One of our family’s favorite travel adventures was taking the Amtrak Auto Train to Washington, D.C.

Our girls were students at New Smyrna Beach High School then, and we had so much fun playing games on board and seeing the countryside from the train. It was fabulous!

Once we arrived in the nation’s capital, we visited the memorials and toured the Smithsonian museums. I still fondly remember the malt shop in the basement of the National Museum of Natural History.

Now that Spring Break is behind us, and we’ve started the fourth quarter, summer vacation for students is not far off. With coronavirus precautions still in place, there are limitations on travel again this year.

But there are still plenty of outdoor summer fun opportunities! Families can explore state parks, go camping, and take day trips to attractions and museums where health and safety guidelines are in place. April is the perfect time to start making your plans!

Children (and often, their parents) learn from enrichment activities and new experiences. You can make a game out of asking questions about what each family member enjoyed the most – and something each person learned.

A great way to unplug and unwind is camping. Whether it’s a family trip or a stay-away camp through a youth organization, camping is a great way to experience nature up-close. Camping builds family bonds – some of the best conversations happen around the campfire!

Florida offers many fantastic camping choices through state and county parks and private campgrounds. Be sure to make your reservations early – camping is popular year-round here.

Parenting tip: Involve your kids in planning your summer travel and camping adventures. Give them options and let them make some of the choices. Allow each child to pick one activity or attraction during your summer trip. This approach reinforces in children that adults value their input and are willing to trust their decisions.

On a different topic, do you have a student entering kindergarten? It’s time to get them registered! Our Kindergarten Roundup registration will be done through the VCS website: To begin kindergarten, a child must be 5 years old on or before September 1, 2021. Additional information about the documents needed is available on the VCS website. We look forward to welcoming your little ones to Volusia County Schools!

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