Colorado’s Elitch Gardens Opens this Weekend!

Hooray for summertime!  My kids had their last day of school yesterday, the gorgeous sun is shining bright today, and we are ready to have some FUN!  Heads up to Denver - Elitch Gardens opens this weekend, and they are kicking things off with a *BANG*... as in, fireworks! Check out the opening weekend details.  And for a peek at my don't miss Elitch Gardens recommendations, check out my post Top 5 Experiences at Elitch Gardens. Elitch Gardens Opening Schedule Dive head first into summer at Elitch Gardens Theme & Water Park this weekend as they celebrate Memorial Day. Guests can make a splash in Island Kingdom Water Park on its opening day this Saturday.  Also enjoy two new live daily shows, and a spectacular fireworks display. “Summer officially kicks off when we open the water park for the season,” says Karl Traeger, Marketing Director. “With activities fit for everyone, Elitch Gardens is the place to be for families this Memorial Day Weekend.” The water park boasts … [Read more...]

7 Magical Reasons to Stay at Wyndham Lake Buena Vista (near Disney World)

Let's talk about the elephant in the room first.  I almost always advocate for staying at a Disney World resort.  However, after two visits now to the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista property, I’ve now decided this is my one exception. They’ve got a  LOT to offer, and have gone to great efforts to make sure that families staying with them for a Disney World vacation still feel surrounded by that special Disney magic. There are even a few hidden Mickeys on site! Take a look at these solid reasons to consider staying at Wyndham Lake Buena Vista during your next vacation to Walt Disney World. #1 On Disney World Property Location The Wyndham Lake Buena Vista is literally ON THE WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT PROPERTY, across the street from Disney Springs!  If you want to save money but still stay as close to Disney World as possible, it’s an absolutely perfect location. Staying at this resort really adds no more travel-to-park time than staying at one of the other periphery … [Read more...]

Have You Dreamt of Enchanting Iceland? [Trip Giveaway]

Iceland... enchanting land of wild ponies, steaming outdoor thermal pools, and stunning views of Aurora Borealis.  This destination has gained notoriety in recent years as a fabulous travel destination.  Being a nature and outdoors lover, Iceland is squarely on my Bucket List. So when my friends over at Outdoor Families Magazine recently announced this awesome giveaway, I wanted to be sure my readers knew about it.  In celebration of their 3rd year anniversary, Outdoor Families Magazines has worked with Travel East to offer this exciting Iceland trip giveaway! Family Adventure Iceland Trip Giveaway You can enter HERE for a chance to win the Enchanting Iceland Land and Sea Family Adventure Vacation Giveaway.  This opportunity is for you and your family to explore all the great unknown treasures the "land of fire and ice" has to offer! The Grand Prize Winner will receive the following: 3-night Stay for 3 at Hotel Bláfell in Breiðdaslvík Kistufell – 3-4 hour Super Jeep … [Read more...]

My First Kayak Adventure Ever… in Sagres Portugal!

Death by rollover.  Trapped upside down in my kayak, whoosing past head-smashing rocks, unable to release my lower body from its underwater tomb.  Yep, it’s one of my worst nightmares.  Can you blame me? Hence my hesitancy whenever I’ve had the opportunity to go kayaking. And I almost passed up the opportunity yet again, on a recent media trip to Portugal.  We had a local guide from the fishing village of Sagres Portugal who was planning on taking our small group of three out for a kayak adventure.  Realizing I was there to report in the capacity of “OUTDOORSY” TravelingMom… I figured I better suck it up, Buttercup! And join them. Lesson learned:  Never pass up a chance to kayak with a guide! My First Time Kayaking – Walk in the Park Turns out the only danger that day was if I had actually tipped over, my iPhone would have been trashed.  Other than that, it was so completely safe that they even take out children if the sea is calm. “The Sea.”  That’s what they … [Read more...]

Consider Bandung, Indonesia for a Winter Getaway Vacation

As the cooler temperatures approach, it's a great time to plan a winter getaway vacation to a warmer destination.  If you are traveling within the United States, everyone who reads my blog would know one of my favorite recommended locations is visiting the beaches of Florida and a trip to Disney World. But how about someplace more exotic?  Prices are often surprisingly affordable, and more and more locations are catering to families with kids.  Resorts offer more services and areas to accommodate children than even before.  Attractions welcome children, with hands on activities and opportunities for exploration.  With that in mind, here are some reasons to consider a family vacation to Bandung, Indonesia. Family Friendly Activities in Bandung, Indonesia Millions of tourists visit Bandung, Indonesia each year.  Bandung is one of Indonesia's top family destinations, and they enjoy relatively cool tropical weather. Here are just  a few of the family friendly activities you can … [Read more...]

