Orlando Travel Information

Orlando Travel Information for a Perfect Family Vacation

Are you looking for Orlando travel information for your next family vacation?

There is so much to do in Orlando it can be overwhelming for anyone. I have put together recommendations to help you plan your Orlando vacation.

Here are my travel tips and recommendations:

Where to Go:

Kissimmee or Orlando

When to Go:

Fall or Spring

We went in October and had perfect weather and it was not too crowded.

How long should you stay:

Depends on how many days you want to spend at the theme parks. I would suggest adding a rest day for each day spent at the theme park so you can still relax and enjoy other fun things to do in Orlando.

Recommended places to stay:

Disney Resorts =Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge for the families that want the kitchen and extra room.

Or Disney’s Wilderness Lodge or Animal Kingdom Lodge if you don’t need the kitchen but want to stay at one of the deluxe resorts at Disney.

The top moderate resort at Disney is Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter

Or check out the new value resort – Disney’s Art of Animation Resort

 

Outside of Disney Resorts = Emerald Island Resort

Minutes from Walt Disney World

We rented a house for 7 adults and 4 kids in Kissimmee. It was a great location and perfect getaway after a long exhausting day at the parks. We had our own pool which after being around so many people at the parks was ideal.

Note: If you have the option to heat the pool in October, I would recommend it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are the top things to do:

Makahiki Luau – SeaWorld’s Polynesian Feast and Celebration

Very entertaining for kids and adults.

Expensive but a unique experience.

Don’t expect too much from the food, the experience is what you are paying for.

Disney Theme Parks

My favorite is Epcot, not a surprise since I love to travel, Epcot is all about travel from country destinations to space travel and beyond.

Epcot is the largest theme park, you definitely need two days to cover it.

 

Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue at The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort.

Really fun for the whole family.

The dinner entertainers are great, very funny and they get the crowd involved.

The food is good and there is plenty of it.

Make sure to tell them if you are celebrating a special occassion.

 

Top travel tips:

  • Stay at a place with a kitchen. When you have young kids it saves time and sanity not sitting in restaurants.
  • Go to the grocery store and buy snacks and waters to bring into the theme parks. Then you don’t have to buy everything in the parks.
  • Parking at the Parks is for all day and you can come and go as needed. You can also park at all of the different parks in that one day so if you need to park at another place for dinner you won’t have to pay anymore. The parking lots are run so efficiently and are very easy to use. There is always a shuttle ready to take you into the park as soon as you get out of your car.
  • Pick your top must-do rides in each theme park before you go. Map out how you will go through the park. You will probably only get to half the rides you want to but at least you didn’t waste your day wandering around with no set purpose.
  • Fast pass the top rides if long waits.
  • Get the Disney app on your smartphone that tells you how long the waits are.
  • Downtown Disney for those that can’t get enough of Disney. There are lots of shops and restaurants.
  • If you are planning on having your kids do the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, do it at the Downtown Disney location instead of at Magic Kingdom when there is so many other things to be doing. Then your prince or princess will be ready to meet their favorite characters.
  • Must do for young girls or girls of any age that love the princesses = Cinderella’s Royal Table for Brunch at Magic Kingdom. It is the perfect way to start your day at Magic Kingdom and you can meet all the princesses. The princesses come around to each table and you can take pictures with every one of them during the brunch instead of trying to find them throughout the park. Added benefit – no lines.
  • Here are a few great options for quick dining at DisneyWorld – Columbia Harbor House, Pecos Bill Cafe or Pinocchio Haus
  • Watch the afternoon parade at Magic Kingdom in Frontier Land or Liberty Square
  • Watch the Magic Kingdom night parade across the street from Country Bear Jamboree or in front of the Hall of Presidents.
  • Watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks along the path to Crystal Palace or on the bridge to Tomorrow Land near the walkway to Rose Garden.
   Make sure to bring your own princess dress up for this event!                      Note: Must book 6 months prior to your trip. If you can’t get reservations for Cinderella’s Royal Table, try the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall at Epcot.

