Yosemite National Park family travel guide

Yosemite National Park is one of the most visited or dreamed about destinations in the United States.  Can you blame everyone for wanting to explore the valleys and peaks that are the subject of countless Ansel Adams photographs?  Who wouldn’t want to stare up at the incredible granite cliffs from the valley floor. And did […]

The Santa Monic Pier: it’s okay to play tourist, really.

Can you think of anything that is more Southern California than visiting the Santa Monica Pier? I don’t think we could name a single thing. Well, maybe a day in San Diego on the Beach surfing… But no, the Pier. Even though a day at the Santa Monica Pier seems like the most touristy and […]

A weekend in Port Townsend, Washington: Victorian charm meets the outdoors

More often than not we find ourselves visiting places we’ve been 10,000 times.  We don’t live far from Port Townsend, Washington and that’s where a lot of our family is so we are there quite often.  We love Port Townsend, as most Pacific Northwest residents do, and it’s our duty to share just why and […]

Yan’an and Hukou Falls National Park: exploring Northern Shaanxi province

China offers the beautiful, the delicious, the weird, the perfect.  China is awesome.  It’s easy to plan a trip around visiting the big sites or famous spots, or even seeking out off-the-beaten-path places, but what about just the lesser-known or totally out of the way spots?  Well, I’ve got tips to share with you for exploring […]

Planning family travel to Turks and Caicos in the Caribbean

You know how much we love getting the kids into nature. Locally we can escape to the beach or the mountains within minutes or a few hours, but getting to snorkeling destinations where the water is warm and beautiful and perfect, that takes longer. And if you’re going to make the trip it might as […]

Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge: PNW nature at its finest

We love our hikes.  Winter, summer, whenever.  We also love visiting beaches.  Have you ever done beach hiking? Beach hiking is an awesome challenge because it is so different than hiking on a hard rock trail. The Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge is a perfect place to experience beach hiking as well as have some fun […]

Staying at Domaine Madeleine: a perfect Olympic Peninsula BNB

It’s been awhile since we’ve shared any details about accommodations while we travel. Well, we’ve stayed someplace now that we must share: Domaine Madeleine in Port Angeles, Washington is the most awesome and perfect bed and breakfast that we have visited. It’s the Olympic Peninsula BNB that puts others to shame. Well, we need to stay […]

Xi’an City Guide: experiencing China’s history, nature and culture

Seriously, I could write about China all day every day.  Thinking about what areas of China to visit, people will probably research what spots are going to have the best tourist sites or most famous Chinese landmarks.  If that’s the approach you’re taking, then no doubt you’re going to be pointed towards the Terracotta Warriors […]

Baja California Sur Road Trip: #familytravel meets awesome

When you say Baja California, I think most people are instantly going to think “Off-roading and military car inspections…”  Well, yeah, that’s totally possible and I’m sure you’ll come across that, but we’ve had some pretty incredible Baja road trips.  Doing a road trip through Baja California is a really fun and interesting option for […]

Baoji and Taibai Mountain National Park: off the beaten path China

Hahaha. Baoji. Oh my, this place is hilarious. Don’t get me wrong, I loved walking around Baoji at night and I loved getting to experience the nature surrounding this cute little town but I do have countless chuckles. Baoji is definitely off the beaten path China. From the Hot Springs Resort to Taibai Mountain National […]

Hiking the Cinque Terre: finding our perfect Italy

It’s been a while since we were in Italy, but we had some amazing adventures.  We loved Venice and its canals, and getting completely soaked when a monsoon hit.  Florence was awesome despite being there during the week that EVERY museum closed for maintenance.  And then Pisa was such a whirlwind that we could only […]

Saving for the future: making travel and early retirement attainable

Our notes here about saving for the future originally appeared on GaysWithKids.com, which is a great resource for families and same-sex couples looking to take the plunge into parenthood. Recently, we saw some online promotion and hashtags around saving up for the future and just general thoughts on good practices with money.  Chris and I […]

Seattle’s Volunteer Park: a perfect break within the city

When you’ve lived in Seattle for a long time, you stop trying to find new things to do or you forget the fun things you used to do.  When we were much younger, Chris and I lived very close to Volunteer Park in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.  The Hill is one of Seattle’s oldest neighborhoods […]

