Five Awesome U.S. Destinations You Should See With Your Kids – Part 5: Death Valley National Park

It seems fitting, somehow, that our final Awesome U.S. Destination is Death Valley National Park in California. They call it Death Valley for a reason.   It’s an extreme environment; one of the few places in the US where nature will actually try to kill you.  It is the hottest and driest place in North America and nearly the world.  But, don’t let that put you off.  It’s the extremes of the place that make it an Awesome Destination.  It’s a challenge and it’s a point of pride to say you’ve been. Death Valley is on a lot of bucket lists.  I know this because every time my husband wears his Death Valley t-shirt, he is approached by people asking, “Have you been there?”  “What was it like?”  “I’ve always wanted to go.” My husband is a, not particularly closeted, weather enthusiast, and environmental extremes are his raison d’être.  So naturally we traveled to Death Valley with our two-year-old son. It may seem nutty to take children on a vacation to such a severe place, but if Death Valley is a place you’re excited to see, your enthusiasm will spill over to your kids and an amazing adventure will be had by all. We planned our trip, into the valley, during the ‘dog days’ of summer.  What would have been the point in seeing the second hottest place on Earth if it wasn’t searing hot?  The temperature hit a shocking 116°F (47°C). We stayed right in the middle of the park, at a beautiful oasis called Furnace Creek Ranch.  We lucked out and nabbed one of the semi-detached cottages in the older section.  It was like a quaint little neighbourhood. The ranch is decked out with plenty of amenities.  It has a store, a couple of nice restaurants, a museum and air-conditioning galore.  They have a swimming pool, but it isn’t particularly refreshing.  It’s spring-fed; to keep it cooler than it would be if it was baking in full sun all day, but it still does very little to cool swimmers down.  Nevertheless, it was interesting to try it out. There are a few other anomalies to get used to when you’re staying in the dessert.  First, there is no such thing as cold water.  Turn on the cold water tap, run it as long as you like, and it will never cool down.  I brushed my teeth with a hot toothbrush; it was weird. During the day, the sun is so blazing hot; the playground equipment is too scorching to use.  There are actually signs posted in the playground, at the ranch, warning parents to keep their kids off the equipment during the afternoon.  Our son got to play in the evening, after the sun went down. Young children shouldn’t be exerting themselves at all, in temperatures like that.  They can over heat pretty quickly.  We had a bit of a scare with our little guy shortly after we arrived in the valley.  He had been too active, in the heat, and had started looking ill, like he might faint.  After that, we had him sitting in a stroller, holding a cold bottle of water, anytime we were outside, during the day. There are a number of beautiful places to investigate in Death Valley National Park, but the most popular stop is a place called Badwater.  It is the hottest and lowest point in the park at 282 feet below sea level.  There is a small pool of very saline water and then a massive salt flat that stretches out for miles.  I don’t normally eat off the ground, but in this case, I was inspired to eat the ground itself; or to taste it at least.  It was salty – go figure. Death Valley is an extreme place, and you have to take precautions, especially during the summer months.  Always follow the advice and guidelines handed down by park officials. It’s a lonely place, in a way.  There are few other motorists on the roads, there are no plants and the animals are hard to spot.  The highway is just a string of warning signs.  But, the trip is an honest, mind-broadening adventure.  It’s a journey that will be remembered by anyone who dares to take it.  Death Valley is a truly awesome destination, and one you should see with your kids. – Jen R, Staff Writer Related Articles:

Travel Gear for Parents – Our Top 7 Picks!