Contact me if you have any questions or would like additional information. I am here to help plan your next family travel destination.

Las Vegas Girlfriend Getaway

Las Vegas Girlfriend Getaway

Las Vegas Girlfriend Getaway

If you are looking for a girlfriend getaway and your girlfriends love glitz, glamour and staying out all night, look no further than Las Vegas! It is also a perfect destination for bachelorette parties.

 

Here are my travel tips for a Las Vegas girlfriend getaway:

Where to go:

Las Vegas

When to go:

Fall or Spring

How long to stay:

A long weekend  

 

Where to stay:

Cosmopolitan – hip hotel in the middle of the strip

Aria Sky Suites – luxury suites on the strip

Caesar’s Palace – great service and one of the best on the strip

Paris Las Vegas – the next best thing to being in Paris  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top things to do on a Las Vegas girlfriend getaway: 

  • Hit the pool and spa at your hotel – Each resort tries to out do one another in the outdoor pools, activities and spas. They make it a daytime club party everyday by the pool.
  • Shopping – You can find every possible store at every possible price range in Vegas.
  • Nightlife – Some of the top night clubs in the country are in Vegas. Be sure to check out Pure in Caesar’s Palace, Ghost Bar in The Palms, Foundation Room in Mandalay Bay, and Marquee at the Cosmopolitan. Ask some of the locals to see which night is the HOT club to be at! Some are only open on certain nights.  Note: Girls have a great chance of getting in with no cover charge.
  • Dining at fabulous restaurants – Of course Vegas has some of the top chefs and restaurants in the country too, everything is better in Vegas!    Check out Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill in the Cosmopolitan, The Pink Taco in the Hard Rock Hotel, Café Ile St Louis in Paris Las Vegas, and Serendipity 3 at Caesar’s Palace for something sweet to list a few.
  • See a Cirque du Soleil show – There are 7 different shows in 7 different hotels. The top show in Vegas is O at Bellagio.
  • Gambling – Don’t forget to try your luck at one of the many casinos. The downtown Vegas casinos are a little more inviting for women and a better place for beginners. I have heard the odds are better too.
  • Adventure gals – Try the zipline in downtown Las Vegas over Fremont Street for an exhilarating ride!
  • Light Shows – The Fremont Street Experience is a free, fun light show downtown Las Vegas.
  • Water ShowsThe Fountains of Bellagio dancing water show is a choreographed to music and free. Don’t worry, the water is recycled.

Be sure to pick up the Vegas Guide when you arrive to see what other special events, music or shows are happening while you are there. 

 

Contact me for any help planning your next Las Vegas girlfriend getaway and the next thing you will be seeing is the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada sign!

Minneapolis Travel Guide

Minneapolis Travel Guide

Your Minneapolis Travel Guide

Traveling to Minnesota would not be complete without a trip to Minneapolis & St Paul. It is a top family destination in the Midwest.

Minneapolis is full of outdoor activities with lots of Minnesota lakes, culture, great food, and the Mall of America in Bloomington.  And yes, it is where I call home!

If you can’t imagine what 0 degrees feels like then you need to plan a summer trip here. But Minneapolis is a winter wonderland for the hearty travelers.

 

Here is your Minneapolis Travel Guide tips and recommendations:

Where to go:

Minneapolis, mn

When to go:

Summer or Fall or Winter

Note: Spring weather is varied and not predictable – it could be snowing in April

How long to stay:
5-7 days

 

Where to stay:

Downtown Minneapolis

Hilton Garden Inn Minneapolis Downtown – great for familes

The Grand Hotel Minneapolis – includes access to the Lifetime Fitness next door.
Residence Inn Minneapolis – includes The Depot indoor waterpark and indoor ice skating next door.
Bloomington (where the Mall of America is located)

