Backpacking the Beautiful Little Lakes Valley Trail (Near Rock Creek)

Little Lakes Valley in the Eastern Sierras is one of the most beautiful hikes in the high sierra and one our favorite backpacking hikes in California with kids and for beginners. This beautiful hike follows along a creek, passes several pristine alpine lakes and offers gorgeous scenery without too much hard work. This is almost … Read more

10 Unexpected Life Lessons From My 11 Year Old on the John Muir Trail

This summer, I hiked 180 miles of the 211+ mile John Muir Trail (JMT) with my 11 year old son. The JMT runs through the Eastern Sierra mountains in California, starting from Yosemite Valley to the summit of Mount Whitney, the highest mountain in the contiguous US. For many this isn’t a huge outdoor accomplishment, … Read more

Seeking Out the Beauty of Mammoth Lakes Fall Colors

Did you know that you can find fall colors in California? While New England wins hand down for the best fall colors, those of us on the west coast can also cash in on this fall favorite. Mammoth Lakes fall colors lures visitors from near and far for their yearly display of bright yellow aspen trees and beautiful fall colors in California’s eastern sierras. The best fall colors are typically popping around mid Sept to the end of October, making it the ideal destination for a fall leaf peeping trip.

For those of us in Southern California, sometimes it’s hard to imagine that the seasons are really changing elsewhere in the US. We have heat waves and fires all through the fall, often making the changing of temperatures further up north a distant thought. If you are like me and try to bring a little bit of fall foliage into your autumn, head up the 395 where you can experience the beauty of fall from Bishop to Mammoth Lakes and even further north to the South Lake Tahoe area.

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Hiking the John Muir Trail: A Helpful Beginner’s Guide

More than 1,500 people attempt to walk the entire John Muir Trail every year. A bit more than half of them succeed in a good year, with less than a third making it through in a year with natural challenges – high snow, monsoonal rains or wildfires. This guide from a JMT thru-hiker provides key … Read more

7 Surprising Reasons Iraq Should Be on Your Bucket List

Bits of conversions and names swirl in my head as I dizzily walk half asleep from one plane to the other. Abu Haider “Shall I follow you” Noor!! Pst pst pst It’s hard to imagine the fear I felt just 14 days ago. Of leaving my son, of going to a “war zone”.  Now, tears … Read more

5 Reasons You Will Love Uganda: Africa’s Most Underrated Safari Destination

When you think of going on a safari, Uganda most likely does not pop into your head first thing. Instead you are imagining driving along the plains of the Serengeti or through Kruger National Park in South Africa. While this trip to Uganda did not start off with the intent of being a safari destination, I learned along the way what an amazing place it is for not only seeing mountain gorillas in the wild, but for seeing a myriad of other wildlife including big game.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

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Everything You Need To Know About Gorilla Trekking In Uganda

We went to Uganda for the sole purpose of gorilla trekking. It exceeded all of our expectations plus some. Seeing these majestic animals in their natural habitat (because they don’t live in zoos anywhere in the world!) is truly a remarkable experience that should be on every animal lovers bucket list. Here I will share as much information as I can on planning gorilla safaris so that you can experience this for yourself!

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10 Great Tips to Visit the Galapagos Islands with Kids

One of the most epic vacation destinations in the world is the Galápagos Islands in Ecuador. Even though it’s often considered one of the world’s top places for wildlife-viewing, many families don’t feel it’s a trip to do with their young kids.

However, if you have nature, animal loving kids, then visiting the Galapagos Islands with kids should be on your wishlist! From swimming with giant sea turtles to hiking in the forest with land tortoises and basking on the beach with sea lions, this trip is like no other.

About the Galapagos Islands

The Galapagos Islands are a province in Ecuador, about 1,000km off the coast of South America. Its isolated terrain off the coast of mainland Ecuador provides a home for a diversity of plant and animal species, many of which are found nowhere else. Charles Darwin visited in 1835, and his observation of Galápagos’ species later inspired his Theory of Evolution. While this is often a trip families want to wait for, I will say that doing it with your children can be amazing given the right planning and timing.

Visiting the Galápagos Islands has long been a dream of mine, but for several reasons I kept putting it off. One reason was financial. I didn’t think it was possible to visit the Galápagos Islands on a budget and two I thought this was a trip for only older children. 

After visiting the islands, I am glad that I waited and do recommend waiting for kids to be 8 years old and above. There is plenty for young children however, so if you are in the area and your budget can manage it, definitely go. You won’t regret it. Below are our top tips on visiting the Galapagos with kids.

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10 Excellent Tips for Planning a Trip to Uganda

One of the most awe inspiring bucket list trips you can make is to Uganda. Dubbed the Pearl of Africa, this underrated country offers unique and diverse wildlife viewing, year round beautiful weather and extraordinary hospitality. It is a trip like no other, but requires quite a bit of preparation, especially if you are here to see the world’s remaining mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. Below we share our top Uganda travel tips that you will need to prepare for a trip to Uganda.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

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7 Big Mistakes to Avoid in Planning a Trip to Yellowstone

There is a plethora of information on the web about planning a trip to Yellowstone National Park, but most of it focuses on what you should do and see. But this guide is different. Here I am going to tell you what you should AVOID when planning a trip to Yellowstone. Yellowstone National Park is … Read more

13 Amazing Things to Do in Oklahoma City

Are you headed out on Route 66 going through Oklahoma City? If you find yourself passing through this vibrant capital city in middle America, make some time to check out all the amazing things to do in Oklahoma City. From state of the art museums to quirky Route 66 cafes, examination of cowboy culture along … Read more

The Ultimate Guide to Exploring Yosemite with Kids

A family trip to Yosemite National Park is the quintessential American summer holiday. Exploring Yosemite with kids while camping (or glamping as it is for us!), splashing through rivers, and spying out some of the best natural scenes in the US is one of the best trips you can do with your family.

