Do you need ideas for activities to do with kids? Tried and true suggestions that real moms actually do? Here they are! We’re asking families to share their favorites, to help you find yours.
Are you following @departingdtw on Instagram? Jessica, a Detroit native travel blogger, along with her hubby Trevor, created Departing DTW as a way to share their passion for travel and adventure. And now with a baby at home (and travel slowing down due to COVID), Departing DTW has switched gears to highlight family-friendly day trips and tips for traveling with a baby in tow.
Hi! This past January, I became a mom when we had our little guy, Mack. Without a doubt, he’s the perfect addition to our lives, brightening every day (especially in the COVID era!) with his sweet smiles and squeaks. Because we place a big emphasis on travel and exploration in our family, we’re eager to cultivate our kiddo’s sense of adventure.
We chronicle our trips so that fellow metro Detroiters – and anyone, anywhere – can learn from our experiences and hopefully be inspired to visit destinations that they may not have otherwise. Our blog, DepartingDTW.com and Instagram account, has focused on kid-free excursions since its inception, but now it’s a place where we can detail all of our wins and epic mishaps for fellow families. 2020 has gotten off to a bit of a slower start than we’d anticipated, but interested readers can get the scoop on our first baby-in-tow road trip to Chicago as well as our favorite day trips around Detroit, and soon, a round-up on our first family vacation to the Great Smoky Mountains, which includes a stay at a gorgeous resort that I’ve had my eye on for years!
Favorite Ways To Spend Family Time:
- Grabbing the stroller and taking long walks through Brush Park, Midtown, and along the Detroit Riverfront.
- Getting out of the city for family hikes (with a picnic, of course!).
- Spending time with our families, friends, and neighbors, whether we’re hosting a BBQ or meeting at the park.
Favorite Places To Go:
- Bald Mountain Recreation Area (Lake Orion)
- Nichols Arboretum (Ann Arbor)
- Belle Isle State Park (Detroit)
Favorite Bedtime Stories:
- The Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid by Dylan Thuras
- All Aboard! National Parks: A Wildlife Primer by Hailey Meyers
- The Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle
Favorite Dinner Recipes:
- Caramelized Onion + Feta Turkey Burgers
- Potbelly Copycat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (Tip: We add fresh blueberries to our batter too!)
- Baby Food: Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
Best Park/Playground: Robert C. Valade Park (Detroit Riverfront)
Detroit’s Robert C. Valade Park on the riverfront has been our most-visited as of late. We love the sandy expanse, cool breeze, and river views, but most of all, the convenient parking lot just across the street.
Best Life-Saver: Fisher-Price On-the-Go Sit Me Up Floor Seat
One of the purchases that have come most in handy this year has been our Fisher-Price On-the-Go Sit-Me-Up Floor Seat, which is perfect for folding up and bringing along for picnics, beach trips, or visiting friends. Its retractable canopy includes UPF 20 sun protection, too, which makes life outdoors a little bit easier.
Best Fall Destination: Historic M-119’s Tunnel of Trees
I couldn’t imagine a better place to live in the fall than Michigan. Road trippers will adore the state’s iconic Tunnel of Trees along M-119 when foliage is in its peak hues, and nearby Petoskey and Harbor Springs make for a perfect weekend home base. (Be sure to swing into the Legs Inn for an authentic Polish meal and killer lake views!) Once the US-Canadian border reopens, I also highly recommend a day trip to Point Pelee National Park in Ontario, and a stop or two along the Lake Erie Wine Trail for mom and dad.
“Pat Yourself on the Back” Accomplishment: Maintaining My Creativity
Always finding room to pursue creativity simply for me. Life gets busy (and messy!) in a hurry, so it takes time and effort to carve out space for myself to cultivate creativity outside of my career and apart from motherhood. Sometimes that means drafting a blog post, adding a product to my Etsy shop, or rearranging a room in the house, but no matter what it is, I’ve deemed that guilt-free time necessary to show up as the best version of myself.
Photo credit: Departing DTW
About Ashley Hubbbard-Porter
Ashley Porter is a Chicago native who now calls Birmingham home. Ashley and her husband Mike and son Jake love attending local festivals, exploring Detroit’s diverse food scene, and venturing outside of Metro Detroit to enjoy the natural beauty of Michigan. With a background in Early Childhood Education, Ashley loves connecting with and supporting families in her community, which is why she is so excited to be a part of LittleGuide Detroit.