Must stay at the Radisson Bloomington Hotel attached to the Waterpark of America – the kids will love you

Or try the new hotel connected to the Mall of America – Radisson Blu

Note: the light rail will take you to the Mall of America and you can take it downtown Minneapolis

 

Things to do in the Summer and Fall:

Lake Calhoun is the summer hotspot in Minneapolis

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden an outdoor art gallery

Walker Art Center   – after the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden head to their neighbor for more incredible art

Minneapolis Institute of Arts – Free and filled with great exhibits for the whole family

See a play at the Children’s Theatre

Target Field – home of the MN Twins, great outdoor ballfield

Stone Arch Bridge – one of the most beautiful and scenic spots in Minneapolis

Mill City Museum – Right by the Stone Arch Bridge, a museum that was built into the ruins of the world’s largest flour mill.

Minnehaha Park and try Sea Salt for delicious seafood and fish

Lake Nokomis is great to jog, bike, walk or enjoy the beach and playground. A lot less busy than lake Calhoun

Uptown for fun and delicious dining

Mall of America – who doesn’t want to go to America’s largest mall

Minneapolis farmers market – Great place to pickup some of our locally grown food and anything else you could be looking for.

MN Zoo in Apple Valley (20 miles south of Minneapolis)  – Don’t miss the Minnesota Trail to see the animals from around MN.

Visit Ft Snelling State Park (day use only) for a picnic, beach or bike ride.

Things to do in the Winter:

Minneapolis has a skyway system so you don’t even have to walk outside downtown.

Ice Skate indoors at The Depot Skating Rink

Mariucci Arena for a MN Golden Gopher hockey game

Mall of America it is always nice in there

Midtown Global Market has some great food to try and fun place to shop.

Ski Buck Hill in Burnsville (15 miles south of Minneapolis) or Highland Hill in Bloomington

Tubing at Theodore Wirth Park

Waterpark of America – indoor waterpark where it feels tropical

Cross country ski or snowshoe at many of the parks in Minneapolis

Ice fish on one of our many lakes or rent an ice house on Lake Minnetonka (only 15 miles west of Minneapolis)

Sledding in Theodore Wirth Park or Columbia Golf Course or Powderhorn Park for some of the best sledding spots.

Snowkiting at Lake Calhoun

 

 

Festivals in Minneapolis & St Paul:

Summer

Minnesota Fringe Festival – an eleven day festival in August has many stage performances including dance, performance art, puppetry and spoken word at over 20 venues in Minneapolis.

MayDay Parade and Festival at Powderhorn Park

Basilica Block Party – Downtown Minneapolis music festival (they even have a Family Day on Sunday)

Lyn Lake Street Festival – local restaurants setup street food and local artists have craft booths and the art cars are a must see. Lots of kids activities too. The festival is run one Sunday in May as a fundraiser for the YMCA, Lyn Lake Business Association and Joyce Food Shelf. 

Uptown Art Fair – The annual event is held the first weekend in August in the heart of Uptown. Over 350 artists, food, drink and entertainment.

Grand Old Days – Is held the first Sunday in June in St Paul. It is the kickoff to summer festivals and the largest one-day festival in the Midwest. Definitely fun for all ages and don’t miss the parade!

Stone Arch Bridge Festival – one of the largest outdoor art and music festival held over Father’s Day weekend.

Aquatennial – 3rd week of July in Minneapolis for a 10 day water festival pays tribute to Minneapolis being the City of Lakes

Minnesota State Fair – The Great MN Get-Together is held every summer for 12 days at the end of August through Labor Day. Food, rides, music, animals, campers, farm equipment and everything on a stick!

St George Greek Festival – annual summer event in St Paul celebrates all things Greek. Fun for the whole family.

