Picture a series of pristine alpine lakes nestled between mountain peaks and jagged ridges. There’s a small slice of wilderness in the central Cascades of Washington known as the Enchantments, and hiking-in is the only way to access this area of astounding natural beauty. My husband Rick recently spent 6-days backpacking through the area with 3 other hiking buddies on an adventure that began and ended at the Snow Lake trailhead near Leavenworth. Although I’m not a backpacker, I’m really excited to share some of his pictures and stories from this special place.
We just got back from a relaxing weekend with friends in the mountains in Southwest Virginia. It’s a place where the highway winds through the mountains, the rivers are wide, and the towns are small. Lately I’ve been spending more time in this part of the state, and I’ve come to appreciate many of the special things this quieter part of Virginia has to offer. There are plenty of outdoor options, like hiking, biking and water activities, especially during the warmer months, along with the opportunity to experience small town charm and home grown music. So next time you are heading west on Interstate 81 in Virginia, take some time to check out these 5 cool things along the way.
Imagine being locked in a small room with your family or friends, knowing you only have one hour to work as a team to figure out how to escape. That’s the premise behind escape rooms, one of the latest trends in family entertainment which have cropped up all over the country. The themes vary, ranging from detective style mysteries and spy missions, to high school detention classrooms and mental institutions. Most rooms are typically recommended for ages 10 and up, although some are geared towards older teens due to the nature of the room.
If someone asked me to describe Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, I would say it reminds me of an east coast beach town without the beach! Think of a place with every attraction you can imagine for kids of all ages, a variety of lodging options, and plenty of restaurants and ice cream shops. Throw in a scenic mountain location just a short drive from Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and you have a family-friendly vacation destination with something for everyone. Our road trip to Tennessee several years ago was inspired by my daughter's invitation to a school related conference in Nashville, and Pigeon Forge seemed like an ideal spot to explore before heading to Nashville. With the recent devastating Tennessee wildfires in the news, I thought it would be a good time to finally write a more detailed blog post about Pigeon Forge and the surrounding area.
Virginia may not rank as one of the largest in square miles, but the geographic diversity across the state always surprises me. Over the past few years, I’ve found myself spending more time in Southwestern Virginia, a part of the state which I had explored sporadically over the years. What had I been waiting for? The mountain views are spectacular, and the opportunities for outdoor adventures plentiful. Last spring, I was lucky to discover a small slice of the New River Trail, not far off Interstate 81 in Hiwassee. It’s part of New River Trail State Park, which is a unique linear park running parallel to the New River for almost 40 miles. Fall is the perfect time to head to southwestern Virginia and checkout New River Trail State Park for yourself, and here are 3 fun things to do when you get there.
As 2016 rolls around, I’ve been reading a lot on social media about the 100th birthday of the National Park Service, and more specifically the Find Your Park initiative. According to the National Park Service, the campaign is not only about national parks, but “state parks, local parks, trails, museums, historic sites and the many ways that the American public can connect with history and culture, enjoy nature, and make new discoveries.” As a family, we have visited many of the top parks, and still have quite a few on our list. Now more than ever is a great time to plan a trip to one of these magical places, whether it’s a weekend trip to a nearby park, or a week long vacation halfway across the country. This article is the first of several that I’m going to post throughout the year, highlighting parks big and small throughout the US, in the hopes of inspiring readers to get out and explore.
Imagine spending the day on an island that is home to plant and animal species found nowhere else in the world. You’re probably thinking you have to travel to the Galapagos Islands in South America, right? But did you know that the Channel Islands off the coast of California are home to 145 unique animal and plant species? Thousands of years of isolation have created this amazing natural environment, and in 1980, five of the eight Channel Islands (Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz, Anacapa, Santa Rosa and San Miguel) were designated as the Channel Islands National Park.
When people think of visiting Philadelphia, places like Independence Hall and the Philadelphia Museum of Art come to mind. But did you know that one of Trip Advisor’s top 5 attractions in Philadelphia is a prison? Not just any prison, but the historic, fortress-like Eastern State Penitentiary. Located in the Fairmount neighborhood, it’s just a short 5 or 6 blocks from the famous Philadelphia Museum of Art. My daughter and I decided to check it out during our recent visit to Philadelphia. Please note, it’s not recommended for kids under the age of 7. Admission includes a free audio tour, best for ages 12 and up. For kids in between those ages, they provide a free educational guide, the Eastern State Challenge, which includes a scavenger hunt. Here are a few reasons why you should consider taking a tour of this popular attractions, especially with teenagers.
If you live in the US, you probably know that Florida is one of the more popular states for tourism. Whether you travel by car on Interstate 95, or fly into one of the larger cities, most families will visit Florida at one point or another. While the majority of tourists head to the popular Orlando area, there are so many other amazing places to visit on both sides of the state. Here are 3 special places we loved during a road trip to the Gulf Coast, each unique in its own way. You can easily combine them into a week long vacation, creating some amazing vacation memories along the way.
Thinking about our travels through Washington and Oregon several years ago brings back so many special family memories. It was an area of the country my husband and I were eager to explore, even though it was not considered a hot vacation destination from the DC area. I planned an 1,800 mile loop from Seattle that was balanced between National Parks, big cities and small town attractions, with extra days spent in Seattle and Portland. It was easy to find awesome attractions that were unique to this part of the country, along with special activities that I knew would appeal to my kids. Here are 10 favorites in Washington and Oregon that are perfect for teens and tweens.