Does the Midwest Have a Culture?

Now that I also write for a larger family travel website, TravelingMom.com, I've had the opportunity to take some fun press trips.  Recently I was invited to come visit Iowa to check out their whitewater parks (which are very cool... they've converted deadly dams in these free recreation areas).  My daughter accompanied me, and I was excited for her to see a new part of the country she wasn't familiar with. My 11 year old daughter is a Western Colorado girl, being raised in a high mountain desert terrain.  I wanted her to see some landscape more similar to what her Midwestern mom had been raised around.  Or at least, what I thought I had been raised around. But my, oh my!  The lovely, unending oceans of corn were unlike anything I had ever encountered.  The fields were dotted occasionally with massive, gorgeous barns.  And even without mountains on the horizon, the landscape was unique and beautiful (and in that regard, I'm admittedly biased!) But the corn fields aren't what … [Read more...]

Top Things To Do in San Diego, California

Heading to Southern California, and looking for family friendly ideas on what to do?  My family recently spent a week in the San Diego area, thanks to a generous Aventura Clothing Ambassador gift of a timeshare.  I did a fair amount of research prior to our trip, and also had a few of my own favorite places I wanted to see. Top Things To Do in San Diego This was my husband's first visit to the West Coast, it and was to be a grand adventure!  It would also be our first long road trip in some time, so we weren't sure what  to expect. Our trip was not without a surprise or two, but we had a great deal of fun.  I don't recommend our 14 hour road trip home through the southwestern states, in 108 degree temps with a broken A/C.  But here are the highlights I do recommend to your family, if you are headed to Southern California for vacation. 1.  San Diego Whale Watching San Diego Whale Watching offers the only year-round whale watching tour in San Diego.  Heading out on the … [Read more...]

2016 Best Summer Travel Destinations

Planning any summer travel this season, or still looking for some great destination ideas?  WalletHub has released its list of 2016's Best Summer Travel Destinations.  Their analysts compared the 80 largest metro areas across 30 key metrics to identify the most budget-friendly and fun-filled summer destinations. Whew!  They obviously didn't rule out any cities due to high temperatures (Las Vegas in summer?!)  But I do think they've used some smart criteria... such as “cost of the cheapest flight”, “number of attractions”, and “diversity of activities.” I can see where those elements would make for a fabulous trip.  What do you think of the cities that made the list? Best Summer Travel Destinations Las Vegas, NV Salt Lake City, UT Orlando, FL ~ Can't go wrong with a trip to Disney World! Los Angeles, CA ~ LA is Scary, but exciting in my opinion, after 1 week spent downtown... Atlanta, GA ~ World of Coke gets 2 thumbs up from me! Dallas, TX Greenville, … [Read more...]

Frights and Delights Found at Cocoa Beach, Florida

Being outdoor lovers from Colorado, we never pass up an opportunity to see the ocean.  So as much as we cherish our Disney World time, a visit to the beach always gets included during trips to Florida.  Cocoa Beach is the closest - a mere 45 minutes from MCO airport, or about 1 hr 15 minutes from Walt Disney World Resort. I think there are numerous benefits to adding an ocean stay to your Disney trip.  We've done so at the beginning, middle, and end of our vacation.  Middle is our favorite, as it provides a breather from the crowds and chaos of the parks.  But then you get to head back for a bit more excitement before you head home! Cocoa Beach Beach Delights Walking Right Out to the Sand I have one core requirement for selecting a hotel when we stay at Cocoa Beach.  I want an oceanfront property, so we can walk right out of our hotel room in our swimsuits and flip flops on to the beach. An ocean view is also nice, and recently when staying at the DoubleTree Cocoa Beach … [Read more...]

6 Essential Accessories For Travel This Summer

  I'm leaving on a jet plane this weekend, and thought this was an excellent, affordable, and helpful list of travel accessories to bring along.  I just ordered an extra charger on Amazon this week, for my upcoming TravelingMom Disney Writers Retreat trip.  And I'm definitely adding cleansing wipes to my carry-on list!  What a great idea to wipe down your plane surroundings.  Because eww. 6 Essential Travel Accessories Here are 6 of the hottest summer travel accessories: Cleansing wipes. Use antibacterial wipes when sitting down on an airplane or entering a cruise ship stateroom. They will minimize the risks of getting germs that can make people sick and ruin their travel plans. On the airplane, use them for the armrest, overhead knobs, seat belt buckle, and tray table. On a cruise ship stateroom or in a hotel room, use wipes on the television remote control, door knobs, toilet handle, and light switches. Apps for your phone. Traveling with the right apps can make your … [Read more...]