Twin Cities Pride – The third largest Pride celebration in the nation held in Loring Park. It is a two-day festival in June with lots of activities from family fun to beer gardens and commitment ceremonies.
Fall

Oktoberfest at Gastof’s in NE Minneapolis
Winter

Holidazzle Parade – in Downtown Minneapolis lights up downtown with all the lighted floats and costumes. It runs the day after Thanksgiving for a month.

City of Lakes Loppet – cross country ski through Minneapolis in the race or do the luminary ski/snowshoe with the whole family.

St Patricks Day Parade in Minneapolis (St Paul had a really large parade and festival for St Patricks Day)

St Paul Winter Carnival – it is called “the coolest celebration on Earth” where all things ice and snow are enjoyed.

 

Travel to Minneapolis for your next family vacation and use your Minneapolis Travel Guide to help plan your trip!

Girl Getaways in Florida

Sunset on Madeira Beach

Girl Getaways in Florida

Tampa, Florida is perfect for girl getaways in Florida. Grab your girlfriends and start planning your vacation.

You will enjoy the sunshine almost year-round, beautiful sandy beaches, delicious restaurants, fun nightlife and lot of shopping in the St Petes Beach, Redington Beach, Indian Shores, Madeira and Treasure Island areas near Tampa, Florida.

Here are my travel tips and recommendations:

When to go:

Fall, Winter or Spring

Where to go:

St Petes Beach, Redington Beach, Indian Shores, Madeira, Treasure Island

How long to go:

Weekend getaways to 7 days

 

Recommendations on where to stay:

If you stay in Indian Shores try the Sun Burst Inn

If you are staying in Treasure Island try South Beach Condo/Hotel

Or Surf Beach Resort – Condos with full kitchens

If you are staying in Madeira Beach = Beachfront Hotel at Barefoot Beach Resort at Madeira Beach

If you are staying in Saint Pete Beach = Plaza Beach Hotel

Guy Harvey Outpost, a TradeWinds Beach Resort

TradeWinds Island Grand Beach Resort

Beachcomber Beach Resort & Hotel

If you are staying in Redington Beach = Doubletree Beach Resort by Hilton Tampa Bay/North Redington Beach

Or try VRBO or Vacation Rentals for more options!

Don’t forget to check the reviews on Trip Advisor!

 

 

 

Top things to do during your girl getaways in Florida:

EATING

Restaurants: Salt Rock Grill in Indian Shores

Red Mesa Cantina in St Petersburg

Maritana Grille at the Don CeSar in St Pete Beach

Walt’s Fish Shak in Medeira Beach

The Pearl in Treasure Island

 

PLAYING

Saint Pete Beach

Lemon Tree Spa

Water Monkey Stand Up Paddle Boarding

The Undertow for fun nightlife

Dolphin watch cruises

Snorkeling trips

The Pier

Fort De Soto Park

Florida Botanical Gardens

Starlite Princess Dinner Cruise

Salvador Dali Museum

Dance clubs in Clearwater

 

SHOPPING

Shopping at International Plaza and Bay Street in Tampa

Corey Avenue in St Pete Beach

 

Enjoy your girl getaways to Florida!

Contact me for any help planning your next weekend getaways to Tampa, Florida or any vacations in Florida! 

 

Girlfriend Getaway Scottsdale

Girlfriend Getaway Scottsdale

Girlfriend Getaway to Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale is a great girlfriend getaway with wonderful shops, top spa retreats, fabulous dining, fun nightlife and an incredible oasis in the desert.

Be sure to treat yourself on this getaway at one of the top spa retreats in the world in this Arizona travel destination.

