and friends. It was a great place to grow up! Now I do the same things with my own kids and they love it. My mom lives just a couple of miles away so we go often. Sophie and I often wake up earlier than everyone else and take long runs with the beautiful ocean view before heading back home to get everyone else. To enjoy our days at the beach we bring sunscreen, a large blanket or two to lay out on, towels, water, snacks, sand toys and snorkels and we are good to go. Sometimes we spend the whole day there and take a break for lunch at one of the several restaurants nearby. In fact we never visit Deerfield Beach without at least one trip to the Whale’s Rib for fresh delicious seafood. Absolutely yummy.
Back at my mom’s, we spend our days at her condo’s pool and also visit with my other relatives. It is always wonderful to see everybody since I live far away from the rest of my family. Visiting the place you grew up is always special because it is a cool feeling to share your past with your children. They love to see the house I grew up in, the parks I played at, the place I had my first job, the restaurants I went to, and so on and I love sharing it all with them. I also love visiting because it is an ideal place to vacation. With the gorgeous Florida sunshine and so much to do and see it is a great road trip destination. I am lucky I grew up in such a beautiful place to visit!