A Birmingham Staycation :: My Kids’ Dream Come True

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Can’t get away but need to get away? We’ve all been there. This year, I didn’t get the spring break week I usually rely on to make it through the semester. The university where I work opted not to take the break due to COVID concerns (which is totally understandable). But, that makes for a very long haul of a semester, and I didn’t get the one-on-one time with my kids that I usually try to plan for that week.

Instead, we opted for a one night staycation, right here in town, as a little getaway. I have three daughters and a baby boy, and as you may know, hotel rooms with babies are a parent’s worst nightmare. My husband graciously (selfishly?) volunteered to stay home with the baby, so we made this a girls’ night out. My girls declared it the best vacation ever (though they have short memories, I’ll admit). Still, it was a big success, and as vacations go, it was a low cost and low time commitment.

Suggestions for a great Birmingham staycation and making your kids' dreams come true!
Ready to check in for the night!

Tips for Planning Your Own Birmingham Staycation:

1. Choose a great hotel

The most important part of planning a little staycation is to choose the right place to stay. This will likely vary based upon the ages of kids, what your family enjoys, time of year, etc. But in my opinion, the best options have amenities beyond a comfortable bed.

Do you want fancy? Consider the new Valley Hotel in downtown Homewood, or the Grand Bohemian in Mountain Brook. Is it all about the spa? Renaissance Ross Bridge is your place then. More low key? Perhaps a chain hotel is a better bet.

Other things to consider include:

  • The pool. For my crew, it’s all about a chance to swim. Make sure the place has a pool! If it’s not summer, choose somewhere with an indoor pool. Call ahead to make sure the pool is open, per COVID protocols.
Suggestions for a great Birmingham staycation and making your kids' dreams come true!
Ready to head to the pool!
  • The food. There are several great hotel chains in Birmingham that provide lots of extras related to food. We stayed at the Embassy Suites, which has an “Evening Reception” (fancy term for happy hour) with free adult beverages for the grown-ups and goodies for the kids. My girls enjoyed their Shirley Temples (extra cherries, please) immensely, and the snacks were top notch. They also serve a fantastic breakfast that is included in the price of the room. The breakfast felt fancy and extra special for my kids with no extra cost. Other hotel chains with similar amenities include Drury Inn and Homewood Suites
  • The door. Did you know you can book a suite that has a door (a door!) separating the sleeping space from the hangout space? This will make your night much, much better, especially if you have younger kids who go to bed early. Call me a snob, but we are currently in the stage where we only stay in hotels with one of these magical doors. Game changer.

2. Pack snacks

Kids love snacks, especially ones they don’t get very often. We took a quick trip to the grocery store on our way to the hotel and everyone got to pick a special treat. Sprite in the little mini cans, lots of gummy worms, and chocolate-covered raisins made my girls’ dreams come true. It’s the little things.

3. Don’t plan too many activities

Make the time away about just that—time. No need to plan all kinds of activities; instead, watch a movie together, go swimming, take a walk around a new area, or bring some board or card games.  One of the best things about kids is that they think even small things are magical, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to entertain. Focus on quality time together rather than doing all the things, and of course, have the best time!

How about you? Have you ever had a mini staycation or vacation? What was your favorite part about it? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

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Mallory grew up in Oklahoma, met her husband Dave in college there, and they have lived in Maryland, Michigan, and now Alabama since getting married in 2008. She graduated from Michigan State University with a PhD in exercise physiology in 2014, and her family then moved to Birmingham so she could start a job as a college professor. She is mom to five great kids ages nine and under, and considers it a tremendous joy to get to invest in the lives of both her kids and her students. In her free time, Mallory enjoys family walks around the neighborhood, reading to her kids, bargain hunting, home improvement projects, and being involved in the children’s and missions ministries at her church.