Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

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, grandkids 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, fresh air and fun together. 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.


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.


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.

It is reported that nearly 90 percent of Americans love ice cream.

Whether in our hometown or on the road, a trip to the local sweet shop is often on the itinerary. If you and your family are in the majority, consider incorporating the cool confection into your next holiday. 

Here are five sweet spots to consider:

Mount Rushmore, SD.

Thomas Jefferson was a man of many talents. Among them? Ice cream making.  At South Dakota's Mount Rushmore, the memorial commemorates Thomas Jefferson's legacy by serving vanilla ice cream based on his original recipe from 1780. Instructions for his version of the cold concoction now reside in the Jefferson Papers at the Library of Congress. But you can taste for yourself at the park’s Memorial Ice Cream Shop. According to records, Jefferson helped popularize ice cream by serving the sweet treat at Monticello and the President’s House. Contact:;

Salt & Straw, Portland, OR, Los Angeles and San Francisco, CA.

Billed as  “farm-to-cone ice cream”, the delectable and creative flavors regularly result in lines out the door as patrons debate their new favorite concoction. Launched by cousins Kim and Tyler Malek, the pair use local, sustainable and organic ingredients to deliver hand-made, small batches of Goat Cheese Marionberry Habanero (a fan favorite), Meyer Lemon Buttermilk with Blueberries, Strawberry Cilantro Lime Cheesecake, and Double Fold Singing Dog Vanilla. Contact:

Velvet Ice Cream, Utica, Ohio -- 

Located on 20 picturesque acres in Licking County, Ohio, the Velvet Ice Cream Center at Ye Olde Mill, hosts more than 150,000 visitors each year. A museum, musical entertainment, nature trails, an historic 1817 grist mill with a water wheel, a 19th century-style ice cream parlor and a children’s playground entice ice cream loving families to this Midwestern sweet spot.  This year’s favorite flavors include Lemon Cheesecake, Spicy Caramel and Sticky Pudding. Contact:

Little Man Ice Cream. Denver, Co.

Visit this Coney Island inspired creamery for hand made and locally sourced taste treats, crafted within a 28 ft. tall silver cream can. In addition to putting smiles on the faces of their local customers, Little Man has been committed to a Scoop for Scoop program.  Since 2008, for every scoop of ice cream purchased, the organization has provided a scoop of rice or beans to those less fortunate in developing parts of the world. Contact:

Ben & Jerry's, Waterbury, Vt.

Two guys named Ben and Jerry turned their mail order, values-driven ice cream business into this state’s number one tourist attraction. The kids will have fun outside engaging in fun activities that include spin art, a tie-dye tent, temporary tattoos and a playground. Inside the “cow to cone” process will mesmerize them. And who doesn’t want to sample the goods? Don’t miss the ice cream graveyard where has-beens and wanna-be flavors are given their due with colorful grave markers. Word is that employee’s at Ben & Jerry’s can’t avoid the “Ben Ten”. Testing the latest flavor innovations is a hazard of the job.


Who doesn’t love sunny beach days in SoCal? 

And if you check in to the oceanfront Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel, halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles, you can expect the ultimate family beach vacation. It’s one where the kids are having fun, mom and dad are relaxed and you all connect while experiencing #bucketlist adventures.

Take to the trails with your family. Here are five ways to enjoy the great outdoors. 


1. Avalanche Lake Trail, Glacier National Park, West Glacier, MT.

Expect stunning scenery from start to finish when you head out on the Avalanche Lake Trail. Plan a half-day in which to enjoy the 4.6-mile trek through a scenic gorge, along a bubbling stream and through an inland Pacific rain forest teeming with cedar and hemlock trees. The payoff is mighty when you reach the pristine lake surrounded by sheer cliffs and glistening waterfalls. It’s a popular picnic spot so bring a snack to share. All of Glacier National Park is bear country, so travel in groups, make noise and carry bear spray.



2. Mount Rainier National Park, Ashford, Washington

The kids will feel like real mountaineers when they venture along the Sourdough Ridge Trail, located in the subalpine zone of the park. The 2.5-mile loop trail offers stunning vistas of deep green valleys and snow-capped peaks. With only a 400-foot elevation gain, the hard-packed route provides high altitude ambience with relatively little effort. Be on the lookout for mountain goats and the occasional elk herd in the distance.



3. Kekekabic Trail, Ely, MN.

The full length of the Kekekabic Trail, or the Kek as it is known to local hikers, winds almost 40 miles from Snowbank Road, east of Ely, through the heart of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, to the famed Gunflint Trail, west of Grand Marais.  Take on a family-sized slice of this this wild trail to experience rocky outcroppings, pristine lakes, scenic bluffs, and eagles soaring overhead. Listen for the rich yodeling of resident loons in the distance. 



4. Piney Lake, Vail, CO. 

Your family will declare the 11-mile journey up the bumpy road “worth it!” when you arrive at this breathtaking, high-altitude location. With the pristine lake as foreground, the craggy Gore Range serves as your backdrop for the out and back hike to a waterfall.  You’ll journey along a smooth path through low shrubs before reaching a set of switchbacks that wind through an evergreen forest and over bubbling creeks. Most families turn around at the cascades when water rushes through narrowing canyon walls. Plan to rent canoes, enjoy an ice cream cone or go horseback riding at the adjacent Piney River Ranch.



5. Sioux Charley Lake. Nye, MT. 

This six-mile round trip hike provides of visual feast of nature’s bounty. The initial views include tumbling waterfalls through a canyon-walled section of the Stillwater River known locally as “the washtubs”. The river braids and the canyon widens as hikers move toward the Beartooth Mountain peaks, ambling through forest and meadows dotted with wildflowers. The lake area or intermittent rock outcroppings provide the perfect setting for a family picnic.


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