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 […]

West Coast road trip experience: part 1 – Washington & Oregon

There’s no doubt that the West Coast of the USA is an awesome place full of diverse people, sights and nature.  The cities of the West Coast are really progressive and each gives a totally different experience.  We’re going to share with you how you can get the full West Coast road trip experience 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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”… […]

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 […]

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 […]

Floating the White River in Ocho Rios, Jamaica

Something we can’t wait to mix into family travel is river rafting.  I’ve rafted plenty of rivers, from the Wenatchee in Leavenworth, Washington to Six Mile in Hope, Alaska, the Kenai and the Flathead:  all kinds of rivers.  And I’ve kayaked.  I love kayaking and the challenge it sometimes gives.  It’s rare though that we […]

Waterfall jumping at the Blue Hole, Ocho Rios, Jamaica

There are a few places that I’d love to experience with my family, meaning that I’ve gotten to see them and do incredible things on my own, but they haven’t been able to join me.  Among those places are the Alaskan tundra, the cenotes of the Yucatan and the jungles of Jamaica.  The waterfalls of […]

Swimming with sea turtles in Akumal, Mexico

There’s this small window in being a parent when it seems okay to do really cool things without your kids.  Examples include dinner in a Michelin star restaurant, getting a tattoo when you’re traveling for work, swimming with sea turtles in the Caribbean… So, I did two of these things on my last solo travel […]

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 […]

Wowed by nature in Cenotes dos Ojos

We’re a family travel blog through and through… except when one of us has to travel for work or something.  I had the amazing opportunity to tour the Caribbean aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas and had an awesome time.  The trip was totally unplanned so only I could go, but I was welcomed and […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

How MisterBNB saved my solo travel weekend

You know that we’re all about family travel and experiencing everything together or having the random weekend as a couple.  Well, I (Rob) just did the unthinkable:  solo travel.  Whaaattt?!?!?!  Yes, it’s true.  I spoke at WordCamp in Jacksonville, Florida (#WCJAX) and made the journey all by my lonesome.  Thank goodness for Mister BNB.  MisterBNB […]

So much happenin’ at the Butterfly Pavilion

When you travel with kids a lot, you tend to do a lot of the same activities, but in different towns and cities.  I feel like I’ve been to the same park a thousand times.  How many times can we visit the beach and not swim because it’s too cold?  Well, we were excited to […]

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 […]

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 […]

Market to ME: gay travel advertising… or not

Do you know what I love about modern television and online marketing?  Advertisements that speak to me and that I don’t mind watching or looking into more.  A catchy ad does wonders for a brand, like the Disney World ads that have tiny bits of magic woven into them.  Or there’s an ad for the […]

Hiking in Mt Rainier National Park: easy & worth it

Even though we love going to Olympic National Park, Mount Rainier National Park is one of our favorite spots in the state of Washington. One of the things we love about Mount Rainier is that you can enjoy the North or the South Side and have very different experiences.  On the north side there are […]

Waterfalls of Mt Rainier National Park

There are few things that we’re just suckers for:  lighthouses, bathrobes, and waterfalls.  When you’re heading to the mountains to go hiking, you can only count on getting one of those boxes checked off, and it’s waterfalls.  Mt Rainier National Park is an easy day trip or multi-day camping destination for any type of traveler, […]

Leavenworth: more than a Bavarian façade

We live in the Seattle area of Washington State and we love it!  It’s got everything from the mountains to the Puget Sound.  Heck, even the ocean isn’t too far for a day trip.  We also have some really amazing small towns.  One of our favorites is Leavenworth, Washington.  It’s cute.  It’s quaint.  It’s manufactured. […]

Seriously, just go travel: why you shouldn’t write off a destination

We travel a ton.  That’s our family schtick:  “2 dads raising their 2 sons and traveling the globe, giving the kids a broad world view. Traveling, parenting, and experiencing culture.”  We like to go to the common tourist destinations and some off-the-beaten-path ones.  It’s good to have a mix.  You never want to hit up […]

A Sleigh Ride: not just for Christmas anymore

Let’s just be cheesy up front and quote some Johnny Mathis:  “Just hear those sleigh bells jingle-ing, ring-ting-tingle-ing too; Come on, it’s lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you.”  Well, it was lovely weather when we were recently in Leavenworth, Washington and we did go on a sleigh ride even though it wasn’t […]

7 Reasons to Love and Hate Cross Country Skiing (but really love it)

I’ve had a few interviews in the last couple of weeks and been asked what sort of family travel we love to do.  The answer is always so quick to come to my tongue:  hot, sunny beaches.  And it’s true.  We just aren’t snow people.  Snow is pretty but it’s never our first choice, even […]

Venice Flashback: stories of Venetian moments

Every place you visit has different versions of itself.  Seattle has the pretend romantic side that’s captured in Sleepless in Seattle, but then is also full of fog and spilled coffee.  Los Angeles has the traffic and pollution you see on the news, but after dark it’s calm and quiet.  And then Venice is all […]

Kingfisher Restaurant: unusual, stellar dining

We are always up for an unusual dining experience.  We love sushi when there’s the chef’s choice or ordering “catch of the day”.  Um, what’s it gonna be?  We also love when the dining style is totally unexpected.  Example:  you’re seated for fine dining and discover that it’s a buffet style dining room with really […]

…and then there was the Waterleaf Spa…

A dream vacation is this:  a nice hotel, hiking, beaches, great food, fancy drinks in non-fancy cups, well behaved kids, an art museum or two, sunshine and massages everyday.  An actual vacation is this:  a nice place to stay or camp, hiking or chill walks, a beach that you might put your feet in the […]

St Simons Island: an ideal family escape

The southeastern United States is a really fascinating area.  It’s got the colonial and Civil War history; it’s full of tidelands, swamps and interesting wildlife; and its own past is a varied collection of maritime lore and people.  As you stroll through the village area of St Simons Island, it’s got that quasi-Caribbean feel with […]

St Simons Island Lighthouse: nautical family fun

And our lighthouse obsession continues… On St Simons Island, the largest of Georgia’s Golden Isles, there stands a picturesque beacon just off the boardwalk.  It’s surrounded by palm trees, oaks and green grass.  It’s not too tall, but clearly breaks the skyline:  the St Simons Island Lighthouse.  You know we love to visit lighthouses for many […]

8 Reasons to Lose Your Shoes at the Hyatt Olive 8

Confession:  we went somewhere without the kids.  Yep.  And we didn’t feel bad about it.  Well, maybe a little bad.  But, we showed up at the Hyatt Olive 8 and they welcomed us swiftly.  We made it up to our room and quickly discovered that we’d made the right choice to spend the weekend chillin’ out […]