Traveling with kids can be stressful – especially if you haven’t brought the right gear. Carrying a heavy baby through the airport, paying extra to check gear and having your little one get lose on the plane can get an relaxing vacation off to a rocky start. From experience, these are my top picks for travel gear for parents.  Cleanliness, convenience and safety are all important to every parent.  Having a couple pieces from our list will help with this!
  1. My Carry Potty($25) -Designed for roadtrips or outdoor excursions, the my carry potty will ensure that your child always has a clean place to pee. Once their done it’s airtight seal will keep it leak free until you can find a bathroom to empty it.  Portable, clean and convenient!
  2. Kokopax Carrier($99 – $180) – I am in love with my Kokopax Carrier. It is the most stylish way to carry your little one while out sightseeing or navigating through the busy crowds. It’s clever design allows your child to sit up high enough to see everything without putting a strain on your back. I can’t recommend this carrier enough. I have used mine everywhere – grocery store, park and even around the house when Mr. Fussy won’t let me get anything done. Comes in 3 styles
  3. phil&teds lobster travel highchair – Designed for kids 6 months to 3 years, this portable clip-on highchair is both compact(weighs 3.9lbs) and convenient.  It can fit easily in your carry-on or can be packed in your suitcase.  The included tray will also ensure that you never worry about your child eating off a dirty public table again.
  4. Gogo Kidz Travelmate($79) – This convenient ‘travelmate’ is the perfect option for parents who want to bring their own car seat instead of renting one when they reach their destination. The board attaches to any seat easily, allowing it to be rolled through the airport like a suitcase. We have used our gogo Kidz Travelmate on many occasions and love it.  It always gets a lot of attention from other travelers as we roll our little one through the airport.
  5. Safe2go Child Safety Harness($25) – This cute character backpack, which conceals that it is actually a child safety harness. The backpack/safety harness is equipped with adjustable padded shoulder and waist straps. It comes with a retractable 38″ tether which can hold children up to 50 lbs and can be retracted into the pack when not needed. There is room in the backpack for a small toy or snack.
  6. Alpha Sherpa($80) – This full featured backpack is perfect for traveling parents. You can load all of your necessities into it, throw it on your back and then have your hands free to push a stroller or hold your child’s hand.  Features a soft sided cooler uniquely integrated into the diaper bag backpack to store bottles, snacks, beverages, medication (holds 6-8 canned beverages)Change pad included as is a cell phone/IPod pouch slot and a sunglass case.
  7. CARES Airplane Harness($60) – If you don’t have room for a car seat but want your child to be in a secure harness on the airplane CARES is the piece of gear for you.  It comes in a travel bag, installs in seconds and keeps your little on secure in their seat.  Also adjusts to fit almost every size airplane seat and is designed for children 1 year and older weighing 22-44 pounds and up to 40″ tall.

Five Awesome U.S. Destinations You Should See With Your Kids – Part 4: Washington DC

Our series on Five Awesome U.S. Destinations is compiled in no particular order.  I say that because there are some who will argue that Part 4: Washington DC is the most important of the five.  Washington DC is, of course, the capital of the United States and a nation’s capital is always an important place to visit, particularly for children. The DC area has no shortage of important sights.  The White House, the Capital Building, The National Mall, The Washington Monument and all within the distance of a nice evening stroll. The Lincoln Memorial is a must see.  On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King jr. delivered his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech from those very steps.  At the top of the steps is the Great Emancipator himself.  Many people have come to reflect at the foot of Honest Abe.  My son, however, is fairly sure that it’s a statue of Santa Clause. Arlington National Cemetery is just over the Potomac River.  A vacation visit to a cemetery may sound a bit depressing, but there’s a famous name or two in Arlington, to be sure. One of the great things about a visit to Washington DC, is how affordable it can be. Public transit is inexpensive and easy to navigate and just about everything else is free!  (excluding food and lodging, of course)  That goes for the Smithsonian too.  It’s the largest museum in the world and it’s all free, free, free!  Who doesn’t love free. Now, they say that it’s the largest museum in the world, but in practice, it’s several museums and a zoo, all under the umbrella of the Smithsonian Institute.  You’ll need to plan your visit to ensure that your family sees the exhibits that are most important to you. Some of the museums tend to be more popular with kids, than others.  The Natural History Museum is always a huge hit.  The displays are amazingly lifelike.  Keep hold of your little ones as you enter the dinosaur exhibit, though.  It can be a little intimidating for kids.  My son made a break for it. The Air and Space Museum is a lot of fun for airplane enthusiasts and fans of the space program. The American History Museum houses the original ‘stars and stripes’ and pop-culture artefacts like Kermit the Frog and Seinfeld’s puffy shirt. There’s something for everyone at the Smithsonian and history galore in Washington DC.  You should definitely see it with your kids. – Jen R, Staff Writer

Traveling With Kids ~ Our 7 Picks For Best Kid Gear!