Here are my travel tips and suggestions for a girlfriend getaway to Scottsdale:

Where to go:

Scottsdale, Arizona

When to go:

Fall, Winter or Spring

How long to stay:

A long weekend to six days

Where to stay:

If your budget can handle it stay at one of these luxury resorts & spa retreats:

The Phoenician

Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa

Westin Kierland Resort and Spa

JW Marriott Camelback Inn Resort and Spa

Or try one of these for a more budget friendly option:

FireSky Resort and Spa

Gainey Suites Hotel

Scottsdale Camelback Resort

3 Palms

 

 

 

 

Top Things to Do in Scottsdale:

Shopping

Old Towne Scottsdale – lots of shops and galleries

Fifth Avenue – home to the famous horse fountain and fun shops

Top Spa Retreats – Treat Yourself on this Girlfriend Getaway

Sanctuary Spa at Sanctuary Camelback Mountain

Golden Door Spa at The Boulders

Centre for Well-Being at The Phoenician

The Spa at Marriott’s Camelback Inn

Agave, The Arizona Spa at the Westin Kierland Resort and Spa

Hiking

McDowell Sonoran Preserve – explore over 21,400 scenic acres

Pinnacle Peak Park – pretty easy 3.5 mile roundtrip hike with fantastic views

Camelback Mountain in Phoenix – Bobby’s Rock Trail and Ramada Loop Trail are easier trails but the Echo Canyon trail that takes you to the summit is pretty difficult

Or if you have time, take a drive (120 miles from Phoenix) to Sedona for beautiful red rock buttes and cliffs. Find hiking trails and information here.  

Dining

The Mission –  great food and fun atmosphere. Make reservations!

Deseo at Westin Kierland Resort – delicious Latin food

Oregano’s Pizza Bistro in Old Towne Scottsdale- The pizza is awesome and great service

Bandera – be sure to try the grilled artichokes, yum

Nightlife

Axis/Radius for dancing the night away

Jade Bar for an awesome patio

Rusty Spur Saloon for a real cowgal experience

 

Have a great getaway to Scottsdale! Contact me with any questions or help planning your trip.

 

Minnesota Travel

Minnesota Travel

Minnesota Travel Information for Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

We have taken a lot of family camping trips throughout the years and are always looking for more Minnesota travel information for the State Parks.

I am sharing with you my favorite Minnesota State Park so you can check it out and enjoy it with your family.

Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

Kathio has the best campsites! Most of the state parks have little or no privacy and cram so many campers in one area but not at Kathio. Mille Lacs Kathio State Park has almost 9,000 acres – plenty of space for nice campsites.

It is located on the Rum River which you can canoe, there is a great playground, a swimming hole and beach. It is perfect for families. You will also find lots of history, hiking and horse trails too.

Here is the Minnesota travel information for camping at Mille Lacs Kathio State Park.

Where to Go:

Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

Onamia, MN

When to Go:

June – September 

How long should you stay:

Weekend – 4 days

 

Recommended places to stay:

Mille Lacs Kathio State Park

Campsites = We stayed in the Petaga Campground.

Sites 52 & 54 are great shaded sites but have no electricity. You have to book really early to get sites with electricity.

I would also recommend sites 49 and 51.

Sites 38e and 39e are great electric sites.

Note: If it rains, the lower sites towards the east get a lot of water in the sites.

Camper Cabins – for those looking for electricity, heat and a screened porch, rent a camper cabin.

 

 

 

 

 

What are the top things to do & travel tips:

Hiking = 35 miles of trails

Climb the fire watch tower

Swimming

Playground

Canoe on the Rum River

Horseback riding = 27 miles of trails

Fishing in the nearby great Mille Lacs Lake or Rum River

Naturalist programs for the kids to participate in

Historic sites throughout the park

Contact me if you have any questions or would like additional Minnesota travel information. I am here to help plan your next family travel destination.

Steamboat Springs

Steamboat Springs

Travel to Steamboat Springs, Colorado

Steamboat Springs is one of the classic mountain towns for Colorado travel and a must visit for family adventure vacations!

 

Here are my travel tips and suggestions for your next family adventure vacation to Steamboat Springs:

Where to Go:

Steamboat Springs, Colorado

When to Go:

Summer or Winter depending on what you want to do. I have included what to do for both times of the year.

