Sylvan Dale Ranch ~ Colorado Vacation That Will Capture Your Heart

Dude ranch vacations are becoming more common, with many people exploring this option for their next family trip.  Why are these venues so popular?  What should you look for when selecting a ranch?  And is this type of experience right for your family?  Plus a look at one I consider special, Sylvan Dale Ranch. The secret is out.  Dude ranch vacations offer a unique opportunity to unplug and live a relaxed, Western lifestyle for a few days.  They are truly amazing experiences, and here in Colorado we have numerous guest ranches available. My family has had the opportunity stay at a few of the Colorado dude ranches, and it’s become one of our absolute favorite vacations.  However, it pays to do your research, as there are definitely certain aspects to consider before selecting a ranch. Last Fall, we enjoyed a visit to one I think is particularly special:  Sylvan Dale Ranch near Loveland, Colorado.  Here’s an overview of our stay at this charming ranch, along with some helpful … [Read more...]

Get Your FREE Disney Planning Video 2018!

Thinking of planning a trip to Disney World or Disneyland in 2018? Or just missing Disney, and dreaming of when you can return?  Then this free Disney planning video is for you!  I love watching this video between trips, as it helps build the excitement. The video series is broken into short 3-5 minute video “chapters”.  Kids love it!  Ok, this grownup does too.  It gives you a great overview of not only each park, but also things like the 20 Disney resorts to choose from (a tough choice!), dining options, using MyMagic+, and when to plan your trip.  You might also find my roundup of best Disney planning advice helpful, in my post Easy Disney Planning 101. Get Your FREE Disney Planning Video 2018 If you’re looking for ideas on what to include during your next Disney vacation, this is a fantastic overview and great place to start.   They offer your choice of either Walt Disney World or Disneyland planning videos. To order your free Disney Planning Video, simply click the image … [Read more...]

5 Big Reasons Colorado’s Crested Butte is AWESOME for Learning to Ski

Hidden in the Colorado Rocky Mountains is a fabulous ski destination, Crested Butte.  With long, fabulous runs, combined with lower prices and crowds - this is a mountain worth checking out for your next family's ski trip.   Crested Butte is such an ideal place for beginners to learn to ski.  This is the stage my kids are in, and we've accomplished super fun strides on this mountain. Last weekend we had an early season ski trip to Crested Butte.  The first day, our kids were in such a small ski school group, they were practically private lessons.  As a result, by our second day on the slopes, everything clicked into place.  We had such a wonderful time! After working on our kids learning to ski for a few years now, that Sunday turned out to be what I'd classify as my favorite day of skiing EVER! And Crested Butte has officially become our favorite place to ski in Colorado.  Here's some of the reasons why. #5 - More Affordable Than Other Colorado Ski Resorts The sad … [Read more...]

Top 5 Experiences at Colorado’s Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Allow me to tell you a little bit about Colorado’s loveliest zoo!  Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is truly unique, with one exhibit in particular that will knock your socks off, and possibly change your life.  But I’m getting ahead of myself. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is a gem that has been brilliantly nestled along a mountain side, near Colorado Springs. Trails to view the animals slowly wind up the mountain, switchback style.  Foliage and trees are prevalent, and while some exhibits (like the monkey house) feel a little dated… most of the habitats are excellent. We visited on a cool, rainy November day.  Which I highly recommend!  The animals were active, and the crowds were very low.  One of the things I love about going to a zoo, is that each visit is unique.  Here are what we feel were the Top 5 Experiences at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. #5 Rocky Mountain Wild… Moose, Mountain Lions, & Bears! Especially given the natural Colorado Rocky Mountain surroundings, I loved the Rocky … [Read more...]

Best Travel Destinations for 2018

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018 is the highly anticipated collection of the world’s hottest destinations! These are the breathtaking places that should be on every traveler’s wish list in the year ahead.  (Yaaaayy....! My favorite, Portugal, made the Top 10 List!) What a fabulous gift idea, for any who love to travel.  I love this gorgeous little book, plus it's an awesome size (5.8 x 7 inches).  Works beautifully as either a coffee table piece or stuffed right in your travel bag to bring along.  And it's jam packed with gorgeous photos, and helpful and inspiring tidbits for your wanderlust plans.  Or daydreams.  :) Once per year, Lonely Planet experts reveal their selections of the Top 10 countries, cities, regions and best value destinations. This is an excellent resource for travelers looking for recommendation on what to experience in 2018. Top Ranked Country, City, & Region Chile takes the coveted top spot of the best country for travelers in 2018! Seville … [Read more...]

