family travel

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Dolphin Tale
Many movies make claims to the tune of “something the whole family will love,” but often fail to entertain all. Finally, Dolphin Tale has filled a spot among the true family movies that your kids will surely enjoy, and chances are, so will you. Dolphin Tale is based on a true story and revolves around a real-life dolphin named Winter, who lost her tail after getting caught in a crab trap, but luckily was rescued and rehabilitated by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Winter plays herself, and the movie chronicles her struggles, and ends with ultimate successful creation of her own prosthesis. The material used to create her prosthesis has been appropriately named “Winter’s Gel,” and has even gone on to help human amputees. Although many other parts of the movie are fictionalized, the cast including well-known actors such as, Harry Connick Jr., Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd bring you into the movie emotionally and you leave the theater feeling like you can accomplish anything.
Bryce Canyon
When you think of famous, breathtaking canyons in our country, of course you think of The Grand Canyon, but that’s not the only one worth a look. In southern Utah, Bryce Canyon National Park offers gorgeous hikes, views, and memories to last a lifetime.
apple orchard
With the holidays quickly approaching, and the economic environment not making the quickest turnaround, no one blames mom and dad for putting a hold on the big family vacation. While you may not be jetting across the ocean to Europe this fall, a change of plans does not need to limit family fun. The changing fall foliage and scattered leaves lining the sidewalk means one thing - apple and pumpkin-picking season is in full swing! Heading to a PYO (pick your own) orchard serves as a wonderful day trip version of a staycation. Not only does it make for hours of fun while you pick fresh apples and find that perfect pumpkin hidden in the patch, but the baking and carving adventures that await your return home extend the memory making far beyond the orchard.
A few weeks ago my entire family and I went on a fun-filled vacation to New Hampshire to visit Story Land and Santa’s Village. My parents wanted to treat their youngest grandkids to this special vacation, so my husband, two children, two sisters and their families joined them in the beautiful white mountains of New Hampshire for four days of theme-parked fun. We had seven adults and nine children under the age of 10 in our party, and made quite a scene at the restaurants asking for a table for 16! As so many New Englanders can attest, Story Land and Santa’s Village are rites of passages for any small children. They go back at least 50 years and have a special charm and fantasy to them, letting you “meet” your favorite storybook characters and run around a winter wonderland any time of year. I went as a kid, and was so excited to take my two small children there as well!
Gem Theater Panguitch Utah
We made the promise to my oldest son years ago as we waited in line at midnight for the release of the long-awaited seventh book in the series. It went something like this: “When the last Harry Potter movie comes out, we promise to take you to the midnight screening.” Jump ahead to a month ago. Our family sat at the edge of Bryce Canyon in Southern Utah overlooking the view, the last Harry Potter movie was scheduled to start in about 12 hours. And I faced breaking that promise. The nearest movie theater was at least 80 miles away. Or at least that’s what we thought. We Googled every theater in the area and the closest one screening Harry Potter was too far to drive. As I walked through the lobby of our hotel later that evening, I saw a poster for the Gem Theater in nearby Panguitch, Utah. They were showing the last Harry Potter movie at midnight that night! It was only 20 minutes away and I could fulfill my promise. Score!
family pumpkin patch
September means backpacks, homework, and busy schedules. From packing lunch boxes to lacing up your child’s new soccer cleats, the fall often leaves you and your family wishing that summer vacations that took months to plan hadn’t flown by so quickly. With the majority of long family vacations taking place between July and August, September presents quite a lull in traveling dreams. Too early to plan next summer’s big getaway, and the holidays not yet close enough to create sufficient excitement, you may find yourself wishing away the fall. Not so fast. The opportunities for affordable, family day trips during the autumn months appear around every corner and under each orange and red shaded leaf lining the sidewalk. Make each weekend one to look forward to with these local travel ideas. Festivals and fairs Fall is prime time for festivals and fairs. From agricultural to craft fairs, and church festivals to Oktoberfests, the options provide the possibility for multiple weekends of day trip getaway enjoyment.
Historical East Coast fall family travel In the fall, many historical places on the East Coast bring visitors through a sea of picturesque foliage unmatched by any other region. Watching the leaves change from summer green to fall red, orange, and gold brings autumn brightness and warmth to all travelers and residents. The combination of rich history and brilliant natural scenery make this time of year a wonderful opportunity for families to travel to historic sites. With school starting, combining a scenic weekend trip with historical significance transforms a normal getaway into a learning experience for all ages. With many destinations throughout the area offering a variety of museums, trails, tours, and visitor activities, family fun arrives without a dull moment. Plan your vacation by sifting through family interests and talking with your kids about their history lessons during their first few months of school. Taking kids on trips to view first hand the places they have learned (or will learn about throughout the school year) about increases their excitement, interest, and openness to learning more about American history.
Making flying with a toddler easy Airplane travel is a stressful experience, never mind when you have a toddler preparing to take off with you. As the list for what’s not allowed in carry-ons gets longer and longer, the trick for booking a flight’s all in the planning. There are hundreds of online resources like The Good Little Traveler and Kids Can Travel that can help. But in the meantime, here are some key things to keep in mind as you plan. Plan for the security line. The trick’s light and easy. Think umbrella stroller (as will fit in the x-ray machine), slip on shoes (for both mom and toddler) and have an easy separate wallet holding license and tickets, so you don’t have to shuffle through bags as you gather your belongings.
In addition to a car packed to the brim with kids and duffel bags, summer vacations often carry a load of stress. Not letting the moments that compel you to try to turn the car around and head home ruin your entire vacation present a struggle in itself. With the start of the school year right around the corner, seize the final opportunities for creating summer vacation memories with your family. Jif has some tips to help make the most of your family getaways: