(BPT) - As every parent knows, having kids is a game changer in all aspects of life, including vacations. The days of stuffing a backpack full of clothes, a toothbrush and some deodorant and taking off for a weekend are behind you. Ely is a great place to vacation with family. But when you're coming here with kids, it's not like you're going to Disney World or the Dells. This is the wilderness, and a little forethought can help ensure that you not only experience a memorable family vacation with your kids but make sure they're safe, too.

Here's the recipe you need to concoct a great family vacation in Ely.

Make sure your kids know the rules of the forest. If you're camping, talk to them about animal encounters, keeping your campsite safe, and above all, not wandering off. If you're taking a day trip from a resort, tell them how to be respectful and quiet in the wilderness, how to listen for animal sounds, and how to spot animal tracks. It not only ensures that your kids will be safe and respectful, but also adds to the magic of the experience.

Plan enough, but not too much. When traveling with kids, there’s a delicate balance when it comes to planning. Keeping your schedule wide open will lead to a lot of boredom and complaining. On the other hand, planning every day down to the minute is setting impossible expectations. Find a middle ground. Create an itinerary that is full of activities but flexible. In the morning, pick from a list of activities you have planned out and see how the day goes. You might not get to everything, but hey, there’s always next year.

Get uncomfortable. Just like traveling exposes adults to new experiences and gets them out of their comfort zone, it does the same for kids. Yes, your children will largely dictate what you do, but many times it’s the things they’re not over the moon about, like a hike to see a waterfall or paddling a canoe out to an island to have a picnic, that are the most rewarding.

Get active. One of the most rewarding aspects of a family vacation is going out, getting sweaty, working up an appetite and doing something that gives everyone in your family a sense of accomplishment. This “something” can be a lot of different things. You might choose to go on a hike, rent bikes, go canoeing, you name it. The important thing is that you do something that might be outside of your usual routine, and do it together! It’s a powerful bonding experience.

Unique downtime. At some point, everyone will want some downtime to plug in and watch their favorite show or movie. That’s to be expected. But make sure you have other options for downtime, options that are unique to the area you're visiting. For instance, if you’re at a lake-side resort, your kids will probably spend more time in the water than you thought possible.

Limit technology. Every parent has their rules about screen time and how often their kids can use their phones and computers. That’s only part of the story. Adults need to be reminded to unplug as well. Be sure everyone at your work understands you are unavailable during your vacation and tell people that if they need you, you’ll get back to them in a week! You’re on vacation with your family, and being up here in the Northwoods with the ones you love is better than any picture, any tweet, any text.

When it comes to an ideal place for a family vacation, Ely checks off every box. Tons of adventure, no shortage of lakes to swim and splash in, a vibrant downtown and, of course, its backyard is one of the most spectacular wilderness areas in the country.