Parents know that an unhappy child during travel can make a 30 minute trip feel like 10 hours. Arming yourself with the best gear to keep your kids organized and comfortable, can be the difference between a smooth trip and one where your fellow travelers are asking to be moved to a different section of the plane. We’ve all been there and it’s not fun. Here are our 7 picks for best kid gear:
  1. Zoobies – A cute friend that doubles as a pillow and blanket – perfect for travel, especially on a cold airplane or overnight car ride!  Available in 29 animals including Paddington the Bear, Olivia the pig and The Hungry Caterpillar.
  2. Kushies My Bag – available in both pink and blue, Kushies My Bag is the best bag for an overnight trip to grammas or to give your child his/her tote for that trip down south. My Bag contains everything your child needs to make your life easier! Each tote comes complete with  cool compartments for your stuff including 1 insulated snack box, 1 insulated medicine box, 1 clean clothes bag, 1 dirty clothes bag, 1 soiled clothes bag with laundry insert, 1 spare shoes bag, a pillow and blanket and a handy hook for hanging.
  3. Kidz Gear– Headphones that are designed to fit little heads and they come with an external volume control and a volume limited to prevent hearing issues to little ears. They provide a comfortable way for your kids to enjoy the airplane featured movie or Blue’s Clues in the back of your vehicle. A STEAL at $17
  4. Trunki – a child’s suitcase that doubles a ride-on car for that boring trip through the airport! Available in 5 colors/styles including a lion and lady bug! Holds up to 100 lbs, has wheels stabilizers to prevent it from toppling over. $30
  5. Cuties & Pals – This pint sized hard shelled suitcase in the ideal size for a little traveler. Available in a many fun animal styles, this wheely bag also comes with a backpack!  Interior features polyester lining with dividing pocket, zip compartment and garment strips for efficient packing. $90 for suitcase/matching backpack
  6. Noodlehead kid’s travel pillow – Whether you are taking a roadtrip or a traveling by plane, these pillows are designed to comfortably support sleepy heads.
  7. Snack and Play Travel TrayKeep your toddler’s toys in one spot and within reach while on the road or on an airplane. The Travel Tray is built with two large side pockets conveniently located within easy reach, as well as a two-inch wall to stop toys or food from falling off. Easy and safe to use, it is also washable. $20

Five Awesome U.S. Destinations You Should See With Your Kids – Part 3: Yosemite National Park

Hands down, the most beautiful place I’ve ever been is Yosemite National Park.  Mother Nature configures herself in some beguiling ways, let me tell you. With sweeping valley views, magnificent mountains and reality defying groves of giant sequoia trees, Yosemite is a spectacle at every turn. Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the abundance of wildlife throughout the park, including bear and cougar.  Climbers love the park too.  The Half Dome and El Capitan, a couple of the most recognisable climbing locations in North America, are found in Yosemite.    While the park has a lot to offer adventurous travelers, it is also a wonderful destination for families. The park is very accessible, so families traveling with young children should find it easy.  Shuttle buses take you from the parking areas to various hotspots within the park.  A lot of the hiking trails we encountered were manageable with a stroller.  There are restaurants, and well equipped campgrounds as well as a lodge and a hotel.  So, your stay will be comfortable. Children will enjoy the interactive displays in the education areas.  There are a number of points within the park that are design to explain the history and the natural composition of Yosemite.  Children aged 3 to 6 will enjoy participating in the Little Cub program while their older siblings take part in the Junior Ranger program. Yosemite is a photographer’s dream.  The great Ansel Adams was the most famous photographer to capture the park on film.  If you appreciate photography, you should plan to visit the Ansel Adams Gallery before you leave.  After visiting the exhibits, head into the park and take a few family photos.  You’ll never find a lovelier backdrop. Yosemite is huge.  It is 761,268 acres, to be exact.  That means, the best way to appreciate the length and breadth of the park, is to travel through it by car.  There are plenty of places to pull over for photos along the way.  Note, however, that there are only a few roads through the area and weather, rock slides and wildfires can all cause disruptions, so check into the road situation before you make your way to the park. My family had the pleasure to driving through Yosemite, the summer before last.  It was truly amazing.  Yes, we were inconvenienced by a rock slide and yes, we were held up by a wildfire, but it was all worth it.  While the whole trip was beautiful, the best part of the drive was the last hour and a half.  It was a road trip I’ll never forget. We began our drive to Mammoth Lakes, via the Tioga Pass, in the early evening.  The 90 minute journey flew by in a moment as vista upon vista came and went outside my window.  As the sun slid down the sky the light became a soft and filtered glow.  That is when Yosemite became a true enchantress.  Photographers call this the golden hour. We stopped the car and snapped some of the most stunning photographs I’ve ever seen; no fancy camera or training necessary.  With all due respect to Ansel Adams, if you have a camera, you can’t help but take beautiful pictures.  It’s just a very photogenic place, plain and simple. My son enjoyed his time in Yosemite, but he was only two, so I doubt he’ll remember it.  It doesn’t matter, though.  It was a beautiful family vacation in a beautiful place and it is a memory I’ll cherish for a lifetime.  I encourage everyone to see Yosemite and create their own memories. – Jen R, Staff Writer

