Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

It’s that time of year when we review recent adventures and plan for the year ahead.

Here are five ideas to inspire your family’s travels:   

Global Explorers program Galapagos

Travel for adventure.

Stoke your family’s passion for new experiences with Lindblad Expeditions and partner, National Geographic, through their recently launched Global Explorer’s program. Designed to inspire the next generation of global stewards, kids will hike up volcanoes; snorkel with sea lions; walk among giant tortoises, all while learning how to read maps, populate a field notebook, and build storytelling and observation skills.  Celebrating 50 years of exploration, Lindblad launched the program in the Galapagos Islands and will expand to Alaska in 2018.


FS  Jackson Hole

Travel to relax.

Check in to a luxury resort where the mesmerizing view, impeccable service and options for family fun will be enough to lower your blood pressure. At the Four Seasons in Jackson Hole, WY, slumber at the gateway to world-class skiing, hiking, fly-fishing and two of the most breathtaking National Parks in our portfolio of national treasures. Take advantage of the heated pool, top-notch spa and fine dining. Grown ups can plan a day touring local art galleries while youngsters are engaged by the smart kids program.


The whole family

Travel with the whole family.

With busy careers and geographic spread, it can be challenging for the generations to spend time together. Group vacations can offer a workable solution. Cruises, all-inclusive resorts and resort rentals provide easy to predict pricing as well as built-in activities for every age group. Tour companies like Thomson Family Adventures specialize in crafting compelling itineraries that appeal to multiple generations, including departures for parents and adult children. Book spacious condos with resort rental site Vacatia and you’ll have the option to make payments and split the bill with family members using Flexpay.

Contact:; www.FamilyAdventures;  

911 memorial

Travel to learn.

A family trip is one of the best educational tools available. From guided tours in faraway places, to your own take on a local museum, you are sure to return home with new insights. Visit The National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Smithsonian’s newest and only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. The centerpiece exhibit, which explores the complex story of slavery and freedom, may provide a pathway for discussing current events. Gain new insight into our national tragedy during a heart-wrenching tour of New York’s 911 Museum. Learn about animal behaviors at a nearby zoo or animal park. In short, discovery adds to the magic of travel.


 travel smart - use apps

Travel smart.

Use the bounty of easy access apps to make the most of your travel time and resources. Organize your details with Tripit. Make Gasbuddy your reliable, road trip pal. If your well-crafted plans go awry, know that HotelTonight can help track down a last-minute place to stay. And turn to GateGuru for airport security and restaurant intel should your family be faced with delayed flights or a long layover. Search Oh, Ranger! Parkfinder, by destination and activities to find great places to play in our parks and public lands. Then share your experience with friends and family via Postagram, which will deliver a photo and message via snail mail.


 The brisk air, falling leaves and bright colors of Autumn inspire families to harvest new travel plans. Here are five ideas to consider:  

Pick Your Own Apples.

Whether you fancy Granny Smiths, Fuji or Golden Delicious, the whole family will enjoy a day in a pick your own fruit orchard. Gather your crop, then return home to make your own apple juice, pie, or cobbler. Stay close to the hearth or visit the state that harvests more than half of the country’s apples. In Washington’s Yakima Valley, the Johnson family has been sharing their bounty for more than 100 years. Stop by their popular bake shop for fresh pies and quiche. Contact:;; 

bird watchingFollow The Flock.

Head south to Southern Arizona, considered one of the best spots for birding in the country. Declare the historic and family-friendly Tubac Golf Resort & Spa your basecamp and let the exploration begin. When not checking off hummingbird and elegant trogon sightings on your list, enjoy a round of golf, a stroll through the local art community or time at the spa. Hike from the resort, situated on the 500-acre Otero Ranch in the Santa Cruz River Valley and appreciate views of the Tumacacori and Santa Rita peaks in the distance. Contact:;

 michigan football

 College Game Day, Ann Arbor, MI.  

