George and I try to get back to Florida every few years for vacation and to visit his dad and some friends. Last summer, we packed up all three kids and flew across the country to Anna Maria Island and enjoyed every second of beach and condo life. Once G got home from longlining this year, we sat down with the calendar and planned this summer’s trip to Florida. We rescheduled dentist and doctor appointments, worked around swimming lessons, and I found subs for two weeks’ worth of Jazzercise classes.
But then, we took an impromptu week-long trip to my parents’ beach house out on the coast of Washington. We have been going out to my family’s beach house for the past twenty years, in all seasons of weather and life, and almost always have a good and relaxing time. Our most recent trip out there, however, is where we discovered that traveling with a walking, teething, grumpy, and curious eighteen-month old “might” be considered less than pleasant. (Why we didn’t realize this after our first two children, I don’t know!)
George and I don’t agree on a lot, but following that trip, we readily agreed that traveling across country on an airplane for six hours with a young toddler was not something either of us wanted to experience. Now, Val is a sweet, smiley, adorable little babe. However, she isn’t nursing anymore, she’s walking, she has teeth coming in, and she does not yet talk or in any other way listen to reason.
Florida trip: CANCELED!
Where to go, then? We decided to stay in-state. We consulted with my friend, Leanne, who also wanted to get out of town, and we eventually settled on Lake Chelan. Specifically, Wapato Point at Lake Chelan! This turned out to be the best Florida replacement we could have come up with.
First of all, it was HOT. Not mediocre Western Washington heat; true Eastern Washington heat. That’s what I wanted! To soak up real sun.
We got a three-bedroom condo for four children and three adults and although the condo featured the exact same 1984 kitchen cabinets as the ones in my own home, I didn’t care. I felt right at home! The overall space was open and inviting, clean, and easy to maneuver. The resort features a family–friendly beach, a huge grassy field, and playgrounds strategically placed around the property. Also strategically placed around the property are several “mini–pools.” I loved this. Wherever I was and no matter how long I pushed Val in the the stroller in the heat around the resort, I could stop off and jump in one of the pools to cool off.
G rented a pontoon boat and we took the kids on a four–hour cruise around the lake. I was shocked and nervous when the inflatable tube came out and I realized the kids were to sit in it while G towed them behind the boat, and I admit I was not at all pleased with this activity. I also didn’t realize we were not going to be stopping for lunch and we’d all be near famished before we docked the boat and all but ran to the Beach Shack for some good old–fashioned beach eats.
However, the children had a blast on the boat and so did G. In fact, I think G had the most fun on that boat of everyone!
Anyway, Wapato Point in Lake Chelan is awesome. It’s big, yet has a small feel. You feel safe with your children running around, and there is plenty to keep your family occupied and happy. We found the families on the beach to be courteous and friendly, and the restaurant on site offered child–friendly spaces for kids to run and play while you participated in wine tasting or waited for dinner to arrive.
Val slept well each night and the big kids wore themselves out with swimming, walking, playing, and fresh air.
I can’t wait to go back. If you are looking for a family-friendly place in the sun to have a nice time for a week or two, I recommend Wapato Point!