When I think about what makes my heart sing, it's travel.
And the best kind of travel are those trips where my loved ones are part of the journey. As a child growing up in the Midwest, our big summer vacation meant a visit to see my grandmother and other family members on the east end of Long Island. Now, I understand why we never complained. They live in what is currently referred to as The Hamptons.
We also camped, spent Spring Break in Florida and in time, began taking ski trips to the West. (I was the oldest of five, so my younger siblings probably did less camping and more skiing.) The sibs, and the next generation, still gather in places far and near and it continues to be a source of joy for all of us.
It was clear, the West was calling my name and I didn't waste any time moving to the land of big skies, deserts, mountains and rivers. My children have been raised living in Arizona, Washington DC and Montana while spending as much time as possible exploring the natural world.
And we traveled.
We skied in Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. We hiked, biked, fished and rafted throughout the West. We trekked along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, explored the deep reaches of the Amazon, floated through the Grand Canyon, snorkeled in Maui and fished for bones in the Bahamas. We've spent time on golf courses, in National Parks, on horseback and in the backcountry.
We also toured the Big Apple, climbed a 14er, spent time in London, Paris and beyond and each one of us feels like we are just getting started. We've stayed in some fancy places, in resorts, ranches and on cruise ships. We've camped under the stars and spent the night in a few places we won't recommend!
All this to say, that if I can help sort through some of the many choices for you, it would be my pleasure.
Here's to happy traveling!
All the best,
Lynn O'Rourke Hayes
PS: We continue to explore the world and our tribe continues to grow. We now have two amazing daughters-in-law and three adorable grandchildren.
Multigenerational trips are now a priority!
Lynn O'Rourke Hayes is a writer, photographer, and a passionate traveler. She is the Editor and owner of FamilyTravel.com.
Each week, she writes a syndicated travel column that appears in the likes of the Dallas Morning News, Chicago Tribune, LA Times, Newsday and many more. She also contributes to other print, online and broadcast outlets. She believes travel has the power to change lives and to serve as a pathway for personal growth and self understanding. She has spent more than 30 years writing and speaking about travel and family issues.
After more than a decade of providing family travel resources, we decided it was time to update our editorial focus. Whether you are an armchair traveler, a city seeker, a National Park explorer or a global adventurer, we want to be your wellspring of Family Travel information.
You will also note that our definition of “family” has expanded. The game has changed. Combine the geographic spread with the multi-layered demands of the modern family and what do you get? Folks who are time-starved and hungry for connection.
Often the only time we see our extended tribe is when we gather at a beach house, a ski resort or a high mountain camp ground to celebrate a special family event. So we plan to provide plenty of creative suggestions for gathering the clan in ways that will be as much for Aunt Gloria as Baby Ben (and his parents).
In between those multigenerational meet-ups, we hope you take time to plan travel with your children, your siblings, and those friends who are often more like family than…well, you know, those truly treasured friends!
Expect thoughtful travel writing and inspiring photography provided by our intrepid crew of professionals. Browse our pages for tips and ideas for planning great weekend getaways, thrilling adventure trips, traditional summer vacations and off-the-beaten path exploration.
You’ll also find gear and book reviews, luxury and budget booking options, great travel deals and opportunities for trading travel secrets.
We hope you enjoy FamilyTravel.com and will share our news with your friends and family.
We invite you to return time and again to enjoy our window onto an amazing world.
Go far. Grow close.
Lynn O’Rourke Hayes
Editor and Owner
Planning a family trip can be overwhelming. So many options, so little time!
Here are a handful of tips from travel industry experts with children of their own. They’ve spent their careers helping other families enjoy the wonder of the world.
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone.
That’s the advice of Kurt Kutay, owner of Wildland Adventures. Include activities that allow all family members to participate together and learn more about themselves, he advises. Do things you never imagined. Discover your inner source of strength. On a Wildland Family Adventure, you can walk with elephants in Botswana, learn the secrets of survival with Maasai warriors near the base of Mt. Kilimanjaro, or deliver school supplies to children in the mountains of Panama.
Contact: www.wildland.com; (800) 345-4453.
Have Fun. Be Happy.
In their all inclusive, family-focused resorts around the world, children are encouraged to explore, play and…..well, be happy. Henri Giscard d'Estaing, CEO of Club Med, brightens with enthusiasm when he talks about the mini-clubs and the wide range of activities available to children of all ages. Swing from a trapeze, try new water sports, become a Petit Chef, and learn about the local communities. Parents are equally enthused to hear about the multitude of kid’s stay free, free nights and discounted packages currently available.
Contact: www.ClubMed.us; (800) CLUBMED.
Restore in nature.
Peter Grubb and his wife Betsy have raised two kids in the adventure travel business and believe there is no better place to spend meaningful time with your kids than on a river. Fresh air, active days and peaceful nights make for great family memories. Kayak, float and splash through rapids in Idaho, Oregon and Montana.
Contact: www.ROWAdventures.com; (800) 451-6034
Redefine Your Family Values –
On this fourth generation family-owned ranch you’ll get a chance to see how hard work and commitment pay off for one Montana clan. Ride, wrangle and mend fences amid breathtaking scenery on the Lazy E-L Ranch. Join in the thrill of a 2300-head cattle drive. Why? Being on horseback allows time to listen to your soul and remember what really matters, says owner Jael Kampfe.
Contact: www.LazyEL.com; (406)328-6858.
Praveen Moman has been at the forefront of ecotourism development in Uganda. He urges parents to educate their children about global issues and sees travel as an essential element in that process. His company specializes in mountain gorilla safaris and puts the spotlight on the importance of protecting their natural habitat. Contact: www.volcanoessafaris.com ; (866) 599-APES (2737)