Airplane Travel, Family Entertainment, Parenting, Travel

Top Family Friendly Hotels in San Francisco

A metropolitan tapestry woven with public parks, exotic curio shops full of kid-friendly treasures, and an eatery with dumplings on almost every corner (and what kid doesn’t love dumplings?) San Francisco is a natural choice when selecting your next big city family vacation.

But, the question of where to stay is often the stumper when trying to find well-situated and family focused lodging in the city.

Using my family as a metaphorical guinea pig, I’ve discovered five of the top San Francisco hotels that will set your family up to have the ultimate vacation in one of the world’s most cultured concrete jungles.

The Inn at Union Square

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Tucked between a fine art gallery and Morton’s Steakhouse, this hidden gem hotel is freshly renovated and less than a block from Union Square where your family can roam in the grass, inspect public art installations, or sign up for Emperor Norton’s Fantastic San Francisco Time Machine (a walking tour).

Because all rooms are situated off the street, and look out onto a small courtyard-esque corridor, you can enjoy the convenience of being in the heart of downtown, without hearing the constant beat of that heart: traffic. But, even if quiet wasn’t readily available you’d still settle into serenity as this hotel features the most comfortable beds I’ve ever sunk into, and a nightly wine and cheese reception that does wonders for that fore-mentioned serenity.

A short walk to Chinatown and a hop, skip, and a stroller push to just about any culinary option your child’s particular taste buds might desire, this hotel will pour a large helping of simplicity on your trip.

Read more on Vagabond Family!

Airplane Travel, Family Entertainment, Parenting, Travel

How to Have an Epic Family Vacation in Squaw Valley

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After traveling multiple hours on ground or air, with restless children in tow, many parents want a one-stop shop for fun, food and accommodations, happy if they never have to look at their crumb filled vehicle the entirety of the trip.

Squaw Valley has answered this prayer, crafting a village that offers nosh for all palates, ski runs for every level of courage, hotel rooms with a mix of luxury and minimal breakables (I’m looking at you mischievous tots) and live music that makes even the tiniest of feet burst into dance.

If family vacations full of equal parts thrill, relaxation and simplicity are your jam, use the following guide to relish the goodness of Squaw Valley.

Find Your Peace at Wanderlust Yoga Studio: This studio has multiple classes geared to prepping your body (and mind, and spirit) for a stellar day of skiing, and for restoring your muscles after that last run. The variety of offerings sprinkled throughout the schedule allow flexibility for you and your fellow child-sitter to each catch a class.

Entertain Your Kids at the Children’s Program: Because most children loathe being taught sports (or anything) by their parents, let a trained instructor ignite your child’s passion and skill for skiing or snowboarding. This program accommodates children three to thirteen years of age and ups the fun ante by utilizing kid-specific tools and games during instruction. And because we parents are nosy, the instructors provide a post-lesson report card detailing your little skier’s skill and cognitive-based progress.

Read more on Vagabond Family! 

Family Entertainment, Pregnancy, Travel

The Pregnant Woman’s Guide to June Lake, California

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Most vacations to extreme sports destinations, while pregnant, are annoying – you can’t do much but eat, sleep and be bummed that you’re not participating in the adventure seeking. But not at June Lake – while famous for its family-friendly downhill skiing, this cozy mountain town offers plenty of ways for “with child” ladies to have an envy-worthy snow sojourn.

Just thirty minutes away from the chic resort of Mammoth, June offers a slower pace and amble amounts of relaxed rustic vibes. This isn’t a town where you need to feel pressure to have the cutest winter gear, “put on your face” to go out, or be fearful of your bank account being drained during your stay.

June Lake is just the place for you – you hardworking “baby maker” you – to recharge for the remainder of your epic journey into motherhood.

Read more on Vagabond Family!

Airplane Travel, Parenting, Travel

Your Guide to a Luxury Family Vacation in North Lake Tahoe

If you’ve been looking for a watering hole in the sky, whose waters are swirling with unpretentious grandeur, family friendly thrills and mega-yummy food, pack up your swim suits (or snow suits) and hoof it to North Lake Tahoe.

To minimize the stress pangs birthed from figuring out the logistics of a vacation (especially when humans under the age of 21 are involved!) I’ve collected my North Tahoe faves, and those of my nearest and dearest who called North Tahoe home for over ten years, so you can slide into this haven with nary a worry in sight (just a bunch of pine trees in sight.)

Where to Stay: Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

Read more on Huffington Post!

Airplane Travel, Travel

Top Stops for Families Vacationing in the Florida Keys

I find the Florida Keys to be synonymous with simple living, tranquil vibes and landscapes so hypnotic you’d be happy to just sit and stare for a few hours- maybe even days. Because traveling with children breeds a special brand of stress, you might as well travel to a land where everyone (children included) can’t help but chill out- in warm waters.

Here are a few Florida Key destinations sure to infuse your family vacation with a unique blend of easy-going fun and introspective ponderings.

Read more on Huff Post!

