Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

Lynn O'Rourke Hayes

The freedom to explore the world around us is something to savor.

Here are five reasons to be grateful for family travel:  

1. Travel broadens our perspective. 

Whether you travel to the next county or around the world, moving out of your comfort zone or everyday routine will enhance your family’s understanding of our world. Appreciate the language, dress, recreational and culinary differences and similarities of your fellow global citizens when you venture into new territory. Make an effort to see the view through the eyes of others. And observe how a friendly smile is welcome currency in nearly every corner of the world.

Contact: www.Intrepidtravel.com

2. Travel builds character.

Travel provides parents and grandparents the opportunity to model what matters most.  Will you exhibit patience when the line snakes around the corner, your hotel room is not ready, or the restaurant server accidentally spills a drink on your table? Delayed flights, weather changes, poor service or a rocky road help all of us learn to live in the moment, share resources, manage unexpected consequences and see the bright side of the occasional travel mishap. How the adults respond to challenging scenarios will influence the developing character of young adventurers.  

Contact: www.TSA.gov.

3. Travel serves up nature’s bounty. 

A super moon rising over the mountain tops, eagles lofting in a barren tree, the gentle mist from a nearby waterfall, the crunch of the trail under hiking boots. Awe-inspiring experiences in the natural world are nurturing to the youngest of souls. Make time to travel to nature preserves, national parks, deep canyons and shimmering lakes, where dark skies allow the starry expanse to light your world.  

Contact: www.NPS.gov;www.Wildernesstravel.comwww.DarkSkies.org.

4. Travel is inspiring and educational.  

Feed your children’s natural curiosity through travel. Do they yearn to learn more about art, history or science? Is there a burgeoning chef, musician or engineer in your midst? How about a language immersion class? Are your kids curious about other religions, cultures or lifestyles? Whether you opt for magnificent museums, nature’s classroom or immersive experiences, expand their knowledge (and your own) by exploring new ideas together.

Contact: www.RoadScholars;www.Globeaware.orgwww.nationalgeographice.com

5. Travel enhances connection.

Leave the laundry, homework and to-do lists behind and reconnect in a cozy cabin, on a blustery beach or on a small ship at sea.  Keep technology and the news of the day to a minimum and enjoy each other’s company and conversation. Take walks in the woods, listen to the birds sing, the owls hoot and the wind whistle. Remind yourselves that the best things in life are free. You’ll return home knowing your time well spent will last longer than the latest gadget or a trendy fashion item. Because time flies, be “glad you did” rather than “wishing you had.” 

Plan a snowy getaway with your family.

Here are five escape-worthy spots to consider:  

The Sebastian, Vail, CO. 

Splurge on a ski vacation and let the resort pros make sure your high altitude holiday goes off without a hitch. The Sebastian’s amenities-on-demand program can deliver ski and snow essentials to your room along with an energy-filled breakfast. Order up an extra pair of toasty socks, hand warmers for the kiddos or another round of sunscreen. Guests can also arrange to have a steaming bubble bath drawn prior to a return from the slopes.

Team up with the adventure concierge to plan a moonlight snowshoe adventure and ice-skating for the older kids while the littlest one plays in the Tykes Room. Should the kids need a break from the mountain they can also opt for hosted crafts in the Upper Lobby where creating hand puppets, finger knitting and experimenting with snow slime are possibilities. Should grown-ups need a break, the hospitality team is on hand to make restaurant reservations and scout for a babysitter. 

Contact:www.Snow.com  www.thesebastianvail.com

basecamp

Basecamp Hotel, South Lake Tahoe, CA. 

Clever and cool, your kids will love the cozy options available at this boutique hotel, where exploring the local mountain community is encouraged. The Great Indoor Family Room sports a King bed for the grownups, adjacent to a wall tented room featuring bunk beds, a faux campfire, a picnic table and camp chairs. Designed as an alternative to a cookie cutter hotel, owners have repurposed “under-appreciated” buildings and infused them with “soul”.  Happy hour includes homemade soups and stews. No surprise: s’mores are served nightly.