Bed Bugs: An Unfortunate Side Effect of Travel

Nobody wants to talk about it, but I’m going to say it anyway.  Bed bugs are among us.  Yuck! So, what are you supposed to do?  Hide out in your house and dowse everyone, who comes through the door, with DDT?  Of course not, that would be illegal.  The best defence against bed bugs is education. Bed bugs are everywhere now.  They’re across the country, in big cities, small towns, homes, offices, airplanes and cars.  Even Bill Clinton’s office wasn’t immune.  But, the fact remains, bed bugs are most prevalent in major population centers and tend to be passed around by travelers in hotels. We’re not talking about flea-bag motels, either.  Last year, there were reports of bed bugs at the legendary Waldorf-Astoria in Manhattan. Bed bugs are causing problems all over the country, but certain cities have been harder hit.  According to Orkin LLC and Terminix, and corroborated by The National Pesticide Information Center, the most infested cities in America are:  Cincinnati, Chicago, Detroit, New York and Columbus.  Ohio, as a whole, has been badly affected.  No one is quite sure why. Edwin Rajotte is a professor of entomology and IPM coordinator at Penn State University.  He says that there are a couple of things working for us, when it comes to bed bugs.  First, they don’t spread disease.  Second, they are the same wherever you go.
“There aren’t super bugs in Detroit or something like that,” Rajotte said.  I’m glad they haven’t developed superpowers, but what can we do about them?
According to Rajotte,
“The main defence against bed bugs is education and awareness because everybody has a role to play in managing bed bugs, and it’s much easier to manage if you catch it early.”
Kaci Buhl, project coordinator for the National Pesticide Information Center, suggests that travelers closely inspect the sleeping area of their hotel.  “Look everywhere,” he said. “Bring a flashlight and inspect the box spring, seam along the mattress, under tags on the bed, even the headboards.” Experts also suggest that you store your luggage in the bathroom, if space permits, as the bugs are less likely to travel into this area. Once you’re home from your travels, inspect your luggage before you bring it back into the house.  You should wash your cloths and dry them in the machine, on high heat, for at least 30 minutes.  This will kill off all stages of the bed bug life cycle, on the off chance you’ve picked up a stowaway. But, what if it’s too late?  A little hitchhiker has already followed you home and she’s a family.  Experts urge that you put your bed bug stigmas and embarrassment aside.  Call for professional help immediately.  It’s relatively easy to deal with a few bed bugs.  Let the infestation progress and you’ll find yourself with an expensive problem. So, long story short.  Do your best to avoid bed bugs.  Be smart.  Use precautions.  But, if you find you’ve come home with an unwanted souvenir, don’t ignore the problem.  The sooner you deal with bed bugs, the sooner they’re gone. – Jen R, Staff Writer SOURCE PHOTO VIA

Five Awesome U.S. Destinations You Should See With Your Kids – Part 2: New York City

