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

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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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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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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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

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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This is the Tri-Valley: 15 Exciting Things to Do in Livermore, Pleasanton, Dublin & Danville

Are you looking for a weekend getaway in the Bay Area? Consider the Tri-Valley area where there are a ton of great things to do in Livermore, Pleasanton, Dublin and Danville. I lived in San Francisco for almost a decade while my cousins and aunt lived in the Tri Valley area just across the bridge. … Read more

Explore the Suisun Valley: A Vibrant Emerging Family Destination

Suisun Valley is a unique, rustic wine country and farming community located just north of the San Francisco Bay Area in Solano County between San Francisco and Sacramento. In the recent past most visitors made their way up to the area for the Jelly Belly Factory that is located in Fairfield. These days, there are … Read more

Top 10 Magical Things To Do in Carson City Nevada

Are you looking to extend your trip along Hwy 395? If so, we have the perfect place – Carson City, Nevada. Continuing on with the cute Americana theme of Hwy 395, Carson City is a bit bigger than the other towns along this beautiful route, but offers a whole lot more. Read on for our list of great things to do in Carson City for a weekend or extended trip to the area.

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21 Things to Do in Bozeman Montana That You Will Love

Bozeman Montana is often the start and end point for a Montana or Yellowstone vacation. Instead of just passing through, why not make it your base as there are so many great things to do in Bozeman Montana for the whole family. From hikes, to breweries to one of the best dinosaur museums in the country, there is something for everyone. Continue reading for our list of what to do, where to eat and where to stay.

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The Old West Revisited in Philipsburg Montana with Mining, Hiking & More

Montana is known as a nature lovers paradise and the treasure state, but what it also holds dear are traditions of the past. In Philipsburg Montana you can not only experience beautiful scenery, but also life in an old western town now dubbed as a ghost town full of a rich history worth exploring.  If you only have time for one adventure on your Yellowstone or Montana vacation, this is the place to go! 

Here you can go sapphire mining, stroll through an old ghost town mining camp, go fly fishing and so much more. The adorable town lined with antique storefronts and shops make Philipsburg a picturesque start to any adventure in the state.

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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16 Beautiful West Coast National Park Road Trip Stops

Ever dreamed of hitting all the big parks on an epic West Coast national park road trip? I know that it’s long been a dream of mine to drive from Seattle down to Los Angeles hitting as many of the national parks as possible. These days we have visited almost all the parks, but no … Read more

7 Reasons to Visit the Bass Lake Yosemite Area

Looking to visit Yosemite but don’t want to stay inside the park? Our favorite place to stay outside the park is in the Bass Lake Yosemite area. The area is cute, quaint, offers a new dimension to your Yosemite visit and is well worth the drive into the park. Read on for our favorite things to do in and around the Bass Lake California as well as where to stay and eat.

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13 Epic Things to Do Near Zion National Park

Zion is one of my favorite parks in Utah, but during certain times of the year it is insanely crowded. However you are in luck, there are a multitude of amazing things to do near Zion National Park including river rafting, spectacular Instagram worthy hikes and even private photo sessions.

If you are planning a trip to Zion National Park or Bryce Canyon (or any other Utah National Parks), check out all the other options of things you can do near Zion to avoid the crowds, but still get an amazing vacation.

Of course when you are in the area, you must make time to visit Zion National Park as well for one of the best hikes in the world through the Narrows.

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Zion is one of my favorite parks in Utah, but during certain times of the year it is insanely crowded. However you are in luck, there are a multitude of amazing things to do near Zion National Park including river rafting, spectacular Instagram worthy hikes and even private photo sessions.

If you are planning a trip to Zion National Park or Bryce Canyon (or any other Utah National Parks), check out all the other options of things you can do near Zion to avoid the crowds, but still get an amazing vacation.

Of course when you are in the area, you must make time to visit Zion National Park as well for one of the best hikes in the world through the Narrows.

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13 Spectacular Things to Do on the Big Island of Hawaii

Are you going to the Big Island of Hawaii? If so, you have come to the correct place! Here we share the most spectacular things to do in Hawaii Big Island. It is amazingly diverse with active volcanoes, tropical rainforests, sandy beaches and snow capped peaks. Hawai’i, aka the Big Island is named as such due to the fact that it is bigger than all the other Hawaiian islands combined. Big means lots to do! If you want a typical beach experience, you can get it here, but if that’s all you do, you will miss out on so much more that the island has to offer. Read on for our top 13 things to do on Hawaii’s Big Island that you cannot miss!

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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5 Things You Must Know for the Zion Narrows Hike

Zion National Park is known for one of it’s most beautiful and distinctive trails, the Zion Narrows hike. It brings visitors of all ages, shapes and forms. What is the Narrows? It is a “trail” through the middle of the Virgin River leading you through 10+ miles of dramatic cliffs, narrow slot canyons and gorgeous scenery. This hike lets you experience, rather than just view, what makes Zion so special.

For most visitors to Zion, the Narrows hike is a lasting favorite no matter how far up river they managed to go. It is one of the most unique hikes with breathtaking scenery and one that cools you down along the way. What more could you ask for on a hike?

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