Contact: www.Basecamphotels.com.

The National Park Inn. Mt. Rainer National Park. 

Leave your technology behind and immerse yourselves in the beauty of this majestic setting in the Park’s Longmire Historic District. Check in to one of 25 rooms in the two-story lodge. Relax in the lounge and sip hot cocoa near the massive stone fireplace while enjoying stories of the day and making plans for the next. Visit the general store, a circa 1911 log cabin, for access to cross-country and snowshoeing rentals and other goodies.

Contact: http://www.mtrainierguestservices.com/accommodations/national-park-inn

Sundance Resort

Sundance Resort, Sundance, UT.

You’ll find it difficult to emerge from the cozy lodge warmed by a roaring fire or your cabin crafted from indigenous materials. But when you do, choose from cross country and snowshoe trails that run deep into the woods or sunlit downhill runs on the slopes of Mount Timpanagos. Founded my film maker and conservationist Robert Redford, the resort offers family-friendly pottery, beading and printmaking classes in the Art Shack, winter fly-fishing and dining menus with an emphasis on organic and locally sourced ingredients. 

Contact: www.SundanceResort.com

  Devils Thumb

Devil’s Thumb Ranch. Tabernash, CO.

Stay in a cozy cabin or opt to sleep in the High Lonesome Lodge where ranch guests steep in expansive views of the Continental Divide and the Ranch Creek Valley while channelling the pioneering spirit of early homesteaders. The centerpiece of the lodge is a reconstructed Civil War-era barn.  Choose from 31 guest rooms and four suites, each with private outdoor patios and Adirondack-style rockers. Grab the binoculars to catch a glimpse of wildlife roaming on this 6,000 acre expanse of Colorado beauty or set out on the Nordic trails for an up-close view of winter scenes.

Contact:  www.devilsthumbranch.com.

Kids and their parents know it’s cool to be smart.

Here are five places that will supercharge your family’s brainpower.  

1. Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, IL 

Encouraging curiosity and celebrating questions, this is the place to see a German submarine, understand how tornados and avalanches happen and discover the process behind Pixar’s popular films and characters. 

Explore the mathematical patterns that surround us every day in the natural world—from the delicate nested spirals of a sunflower’s seeds to the ridges of a majestic mountain range in a compelling exhibit called Numbers in Nature. Then make your way to the Whispering Gallery to understand how sound travels in different environments. A theatre and hands-on exhibits further enhance the experience.  

Contact: www.MSIChicago.org.

2. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. Indianapolis, IN. 

With more than 472,900 feet of exhibit space on five floors and covering 29 acres, this extraordinary nonprofit institution has been entertaining and educating families since 1925. Considered the largest children’s museum in the world, kids can learn about the day to day duties of astronauts and discover how dinosaurs lived in the Dinosphere. Families are charmed by an historic carousel and inspired by exhibits that explain how plant science can help the world by cleaning up oil spills and cultivating healthy food. 

Contact:  www.childrensmuseum.org/

3. Exploratorium. San Francisco, CA.More than 600 exhibits encourage every member of the family to see the world differently. A scientific funhouse, the learning lab encourages creativity and “tinkering” as a means of expanding our perceptions. Young children and toddlers are engaged by shadow, light, bubbles and color as a means of exploration and discovery. Kids can create a marble machine, dance with their own shadow, study plankton populations, or check out an “upside down world”. 

Contact;  www.exploratorium.edu

4. Explora Children’s Museum.  Albuquerque, NM. 

How do you make a green chile pepper appear black? Find out during a visit to this family-friendly museum that mixes art and science to spur creativity and discovery within the worlds of physics, math, biology and beyond.  Investigate the properties of bubbles as you blow, pop and float them in a dedicated exhibit space. Kids can also use their own bodies to study the concepts of ratio and proportion in the Math Moves exhibit. 