It’s all about the maize and blue in a community where the University of Michigan Wolverines capture the town’s attention every fall. Those lucky enough to snag tickets to the “Big House”, as the100, 000-plus seat stadium is called, will revel in the sweet small of barbecue as fans fire up their grills prior to the game. While in Ann Arbor, check out the local farmers market, enjoy breakfast at Zingerman’s, a local fan favorite and visit the Botanical Garden. Stay at the cleverly renovated and centrally located Graduate Hotel, where you’ll appreciate the classic collegiate inspiration and the nods to local history and tradition. Contact:;  

Discover Farm Fresh.

Fall is an ideal time to celebrate our nation’s bounty by visiting farmer’s markets, joining in a barn dance or visiting a county fair. Take a farm tour and learn how our food moves from plow to porch. Visit a community garden and become inspired to join in or plan for your own. For a more immersive experience, spend the night or a weekend on a family farm. Leave the electronics and everyday expectations behind and get ready to pitch in for the morning chores. At farms across the country, kids can collect eggs, pet pigs, corral critters tend to a garden brimming with fresh produce or hang out in the shade of fruit trees. Contact:  

Take a Scenic Drive, Rocky Mountain National Park, Estes Park, CO.

During a 48-mile, two to three hour drive via Trail Ridge Road, observe wildlife, crystalline lakes, and jagged peaks. With proximity to the Continental Divide, it’s an ideal time to explain to the kids how the “roof of the continent” spills moisture to the east and the west. This expansive, peak-filled National Park is also well known for its elk population. The Fall rut or mating season is an interesting time to witness animal behaviors as they bugle and battle for supremacy. Look for between 600 and 800 elk grazing at lower elevations during the Fall and Winter months. Be on the lookout for bighorn sheep and the occasional moose browsing the willow thickets. Contact:;


Satisfy your cultural curiosities while experiencing Avalon Waterways' Active Discovery itineraries offered on Europe's Danube and Rhine Rivers.

Cruise as a clan and choose from activities that include paddling a canoe on the river, bike tours, exploring an ice cave, meeting with monks at the monastery and learning how to milk a cow and mow grass with a scythe. You’ll engage with locals, play golf or view the winding waterway after a guided hike to a hilltop. It will be an action packed family gathering aboard a Suite Ship.

After a day of exploring, convene for creative cuisine made from ingredients procured from small farms and local producers. It's part of the Colorado company's effort to offer healthful dining experiences at every turn. 

Among the many benefits of your active river adventure: you’ll only have to unpack once.


Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do.

So throw off the bowlines.

Sail away from the safe harbor.

Catch the trade winds in your sails.

Explore. Dream. Discover.

As Mark Twain famously advised, it is best to plan your family getaway sooner than later. (What are you waiting for?) Peruse our Ideas section and allow yourself to dream, explore and discover our wide world!

(And, don't forget the kids!)

Sometimes, the hardest part of planning a trip is choosing a destination.

In part, it’s challenging because we don’t know what we don’t know!

(Sure, you can always close your eyes, spin the globe and see where your index finger lands.)

But when it comes to serving up tried and true destinations and heart-thumping adventures….well, that’s where we come in!

Check out our Ideas section to discover things to do and places to go that may not have been on your radar.

Until now.

Have you considered a ranch vacation?

A river rafting trip?

A volunteer vacation?

Or an ocean cruise?

Do you want to explore the Big Apple or wide open Wyoming?

Will you travel with the kids or include your extended family?

There's no better time than now to travel!

Let’s get started!

Hiking with kids provides families with an opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors and to get some exercise. The pros at REI suggest the following items as essential for embarking on a day hike. 

