Looking for late-breaking family travel ideas?

Check out these deals for a great escape to see the Grand Canyon in a way you might not have imagined. And the timing is right because the Centennial celebration for one of the world’s most famous natural wonders is underway.

The deal is simple: save 30% off round-trip train fare in conjunction with a one- or two-night package.*

The offer is valid for the rest of 2019, and includes hotel stay, breakfast and dinners, round-trip transportation on the train and entertainment. The savings increase with upgrades in class of train service.

Take note, on the first Saturday of each month through October, the train is pulled by a real steam engine so consider that unique option when planning. 

For more information and reservations: www.thetrain.com/offers/centennial-getaway-package or call 1-800-834-8724.

*Centennial Getaway offer valid for 30% off the train portion only of this package when traveling between 2/7/19 – 12/31/19. National park entry fee is not discountable. Package rates are subject to change. This offer cannot be combined with other discounts/promotional offers and other restrictions, including blackout dates, may apply.

More details: 

1-night Itinerary Package 

Day One

  • Arrive at the Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel in Williams, AZ
  • Dinner at the Fred Harvey Restaurant
  • Stay overnight at the Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel 

Day Two

  • Breakfast at the Fred Harvey Restaurant
  • Wild West Show before the train departs at the Williams Depot
  • Train travel from Williams, AZ to the Grand Canyon with entertainment from strolling musicians & personalized service and insider knowledge from your Passenger Service Attendant
  • Free time at the canyon to explore
  • Train travel from the Grand Canyon to Williams, AZ with entertainment from strolling musicians & personalized service and insider knowledge from your Passenger Service Attendant 

2-night Itinerary Package 

Day One

  • Arrive at the Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel in Williams, AZ
  • Dinner at the Fred Harvey Restaurant
  • Stay overnight at the Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel 

Day Two

  • Breakfast at the Fred Harvey Restaurant
  • Wild West Show before the train departs at the Williams Depot
  • Train travel from Williams, AZ to the Grand Canyon with entertainment from strolling musicians & personalized service and insider knowledge from your Passenger Service Attendant
  • Free time at the canyon to explore
  • Train travel from the Grand Canyon to Williams, AZ with entertainment from strolling musicians & personalized service and insider knowledge from your Passenger Service Attendant
  • Dinner at the Fred Harvey Restaurant
  • Stay overnight at the Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel 

Day Three

  • Breakfast at the Fred Harvey Restaurant
Published in Family Travel Blog

Make family travel memories in the year ahead.

Here are five great family vacation destinations to consider: 

Grand Canyon Lodges El Tovar

Northern Arizona. 

The Grand Canyon National Park is celebrating a big birthday in 2019.  So why not join the in the centennial celebration? Millions visit this wonder of the world each year to marvel at  the mile-deep gorge, exploring by foot, on a mule, or capturing the vast beauty with a camera or the mind’s eye. Stay on the South Rim where year round access is possible and you’ll have access to ranger programs, dining options and stunning views. Explore other regions in northern Arizona for hiking, biking and a history lesson along Route 66. Take in the stunning beauty of Monument Valley, the Petrified National Forest and the picturesque red rocks of Sedona. Pose for a photo while standing on a corner in Winslow, ride horseback at a guest ranch or rent a houseboat on Lake Powell. 

Contact: www.VisitArizona.com; www.NPS.gov/GCNP ; www.GrandCanyonLodges.com.

 Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls, NY. 

Hear it roar. And feel the mist. But, don’t worry.  Ponchos are provided when you board the iconic tour boat, the Maid of the Mist, to feel the power of the historic falls. Formed some 12,000 years ago, Niagara Falls, straddling the US border with Canada,  has long been a magnet for explorers and adventurers, as well as honeymooners travelers. By day, explore the area from multiple angles, via lush nature trails, a water-skimming jet boat or high-flying helicopter. 

Inside the Niagara Falls State Park, visit the Observation Tower for a panoramic view of the three main falls - American, Bridal Veil and Horseshoe Falls. Each night, the park offers an illumination of the Falls, along with seasonal fireworks. 

Contact: www.NiagaraFallsUSA.com

Bahamas

The Bahamas. 