Contact:  www.explora.us

5. National Aquarium.  Baltimore, MD.

Did you know that an octopus has a highly developed brain and is a master of camouflage? Collect the details before you check out Black Tip Reef, a coral filled exhibit replicating Indo-Pacific underwater landscapes. Learn about the wild extremes of Australia in an award-winning immersive exhibit featuring freshwater crocodiles, turtles, fishes, snakes, lizards, free-flying birds, and flying foxes.   The kids will love their visit with bottlenose dolphins where they’ll also observe training, feeding and playtime with trainers. Before days’ end discover the importance of jellyfish, observe sharks in an open tank and see more than 500 exotic species in an Atlantic Coral Reef Exhibit.

Contact: www.Aqua.org.  

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) protects and preserves significant and inspirational places around the world.  Locations carrying the important designation of World Heritage site, provide an impressive history lesson as well as a virtual tour of many of the world’s most meaningful places.

Here are six you and your family won't want to miss:

Paddling canals in Strasbourg

Strasbourg, France.

The French city’s old town is an island – the Grande Ile – circled by canals and the River Ill. Families can get a unique view of this historic enclave by paddling a canoe through the canals, including the chance to maneuver through a lock with the help of a trusted guide from Adventures by Disney and AmaWaterways. You can’t miss the city’s Gothic cathedral which rises high above Strasbourg and was said to be the world’s tallest building until 1874. Climb 320 steps to a viewing platform for a bird’s eye view. And be sure to spend time inside the cathedral, taking note of the historic stained glass windows that survived many war-torn years. Also of interest is the world’s largest astronomical clock. Considered a Renaissance masterpiece, it was assembled by a team of artists, mathematicians, and technicians,  and also shows signs of the zodiac, equinoxes, and leap years.

Contact: www.AmaWaterways.comwww.AdventuresbyDisney.com 

angkor wat heritage sites familytravel.com 

Angkor Wat, Cambodia.

Family members who have seen the Tomb Raider films will particularly enjoy exploring the Angkor Archeological Park, unfolding deep within the Siem Reap province.  While hundreds of archeological and artistic temples and ancient structures remain, the most familiar (it’s on the Cambodian flag) is Angkor Wat. Built in the 12thcentury to honor Vishnu, a Hindu God, the temple's bas relief galleries inform modern visitors of life in ancient times.  Also of note is the remarkable water system, including moats, canals and reservoirs, that once provided water and crop assistance for the thriving communities. Visitors arrive via river cruises on the Mekong or a stop in Siem Riep where lodging and tours are plentiful. Contact: VikingCruises.com; TourismCambodia.com.

Amalfi Coast. Italy.  

Nirvana for artists, photographers and foodies, the picturesque coastal area offers a sensual mix of cultural, natural and historic wonders. While the small communities were once only accessible by mule, modern day train travel makes it easy to visit the enchanting towns that spill toward the sea from their steep and craggy origins. During the warmer months, sail boats dot the watery landscape and boat taxis provide additional access. Contact: RailEurope.com; AmalfiCoast.com.

Angkor wat heritage sites familytravel.com

Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia.

This iconic structure, comprised of interlocking concrete shells, anchors one of the world’s most famous harbors. Visually stimulating and home to a menu of family-friendly performances and programs, the architectural trendsetter debuted in 1973. Whether you take in a walking tour and observe the opera house glinting in the sunlight or aglow after nightfall, you’ll appreciate its artistic vibe and global significance. Contact:  SydneyOperaHouse.com.

Austin Adventures Macchu Picchu

Machu Picchu. Peru.

Make your way to this extraordinary archeological site just as the Incas did. Choose from two or four day treks along the Inca Trail that culminate in stunning views of the “lost city” where palaces, terraces, walls and plazas cling to the mountainside. It was not until 1911, that a Peruvian guide led Yale Professor Hiram Bingham to the ancient site on the eastern slopes of the Andes. Mysteries remain as to how the Incas were able to construct the complex more than 500 years ago and why it was abandoned not long after. Train trips are also available from Cusco. Contact: www.AustinAdventures.comwww.FamilyAdventures.com

Taos Pueblo. Taos, NM.