The Ten Essentials

For safety, survival and basic comfort:

1. Navigation

• Map (with protective case)
• Compass

2. Sun protection

• Sunscreen
• SPF-rated lip balm
• Sunglasses

3. Insulation

• See Clothing options, below

4. Illumination

• Headlamp or flashlight
• Extra batteries

5. First-aid supplies

• First-aid kit 

6. Fire

Fire-starting gear:
• A lighter or matches in a waterproof container
• Firestarting material

7. Repair tools and kit

• Knife or multi-tool
• Repair supplies

8. Nutrition

• Food for the day, plus extra food

9. Hydration

• Water bottles or hydration reservoir
• Water filter or other treatment system

10. Emergency shelter

• Tent, tarp, bivy or reflective blanket

Have fun!

Gear and travel product reviews coming soon!

The pros at REI offer these tips for camping with the kids.

Exude a positive vibe: The first rule of camping with kids? Be prepared to cope with inconvenience. Everything is in a different place. The bathroom is no longer down the hall, it's 6 campsites down the path. As an adult, you must lead by example with an upbeat, can-do attitude.
Organize: Establish fixed locations for important items, such as, "The forks and spoons are in the blue tub," and "flashlights are in the green stuff sack."
Then stay organized: Remind everyone to always return items to their established locations so others can find them. If you're especially industrious, create a reference list of these items and tape it someplace obvious.
Keep everyone oriented: Help kids memorize the number of your campsite or point out landmarks ("We're 4 sites from the amphitheater") to help them remember its location.
Make kids feel important: Kids like to be involved. Assign them some meaningful camp chores, such as gathering firewood or collecting water from the pump. Recognize their contributions with praise or a treat (or both).
Be safe: Your kids should always carry a whistle (teach them to blow it if they become separated from you) and have easy access to a flashlight or headlamp. Attach a lanyard to both the whistle and light and tie them to one of the child's belt loops.
Wildlife: Ask park rangers about wildlife activity in the area you are visiting. As the adult, you need to take the lead and understand any precautions necessary (such as proper food storage or how to react during an up-close encounter) for safely coexisting with wildlife. Educate your children about the importance of not feeding wild animals (it negatively alters their food-gathering patterns) and treating wildlife with respect and caution so everyone stays safe.

To shop for all the camping gear you'll need visit

 Is it time to unplug? Check out?

Explore? See more?

Here's a little inspiration to get you packing! 

“I am a passionate traveler, and from the time I was a child, travel formed me as much as my formal education.”

—David Rockefeller

“Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all of one’s lifetime.”

—Mark Twain  

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.”

— Saint Augustine

“Love is the food of life. Travel, the dessert.”  - Unknown  

“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.”


“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.”

—Aldous Huxley  

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.”

—Bill Bryson

“Just do it!”  - Nike    

“Not all those who wander are lost.”

—J.R.R. Tolkien  

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.”

—Susan Sontag

“In matters of healing the body or the mind, vacation is a true genius!”

― Mehmet Murat ildan  

“Oh, the places you’ll go.”

—Dr. Seuss  

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”  


“There was nothing like a Saturday - unless it was the Saturday leading up to the last week of school and into summer vacation. That of course was all the Saturdays of your life rolled into one big shiny ball.”

― Nora Roberts, Rising Tides

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”

—Marcel Proust  

“Travel, and the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of the experience.”

—Francis Bacon  

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. “

—Ralph Waldo Emerson

“One of the great things about travel is that you find out how many good, kind people there are.”

—Edith Wharton 

“Certainly, traveling is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living. “

—Miriam Beard

“Every person needs to take one day away.  A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future.  Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence.  Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.  Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.”

― Maya Angelou, Wouldn't Take Nothing for My Journey Now

“Travel far enough, you meet yourself.”

—Cloud Atlas

  “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for”

—John A. Shedd  

“The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.”

—G.K. Chesterton   

“We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey.”

—John Hope Franklin  

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”

—Scott Cameron 

When all else fails, take a vacation!

Need more?

Check out these adventure travel quotes!


Are you a single parent looking for travel ideas?

Consider a rafting getaway.

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