New York City is not off limits to families.  You don’t have to shelve your appetite for big city adventure once you have children. Jay-Z calls it a “concrete jungle where dreams are made.”  The bright lights, cacophonous honking, and bustling streets of The Big Apple are simultaneously energizing and intimidating.  The city that never sleeps has something to offer everyone who visits, and that includes children. Just think of the landmarks!  Around every corner there is something you’ll recognize.  A trip to the top of the Empire State building gives a unique perspective of the city.  Have your children look down and count the yellow taxis – impossible! Even in the city, children need a place to run.  Let them burn off some steam in Central Park.  With long pathways and open spaces it’s a wonderful place to play.  The park’s beautiful design makes it a bastion of serenity amid the chaos. If you have the energy, take a walk, jog, or stroller ride across the legendary Brooklyn Bridge, if for no other reason but to say you’ve done it.  It’s a magnificent feat of engineering. No visit to New York City would be complete without seeing ‘lady liberty’.  There are a few ways to see the Statue of Liberty.  You can take a boat tour to Liberty Island.  Note that strollers are not permitted on the Promenade or Observatory Tours.  Children aged 7 to 12 can participate in a Junior Ranger program.  Admission to the statue is free for children under three. The tour can be done in conjunction with a trip to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.  If your family’s immigration story begins at Ellis Island, it may be a meaningful stop for both you and your children. But, if you don’t have a family connection with Ellis Island and you feel no need to see the ‘lady’ in the flesh, you may want to do it my way – the cheap way.  The Staten Island Ferry passes right by the Statue of Liberty, every half hour, and it’s absolutely free.  You heard me, free. Cars, trucks and motorcycles are not allowed on the ferry, so it’s a matter of walking on, sailing past the statue, staying on (because there’s nothing to see on Staten Island – no offense) and sailing past her a second time. After you’ve seen the sights, it’ll be time to do a little shopping.  Believe it or not, a trip down Fifth Avenue might be the most exciting part of your child’s trip to NYC.  Why?  Because, Fifth Avenue is home to the FAO Schawrtz flagship store.  Remember the dance-on piano from the movie BIG?  It’s at FAO Schwartz.  This world renowned toy store is sure to be a favourite stop for young and old alike. New York City is a foodie’s dream-come-true.  Just choose a price point.  The Big Apple boasts delicious street food, famous delis, awesome ethic restaurants and the poshest nosh you’ll find anywhere in the world. Don’t feel you need to shy away from nice places because you’re with kids.  If you have the means to afford it, and your child’s temper seems stable for the time being, give it a try.  On the few occasions my son has been in elegant surroundings, he has behaved surprisingly well.  Dinner at an exotic restaurant can be a wonderful way to educate a child’s palate and introduce them to new foods. I haven’t even mentioned Times Square, the United Nations, Broadway or Rockefeller Center.  Even a ride on the subway is an experience.  The list goes on and on.  The more you learn about New York, the more you’ll want to see.  You could probably spend a lifetime there…some people do.  It’s definitely worth visiting with your kids. – Jen R, Staff Writer

Traveling With A Baby? Here’s 5 Must-Haves For Your Carry-On Bag…

Traveling with a baby is work. There – I’ve said it. But the truth of the matter is, the work is worth it. The trips and adventures we’ve had have as a family have given us the most cherished memories. To make those memories means you have to get there first, and that’s where all your prep work will come in handy. The more organized and prepared you are, the easier it is to get through your travel day. And that’s (usually) all it is. A day. That day often starts with an early wake-up or ends with a late bedtime, but so long as you plan in advance, your organization will pay off. You’ll need to invest in a good carry-on bag. It needs to have pockets and sections for storage, but not so many that you can’t remember where you put stuff. And you’ll have lots of stuff! But amidst all of it, do not forget these 5 things:
  • Wipes: You can never have too many of them. Diaper wipes clean faces, sticky hands, icky public bathrooms (don’t flush!) and questionable eating surfaces. Don’t just fill your little plastic sleeve before you venture out. Make sure you have a solid supply of wipes that will last the duration of your journey and beyond.
  • Diapers: This may seem obvious, but don’t skimp on the number of diapers you bring for your travel day. A good system for me is 1 per hour of my journey plus 2 more to be on the safe side. Don’t tempt fate by bringing the minimum. Clean diapers weigh almost nothing and you can use them to cushion the contents of your carry-on.
  • Food: Again – this may seem obvious. But surely you’ve heard the horror stories of people trapped on the tarmac for hours on end, either before or after a flight? I usually pack at least double the amount of food and/or bottles I think I’ll need. Delays happen. Being prepared with extra on hand means you don’t have to sweat them.
  • Toys: There is no need to spend the bomb on brand new stuff that will get broken or lost along the way. Hide old favourites for a few weeks before your trip and baby will be delighted to see them. Dollar stores are good sources for inexpensive trinkets that will occupy baby for little expense. Don’t forget a few books as well. Keeps baby busy and you’ll have them for storytime once you get there.
  • First Aid Kit: Because you never know when a fever will strike or your child will get hurt. In a small pencil case I include a bottle of children’s Motrin, Boiron’s Camelia (for teething) a thermometer, bandaids, Antibiotic Ointment, Antiseptic wipes and a backup bum cream.
And lastly… Patience and/or Coping Strategies: Our kids pick up on our moods, so if you’re in a foul one because the ticket agent was snippy or you forgot to pack socks, your child will pick up on it and (mis)behave accordingly. Cautiously optimistic is the way I like to play our travel days. If we expected everything to go completely smoothly all the time, we’d be sorely disappointed. Be sure to cram a change (or two) of clothes for baby and you in with everything – use a good carry-on packing list so you don’t forget anything. And, for goodness’ sakes, have a blast on your first trip with baby! – Corrine McDermott

