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November 11, 2019

Our favorite kid-friendly cities with direct flights from TPA

By Tampa Bay Parenting

The friendly skies are even friendlier when you’re soaring above the clouds on a non-stop flight with the kiddos! There’s no worrying about making your connecting flight and long layovers to contend with. Just hop on a flight at Tampa International Airport and hop off at a growing list of direct flights in the United States or abroad.

We’re sharing some awesome cities with direct flights from Tampa International Airport for those of you looking for an experience of a lifetime!

Tampa to Amsterdam

By Danielle Campbell (@boardandbeauty on Instagram) 

When deciding on a European family vacation, my husband and I started researching flights out of Tampa International Airport. Once we found Delta’s nonstop Tampa to Amsterdam option, we were sold. The flight left Tampa at 7:55 p.m. and landed at 10:30 a.m. in Amsterdam. It was perfect because the kids slept during most of the flight.

Our favorite family friendly activities included a canal cruise with Floating Amsterdam, a Family Foodie Tour with the tour company With Locals and a day trip to the village of Giethoorn.

Tampa to London

By Anu Varma Panchal, associate editor with @tampabayparenting 

Overnight flights to London from TPA (like the one Norwegian Airlines offers) make it so easy to plan a kid-friendly European idyll. We took our girls there at the height of the older one’s Pottermania, so a day-long visit to Warner Bros. Studio: The Making of Harry Potter was a must-do.

On the younger one’s agenda: Big Ben, to see where the iconic scene from Peter Pan happened. London is a los a great spot from which to wander further afar; we took Eurorail to Paris to enjoy the Christmas markets and wine tens that pop up all over town this time of year.

direct flights

Tampa to Salt Lake City, UT (Park City)

By Anna Tataris DeJesus (@thegreatescapeplan1 on Instagram) 

Ready to ski, snow tube and build a snowman? Family time in Park City is easy with direct flights from Tampa International Airport to Salt Lake City, only 35 minutes from Park City, Utah, a popular destination for Tampa Bay families who want a true winter experience. We suggest ski and snowboard lessons for families from Park City Mountain, scenic horse-drawn sleigh rides, Flying Eagle seated zip line, snowshoe tours and tubing at Gorgoza Park. Another must do is a visit to Utah’s Olympic Park where you can take a free tour to see where the 2002 Games were held. Park City has a big selection of family friendly food options on Main Street from pizza to upscale restaurants, and their free bus system makes it easy for families to get around town.  

Tampa to Denver, CO

By Marisa Langford (@TampaMama on Instagram)

Hop on a direct flight via United Airlines with the whole family and head to the Mile High City and get ready to explore one of America’s most beautiful states!  Denver is centrally located to a number of place that everyone should see at least once in their lifetime!  Explore the famous Red Rocks Amphitheater and catch a concert if you can plan the dates right! Rent a car and book a night in Lakewood, Golden or Morrison. It’s close to Red Rocks Amphitheater. Make reservation as at the Ship Rocks Grill. Eat outside with epic views of Red Rocks it maybe even catch a concert. Book a local photographer to come to Red Rocks and capture family pictures.

Vail is your next stop. The two hour road trip is unbelievable. The mountain scenery along 70 West is gorgeous and entertaining in itself. Stop at some marked scenic lookouts to stretch or take pictures. Vail is the place to explore Vail Village and either hike or ski, depending on the time of year you travel. Explore Vail Mountain if you can! The summer time has an amazing Epic Discovery Advebture Park for kids & adults! The views from the gondola are epic and unforgettable!

And last but not least, book a few nights in Grand Lake which is right outside of Rocky Mountain National Park.  We downloaded the Gypsy App to have a personal tour guide in the car and point things out as drove along Trail Ridge Road. We stopped at Fairview Curve to take pictures of the Never Summer Mountain Range. Be on the look out for elk, deer and bears! Drive to the Alpine Visitors Center which is highest elevation in all of the National Parks System.  It was amazing.  Hike the extra feet to the highest elevation (12,005 k) for these insane views. It was so cold too (like 61 degrees in August). They have best hot coco for $3 and a hot M&M cookie too!

Drive towards Estes Park as you leave Rocky Mountain National Park and have lunch at Ed’s Cantina before you head back to Denver.  Sight see in the city before you go. Coors Field. 16th Street Mall. Leohrims Square. We ate lunch at Rock Bottom Brewery and we decided to make the trip to Little Man Ice Cream. We ended our day at a hotel close to the airport for easy access to the airport the next morning. Direct back to Tampa on United Airlines!