Chistmassy Holiday Activities in Atlanta, Georgia

Christmas is such a hoot.  We love getting to do Christmassy, holidayish things and especially love traveling during the holidays.  We just returned from Atlanta where we were visiting family and did a few fun, special holiday activities there.  In addition to visiting the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, we also got to do some exploring […]

Chattanooga’s Tennessee Aquarium: the best family fish-perience

We often return to places that we have really enjoyed in the past, especially when it’s a place of learning and science that completely fascinates the kids. The Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, Tennessee is just that: engaging, fun and perfect for family travel. Fyi, I just want to apologize in advance because this article is going to […]

The Famen Temple of Baoji, China: where ancient and modern Buddhism meet

Visiting European churches and cathedrals is very different from visiting Buddhist temples and sights in Asia.  In Europe you can expect to see a certain number of recognizable saints and themes throughout depending on the age of the site.  In China… it’s the same thing, but much more colorful.  On my recent visit to the […]

A Portland Weekend Getaway Plan: cool or hip or just fun

Once upon a time, Chris and I took a trip to Portland, Oregon and hated it.  We left early even.  Everything was closed, the city was dirty and we were bored.  Well, my opinion has completely changed.  Every year my BFF Jon and I take a boys trip and head someplace fun for a weekend […]

Our Christmas tree tradition: from travel ornaments to sustainable farms

Well, Thanksgiving came and went in a flash which means that it’s time to wrap up our year… but not before we do our one and only Christmas tradition:  doing the Christmas tree.  Decorating a Christmas tree as a family has become one of our absolute favorite activities out of everything we do over the […]

A complete guide to snorkeling in Cabo San Lucas

As heartbreaking as it is to realize that you’re kids are growing up it’s also amazing.  We are able to do so many more fun things and share even more new experiences with them.  One that is really exciting is snorkeling! Snorkeling in Cabo San Lucas is surprisingly great and if you’re in the right […]

Voting with your dollars… your travel dollars

Following the recent shocking election of Donald Trump in the United States, our minds are spinning out of control of what to do.  We cannot relocate our lives and run away from this.  We can’t secede from the Union (or can we?) and we can’t just sit at home moping about so many of our […]

Making travel plans for the USA: an expat’s view of visiting home in America

We’ve written several times about what we look for in a destination, from activities to cost to previous visits.  We’re pretty good at making travel decisions together to create the most fun vacations for our kids.  Following the recent election of Donald Trump to the presidency of the United States we were very curious how […]

Why using a timeshare is smart family travel

Among frequent travelers, and especially in the travel blog community there is a weird tension about “traveler vs tourist” and it’s really funny and irritating.  It’s typically approached in a condescending way and despite we not caring where we fall into the array we still make the effort to be sure to fall into “traveler”… […]

Visiting an archaeological dig site: the Terracotta Warriors of Xi’an, China

The very first thing that popped up when I started researching Xi’an, China was the terracotta warriors.  I had just found out that I was heading to China to explore Shaanxi province and just had to see what was in store.  I knew that it was the heart of ancient Imperial China, but I got […]

Fall traditions: travel and pumpkins

Since summer keeps us going going going we are always a tiny bit excited for fall.  Fall is the perfect time to chill for a bit (for at least three weeks straight), prep for the next big trip (usually a warm couple weeks in Mexico) and do our pumpkin thing.  Yes, most families have some […]

Family travel in Indonesia: our must-see plan

Since we’ve determined Indonesia as our #1 priority on our Asian destination bucket list, we’ve started digging into the country a whole lot more and are getting pretty excited about what we’re finding.  From nature to food, hiking to getting under the water, we’re going to have an amazing time doing family travel in Indonesia. […]

Why Indonesia is at the top of our Asian destinations bucket list

Now that we’re starting to explore Asia more, we’ve decided to make a list of the countries or sights to see all around Asia.  Chris travels to China for work from time to time and he always gets to add a little stop-over or weekend trip to a neighboring country, but as a family we […]

