Family Summer Bucket List

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family summer bucket list

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #RoadTripOil#CollectiveBiasI just booked our first-ever family vacation for next summer! My daughter just turned 15 and I have never taken her anywhere other than a long weekend here and there. My husband and I have been married for almost 5 years, and we never got a honeymoon, and have never gone away together. Its going to be a fairly modest vacation  – 4 days in Salt Lake City, driving the 14 hours there, and staying in a low-budget hotel, but we are all really excited.

As I was lining things up I got to thinking. Even though we aren’t going on vacation this summer, we have still had a ton of fun. When my stepsons come for the summer its a 14 hour drive, so they really get their fill of sitting in a car. We have found that it’s really easy to be a tourist in your own town, if you just take some time to explore. 

Whether you are trekking cross-country, or touring your own town, I have a few tips to help make your summer family adventures smooth sailing so you can concentrate on making great memories together!

Plan It Out

It doesn’t matter if you are driving to another state, or driving a few blocks away, having a plan will make your adventure easier and more productive. A few things to consider:

  • Where do you want to go?  Choose destinations that will be fun for the whole family and fit into your budget.
  • Who do you want to see/spend time with? Are there family members you would like to go visit this summer? Friends you need to catch up with? For us this is an important question since the boys are only here for 8 weeks. We try to “make the rounds” of friends and family and make sure they get to see everyone!
  • What do you need to bring? Even if you are road tripping close to home, make sure you have the essentials like water, snacks, or even sunscreen and bug spray. 
  • Is your car road-ready? While this is especially important on long drives, you also want to properly maintain your vehicle for short drives around town, which can be a lot more strenuous on your vehicle’s mechanical parts. I am a stickler about keeping up with oil changes, and it has paid off. Even at well over 100,000 miles my car runs like the day I bought it. We stopped at the Walmart Automotive Care Center for a quick oil change since we were already there to stock up on snacks for our day. What I like about them is that they use Penzoil® High Mileage Vehicle® oil in my car, which helps clean out sludge that other oils leave behind, while helping to reduce leaks and oil consumption in high-mileage vehicles. It’s specifically designed for new or late-model vehicles with 75,000+ miles, and will help keep your engine clean. Not only was it convenient for us to have the oil changed while we shopped, an oil change with Penzoil High Mileage Vehicle Oil is on Rollback from June 15 – August 28 from $39.88 to $35.88. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the auto center also has its own entrance, so this will be a quick stop for me in the future even when I don’t have shopping to do.



Where To Go

People always say that there is nothing to do in my town, but I beg to differ. Even if you don’t live in a large city, you can find tons of fun things to do and places to go with a little imagination. A few things we have found to do around town:

  • Our local children’s museum


We used to have a membership at a children’s museum 90 minutes away, but this year one opened in our city! Check out memberships for places like this. We save money by buying a yearly membership vs. one time admittance after 2 visits.

  • Local outdoor spaces

Iowa may not be known for it’s scenery, but we have some amazing local parks and trails. We have spent time walking trails:


And playing in local parks:


  • Local Museums

Every town has history. My town has a couple of museums that showcase everything from businesses that got their start here, to historical events.

901248_4750572563963_862879118_oAnd spent time at local landmarks, like this park that features several Catholic shrines. I am not Catholic, but I love how beautiful and peaceful this place is.

901863_4785512557441_1880667044_oWhether it involves a cross-country road trip, or just exploring around your town, there are plenty of things you can do this summer to spend quality time as a family. Today I am sharing this free printable to help plan your adventures near and far. Click the picture to download.

family bucket listDo you have any family adventures planned for this summer? Are you headed near or far? Find your nearest Auto Care Center and get your car ready with Penzoil High Mileage oil here.


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Hi! I'm Melissa!

Melissa is a former hairstylist of 20 years who has a passion for living a simply creative life. She loves inspiring others to pick up a planner and get their lives organized, to clean out a closet and minimize their clutter, and to clean up their physical and mental space to lead their most fulfilled life. She is newly single, a mom, soon to be grandma and crazy dog lady who constantly rewatches The Office.



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