You’ll find lavish resorts in a bustling enclave or quiet getaways on tiny spits of sand, all just 50 miles off the coast of Florida. Choose your preferred sun-drenched environment from among 700 islands, embraced by crystal clear water and the world’s third largest barrier reef. Visions of snorkeling, diving, salt water fly fishing, ecotours, horseback riding, kayaking or just relaxing on soft sandy beaches will provide plenty to compel your family to plan a visit to this breathtaking archipelago. Contact: www.Bahamas.com.

 Nashville

 Tennessee.

The Volunteer state is within a day's drive of 65 percent of our nation's population. There, in Tennessee, you’ll find natural beauty, great music and vibrant communities ladled with a dose of Southern hospitality. Enjoy the 800-square mile wonderland that is the Great Smokey Mountain National Park for hiking, horseback riding, and fishing. Add a musical note to your trip with a stop by Graceland to see how the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley lived and worked.

Spend time in Music City USA, otherwise known as Nashville, to discover the rich origins of country music. Visit the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum to learn  how folk, gospel music and front-porch jamming evolved into the sounds we know today.

Nature-loving families may want to consider a hike on the John Muir Trail in the Cherokee National Forest. It’s a relatively crowd-free portion of the state that's said to look much the same as it did in Muir's day. 

Contact: www.TNVacation.com.  

Michigan

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  

A four-season playground for nature lovers, Michigan’s UP nudges up against three Great Lakes - Superior, Huron and Michigan. That said, water and beach activities are plentiful with kayaking, sailing and fishing as warm weather staples. Inland, visitors venture along rivers that feed the Great Lakes, explore old-growth forests and fly fish small streams. 

From the Porcupine Mountains, just a few miles from the shores of Lake Superior and considered one of Michigan’s most wild landscapes, adventurers can hike from a summit to the shore in one day. During the winter months, snowmobiling, skiing, snowshoeing and ice fishing are popular pursuits. Contact: www.Michigan.org

Published in Destinations

A larger-than-life experience, Grand Canyon draws tens of thousands of families each year who unplug their smartphones, tune out television, and create lasting memories together.

Bruce Brossman, marketing director for the Grand Canyon National Park Lodges and Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel, shares 10 ways the park helps kids replace virtual reality with a real-life experience that will stay with them for a lifetime.

Guaranteed.

1. Take Part in a Junior Ranger Program

With its historic sights, walking trails, museums, exhibits, and the canyon itself, Grand Canyon National Park may be America’s largest classroom. For kids, one of the most popular activities is participating in a Junior Ranger program.

“Lessons are related to nature, history, the environment, and geology and every program is free,” Brossman explains. “Kids can pick up a Junior Ranger book, complete the activities inside, and then bring it to a ranger at the Visitor Center. After they review the answers, they administer the Junior Ranger pledge and then present them with their Junior Ranger badge. They can even take their new badge to one of the park’s bookstores for a custom sew-on patch related to their award.”

Published in Family Travel Blog

 El Tovar on edge of Grand Canyon FamilyTravel.com

This winter, get cozy with the kids in a great American lodge. Sit by the fire, share stories and enjoy a winter family vacation. Here are five to consider:  

Devil’s Thumb Ranch. Tabernash, CO.

Stay in a cabin or the lodge and get cozy near one of 45 flickering fireplaces. Enjoy local specialties in the lodge dining room where a three-story, three-hearth fireplace, comprised of hand-stacked stones, warms winter visitors. 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. From now through May, stay two nights and get the third night free. Pet friendly.

Contact: 970-726-5632; www.devilsthumbranch.com

Skytop Lodge. Skytop, PA

For junior boarders and skiers, this lodge in the Poconos offers crowd-free, gentle slopes on which to learn. Kids as young as three can enroll in ski school. Dog mushing, tobogganing, sledding, ice-skating and cross-country skiing add to the active pursuits available on this sprawling 5,000-acre estate.  Later, stretch out in the indoor pool or bubbling hot tub and get ready for game night.

Contact: 800 -345 -7759; www.Skytop.com

Timberline Lodge, Mount Hood, OR.