How long should you stay:

5-7 days is ideal

 

Recommended places to stay:

Summer camping = Steamboat Lake State Park

Summer or Winter you can find lots of condos on VRBO or VacationRentals

Check out Eagle Ridge Lodge and all of the Wyndam Vacation Resorts

Or the Sheraton Steamboat Resort

Top things to do & travel tips for your family adventure vacations to Steamboat Springs:

Summer Travel:

Swim at Steamboat Lake

Hike Fish Creek Falls – very accessible for young kids. Beautiful!

Old Town Hot Springs – a wonderful place to go after hiking.

Strawberry Park Natural Hot Springs

Shopping in Steamboat Springs

Rafting on Colorado River out of Kremmling.

Saddleback Ranch for horseback riding in the summer

Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area for hiking, fishing, and whitewater rafting

Steamboat Gondola

 

Winter Travel:

Steamboat Ski Resort – great downhill skiing and lots of activities for the entire family including snowmobile tours!

Check out the Kids’ Vacation Center for a ski and snowboard school that your kids will love to go to.

Howelsen Ski Area – for less crowds and even more downhill skiing.

Medicine Bow – Routt National Forest for summer or winter fun!

 

Great Family Restaurants in Steamboat:

Recommend: 8th Street Steakhouse
Make your own steaks on the grills and sit in the saddle chairs.

Creekside Cafe & Grill for a wonderful breakfast.

Winona’s – a great sandwich shop.

Mazzola’s Italian Restaurant & Lounge

Johnny B Goods for American food and milkshakes.

The Cantina for great mexican food.

Contact me if you have any questions or would like additional Colorado travel information. I am here to help plan your family adventure vacation.

South Dakota Travel Information

Mount Rushmore

South Dakota Travel Information for a Family Road Trip

Look no further – here is all the South Dakota travel information you need for a trip to a Top US travel destination.

The Black Hills of South Dakota are calling.

It is like taking a field trip with your kids. There is so much for them to learn, see, and experience plus more fun than you can imagine for the entire family.

I have put together all of the South Dakota travel information and family travel tips we have found through the last 12 years of summer road trips to the Black Hills.

It is not easy to get to this destination by plane unless you fly into the small regional airport in Rapid City. So pack up the car and take a road trip!

Here are my travel tips and recommendations:

Where to go:

Hill City, Custer State Parks, Keystone or the town of Custer

When to go:

Summer! It is prime tourist season but that is also when everything is open. In October, it looks like a ghost town and there is no one but the locals around in the winter months.

How long to go:

A week at least but be sure to add your drive time too.

Where to stay:

Recommended: Custer State Parks for campers and families that prefer a lodge room or cabin.

For making reservations at the campgrounds or in the camping cabins, click here

For making reservations at the lodges or cabins, click here

Blue Belle has reasonably priced camping cabins. These are basic but have heating, ac, electricity and a porch. There are no kitchens, bathrooms or running water but it is a great, low-cost alternative to camping in a tent.

Center Lake has the best campsites but only take same-day reservations which can be scary during tourist season.

Note: Reservations for Custer State Parks start January 2nd. If you want to stay at your first choice options, call right away. Also, try to stay away from traveling to the Black Hills over the 4th of July and during Sturgis Bike Rally, these are extremely busy travel times.

Best campgrounds/campsites in Custer State Parks:

Sylvan Lake – campsites # 1E, 3E, 4E

Legion Lake – campsites #1, #2

Stockade Lake North – campsites #17, #19

Blue Bell – campsites #4, #21

Other campgrounds outside of the Custer State Park = Bismark Lake. Book through Black Hills National Forest. Best campsites = #4, #8, #14.

 

 

 

Top things to do in one of the Top US Travel Destinations:

Mount Rushmore National Memorial– hike the Presidential Trail. The National Monument has no entrance fee except for the parking fee.

Big Thunder Gold Mine – take a tour of the mine and pan for gold.

Bear Country USA – drive through wildlife park is a great way to see the animals up close without the danger. Try to go when they feed the animals, the bears were really active around lunchtime.