Five Awesome U.S. Destinations You Should See With Your Kids – Part 1: The Grand Canyon

At least once in every childhood, there should be an epic road trip to an epic destination.  The Grand Canyon is such a place. Photographs, paintings and documentary footage all try to capture the knee buckling magnitude of the Grand Canyon, but they can never quite do it justice.  Nothing ever prepares you to stand at the canyon’s edge. The Colorado River began to carve Arizona’s jewel more than five million years ago.  It now commands the landscape along 277 river miles.  At its widest point, it spans 18 miles and the hike to the bottom is a mile long. It is an audible gasp inducing spectacle.  But, it’s more than just a photo op.  It is a treasure trove of history, geology and ecology.  Even young children can learn amazing things at the Grand Canyon. Grand Canyon National Park contains a diverse fossils record and physical evidence of three of the four eras of geological time.  The park also boasts five of North America’s seven life zones and three of the four types of desert found on the continent.  This variety in climate has fostered a collection of ecosystems and a wealth of bio diversity. The Grand Canyon offers a series of Junior Ranger programs for children between the ages of 4 and 14.  Junior Rangers participate in programs led by a park ranger and also complete age appropriate, activities from a booklet that can be found in various locations throughout the park.  Some of the programs also involve hiking or mule riding. All the Junior Ranger programs are free of charge.  I can’t think of a better way to ensure that children remain engaged throughout their visit. Upon completion of the Junior Ranger program, children earn a certificate and badge and can obtain a sew-on patch at one of the non-profit bookstores.  It is well worth investigating the programs to see how they might fit into your trip. To stand at the edge of the Grand Canyon is to stand with the unfathomable forces of nature laid out at your feet.  You should see it with your kids. – Jen R, Staff Writer Related Articles:

Top 10 Family Friendly Vacation Destinations!

Deciding where to take your family on vacation can be a stressful task for a parent who wants to ensure that  they are heading somewhere that has lots to do. The Weather Network has listed their top 10 family friendly vacation destinations.  This list is filled with great options that offer excitement, adventure and education. Here is the list! San Diego, CA – San Diego is popular with families because it has great weather year round, is close to the beach and offers  a variety of attractions. The renowned San Diego Zoo, is famous for it’s Wild Animal Park, which is home to 4,000 animals spread out over 100 beautiful acres. SeaWorld is a must visit with it’s opportunities to get close to marine animals & aquariums  as is Legoland for a day of rides, shows and a cooldown at their huge waterpark. San Diego is also home to many gardens, performing arts venues, and 15 major museums ranging from art to science to air and space to natural history or anthropology. offers lots of information about all of the attractions and lots of discounts as well.

Orlando, FL – A family could visit Orlando 3 or 4 times in one year and not do the same thing twice. On top of being home to Disney World’s four giant theme parks and two water parks, this kid friendly city offers dozens of other attractions for vacationing families like Seaworld, Universal Studios Orlando, Gatorland, and spring training for several Major League Baseball teams. Plus if you time your trip just right, you may be able to catch the shuttle launch at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, just 45 minutes away.