Continuously inhabited for more than 1000 years, this remarkable community remains a pristine example of Native American culture, tradition and architecture. UNESCO makes note of the Pueblo Indians’ ability to retain meaningful and long held traditions despite pressure from the outside world.  Close to 1900 Pueblo Indians still live, full or part time within the community, in homes made of adobe bricks, vigas and latillas. Take a walking tour of the area and uncover a rich history, view native arts and crafts and observe a way of life rarely glimpsed in our otherwise high-tech world. Contact: (505 )758-1028; www.TaosPueblo.com; http://www.nps.gov/history/worldheritage/taos.htm

If you are looking for adventure and comfort on your next vacation consider a “luxpedition.”

Cycle through Europe or Asia and rest your legs in luxury hotels. Reach the trails of the Alps by river cruise and train. Or explore the wilds of South America while enjoying fine dining. Here are 11 trips that bring together some of the best active experiences and accommodations in the world

Patagonia Excursions:

Visit the Awasi Patagonia Lodge with Surtrek and explore in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park with a personal guide, selecting from excursions such as hiking to panoramic views, horseback riding beneath the towering spires or taking in the icebergs from Grey Glacier.  

cycling

Alpine Cycling:

On Sojourn Bicycling & Active Vacations’ new tour in France, explore the dramatic landscape of the Alps by bike and stay in luxury accommodations. Start at the picturesque lake in Annecy, ride a Tour de France climb and finish at the foot of Mont Blanc in Chamonix, resting at a Relais & Chateau hotel. 

Inca Trail in Style:

Camp in style on a classic Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu in Peru. After acclimatizing in luxury accommodations in Cusco, enjoy hot showers, fine cuisine in a portable dining tent, a cot to sleep on and excellent service during the guided trek through spectacular Andean scenery to the Inca ruins. 

Journey to the East:

Ride nearly 1,800 miles across South Korea and Japan on TDA Global Cycling’s newest hotel-to-hotel tour, the Journey to the East. Pedal through modern cities and over lonely mountain roads, past temples, volcanoes, hot springs and heritage sites. 

Red  Reflet Ranch

Ride, Rope, Retire:

At Wyoming’s 25,000-acre Red Reflet Ranch, spend the day riding horses, shooting, herding cattle and learning the ropes. Once the work is done, sit down to a gourmet meal made of beef from the ranch’s butcher shop and produce grown in its garden before retiring to a luxury chalet. 

Rhine and Rail:

On a new itinerary from Riviera River Cruises, cruise through the Rhine Gorge to Switzerland, then travel by train into the Alps, climbing over jaw-dropping precipices aboard the famed Glacier Express. In Zermatt, explore the trails on foot or ride a cog railway to 10,000 feet. 

Fly Fishing Argentina:

Cast for big brown and feisty rainbow trout in Argentine Patagonia with Frontiers and stay in the new Alumine River Lodge, which offers comfort and unparalleled access to the Pilolil Canyon and numerous tributary rivers and spring creeks. 

Gravel and Wine: On a new trip with Tourissimo and Ride & Seek, cycle the hallowed gravel strade bianche (white roads) of Tuscany through rolling hills covered with vineyards and quaint medieval villages, and enjoy the food and wines of one of Italy’s finest culinary regions. 

Moonlight Basin

Big Sky Skiing:

Rent a luxurious mountain home in Montana’s exclusive Moonlight Basin community and ski Big Sky Resort’s 5,800 acres of steep and deep terrain. A stay at Moonlight Basin also provides access to the private Moonlight Lodge, and Nordic skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking on snowy trails. 