5 Winning Reasons to Visit Colorado Springs – “Olympic City USA”!

Nestled along a gorgeous stretch of Rocky Mountain Foothills, just a touch south of Denver, lies the city of Colorado Springs.  The front range views of this area are some of the most stunning in all of Colorado.  And there’s plenty of fun to be had during a family visit to what’s been dubbed “Olympic City USA”. Here are just a few winning reasons why your family will enjoy a visit to Colorado Springs. #1 – Rich Olympic Heritage, a.k.a. Olympic City USA Curious why this place is known as Olympic City USA?  Note these interesting facts: Colorado Springs is home to the United States Olympic Committee and U.S. Paralympics They have two official Olympic Training Sites: the velodrome and ice skating facility The Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center is located here, and is open to the public. Public tours are available year-round Monday – Saturday.  Visitors can then explore the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame Rotunda, shop at the U.S. Olympic Store and check out the art … [Read more...]

14 Places Kids Ski Free in Colorado

It's almost ski season in Colorado!  Many slopes have their opening this weekend.  My family is starting to make plans. and will be kicking things off in early December, with a visit to Crested Butte. Crested Butte  is a fantastic, laid back mountain on which to learn to ski... and it's particularly family friendly.  See their "kids ski free" deal below - it's fantastic and includes FREE lift tickets for ages 12 & under,  through Dec. 150. Although I'm not a die hard skier, it's something I want my kids to learn how to do.  Living in a state with the Rocky Mountains running through it makes me feel a little obligated! However, skiing with a family is not a cheap sport.  Fortunately many of the Colorado ski resorts offer deals, and it definitely pays to work these into your plans.  Saving on your kids lift tickets makes a huge difference!  Here's an excellent roundup from the non-profit organization Colorado Ski Country USA. 5th and 6th Graders Ski Free - Passport … [Read more...]

Treat Yourself to a Luxury “Daycation” at Sonnenalp Spa in Vail

The Sonnenalp Hotel in Vail Village, Colorado has created a new experience so guests can enjoy the day the Sonnenalp way. For daycation reservations please contact the spa at 970-479-5404 or email spa@sonnenalp.com My family has visited this amazing place, and we absolutely LOVED our time here.  You can see more about The Sonnenalp in my article I wrote for TravelingMom:  Sonnenalp Hotel - A European Getaway in Colorado. The Experience: Your pampered day at Vail's The Sonnenalp Hotel Spa will include the following: Spa Treatment One 50 minute spa treatment from the Sonnenalp Spa. Full spa menu here. Top choices include:  ** Signature Seasonal Scrub A gentle full-body exfoliation, blended with scents of the season. Removes dead skin cells and surface impurities, allowing the skin to retain moisture and a healthy glow. The scrub ends with a hydrating moisture application, leaving your skin softened and nourished. ** Spa Reflexology This holistic treatment stimulates the … [Read more...]

7 Amazing Things I Loved About Portugal

Named “2016 Hottest Destination of the Year” by Travel & Leisure, and now #3 on Lonely Planet's "2018 Top 10 Countries" list, Portugal is an amazing Europe destination that's getting more and more attention as people discover it's unassuming treasures.  This was my FIRST trip to Europe, and what a wonderful, eye-opening experience it was!   Pastries, kayaking, beaches, seafood galore, a perfect family resort, and visiting one of Europe's most unique castles.   Bliss. First Timer in Europe ~ Why Pick Portugal? My recent visit to Portugal was my first time experiencing Europe, and was certainly a thrill.  Fellow world traveling companions provided some insight for me along the way, pointing out just how many of this country's wonderful features were unique in all of Europe. Portugal offers relatively low prices, lots of English speaking, friendly people, delectable foods (including tons of mouth watering fresh seafood), and amazing coastline scenery. For these reasons and all … [Read more...]

A Disney World Fireworks Cruise Will *Blow* You Away!

We were blown away by the Disney World fireworks cruise my family took, to view Epcot IllumiNations! Here are the details of what to expect, what it includes, how much time to allow, and how much a Disney World fireworks cruise costs.  Plus a preview video of our on-the-lake view of IllumiNations! Did you know that your family can take a Disney World fireworks cruise aboard a pontoon boat? My family tried this fabulous experience out during our most recent Walt Disney World vacation.  The fireworks cruise we took was near Epcot, where we had an up close and personal viewing of Illuminations.  It was absolutely breathtaking! A Disney World fireworks cruise is such a unique and over-the-top experience, that I absolutely recommend your family trying this at least once.  Put it on your Disney Bucket List! Disney World Fireworks Cruise ~ Schedule & Location Our Epcot IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth cruise departed from Disney’s Yacht Club marina.  We had to meet at the … [Read more...]