Yellowstone National Park – Established in 1872, Yellowstone National Park is America’s first national park. Located across 3 states, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, the park is home to a large variety of wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, bison, and elk.

Kids ages 5 – 12 who will be visiting Yellowstone in person can become Junior Rangers. Children ages 5 and up can become a Young Scientist. An in-park science inquiry paper for ages 5 through adult is also available at Old Faithful and Canyon.
Hershey, PA – Dubbed ‘The Sweetest Place on Earth’, Hershey Pennsylvania is home to many attractions for families and couples. Visit Hershey’s Chocolate World for an interactive tour-ride that explains how chocolate is made and ends with a sweet sample.  Families will also love ZooAmerica, Hershey Park, Dutch Wonderland and Hershey Gardens.

Atlantis, Bahamas – Paradise awaits your family at Atlantis. This amazing vacation spot, which is made up of 5 hotel towers and a townhome complex, caters to vacationers of all ages. There is a long list of activities for families including an expansive water park with a lazy river, Dolphin Cay and an Aquarium that lets you get up-close views of more than 50,000 marine animals from over 200 species.  Atlantis also features 21 restaurants and 19 bars and lounges offering everything from fine dining to quick-and-easy favorites.

Caribbean Cruises – A busy family looking to for an exciting vacation will love a cruise. On top of sailing on a luxury liner, each cruise line offers many activities, excursions and educational opportunities. A guided open-air tour through your favorite island will teach your kids more than they will ever learn at school as will a snorkel excursion to a crowded reef. Parents can also take advantage of the babysitting services or kids clubs that many ships offer to enjoy some time together while at sea.

Maui – While Hawaii’s 2nd largest island is home to more than 80 beautiful beaches, there’s so much more for active families to do like biking, surfing, snorkeling.  You can spend the afternoon hiking Maui’s Haleakala Crater — a dormant volcano — in Haleakala National Park or whale-watch in the winter. Maui also hosts the nation’s largest tropical reef aquarium at the Maui Ocean Center and if you are up for an adventurous ride the scenic Hana Highway will keep you on your toes with it’s 600 curves and dozens of one-lane bridges.

Washington, DC –  The capital of the United States is a beautiful city that is rich in history, architecture, and park land, most of which is open to the public year-round. A must-see is the Smithsonian Institution, a collection of more than a dozen museums, galleries, and the National Zoo – most of which are free!  Travel by water, bike or by foot to to explore Theodore Roosevelt Island, Turtle Park or The National Museum of Natural History and it’s 125 million natural science specimens and cultural artifacts.

Estes Park, CO -Estes Park, Colorado, is home to the majestic scenery of Rocky Mountain National Park. This vacation destination offers a multitude of outdoor excursions for the active family.  Camping, fishing, climbing, biking, and wildlife viewing are just a few of the activities that will keep you busy.  Those who are more adventurous can white water raft the Colorado and Poudre rivers, ski down the north side of Sundance Mountain or hike the Rocky Mountain trails.  Regardless of what you plan to do at Estes park, bring you camera because the scenery is breathtaking.

Myrtle Beach, SC – Myrtle Beach sits on a 60-mile stretch of Atlantic beaches from Little River in the north to Georgetown to the south.  It has been a top East Coast vacation destination for decades because it is at the center of it all, a budget and family-friendly destination. It’s so family-friendly, many hotels have children’s programs, family packages and play areas designed just for little travelers. And while the top attractions are the sunny, sandy beaches, Myrtle Beach offers lots of options to keep the whole family happy.  For dad there a 100-plus golf courses or 50 miniature golf courses for competitive families.  Myrtle Beach also has a number of amusement and water parks.
Family Kingdom features more than 30 rides including a thrilling wooden roller coaster and South Carolina’s largest ferris wheel with one-of-a-kind views of the ocean. Splash down on our Log Flume, freefall 110 feet in our Slingshot Drop Zone, bounce a bit on our bumper cars or hit the Go-Kart tracks. Plus, Family Kingdom’s oceanfront waterpark is just across the street.