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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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”… […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

A not-so Northern Exposure weekend in Roslyn, Washington

It’s probably been a long while since you have sat down and watched Northern Exposure, right?  Yeah, I can’t say that I’ve seen an episode in the last 20 years, but we went a had an awesome family weekend in Roslyn, Washington where they filmed it and the town is just as rustic, quirky, and […]

West Coast National Park road trip: the mountains

So many ways to approach a West Coast road trip.  Seriously.  You can do the Pacific Coast Highway from the Olympic Peninsula of Washington all of the way to Tijuana, Mexico.  Or you can shoot down the i-5 corridor, making intentional stops within an hour or two off the freeway.  Or you can wing it […]

Anacortes: a family travel surprise

Once upon a time we wrote this great article about why you shouldn’t write off a destination and basically said that you should always give a place a second chance or even just go experience it for the first time despite what others have said.  Anacortes, Washington is one of those places.  There are so […]

Exploring Oregon Caves National Monument w/ kids

Spelunking:  the act of exploring caves and wandering deep into the earth… with kids.  That’s what we got to do at Oregon Caves National Monument.  We had an the best experience, which we were a bit worried about before starting our tour.  We were welcomed by Oregon Caves National Monument for our ranger-led cave hike […]

Rustic heaven at the Chateau at the Oregon Caves

If you know me (Rob, Hi!) you know that I use the word “magical” in 50% of my sentences… and so does Oliver… because he’s my mini-me.  Blame it on working for Disney or just watching a bit too much Harry Potter, but I love the word.  I’m going to use it again:  The Oregon […]

Battery Point Lighthouse: worth getting your feet wet

I went to Crescent City, California once when I was a kid.  I just remember being told that in 1964 a tsunami (tidal wave) crashed into the town… and then I was terrified of visiting Crescent City or any place on the coast.  Well, I’m a grown up now and Chris and I have been […]

the Southern Oregon Coast’s Pacific Reef Hotel

Sometimes family travel is so tiring that all you want to do is check into your hotel, take off your shoes and sit on a balcony.  With the door closed.  With no children needing you.  We found that.  After going non-stop for two weeks we finally arrived on the Oregon Coast and were welcomed by […]

Hunting for gnomes in Redwood National Park

We grew up in a great period in film history, where there were movies like the Land Before Time, Ferngully and, from even before we were born, The Gnome-Mobile.  On our way to California’s North Coast and the Redwoods, the boys got to watch The Gnome Mobile in the car and they loved it!!  If […]

The Carter House Inn of Eureka, California

As we made our way through Northern California and explored the beaches and National Parks, we stayed in all kinds of hotels and lodges.  When we left the Bodega Bay Lodge and headed north along the coast, we landed in Eureka, CA and were welcomed by the Carter House Inn.  This was such a nifty […]

Finding the Trinidad Head Lighthouse

When you live on the coast you get accustomed to certain maritime things.  You know, like hearing fog horns, continually sweeping up sand in your house, having lighthouses in half of your family photos.  We love lighthouses, but then you probably already knew that.  While we were touring the Northern California coast we got to […]

The Bodega Bay Lodge

After spending so much time up in the mountains and loving Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks, we really needed to get to the ocean.  At home we live across the street from the beach and can look at water whenever we want, so we’re used to it.  Being land-locked doesn’t suit us.  A […]

St Louis: awesomeness in the Midwest

It’s been a long while since we’ve visited St Louis and we haven’t taken the kids before, but we’re always looking for new places to explore.  When we think of St Louis the two things that come to mind are the Gateway Arch (#FindYourPark) and the Cardinals (because baseball, you know?).  What else is awesome […]

The amazing Yosemite Valley tram tour

While we typically just do our own thing and plot out sights we want to see, every now and then we’ll do a tour.  National Parks are so easy to explore on your own, especially when you’re planning on hiking a bunch, but when we were in California, we opted to do the Yosemite Valley […]

The Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite National Park: amazing.

Such a variety of accommodations in this world.  We’ve seen them all and stayed in half of them.  On our epic road trip through the National Parks of Northern California, we got to experience some wonderful places.  The Evergreen Lodge at Yosemite National Park is so different from the other spots we stayed. We loved […]

Why you must stop at Tunnel View in Yosemite National Park

Everybody seems to have an opinion about overrated sights and places to visit.  Roadside attractions are totally cliched to stop at, but why not stop?  Viewpoints on highways that have pull-outs are usually there because the view is incredible.  Why wouldn’t you want to stop at a vista like that’s “like woah”?  Tunnel View in […]

The Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite National Park

It was so great to stay in lodges on our #2TDgoparks2016 roadtrip.  After several days of snow chains and foiled hiking plans it was nice to arrive at the Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite.  We’d stayed in some pretty small lodges within Sequoia and Kings Cayon National Parks for our nights prior to getting to the […]

Kings Canyon National Park in any Season

You know when you’re excited for sweeping views, spring flowers, newborn baby animals and getting your first tan of the year?  That’s where we were at prior to driving into Kings Canyon National Park.  As we drove up into the hills from Fresno, California we felt the temperature drop, but it was still sunny.  We […]

Family travel to John Muir Lodge in Kings Canyon National Park

After a few days of battling the fog and snow in Sequoia National Park we took the short drive to cross the border into Kings Canyon National Park.  Like with Sequoia, we had big plans for hiking in the beautiful, sunny valleys of Kings Canyon and exploring the granite cliffs and meadows.  We were booked […]

Sequoia National Park with Kids

Traveling with kids is always fun…and a challenge.  We love to visit National Parks and typically do so in the summer when the hiking is good and the sun will be shining.   We were invited to California to experience Sequoia National Park with kids and jumped at the chance.  This was a great opportunity for […]

The Wuksachi Lodge

So, we always camp when we go to National Parks.  For our big #2TDgoparks2016 trip we’ve taken a totally different approach:  lodges.  Why lodges?  Two reasons:  we are doing the trip in the spring when the weather is totally unpredictable and we were kindly invited to explore the Parks and lodges.  The Wuksachi Lodge in […]

Jacksonville Solo Travel: relax in Jax

One of the best family travel trips we’ve done was our visit to Jacksonville Beach and St Augustine.  Experiencing Florida’s Historic Coast with the kids was so much fun and we did SO MANY THINGS.  So, I got to do some Jacksonville solo travel and it was totally different.   I didn’t get up early […]

A Denver Retreat at the Inverness Hotel

We made the decision to visit Denver, like, beyond the airport Denver.  A city that we’d written off at the home of the Broncos (and why would you want to visit there when you live in Seattle) and as just a stop-over on cross country flights, we learned that we actually loved Denver and are […]

Travel Planning and Things to See in Rome…with kids

We have so much travel planned in the next few months, but we’re also looking at our next potential trips too.  We may be hitting the UK in September.  We’ll definitely be in Mexico in October.  We’ve been talking about Italy. Last time we were in Italy we just wandered through the country, hiking as […]

Cell Phone Service in Paris… I wish we’d had it

We’ve become aficionados when it comes to traveling without technology and instant communication, which is funny because when we’re at home we’re connected so easily.  Being in the grand blogosphere we’re told about all kinds of programs and services as they’re made available to travelers; some are awesome and some we forget that we were […]