Reptile Gardens – this is the place to see every reptile you can imagine.

Crazy Horse Memorial – check out the progress of the Memorial.

Cosmos Mystery Area – for older kids. A slightly unbalanced tour for the family.

Wind Cave and Jewel Cave National Parks – this is for older kids, lots of stairs and walking.

Note: Book your tour by calling (605) 673-8300 before you go. Tours book up each day and the caves are not close by. You can book one week in advance.

Evans Plunge – a great place to cool off. It is located 1 hour south of Custer in Hot Springs, SD.

Mammoth Site – this is geared more for older kids and is also in Hot Springs, SD. Try to book one of the Educational Programs. They offer the Jr Paleontologist Excavation for ages 4-12 year olds and the Advanced Paleontologist Excavation for ages 13 and up. Make reservations in advance for these programs.

Badlands National Park – it is about 1 hour east of Rapid City. Kids of all ages will love to explore and hike around in the Badlands.

Note: Go early in the morning, it is about 10 degrees hotter in the Badlands than in the Black Hills. Bring lots of water and plan on at least 2-3 hours if you take the Badlands Loop Road.

Right after you visit the Badlands, stop by Wall Drug if you haven’t been lured in yet by all the signs. It is like nothing you have seen and I have seen a lot of touristy things. You can get a great lunch there and it is perfect if you need to get out of the car and stretch your legs.

 

Top things to do in Custer State Park

Swim in Legion Lake

Hike to the tallest point in South Dakota – Harney Peak, definitely for older kids.

Drive the Wildlife Loop, Needles Highway, and Iron Mountain Road (on different days of course). These are long, slow, winding roads; not for towing your camper or huge RV’s even though I have seen them.

Hike around Sylvan Lake

Find the buffalo herds and burros in the park.

Note: Ask your camping host or ranger where the buffalo have been spotted so you will be sure to find them.

Horseback riding at Blue Bell Stables

 

Great Family Restaurants:

Big Time Pizza in the Roosevelt Inn for family dining.

Looking for a western dining experience? Try the Circle B Ranch Chuckwagon, Flying T Chuckwagon or Fort Hays Chuckwagon Supper & Cowboy Music Show

If you are looking for more information, contact me.

Have a great family road trip to the Black Hills!

Estes Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

Colorado Family Vacation
to Estes Park

Summer travel is the best time to take a Colorado family vacation to Estes Park. This is a perfect destination for all families.

There is so much to do and enjoy with Rocky Mountain National Park right in your backyard. We have had some great Colorado vacations to Estes Park.

Enjoy a family vacation to Estes Park next summer!

 

Here are my travel tips for a Colorado family vacation to Estes Park:

Where to go:

Estes Park, Colorado

When to go:

Summer!

How long to go:

A week

 

Where to stay:

Recommended:

Mary’s Lake Lodge & Resort– Beautiful views in every direction. Condos, lodges, cabins available. A great salt water pool for the kids.

Brynwood on the River – Perfect location close to Downtown Estes Park and great cabins with kitchens.

Upscale and for older kids that like abnormal activity- The Stanley Hotel

The Estes Park Resort – rooms with views of Estes Lake.

YMCA of the Rockies – stay in the cabins but you must book early. They have a great kids camp program that you can sign up for individual days or for the week. There are great arts & crafts at the Design Center. Even if you don’t stay here, you should visit for the day (small daily fee for non-Y members).

Be sure to check the reviews on Trip Advisor!

 

 

Top things to do:

MUST VISIT: Rocky Mountain National Park

Hikes/Scenic Drives in Rocky Mountain Natl Park

  • Drive the Trail Ridge Road.
  • Hiking: Bear Lake and Sprague Lake are pretty accessible and short hikes for families.
  • Cub Lake Trail is an easy hike for the entire family.
  • Lily Lake is a ¾ mile paved hike and very scenic.
  • Cascade Falls and Calypso Falls are not as busy and beautiful. This is a moderate hike to Calypso Falls.
  • Flat Top Mountain Trail (families with teenagers looking for a challenge) is 8.8 miles and elevation is over 12,000 feet.