Biking Thailand:

Cycle from Bangkok to Phuket, Thailand, with Grasshopper Adventures and take in the Gulf of Thailand, Khao Sok National Park and the Andaman Coast from the saddle, then rest at a four-star hotel, a golf resort and a beachside resort. 

Siberian Escapade:

Explore wild and wooded Siberia on a MIR Corporation trip in winter, when Lake Baikal freezes hard enough to travel over its surface. Dash through the taiga on a traditional troika ride, race teams of sled dogs and sweep across the frozen lake by hovercraft to sacred Olkhon Island.

My life is noisy.

Until now, I never thought much about it. Sure, I live with a little traffic rumble, the occasional helicopter humming overhead, and ambulance sirens wailing in the distance — but the volume never really registered.

Until I visited Yellowstone National Park in winter.  

National Park Service
I’d always resisted a wintertime outing to our nation’s first national park. I’m passionate about outdoor adventure, but truth be told, I am increasingly nature’s fair-weather friend. I don’t like to be cold.

But, on this January day, I quickly learned that it’s better to layer up and lean in to Old Man Winter than miss out on all Yellowstone has to offer in this season less traveled.

The lush silence was enough to make me want to whisper, to stifle random commentary, and to just be in this pristine wonderland. The crunch of boots on packed snow, the gurgle of a stream under broken ice, the sudden burst of a geyser: Each decibel took on a rich quality in the absence of the everyday din.

Wildlife in winter

NPS

 “Stop!” 
“Look! A wolf!”

This, from one of my traveling companions, as we lumbered along the snow-covered road inside the cozy snow coach. Our merry band of nature lovers was bound for Old Faithful Snow Lodge, named for the park’s famous geyser. It’s one of two lodging options inside the park boundaries that are available during the winter months; the other is Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel.

We had spent much of the day in the expansive Lamar Valley, often called the American Serengeti for its wide swath of landscape where elk and buffalo roam, as well as the occasional wolf.

According to our guide, it offers the visitor’s best chance of catching a glimpse of the elusive gray wolf — canis lupus — especially in winter. Aided by spotting scopes and the advantage provided by my long camera lens, I scanned the open space and far hillsides for the most treasured of sightings.

Wolf history - then and now

We had entered the park on the north side, crossing under the iconic Roosevelt Arch. Twenty years ago to that very day, Jan. 12, 2015, a horse trailer reportedly came in under the same arch, transporting the first 8 of 31 gray wolves from Canada.

While this would mark the official reintroduction of wolves into the park after a seven-decade absence, it was both the welcome result of careful planning and preparation — and the continuation of a complex battle between environmentalists, on the one side, and ranchers, farmers, and outfitters on the other. Many within the latter group believe wolves are a threat to their way of life and to livestock.

“It is difficult to be enthusiastic about the increase in the wolf population when their existence is a threat to your livelihood,” explained Tom Swanson, a third-generation Montana rancher whose cattle graze just 35 miles north of the park border.  

According to the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, proponents of the wolf reintroduction hoped to eventually build the population to 300. Current estimates, which have far exceeded expectations, put 80 wolves in the park, 450 in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, and as many as 1,700 in the Northern Rockies.

On our expedition, we were thrilled to see one.

Our guide nudged the snow coach onto the side of the road, as our group maneuvered to capture images with our cameras while hoping to stow the memory in our mind’s eye for future reference. 

With the icy Firehole River as a buffer, the burly male appeared unfazed by our presence a mere 50 yards away. We watched in awe as he stepped in and out of the river, intermittently feasting on an elk carcass splayed on the far bank, as a handful of ravens hung back, hoping to sneak a few scraps. 

No doubt we would have treasured this late afternoon sighting on any given day. But somehow, given the anniversary, it felt like a gift.

A unexpected eruption


The next morning, our group opted to pop on cross-country skis and slide our way to a backcountry gem: the Lone Star Geyser. Yellowstone contains nearly 10,000 geysers, which are approximately one half of the world’s hydrothermal features. 

