The Mommyhood Life – Travel, Crafts, Food, and Florida Family Fun

South Carolina

East Coast Family Road Trip

We just got back from our very first family road trip down the east coast!  We have never driven over 4 hours as a family so this was a fun and scary idea.  However for a family of 5 to fly from Massachusetts to Florida it can easily cost us over $1250, so when we calculated out the cost of gas one way to be less than $250 we knew we needed to try driving.

Our goal was to see different parts of Florida before deciding if we should move south.  We left on a Wednesday at 3am.  Our plan was to drive straight from Massachusetts to Washington D.C. so that Anthony could see The White House, then continue as far as possible.  We planned to stay at a hotel somewhere between D.C. and South Carolina and then continue Thursday down to my brother’s in South Carolina.  However it seems that the 3am hour was an amazingly perfect hour to start our venture because we hit no traffic the entire day!
We passed through Worchester in Massachusetts, New York City, and got into Washington traffic free and where standing in front of The White House by 11am! 
We arrived in D.C. on what seemed to be the hottest day of the summer, so once we saw the White House we jumped back in the van and where out of the city by 1pm.
I would love to take Anthony down again to see all the other landmarks in Washington D.C. because he loves educational sight seeing, but that will be a mommy and son, one on one trip because the twins don’t have the patience for that type of trip yet.
 
As we left Washington we were shocked at how great we were doing on time, but we still anticipated staying somewhere along the next 8 hour leg of out trip.  We assumed asking our kids to handle a 16 hour drive in one day was asking way to much for their sanity as well as ours.  However I guess all those 24 hours of traveling trips to Brazil have trained them in long distance sitting because they stayed entertained with the portable DVD player, iPad, and the toys they packed the entire afternoon.  Before we knew it, it was 8pm and we were driving into Charleston, South Carolina!  We saved money on a hotel room, and got an extra night to visit with my brother AKA “Uncle”!
We enjoyed 2 nights with Uncle and the beautiful city of Charleston, before heading down to Clearwater, Florida.  We knew the Charleston to Clearwater trip would only take about 9 hours so we took our time and stopped in Georgia along the way to stock up on Georgia Peaches of coarse!
We arrived in Clearwater by dinner time where Grammy and Papa had already arrived via air and our vacation was able to start.  Clearwater Florida is a beautiful city, I have never seen a beach so nice in my life!  My parents recently inherited a home in Clearwater so we stayed at their place for about 10 days.  While there we visited the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, the Florida Aquarium, The Lowry Park Zoo, Clearwater Beach, and Best of all took a cruise on Captain Memo’s Pirate Ship.
After our stay in Clearwater, my husband really wanted to see the Boca Raton area so we packed up and headed back on the road for 5 hours.  Once in Boca we stayed at the Marriott Fairfield Inn.  The hotel was beautiful, with great staff, and very clean.  I was shocked at how nice it was for the price, plus they offer free breakfast every morning.
While in Boca we ate at Picanha Brazil.  The food and drinks where delicious, especially the fried bananas!
 
Once done in Boca Raton we headed a bit north to the Orlando area.  We stayed at the Double Tree by Hilton, which was located across the street from Universal Studios Orlando.  The hotel had a huge pool that the kids enjoyed and the rooms where clean. 
However I priced Universal tickets at the activities desk and was disappointed that the tickets cost more than they do on Universals website and the desk staff was not very friendly.  However the staff at both the lobby’s Starbuck and the gift shop were fantastic!
 Before heading to Orlando I had to promise the hubby I wouldn’t turn this into a Disney World vacation because we were just there in January.  I agreed that we couldn’t afford another trip to the happiest place on earth.  However being a Disney addict and all, it was really hard being so close to the magic but not visiting.  In the end we arrived at an agreement to visit Downtown Disney one night!
After Orlando and a 3 week trip we began to head back home.  We stopped in South Carolina for lunch, spent the night in North Carolina and continued our trip home as quickly as possible.
 
We came to the conclusion that I love South Carolina and that is my dream place to live, however the outskirts of Orlando is a close second.  The Hubby loves Boca and Orlando, but likes the cost of living in South Carolina.  So we decided to stay put one more year, let Anthony finish off elementary school and debate the issue until next year.
 
 
 
 

Southern Fun ~ Charleston South Carolina with kids

There’s something about South Carolina that has completely stole my heart sense the first day I visited the state last year.  I am convinced underneath this rough Boston exterior, I am a southern girl at heart.  I love the weather, the food, the slow paced life style and I cant get enough of the southern accents!
 
 We stopped in the Charleston area twice on our Florida Bound Road trip.  On the way down we stopped and visited my brother for a couple nights, and on the way home we stopped through to eat but my brother was on a trip of his own in Massachusetts so we just stopped for the day.




We visited Kiawah Island Golf Resort again, this is an awesome family friendly resort.  The island is breathtaking, the beaches are warm, the pools are relaxing, and the kids can be entertained all day!  My parents have booked a house on the island for Christmas, and I am counting down the days till I can go back.
  
We ate at Triangle Char & Bar, the taco’s and burgers where delicious!  The kids cleaned their plates and the waitress was extremely friendly.

 

After the kids did so good eating we decided to take them for ice cream.  We went back to Belgian Gelato because the ice cream was beyond delicious last time.
 
Then before returning back to my bothers house we of coarse needed to stop and swim in the fountains, because who doesn’t want to jump in a fountain on a beautiful hot day?
 
Its so hard to leave South Carolina, even when I know I’m heading to Florida.  I love Charleston of coarse but we love my brother and miss him being close by so tears flow every time we have to drive away from “uncle”! 
On the way home we swung into Goose Creek, South Carolina to eat at Brazilian Bakery Buffet.  We were driving home in the middle of the Brazil vs. Columbia World Cup game and the hubby was freaking out about missing it.  Goose Creek is much more rural than the central Charleston area, which I liked.  There’s something about living in the middle of no where that has been really attractive to me recently.  However once we get there I may realize its not as fun as it sounds in my head.  So for now we’re staying put in Massachusetts but one day I hope to convince my husband to move South.   

A Trip to the South Carolina Aquarium ~ Traveling with Kids

We spent our last full day in Charleston at the South Carolina Aquarium.  This aquarium was great!  All the exhibits where full and laid out so you saw an animal every time.  The Huge shark tank was the kids favorite and even us adults thought it was a cool design. 
 The aquarium is set on Charleston Harbor, and you can often see dolphins swimming free.

 The Madagascar exhibit had a crawl under tube for the kids, and when the kids stood up in the middle the animals would sit right on the glass.
This was an awesome afternoon, I recommend anyone vacationing in Charleston with children to definitely visit this Aquarium.
We got our tickets at the Charleston Visitor Center at a discount.  I also recommend checking out the visitors center as a tourist in Charleston!  The list of attractions in the city is endless and these friendly folks know about them all!

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