Located in Oregon’s Mount Hood National Forest, this magnificent lodge was built at the height of the Great Depression by unemployed craftspeople hired by the Federal Works Progress Administration.  Located 60 miles east of Portland, the well-crafted lodge has long served as the centerpiece of this mountain playground. Take a guided, moonlit snowshoe tour, experience Snowcat skiing or simply relax in the historic lodge and enjoy the extraordinary views. Ask about weekday, ski-free deals.

Contact: (800).547-1406; www.timberlinelodge.com/ 

El Tovar – Grand Canyon National Park, AZ.

Open since 1905 and registered as a national Historic Landmark, this charming, 78-room lodge is just steps from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  Take in a nature talk, go for a mule ride or hike the famed trails that criss-cross down and through the park.  Marvel at the extraordinary beauty of snow falling onto the multi-colored rock walls and into the canyon below.

Contact: 928-638-2631; www.GrandCanyonLodges.com

The Whiteface Lodge. Lake Placid, NY.

Located in the heart of the Adirondacks, this woodland lodge is spacious, with modern amenities.  At the same time, it serves up rustic, with stone chimneys, antler chandeliers and handcrafted Adirondack furnishings. Nightly family bonfires, a skating rink, cross-country and downhill skiing, snowshoeing and indoor swimming programs, provide plenty to keep an active family engaged. A complimentary kids club makes it easy for the adults to take advantage of the full service spa on site.

Contact: 800-903-4045; www.thewhitefacelodge.com

Published in Lodges & Inns

Sometimes we must find respite from our hectic, tech-saturated lives.

Here are five places with a powerful sense of place where you and your family will also find peace:

Northern Lights. Alaska.

In the deep reaches of Alaska, somewhere above 60 degrees north latitude, you and your family will have the opportunity to see a red, green, blue and purple light display known as an aurora or the Northern Lights. The best time to catch the show is around the spring and fall equinoxes (mid-March and mid-September) The lights are most intense from December through March when the nights are darker. Consider a tour that includes a dip in a hot spring, a climb to a hilltop where viewers can marvel at the magnificent light display and a Mongolian yurt in which you can retreat to stay warm.

Contact: www.TravelAlaska.com

Float The Grand Canyon.

Whether you travel by raft or dory, for a few days or a few weeks, the majesty of the Grand Canyon may well provide a transformative experience, as it does for many visitors. This national treasure stretches 277 miles across northern Arizona, and plays host to more than five million visitors each year. From your craft on the Colorado River, geologically diverse canyon walls rise as high as 9,000 feet toward the western sky. Hike the side canyons, plow through storied rapids, relax on sandy beaches and revel in the grandeur of one of nature’s finest accomplishments.

Contact: www.oars.com/grandcanyon.

Montauk, NY.

Visit this seaside enclave on the East end of Long Island. Just 100 miles but a world away from the bustling Big Apple, you’ll find secluded beaches, whaling tales and pounding surf. Deep sea fishing, hiking, seal watching and surfing are all available in this community, first settled by Europeans in the mid-1600s. Scramble to the top of the Montauk Point Lighthouse for magnificent views of the craggy coastline.

Contact: www.OnMontauk.com; www.GurneysInn.com.

Hike the Canyons. Springdale, UT.

Find your way into the canyon country of southern Utah. From curvaceous slot canyons to table-top plateaus, this peaceful yet grand countryside offers a visual bonanza of color, shape and form. Consider the Narrows, a spectacular 16 mile corridor that requires one rigorous day for fit family members. Most recommend an overnight. Better yet, choose the Bottoms Up hike enabling hikers to see the most stunning aspects of the canyon in four to six hours. Numerous day hikes and mountain biking options abound.

Contact:  www.nps.gov/zion

Boundary Waters Canoe Trips. Ely, MN.

Your family will enjoy the peace and tranquility that can be found within this pristine wilderness area. Listen to the waves lapping against the shore as you drift to sleep in one of 2,000 secluded campsites that dot the lake region. Wake to the sounds of birds chirping in the birch trees, enjoy breakfast over a campfire and then set out to explore the more than 1,500 miles of canoe routes that criss-cross the waterways.

Contact: www.boundarywatersoutfitters.com; www.ExploreMinnesota.com

Published in Destinations