Hiking Palm Springs, California: the oasis and the desert

We love to find places that everybody talks about but nobody knows the cool stuff you can do there.  One such place is Palm Springs, California.  I mean, everybody goes there for a nice weekend or a relaxing vacation, but besides golf, gay bars and swimming pools, what is there?  The ACTUAL Palm Springs!! Agua […]

Mission San Juan Capistrano: a SoCal must-visit

Somewhere between the skyscrapers of Los Angeles and the beaches of San Diego there’s pocket of Old California.  When you’re touring Southern California it’s easy to just breeze on down to your final destination, but why would you when you could make some great SoCal stops?  Mission San Juan Capistrano is one stop you have […]

San Francisco’s Telegraph Hill: Greenwich & Filbert Steps

Every city has its defining characteristics that make it unusual and attractive.  Seattle has the ferry system and Pike Place Market, Los Angeles has the film industry and beaches, San Francisco has the cable cars and all of its hills… Well, the coolest San Francisco’s hills is for sure Telegraph Hill, and the wonders of […]

Cabrillo National Monument: the gem of San Diego

San Diego, California is such a popular west coast destination.  We all love to head to SoCal for the nearly guaranteed sunshine and beaches where you can actually swim.  And the coastal vibe is so different, with bare feet everywhere and flowers blooming on the bluffs year round.  Cabrillo National Monument is a great place […]

California Coast Road Trip: west coast road trip part 2

California.  That California life is so awesome with all that nature and sunshine.  What better way to experience it than by doing a California coast road trip?  We’re going to start at the northern border, but reverse our plan and you’ll have just as amazing of a time. So you’ve just crossed the border from […]

Free things to do in Los Angeles to make an awesome trip

If you’ve ever gone traveling with us then you know we like to have fun, we like to go to bed early, and we love when we find awesome free things to do. We know lots of the cool fun free things to do at home because we do so much local travel but free […]

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 […]

West Coast Road Trip Itinerary: lighthouses and National Parks

Growing up in Washington with family in both northern and southern California, the West Coast road trip was guaranteed at least once per year… if not three times.  This meant though that we got to experience everything:  lighthouses and coastlines, hiking in the mountains or rides in Disneyland.  Such an array.  Now, being parents, we […]

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 […]

Hiking Hetch Hetchy: the unknown Yosemite National Park

Going off the beaten path is something so many travelers strive for.  You know that we’re usually traveling with kids, so we try to experience the less-crowded areas of the world when we can so they can see what the earth is actually like.  When you ask somebody if it’s quiet in Yosemite National Park […]

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 […]

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 […]

A stop at the Golden Gate Bridge: an American icon

Ooh, we love a good tourist attraction.  Not a tourist trap, but a genuine attraction.  Of all of the classic American icons a few really stand out:  the Statue of Liberty, the White House, the Golden Gate Bridge.  In our house, being the family travel folk that we are, we’ve got a lot of maps, […]

Family hiking with the Piggyback Rider

Being a dad is the coolest thing ever.  You get to teach your kids about bugs and cooking and building things and art and hiking and so much more. While our youngest is still in the toddler stage and not about to voluntarily hike on his own, our oldest, Oliver, is quite the trailblazer… 80% […]

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 […]

Our Non Complete Guide to Lighthouses in the USA

Why in the world are we making a non complete guide to lighthouses in the USA??  Simple:  there are so many lighthouses that one could not possibly hope to visit them all… but we are trying to, so as we add more and more to our roster, we’ll share them too.  Having a non complete […]

Disneyland with a toddler: 6 things to know

I’ve loved Disneyland my whole life and can remember my very first trip when I was 4.  I have worked there and spent countless hours in the park as both a cast member and guest.  I’ve assisted so many families with little kids and helped to make magical moments.  And then we took our own child there. […]