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...]

Come Discover Colorado’s Wild Horses

Colorado is known for outdoor recreation and miles of beautiful hiking trails. But did you realize it’s also home to one of only three areas in the United States set aside specifically for wild horses? Little Bookcliffs Wild Horse Area in Western Colorado is easy to find, free to access, and open year round. Here’s what you need to know to plan a fun day adventure there. Where to See Colorado's Wild Horses A hidden gem of western Colorado, Little Bookcliffs Wild Horse Area is home to a beautiful herd of wild horses.  This sizable area is over 36,000 acres of public land, managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  The herd is comprised of hearty mustangs, and ranges in size from 90 to 150. A group called Friends of the Mustangs works with BLM to ensure that both the range and the horses living here are kept healthy.   They also assist in annual roundups, and in finding adoptive homes for any animals culled from the herd. Little Bookcliffs Wild Horse Area Although it's … [Read more...]

Packing a Checklist for Your Next African Safari

The following article was contributed by one of this blog's collaborators. One of the more underrated and underappreciated skills of the experienced traveller, proper packing can make or break any trip. To those who spend a lot of time on the road, packing is an area in which we take particular pride, and it can be one of the more crucial elements of special excursions. Each destination, climate and locale may require its own clothing and other items.  This is especially important if the excursion takes you a good distance from civilization.   An African safari is the perfect example of this. A safari is not like an American road trip, a Caribbean resort or a European city, and the items you bring should accordingly reflect the difference. Africa is rugged and unforgiving, but it can also be one of the most memorable and exciting journeys of a lifetime for those who come prepared. If you have been on safari before, you may be well aware of these facts. But … [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...]

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...]

Tips for the Best Colorado Fall Drive & Family Adventure

You just can't beat Fall color in Colorado!  When those Aspen trees turn brilliant gold, and contrast against the Rocky Mountain evergreens... it's a breathtaking sight to behold.  Here's my "Insider List" of where the locals consider the best Colorado Fall drive.  Plus my tips on exploring a bit off the beaten path, and how to keep your kids excited about this awesome family outdoor adventure. A year-round outdoor lover, I'd have to say that fall is my absolute favorite season in Colorado.  I've polled the experts, and seen many of these for myself.  Here's my Insider List of best fall drives. Top 5 Colorado Fall Drives NORTHERN - Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park CENTRAL - Kebler Pass, part of the West Elk Loop that ends in fun ski town Crested Butte CENTRAL - Grand Mesa Byway (My favorite! More on this below), 45 minutes from Grand Junction SOUTHERN - Last Dollar Road, from Ridgeway to Telluride, both awesome mountain towns DENVER AREA - Guanella … [Read more...]

6 Cool Things You’ll Love at the Denver Aquarium

Nestled in a lovely, easy-to-access downtown area, the Denver Aquarium is a fabulous option for families.  You'll even find some surprising, non-fish attractions!  Here are the top exhibits to see, how much time to allow for a visit, what to expect for a closing time, and whether the attached Aquarium Restaurant is a good place to eat. We had been to the Downtown Denver Aquarium a few years ago, and I don't remember being too impressed.  But for some reason, this recent visit was more enjoyable than ever.  Perhaps it’s because this time around we have a first grader son that loves fish?  Or that they are now under a restaurant brand's umbrella, and have upped their overall game to bring in visitors? At any rate, we were quite impressed and had a wonderful time.  I heartily recommend this Colorado attraction!  Here's my recap of what to expect, and the best exhibits to watch for. Travel Through the World’s Ecosystems Rain forest ecosystem at Denver AquariumThe layout of the … [Read more...]

Top 5 Ruidoso, New Mexico Things To Do (for Outdoor Lovers!)

Ruidoso, New Mexico is a unique mountain village that may be a bit off the beaten path.  But what you’ll find here is an outdoor lovers paradise, which is well worth a visit.  Here I've gathered the Top 5 Ruidoso New Mexico things to do with a family. This unique off the beaten path destination offers much to outdoorsy families looking for a fun yet relaxing getaway.  Get your heart pumping activities like hiking, mountain biking, and skiing.  Or just taking a leisurely stroll through town to browse local Western art.  There’s something for everyone here to enjoy. # 5 - Mountain Bike Trails Since my son turned age 5 and graduated to a decent trail worthy bike, family mountain biking has become our favorite outdoor activity. With new trail development and a vast network of empty rural roads and awesome mountain trails, cycling in Ruidoso has never been better. Ruidoso local bike shops can hook you up with bike rentals.  Then check out the Discover Ruidoso website for … [Read more...]