Let’s face it. In the last four months, travel has drastically changed. All of our travel got put on hold and none of us are eager to jump on a plane anytime soon or head out overseas. However, this is the perfect time to explore our beautiful country via road trips. I grew up going on road trips. I’ve gone all over; Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Texas, Florida, all through the Midwest, and the coasts of California. Family road trips are such a fun adventure. These are the types of family vacations you never forget. There are always stories, beautiful scenery, and a unique charm to traveling by road. We go to Anna Maria Island every year, we just love it there. This year we just traveled there a little differently! Here are the deets from our trip last year!

While the virus may have altered our lives completely I don’t think that it has to turn our lives totally upside down, there is still room for responsible and safe travel but it just looks a little different. A road trip can be such a fun journey. It’s one that your whole family can really cherish. Getting on a plane is fast, sure, but it is so risky right now. Health risks aside, the new airport procedures for temperature checks, socially distant security checkpoints and all of the other measures airports are taking to keep everyone safe are taking so long that if you just drove, you’d be there already! Not to mention, the chances of getting sick are higher at airports and on planes. No thanks!

Hopping in the car and heading out, in a safe and responsible way, is so much saner and easier. I know it can be stressful to think about a road trip but honestly it was so easy. I made sure the car was packed with a ton of snacks and of course the digital babysitters; Ipads, movies, games, etc. I brought blankets and pillows for everyone so they were cozy and everyone was happy. It’s a journey we all will remember forever.

This isn’t our first road trip. Last year we did Toronto by car and a few years before that we did a road trip all around the coast of Michigan. I think Kalista was only 3 years old then. If you have infants or little babies it can be even easier because they sleep. Toddlers are a little more complicated because you have to have a couple of tricks up your sleeve to keep them entertained. I did just that and the trip was wonderful.


  • Do your research: Take the time to do your homework on where you want to travel and what stops you will take on the way. A little preparation on travel restrictions, guidelines, and other factors saved us so many headaches. We also talked to each of the homeowners for our vacation rentals about their cleaning policy.
  • Pack smart: Packing things like disinfectant wipes, masks, gloves, paper towels, or other essentials set us up for success for the rest of the trip. Those items can be hard to find and it was amazing to not have to worry about finding them at our destination.
  • Gas stations: We didn’t stop at gas stations unless we had to fill up the car. We didn’t use them for bathrooms and we brought all our own food. When we did stop for gas we made sure that we took all available precautions, gloves & masks and we always paid outside. Some of the gas stations only took payment inside and we just skipped those.
  • Bathroom stops: This may be TMI but people were asking. For bathroom stops, when someone had to go number one we just stopped in a field off the road and popped a squat. It wasn’t that much of an issue and honestly it got to be pretty funny. My kids will remember this part forever I’m sure. Luckily we had no number 2 needs so that wasn’t a problem LOL.
  • Food: I packed a ton of provisions. I brought a ton of boxed water, packed Ella’s Flats, and ordered a bunch of salads from Farmers Fridge for the way there. We would stop at rest stops to eat outside. My mom brought plastic table cloths to put on picnic tables so we could eat outside without our food touching anything.


We stopped once on our way to Florida in Chattanooga, Tenessee. We rented this gorgeous modern farm house on a mountain. It was simply perfect! This charming southern escape also came with a farm and goats! The kids loved it! We will definitely be staying there again. We did yoga and mantras in the morning and had coffee while enjoying the view. Just being in the mountains can be so soothing.

Here are two other homes we loved that are perfect for a large family and about a half way point between Illinois and Florida.

Chamberlain Hall & Bell Mill Mansion (this place is insanity!)


Once we got to Anna Maria, we followed all the precautions that we would have back home. We stayed in the house and only went to the beach early in the mornings before anyone else was up. Anna Maria Island isn’t as packed as some other parts of Florida so there weren’t very many people there anyway. It was really easy to keep 6 ft apart and stay safe.

We purchased our food for the whole vacation with one trip to Publix while wearing masks. We cooked everything at the house and had fun doing it. We barbecued and between all of us we had a great time cooking breakfast and fun brunches and lovely dinners. It was great to have my mom, sister in law, and cousin there so we could all cook together. We had music blasting and made a party out of the whole thing. It also happened to be my 40th Birthday and my family threw me the most magical soiree!!! I’m so lucky to have them!

We made sure to pick a house with a pool so that we could enjoy the sun without going out. This house was just perfect. We booked it about 5 weeks ago, it was pricey but worth it. Unfortunately, I think it’s booked out until August but there are other great options in the area. Here is the house we rented but there are some other insane ones in the area.

Remember, if a staycation feels safest and most comfortable for you and your family then make the most of your time at home. There’s no need to take any risks you don’t feel comfortable with. There are no guarantees that a road trip will keep you or your loved ones from catching the virus so, as always, use your best judgment and stay safe!

Are you trying to plan a road trip this summer? How are you going to do it?

Shop my Florida road trip picks below!

P.S. Want more travel? Find it here!