Tampa to New York City

Also by Marisa Langford!

In 3 short hours on board a Jet Blue flight non-stop flight from TPA to NYC, you can be in right in the heart of Manhattan by lunch time! Upon arrival, take an Uber into the city and have them drop you off in the Flatiron District where you can lunch at Eatly’s seasonal rooftop restaurant on the 14th floor, SERRA by Birreria. Their menus change with the season as does the beautiful scenery and rooftop views high above the busy city below!

Walk up 5th to visit some of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Empire State building, NYC Metropolitan Library, Rockelfellar Plaza (where the Today Show is filmed) and of course all the shopping (and window shopping) on 5th avenue.  Stop into The Plaza Hotel to marvel at this beautiful hotel and grab a freshly prepared lunch to go from Todd English at The Plaza. Head to Central Park  where you can bring your lunch and lounge on the lawn or take a beautiful walk in the park.  End the night with a broadway show and an amazing display of lights in Times Square.

Stay one more day to visit the Statue of Liberty, One World Trade center, the Brooklyn Bridge and of course the original Dylan’s Candy Bar too!  If you have 48 hours or 4 days, a trip to NYC will always be a trip to remember!

Tampa to Washington, D.C.

by Angi Comas (@lamaisontitle on Instagram) 

Over Labor Day weekend, I took my 6-year old son on a “mommy and me” trip to Washington D.C. After we checked into our hotel on Saturday afternoon, we headed straight to the National Museum of Natural History. Lately, my son has been into dinosaurs and so, I thought he would be excited about seeing all the fossils. He was – but the snow cone outside the museum was equally as exciting.

Later that afternoon, we went to the National Mall. We strolled to the Washington Monument and skipped along the Reflection Pool to the Lincoln Memorial. We were exhausted after an adventurous first day! On the second day, we got up early, ate breakfast and then jumped on the Metro to go to the National Zoo. The pandas, both giant and red, were the highlights of the zoo.

After the zoo, we just walked around the city – talking, eating snacks and giggling together. We didn’t quite make it to many of the other attractions (a little guy can only cover so much ground in two days), but we didn’t care. Our trip was about spending time together – just mommy and me.  All of our meals were delicious and it was nice to get away from the extreme heat in Florida.

We flew back to Tampa on Monday and before landed, we already planned our next mommy and me trip!

Washington DC

Flying with Kids? Here are some expert tips from a mom of three who has been there, done that!

By Heather DeManche

Flying can be stressful, but flying with three little ones alone is a beast of its own.

Related: Flying with kids and carseats: What you need to know before you board your next flight

When your flight is delayed three times over an eight-hour period, then cancelled and rebooked for another flight that sits on the tarmac for another 90 minutes, your parent survival mode kicks into high gear. This was my worst-case scenario coming into fruition this past summer as I traveled across the country to Montana with my three boys ages 7, 5 and 2.

flying with kidsWhat saved me 35,000 in the air? Filling a backpack of favorite activities, and I’m happy to share my tips for what to put in them:

  1. Play-doh and Kinetic Sand: They’re  cheap, come in small containers and if you buy new ones, they are fun to open on board. Bonus for germaphobe parents: They can easily be thrown away once you’re off the plane. 
  2. Books, sticker activity books and Melissa & Doug Water Wow: Let the artist in the sky take flight with a blank pad of paper, crayons and color pencils. Bring an old magazine and have them write their name on the top page. Then have them circle or cross out the same letters of their name they find on the page or find sight words.
  3. Toy cars: These can be found at any store for a dollar. 
  4. Etch A Sketch: Great for old-school tic-tac-toe, hangman, practicing writing a child’s name and learning sight words.
  5. Card games or mini board games. My kids’ favorites were Go Fish and Guess Who.
  6. A kid-friendly camera: Kids love documenting their trip, plus they won’t ask to borrow your camera or phone to take pictures. It’s fun to see things through the lens of a child, and you can print out their favorite pictures and turn them into postcard using a service like postsnap.
  7. Snacks, snacks and more snacks: Nothing worse than a hangry tot 35,000 feet in the air! 
  8. Kid carry-on luggage: I realize this is not for all families, but this worked for us. My older two boys had rolling carry-on luggage, each filled with LEGOs and Magna Tiles. We did get pulled out of line and receive some special care from the TSA, but it was worth it for hours of imaginative play. 
  9. iPad/tablets: Add a new movie or game. Also check ahead to see if your airline has free in-flight kids’ movies and shows. Don’t forget headphones.

Featured Image Credit: Anu Varma Panchal

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