“It only erupts every three hours or so,” explained our guide, as we set off from the trailhead. “So don’t be disappointed if we get there and there’s no action. Either way, you’ll enjoy the scenery.”

We swooshed the two and a half miles along the trail, gliding atop a few inches of fresh snow and aside a different stretch of the Firehole River. Along the way, our naturalist pal, Emily, shared her bounty of knowledge, identifying small tracks leading into and out of the forest. 

Then, with the geyser area in sight, I could hear Lone Star sputter before shooting a plume of steam some 40 feet into the air.

“What perfect timing!” hooted one member of our group. 

And when I didn’t think the day could get any better, the sun peeked through the clouds and a rainbow appeared, arcing across the mist spewed by the steaming eruption. Seriously. 

Oh, and the cold?

When it comes to Yellowstone, Old Man Winter knows how to warm a girl’s heart.

IF YOU GO: www.VisitMt.comYellowstone Lodges. 

LEARN MORE ABOUT YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK

There’s a lot to love about Britain.

From Shakespeare to shepherds pie … from Pink Floyd to Harry Potter. England, Scotland and Wales are home to a mix of historic heroes and happening haunts. And, in 2019, Globus and Cosmos are inviting travelers to see, taste and hear the brilliant experiences waiting for them in “Undiscovered Britain” with a series of nine tours – most new – that take travelers on cobblestones less traveled.

Harry potter

“Everyone knows that Great Britain is great place to learn about the royals, but it’s also the birthplace of the Rolling Stones,” said Scott Nisbet, president and CEO of the Globus family of brands. “Throughout history, it has served as the inspiring backdrop for fiction, fantasy and unimaginable art. With our new ‘Undiscovered Britain’ tours, we’re helping travelers see and experience the nooks and crannies of England.” 

 

THE BRITISH INVASION

  • Liverpool (The Beatles)
  • Bath (Tears for Fears)
  • Edinburgh (Idlewild)
  • Glasgow (Simple Minds)

BANGERS & MASH & MORE

  • Dundee (Dundee Cakes)
  • Northern England (Shepherds Pie)
  • Wales (Welsh Lamb)
  • Isle of Mull (Fish & Chips)

CHEERS!

  • Glengoyne (Scottish Whisky)
  • Exeter (Sherry)
  • Glasgow (Gin)

SUPER BLOKES

  • Cardiff (Dr. Who)
  • Glenfinnan (Harry Potter)
  • Edinburgh (Sherlock Holmes)
  • Chester (King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table)

FAVORITE FIGURES

  • Liverpool (John Lennon)
  • Stirling (Sir William Wallace)
  • Shrewsbury (Charles Darwin)
  • Stratford – Upon - Avon (William Shakespeare)

Tours spotlighting more of Great Britain in 2019 include:

 

GLOBUS:

  • Britain Uncovered
  • Hidden Treasures of Southern England
  • Scottish Escape
  • Bonnie Scotland
  • Scottish Highlights & Islands

COSMOS:

  • British Highlights
  • Scottish Outlander Adventure

COSMOS LITE:

  • England Explorer
  • Scotland Explorer

 Book early & SAVE! Save 10% on a 2019 Globus Europe vacation when booking now through November 27, 2018. For details, click here.

It’s easy to play favorites when it comes to Glacier National Park. 

Massive peaks form the backbone of this vast pristine ecosystem, in Northern Montana.  Along with her sister park across the border in Waterton Lakes, Canada, the two gems form the first international Peace Park, declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1932.  

The glacial carved terrain reveals a many-layered story of ancient seas, geologic faults and continuous uplifting. Today, receding glaciers, rivers, meadows and coniferous forests provide cover and sustenance for the wide variety of wildlife that give life to the park. Shimmering lakes and more than 700 miles of trails beckon visitors from around the world. 

She’s compelling. 