Finding Imperial China: Tang Paradise and Giant Wild Goose Pagoda

China was such a mystery before I started to actually explore it.  I had a bunch or perceptions of what I’d find and it wasn’t like that at all… until we went to the imperial garden in Xi’an.  The Tang Lotus Garden, aka Tang Paradise, is near the amazing Giant Wild Goose Pagoda and was […]

Local learning at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center

We’ll never get tired of sharing certain types of things with the world.  We have our favorite destinations and activities and we’ll share lots of different ways to experience them.  Port Townsend, Washington is one of those destinations and something we love there is Fort Worden.  And at Fort Worden we have discovered the Port […]

the Death planks of Huashan: more awesome than scary

You know we love our hiking, right?  We do it almost everywhere we go, and in all types of weather and environment.  This year has seen some really fun hikes from lighthouse hunting to trekking through the snow in the spring, and now I can add hiking Huashan in the Shaanxi province of China.  Huashan […]

Surprising China: a westerner’s misconceptions disproved

Growing up in America you don’t really learn about China.  You hear that it’s a Communist country far away, that the people live in desolate poverty and that the pollution is so bad that you must wear a smog mask at all times.  While aspects of these things are true, it’s totally not the case […]

Playa del Carmen: kind of a perfect destination

We know how to do a beach day.  I mean, we live at the beach, but what do you do when you’re in a beach destination without kids?  And what if it’s a beach destination that also has non-beach stuff that is pulling you away from the surf?  Well, here’s how to have an amazing […]

Travel vs Sending kids to school – the big debate

September means something different for every family.  Most parents (and kids) are totally in school mode, but not us.  We’re still in the days of enjoying the last weeks of summer and keeping busy with travel and house projects.  Come next year though, we’ll be sending kids to school for the first time… or will […]

The prettiest spots in Washington State

We recently put out an itinerary for doing a road trip loop around the Puget Sound here in Washington State.  With that, we got a few emails and questions about where to find the prettiest spots in Washington.  We thought “Um, that’s such an opinion piece and is going to vary for everyone,” but we’ll […]

A friendly reminder about hiking safety and family travel tips

We always are traveling with friends or family, internationally and locally.  Not everything we do is a group activity, but a lot of things are.  Hiking as a group is always fun and usually is uneventful, but every now and then something happens and that’s when you have to think about hiking safety. Hiking in […]

Destination Dining with the Pretty Fork: an Orcas Island food escape

Okay, new favorite thing to do on a Thursday afternoon:  destination dining.  Whaaaaa?  Yep, it’s the coolest and most unusual, but most Pacific Northwest thing you can possibly do.  The Pretty Fork, a local Seattle progressive dining tour operator, has got the concept of destination dining down.   I heard about destination dining with the […]

A day in Labadee, Haiti: adventure and relaxation

It’s totally not difficult to find a way to enjoy a day in the Caribbean.  Everywhere you look is beautiful, the water is warm, and there’s a lot of rum.  When I set sail on the Oasis of the Seas with Royal Caribbean, I got to visit some beautiful places.  One place I was particularly […]

Our Annual Family Reunion Trip – #HowWeFamily

Every year we get together with our family for a big family reunion trip.  Hold up, that’s a vague statement because our family is enormous.  We get together annually with our immediate family for a week at Lake Cushman on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State.  We love it there; it’s beautiful.  We love even […]

Lake Cushman on the Olympic Peninsula: Tahoe of the North

Until I moved to San Francisco in my early 20s I’d always heard of Tahoe and people going to Tahoe for the summer or staying in a lodge for skiing at Tahoe for the winter and I never got it.  It seemed so common and yet so exclusive.  Well, it turns out that we have […]

A family travel adventure: Puget Sound itinerary

We get a lot of questions about visiting the Pacific Northwest with kids.  People want to know the obvious like “what are the can’t-miss sights?” or “should we really pack for cold weather in July?”  We’ll answer that second question first:  yes, it rains.  For the other questions though, here is the first of 3 […]

How travel impacts kids: interview with a 4 year old

We travel a lot, right?  Do you ever wonder what actually sticks with kids and makes a lasting impression?  When you’re planning your own vacation, do you seriously talk to your kids to see what they want to do or where they want to go.  After interviewing our own 4 year old, it’s become a […]