Airplane Travel, Family Entertainment, Travel

Why Reno Should Be On Your List of “Must See” Cities

Reno has been percolating with opportunity that is now being realized in community-focused gentrification- and I’m loving it. I used to think of Reno as a gateway to Tahoe, but a recent trip to “The Biggest Little City in the World” has flipped my script. I now view Reno as a trendy and entertaining stand-alone destination that allows me to carry a cup of wine around my neck as I walk along the river flowing through its center. I struck gold when I “discovered” Reno.

Here’s a few reasons you should shimmy into a plane seat headed for a Reno vacay, or maybe even score in their real estate market before it’s gobbled up by hipster Millennials.

1. Community Work Spaces

Read more on Huff Post!

Airplane Travel, Travel

A Collection of the Best 82 Tips for Traveling With Children

*I did not write this entire piece but contributed many of the tips. Happy travels!

You never know how easy solo travel is until you have kids. Family travel numbers are lower than you would expect considering all the great benefits to traveling with children. The top reasons why families aren’t traveling with their children are the cost and not feeling comfortable and confident. This collection of 82 tips will help travelers be prepared and confident to take their children on a vacation regardless of their age.

But traveling with kids doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as you’re imagining right now, and travel can be extremely beneficialfor your kids. In fact, there are families — with kids as young as infants and as old as grumpy teenagers — traveling around the world every day. These 82 tips are compiled from travel bloggers and parents that have become experts on the topic of traveling with children, and they’re guaranteed to improve your family travel experience.

Read more on FlyFar!

Camping, Travel, Uncategorized

How to Take Your Camping Cuisine to The Next Level

Food prep has always been the metaphorical poison oak rubbing on my leg when I go camping- my main criteria being “what will be the least fussy food to make?” After spending half a day using my mad-Tetris skills packing my car with half my house, I have no desire to be a short order cook of crappy food when I get to the camp site.

But, what if campfire food could be both easy and delicious? (I would go camping more.)

I spoke with Shane Hammett, avid camper and chef de cuisine at the Lone Eagle Grille in the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, to get the (beefed-up) skinny on how to make campout eating a (easy) fine dining experience- albeit fine dining a la fold out chairs, dust and bug spray.

Here’s how to jazz up your campfire cuisine without having to skip the hike because you need to clean up after lunch and start prepping dinner.

1. Build the Right Kind of Fire.

Trying to cook on a campfire without the right kind of fire is like trying to scale a mountain trail in heels- you can do it, but it will take a long time- and it will suck.

Read more on Huffington Post!

Mind-Body-Spirit, Parenting, Travel, Uncategorized

How to Have An Epic Family Vacation In Nicaragua

Mother nature has planted a special kiss on Nicaragua, blessing it with balmy oceans, lush vegetation, affordable food, drink and accommodations, and smiling people ready to enhance your vacation with kindness and a reminder to relax and move slow.

My family has fallen so deeply in love with Nicaragua we’ve decided to purchase a property on the Pacific coast, ensuring we have the opportunity to infuse our lives with the uplifting vibes of this vibrant country on the regular.

If you and your family plan to explore this hidden jewel of Central America, fertile with adventure and chances for enlightenment, follow these suggestions to help ensure your trip is a success.

1. Hire a Chef.

Parents spend a hearty amount of time preparing meals and cleaning up after meals- then rinsing and repeating. If you’ll be renting a house, make it a true vacation by hiring a chef to prepare your breakfasts, lunches or dinners (or all of them!) Chef services in Nicaragua are inexpensive, and you can request they do all the shopping for you! In addition, you’ll be supporting the local economy and gaining a chance to get to know someone who is likely a native of the country.

Read more on Discount My Flights! 

Camping, Parenting, Travel, Uncategorized

9 Insider Tips for Family Camping on the California Coast

There’s a rare form of magic in the crisp air along the California Coast, which is why it’s best enjoyed outdoors. Camping along these beaches rich with ancient trees, active sea life and a bounty of activities (for all ages!) will support you in creating the ideal vacation for your entire family. To ensure it’s more fun than frustrating, follow these tips.

1. Find the Perfect Spot.

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It’s hard to go wrong when finding a site to camp along the West Coast, but depending on your family’s specific needs, some locations will suit your family better than others. Take your preferences for sites (e.g., not near cliffs, activities for young children and a beach with a mellow break) and find a few spots that meet your needs.

Read more on Discount My Flights

Travel, Uncategorized

How to Enjoy a Trip to Mammoth Lakes (With Kids!)

IMG_6496The snow reminds me that Mother Nature has not completely forgotten to give us water.

The fresh air reminds me to breathe.

The cozy cabin reminds me to bond.

And the fireplace reminds me to drink something hot and sweet (with Baileys in it?).

My family travels to Mammoth Mountain many times a year, taking a grateful sigh of relief when we see the jagged outline of the Minarets, looming behind Mammoth Mountain — our welcoming committee.

Ten minutes later, we turn off the highway and cruise into the chic, yet cozy, Mammoth Lakes village.

The town is intentionally kept quaint, but has an obvious layer of modern influences and a thriving youth culture.

Read more on Huff Post!