So, if you want a little extra quiet time with this favored child, make your way to Glacier country in the Spring or Fall. While you may have to appreciate some of her best attributes from afar, the peaceful nature of your visit will make it worth your while. 

Spring biking on the Going to the Sun Road

Spring   

Hike and Bike The Going To The Sun Road

Most of Glacier National Park’s two million-plus annual visitors are eager to wind their way along the impressive, 50-mile Going-to-the-Sun Road. An engineering masterpiece, the rugged road, blasted from the steep mountainside in1933, is car-free for a short, but spectacular season. (Check the Glacier National Park site for exact dates) 

For several glorious weeks, as the winter snows give way to the spring/summer melt, visitors can appreciate the iconic stretch of roadway on foot or from the seat of a bike. 

Roll or stroll along the lower flats near Lake McDonald, appreciating the subalpine forest that rises near the water’s edge.  As the season progresses, cyclists can ride the upper stretches, climbing all the way to Logan Pass at 6,683 feet without sharing the narrow roadway, or the views, with oncoming traffic.

Surrounded by snowcapped peaks against a bright blue sky, melting snowfields, and waterfalls tumbling into turquoise pools, you’ll experience Glacier’s wild interior in a way summer visitors cannot even imagine. 

Bikers can also pedal a 14-mile (one way) stretch that begins at Apgar Village. Pedal out and back while enjoying views from the southern shore of Lake McDonald. This road is open to cars but traffic is minimal. 

Strap on your hiking boots and check out one of many low elevation hikes in the Lake McDonald area as the Park transitions from a winter wonderland to the glories of Spring. Expect trickling streams giving way to flowing creeks and rivers and the slow reappearance of flowers, birds and baby animals.

Stop in to the Apgar Visitor Center to ask about day hikes, current trail conditions, and maps. 

Note that the park’s resident wildlife are waking from a long winter’s nap, so it is important to be alert, aware and carry bear spray during your outing. 

Glacier in the Fall

Fall  

Bright colors provide a glorious contrast to Montana’s Big Sky as a busy summer gives way to the quieter days of Fall. 

Hikers, bikers and road trippers can look for the colors to begin changing in mid-September on the west side of the park. On the east side, expect Mother Nature to begin the show toward the end of September and in to early October. 

The grand finale happens as the larch trees, a deciduous conifer, transform the area into a golden paradise in the middle of October.  

A road trip up the North Fork Road to the small town of Polebridge, (be sure to stop into the Polebridge Mercantile for baked goods and sandwiches). along the West side of the park, provides stunning views of the winding North Fork of the Flathead River and often snow-dusted peaks in the distance. From Polebridge, head into the Park for jaw-dropping views at Bowman Lake.  The experience of standing within this remote area of the Park, surrounded by masses of vibrant color, towering peaks and waves lapping at your feet, will stay with you forever.

Fall is also a great time for wildlife watching. The eastern side of the Park offers some of the best opportunities to glimpse both grizzly and black bear as they prepare for the long winter. Mountain goats and big horn sheep are often present and migrating birds call from overhead.

A shoulder season visit to Glacier Country isn’t for everyone.  The weather can turn on a dime. Restaurants are not bustling with vibrant activity and some services may not be available.

But for those eager to experience the spare, wild beauty of this extraordinary place on the planet, well, this is your time.

Take advantage of the years when your family travel plans are not limited by school holidays and summer vacation.

Travel with your toddlers! You'll expand their world and plant the seed of adventure early. (And have fun in the process.)

Here are a handful of ideas to consider:  

Resort pool

Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa, St Lucia.  

At this Caribbean Resort, children will learn about their destination through activities designed for each age group.  The SCOUTS program – Seeing, Crafting, Observing, Understanding, Tasting, St. Lucia) is infused in the fun you’ll find headquartered within the 50,000 square foot Cocoland Kidz Club. Expect youngsters  to access a mini zipline and rock wall, a petting zoo and plenty of water play. Three of five resort pools cater to kids and include a lazy river and a zero entry splash pool. Savvy youngsters can order colorful slushies and fruity drinks at their own swim up bar. When parents opt for a night on their own, kids can enjoy their own Pirates Night or Movie Night on the Splash Lawn.