Check out this website for more information on hiking in Colorado.

Note: For any hiking, plan accordingly with lots of water and food and wear layered clothes for all conditions.

 

A few of my other favorite things to do in and around Estes Park:

  • Jackson Stables for a wonderful horseback ride.
  • YMCA of the Rockies – Arts & Crafts at the Design Center is a great way to spend a rainy day.
  • Shopping in Downtown Estes Park – there are so many little shops to check out.

 

Restaurant Recommendations while in Estes Park:

Cascades Restaurant at the Stanley Hotel

Cheesy Lees Amazing Pizza or Village Pizza are great family options.

The Egg & I or Donut Haus for some breakfast options.

A favorite for kids and the adults – Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory

Estes Park Brewery and Fun City family amusement is right next door – happy parents & happy kids!

 

Enjoy a great Colorado family vacation to Estes Park!

California Travel Destinations

California travel destinations

Los Angeles and the California beaches

Do you have teenage kids and are looking for California travel destinations?

Take your kids to Los Angeles!

There is so much to do and it is like DisneyWorld for teenagers. They get to see all the famous landmarks on TV and in movies and hopefully see some real-life stars if they are lucky.

Here are my travel tips and suggestions for your California travel destinations to Los Angeles and nearby California beaches:

Where to Go:

Los Angeles or one of the many California beaches nearby

When to Go:
Summer

How long should you stay:

5-8 days depending on how much you want to fit in

 

Recommended places to stay if you are looking for the California beaches for your destination:

Venice Beach – we rented a vacation suite in Venice Beach – 15 Rose – Traveler’s House

It was a block off the beach so you couldn’t beat the location but it was a pretty busy area. If you are looking for peace and quiet I wouldn’t recommend this area. If you want action and an experience like nowhere else, then stay here.

A couple more great choices in Venice Beach:

Inn at Venice Beach or Hotel Erwin

Malibu – is a top destination and if you have aspiring surfers with you, check out Malibu Beach Inn

Santa Monica – is great for families. Check out The Embassy Hotel Apartments

Note: The Santa Monica Pier is so much fun for everyone! There is shopping, rides, places to eat, street performers right in Santa Monica. This location will keep you busy for days.

Long Beach – Stay on the The Queen Mary ship for a possible haunted experience with no sea sickness.

Manhattan Beach – Shade Hotel

 

If you are looking for a place near LA for your California vacation:

Magic Castle Hotel near Hollywood Blvd 

The Redbury is a great boutique hotel a perfect location at Hollywood and Vine.

Check the reviews for all of these recommendations on www.tripadvisor.com

 

What are the top things to do & travel tips for these California travel destinations:

Santa Monica Pier

Venice Beach Boardwalk

Hike to the Griffith Observatory

Visit Griffith Park with the LA Zoo, old trains, golf, tennis and much more.

Shopping at The Grove or Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills

Eat at the Farmer’s Market in the back of The Grove

Hike to the Hollywood Sign

See a sporting event at Staples Center or Dodger Stadium

Surfing in Malibu – Learn to Surf LA

Tour one of the studios like Paramount Studios or Universal Studios

Get tickets to see a live taping of your kids favorite shows

See a concert at the Hollywood Bowl

See a movie or maybe there is a movie premiere happening at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and find your favorite movie stars “Star” along the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Hollywood Blvd

Top Tour = Another Side of Los Angeles Tours for a Segway Tour, many options to choose from.

Music lovers in your family – be sure to shop at Amoeba Music

 

Have a great California vacation in Los Angeles or the nearby California beaches!

Contact me if you have any questions or would like additional information. I am here to help plan your family California travel destinations.