If you are planning a visit to California’s most iconic park, we have laid out all you need to know in order to have the best trip ever in Yosemite with kids. Below are our top picks for things to do in Yosemite National Park with kids as well as options on where to stay and eat. Trust me, seeing this national treasure through your little one’s eyes is a truly magical experience that you will not want to miss.

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Homeschooling for Beginners: What You Need to Start

Homeschooling has become more popular these past few years due to the pandemic, so I thought I would share more about our homeschool journey, including the whys and hows of what we do. – in essence homeschooling for beginners! To be honest, I had always considered homeschooling, but I didn’t quite believe I was smart … Read more

Ultimate Guide to Backpacking the Trans Catalina Trail

Backpacking the Trans Catalina Trail is a bucket list trail for many in Southern California. Located 22 miles off the coast of Southern California, Catalina Island offers diverse rugged scenery with opportunities for outdoor activities like diving, snorkeling, hiking and spotting wildlife. It is here that the Trans Catalina Trail resides – from sea to land and back to the sea, this 38.5 (or 40+) mile trail traverses the entire island with beachfront camping, beautiful views with a few creature comforts not often found in typical backcountry trails. Think restaurants, picnic benches and firewood deliveries!

One might think this trail would be easy since the highest elevation on the island is only around 2000 feet, but the constant ups and downs, lack of switchbacks with little shade make backpacking on Catalina Island challenging. The Trans Catalina Trail has been on my wishlist for years, but the expense and difficult rating continued to scare me away. However, as we learned during our trip, the beauty of this trail is that it is difficult, but doable and can be modified to fit all skill levels!

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Backpacking In California: 20 Amazing Spots You Must Visit

Our two favorite things to do in the outdoors in California is hike and camp. Why not combine the two with a backpack camping trip? We know camping in Southern California is very popular with families to couples and folks with their dogs, but for the more adventurous, finding cool spots for backpacking in California is even more exciting.

There are some amazing spots for backpacking in California, from the Bay Area of San Francisco to Southern California and everywhere in between. Some favorite places for backpack camping include Joshua Tree, the Lake Tahoe area, Yosemite National Park and the Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park areas. Much of these wilderness areas are more ‘hard core backpacking’ for those with experience and the legs to carry themselves further than a couple of mile hike.

For those of you who are new to this outdoor adventure, we share relatively easy, doable backpacking trails here in California to consider for your first (or second or third!) backpacking camping trip with or without kids. As we explore more of the backcountry camping options throughout California, we will update this list.

Don’t miss our top tips and backpacking hacks for beginners!

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Epic Family Weekend in San Luis Obispo County (SLOCAL)

The California Coast is filled with amazing destinations making it difficult to decide just where to go when you are looking for a quick escape. We have found the answer with a weekend in San Luis Obispo County (SLOCAL). Sitting in the middle of the Central Coast, SLOCAL offers tons of adventure, nature and of course some luxury too!

San Luis Obispo County is a fun place to visit for families as there is no shortage of beautiful nature scapes, awesome food, and plenty of family fun that will easily keep you busy for several days. Read on for our recommendations on how to have an epic family weekend getaway in San Luis Obispo County.

ADVENTURE: A California Family Weekend in San Luis Obispo County // NATURE:  Sailing with Captain Mark // CRAZY FUN: Sand Dune Buggies // LUXURY: The Cliffs Spa & Hotel

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The Most Epic Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip Itinerary (SF to LA)

Are you researching for an epic Pacific Coast Highway road trip itinerary? If so, you have come to the right place. This is one of our favorite road trips in the world, especially between California’s most vibrant cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles. When we first moved to California we planned to slowly work … Read more

7 Spectacular Places to Play in the Snow Near Los Angeles

Are you looking for the best places to find snow near Los Angeles? So were we! Now we have found all the places to play and share them here with you. The beauty of living in Los Angeles is having access to both the sea and the snow. Have you ever wanted to go from … Read more

15+ Beautiful Things to Do in Lake Tahoe Year Round

Whether you arrive in winter or summer or anytime in between, there are so many amazing things to do in Lake Tahoe that you could easily spend months here without getting bored. Lake Tahoe truly is one of California’s (and Nevada’s) most magical destinations.

Below we share some of the best things to do in Tahoe from summer to winter.  That said, we highly recommend visiting during the shoulder seasons as the crowds are thinned out and you can get the best of both seasons often in a week visit!

Check out SierraSafely for more information on how to experience Lake Tahoe during COVID, including a trail list with various businesses and activities to safely explore on your visit. 

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7 Great Things to Do in Carson Valley with Kids

On our recent road trip up Highway 395, we extended our normal trip right out of California and on into Northern Nevada. This area north of the border and south of the state capital is known as Carson Valley. It’s tagline says it’s “Rugged, Relaxing and Reachable” which we found to be totally true. In addition to stunning snow-capped mountains and majestic horses roaming wild and free, there was an amazing array of restaurants serving up delicious, modern food that would hold its own in any big city in America.  

Read on for our favorite things to do in Carson Valley as well as the best places to eat during your visit.

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