Contact: www.cbayresort.com

 for resort

FDR Resort, Jamaica.

 There is nothing like an afternoon splashing in the surf and building sand castles to wear out an active toddler. At the FDR Resort in Runaway Bay, Jamaica, once Junior goes down, a Vacation Nanny is available to sit by his side, while you enjoy an afternoon playing golf, scuba diving or exploring by kayak.  Check in to this all-inclusive seaside getaway, and meet your CPR-trained Vacation Nanny who will assist you and your family in having the most relaxing time possible. Trained in child care and housekeeping, this professional staff member’s goal is to fill in where needed, whether by looking after youngsters in the pool, or making sure the kids’ favorite snacks are on hand in the room.  Contact:  www.fdrholidays.com.

 loews miami

Loews Miami Beach Hotel, Miami Beach, FL. 

This oceanfront resort, the recipient of a recent $50 million redesign, offers a bounty of family enticements via the Loews Loves Kids program. Families can choose to enjoy the benefits of direct beach access (which makes castle building a breeze) or head to the zero entry pool where pop fountains add to the vacation vibe.  Celebrate in style by spending the day with access to a SOAK cabana where air conditioning, flat screen TVs,  private butler service and rooftop terraces will convince the kids they’ve reached VIP status. Take a pizza-making class together or take advantage of Family Happy Hour during which time kids can enjoy complimentary lawn games while parents sip cocktails, join in or cheer them on.

Contact: www.LoewsHotels.com/MiamiBeach

 Atlantis

Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas. 

For families that check into The Coral, the resort’s recently revamped, family-centric tower, a new level of luxury awaits. Compare notes with the Kids Concierge and in a flash, the dreams of mini-travelers (and their parents) will soon be a reality. From scheduling family swims with the dolphins to registering for Sea Squirts, an interactive marine program where youngsters can feed baby stingrays, sharks and schools of fish, the concierge is on hand to help create itineraries and smooth any bumps on the path to a memorable vacation. Ask about helping the Atlantis Aquarists guide Green Sea Turtle hatchlings to the sea.

Contact: www.AtlantisBahamas.com

hike with toddlers REI

Kids on the Trail. 

Getting kids outside early and often is likely to instill a lifetime love of nature.  Visit a local trail and watch as your child explores with wonder, turning over rocks and observing small animals and birds. Choose a loop trail or plan a scavenger hunt. Bring along a picnic and plenty of water or juice so that the whole family stays hydrated. After a few close-to-home practice rounds, include nature walks and hiking in your family vacation travel plans. In time, you’ll be scaling heights.  

Contact: www.childrenandnature.orgwww.Trails.com; www.NPS.gov.

One of Boston’s most beloved holiday traditions – the annual Teddy Bear Tea at the Bristol – returns to Four Seasons Hotel Boston for the 21st year. More than a holiday event, Teddy Bear Tea is a special community benefit initiative of Four Seasons Hotel Boston, teaching young guests the spirit of charity. Guests are invited to bring a teddy bear to donate at Teddy Bear Tea, with Four Seasons gifting all collected bears to local organisations that benefit children in need.

Four Seasons Boston Holiday Tea

According to Bill Taylor, Regional Vice President and General Manager, "tens of thousands of bears have been donated to local charities in the New England community during the holiday season.”

Teddy Bear Tea has one seating every day from the December 1 to 23. Tea begins at 3:15 pm, with a special reading from a local Boston celebrity at 4:00 pm. The event concludes each day at 5:00 pm. Tickets are USD 80 per adult and USD 43 per child with a bear to donate, or USD 48 per child without a bear.  The celebrity readers vary each day and are not announced in advance.

Making Reservations

Reservations are open to the public now by calling  +1 (617) 351 2037.

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