Teaching your kids about history when you travel doesn’t have to mean a long, boring day of museums and statues. If done right, history can be more than just artifacts behind a glass case, or a plaque that points out where something used to be.
When my kids were studying the old west, with its wagon trains, gold miners and outlaws, I knew there was no better place for it to all come to life than in a real western ghost town.
My new article about Bannack State Park, the ghostliest ghost town in all the west, is now appearing on Family Vacation Critic, a subsidiary of TripAdvisor. You can expect to see several articles from me each month on this essential family travel site. I hope they give you inspiration for a memorable family adventure!
It’s that time of year to start thinking about road trips and family travels for the coming spring and summer. There are few better places to find fun with your kids than North Idaho.
The northern panhandle of Idaho is my family’s stomping ground. Over the years, we’ve discovered a great number of cool and exciting places to take the kids. So, when people ask what there is to do around here, I always have a ready list of sights and activities that will make any family vacation a memorable one.
Ten Cool Things For Kids In North Idaho
1. World’s Longest Gondola Ride
In the town of Kellogg, you can board the longest gondola in the world for a 20 minute ride to the Mountain Haus terminal at the top of Silver Mountain, a climb of 3400 vertical feet. In the winter, you’ll find some of the best ski runs around, but in the summer you can hike the nature trails, go mountain biking, or ride the chair lifts for more scenic beauty even higher up the mountain. Continue reading
The Super Bowl has once again put Seattle in the spotlight, and it’s sure to see an increase in tourism as people come to check out the home of the Seahawks. People will flock to Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, Experience Music, and the Museum of Flight. It’s a beautiful city, with no shortage of fun activities for families. Continue reading
It’s just a coincidence that my family’s two favorite hot springs destinations are both named Fairmont Hot Springs.
Both have comfortable, and affordable, lodges for their guests. Both have large, clean pools filled with soothing hot mineral water. Both are extremely family friendly. Your vacation needs are covered either way, so you only have to decide if you want to grab your passport or not.
One of them is in Western Montana, while the other is in British Columbia, Canada. Continue reading
“The tranquil water-way leading to the uttermost ends of the earth flowed somber under an overcast sky–seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness.”
Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness was on my mind as we made our way from one attraction to another at Disneyland. Your first assumption is that the Magic Kingdom is all sweetness and light. After all, it bills itself as The Happiest Place on Earth.
But that can be misleading. Walking through the cheery front gates onto a bustling Main Street inevitably leads you toward a darker subtext of the Disneyland story. Continue reading
Five years ago I was getting ready for my first long-distance walk, an 84-mile excursion in England.
And it was scaring me, because I knew something was wrong with my feet. I had broken in my new boots, but they still didn’t feel right.
This wasn’t new to me. As a kid, many decades ago, I hiked monthly with my Scout troop. My boots back then were stiff and unforgivable, with soles that felt and weighed like concrete. Every nail, eyelet, and grommet would stab into my feet with each tortuous step on the trail. We wore thin cotton socks that soaked up sweat like a sponge. It wasn’t a matter of getting blisters, but how bad they would be.
Back to five years ago, it was clear to me that boot-making materials and technology had changed dramatically since the 70s. My new Merrell boots were light and flexible, and I had the best synthetic moisture-wicking socks you could buy. But something was still wrong. Continue reading
Try to remember what you had for dinner on the 16th of July this past summer.
Now try to remember what you were doing on the afternoon of June 5, 2012.
If you can recall the details of those days, you must keep a daily diary, or you have a photographic memory. Or, maybe you looked it up on Facebook just now.
Most likely, you were traveling. Continue reading
Yellowstone is the crown jewel of our National Park System. It was the first of its kind, and remains the most unique and diverse wilderness experience that you will find in this country.
It’s also an extremely cool place for kids.
But with almost 3500 square miles of lakes, geysers, canyons, and hot springs, there’s too much to see in one short stay. So, after four visits to Yellowstone, and consultation with my own children, I have compiled the following list of park sights and activities that will make your family trip an especially memorable one.
Ten Cool Things For Kids (and Grown-Ups) in Yellowstone National Park:
1. Dragon’s Mouth Spring
How can you resist telling your kids that a dragon lives in a cave near a mud volcano? It doesn’t take much imagination to think that this cavern, with its growls and thumps, and spitting steam, might just hold a real dragon.
2. Fishing Cone
It’s probably just a tall tale, but the story goes that the early trappers and explorers would catch fish in Yellowstone Lake, swing them directly into the Fishing Cone geyser just off shore, and have a meal of boiled fish in just minutes. “Hook and cook,” they called it. Like the dragon cave, another cool sight that will fire up the imagination.
3. Old Faithful Inn
What kid won’t love the largest log hotel in the world? Just walk inside the 100-year-old Inn’s lobby, with its four stories of lodgepole pine balconies and 500-ton stone fireplace, and your kids might just want to sit for awhile. Preferably in one of the many handmade wood rocking chairs. Better yet, stay in one of the Inn’s rooms. Prices are reasonable, and the food in the dining room is first-class.
I had a treehouse when I was a kid. And I’m pretty sure I slept in it once or twice.
As a grown-up, the idea of sleeping in the trees, on the bare wood floor of a drafty, spider-infested, rickety old treehouse, doesn’t sound so appealing.
Ah, but what if you could find some relative luxury up in those trees?