My 6yo’s first kayak experience

As a geo-specific playground blogger, I’m used to giving you all the details on where the best places for free play are.  Now that I have stepped out of NJ for our family vacation, I’m doing something a little different that highlights what we did that made our vacation more about reducing stress. We haven’t gone on a trip for quite a while, and were used to lots of activities, attractions and thought we’d go for something a little more low key for our 2012 vacation. Well, I’m happy to report our trip went really well, and was inspired to share with our readers and hope that you can share some of your own ideas as well 🙂

The Timeframe

Our vacation was a Sunday-Friday.  Had Saturday to pack, and a full weekend to recuperate.

The Friends

We went with a family that we get along with well and shared a relaxed style with no major commitment to schedule.  Our goal was to just experience a new place with our kids and hoping they get along for the most part.  It was great for bathroom breaks and taking one group to do something different.  We spent time in the room till 10am, and then called each other to see what the mood was like and usually headed to the beach/pool.

The Location

We went on a recommendation from a friend that has been going to the same place for years. It coincidentally is the only hotel in San Juan that doesn’t have a casino. Great for families, it wasn’t an all inclusive resort, so we opted for a place with a kitchenette (mainly for our pickiest eater).  We splurged and got a 2 bedroom villa, and it was plenty of room. If you are curious, here are the reviews from tripadvisor for the place we went.

Rental Car

This was our experience at Hertz in San Juan.

Probably our most stressful point of vacation.  Waiting what seemed like forever with 3 squirmy kids for a car. We wanted a car to get around to sightsee and occasional grocery shopping, but doing the math (with the carseat cost too) and then realizing we stayed mostly at the resort, it turns out we would save more with taxi.


Minimal sightseeing worked best for our families, our kids (aged 3y to 7y) had the most fun just on the beach and pool.  We did take a day to venture out, and got some really good food, but that was probably the most we wanted to do.

The Beach

A little cove with tiny waves clear water, and snorkels and live vests available for rent.  The place we went to had sand toys available for free.  That was the recipe for our kids. There was a floating stand a little further out where you can dive too.  Our kids were in heaven.  The 3 year olds loved the sand and that they enjoyed being close to shore, without waves knocking them over.  The bigger ones enjoyed renting the kayaks w/ dad and had a great time.  We didn’t venture off the resort for the most part, but our friends said they like to go to the beach where the locals go that is awesome.  Maybe next time?

The Pool

A sprawling resort often has many pools, it can be a challenge to keep track of all the kids.  Thankfully our kids wanted to be with their friends, so we didn’t have to split up much.

The Food

It helps to have friends who are familiar with the area.  They knew the best places to eat, but if you are the pioneer, is an amazing resource too.  Just plug in the location and find restaurants near the place you are going to go.

Enjoying the little things….

So we didn’t go check out the major attractions, ziplining, cave exploring, forts, historical landmarks  but we got to enjoy the huge bird cage that had parrots, and cockatoos, a beautiful garden with 2 turkeys that followed us across the garden bridge.  It’s nice to know that there are options for next time.