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Boulder, Colorado Flatirons

Image Source: Colorado.com

A family trip to Boulder, Colorado can be packed full of activity, food, and fun – as many top 10 lists will tell you. Find out where Boulderites like to hang out, and how you can cram in a weekend of fun in this vibrant Colorado community.

Where to Stay

Where to Stay in Boulder Boulder is home to two distinctly different, completely awesome hotels that are note-worthy. So, depending on your style and desired experience, you can choose between the two. I would recommend visiting Boulder at least twice so you can try each of them.

St. Julien Classy, sophisticated, modern and home to a world-class spa, the St. Julien is a true luxury experience. I love sipping Chardonnay in the super-comfy and oversized lobby or lounging on the patio while listening the live music. The halls are peppered with artsy-local photos, the views are spectacular and the beds are heavenly.

Hotel Boulderado Hotel Boulderado has been a Boulder staple for more than a hundred years. The historic details are simply stunning; designed to be a combination of Italian Renaissance-style with Spanish Revival features. It also has a mosaic tile floor, a stained-glass canopy ceiling and the original, still-working elevator. Taking the historical experience to the next level is easy-to-do with the recently revamped onsite lounge, License No. 1. You can access this swanky lounge through a secret door inside (password required!) or from the street. I love the throw-back vibe of the décor and the super-fancy cocktail options. Grab some apps at the onsite Corner Bar or sit down for dinner at the brand-spankin’ new restaurant Spruce (opening Aug 2014). Truly, you won’t have to leave.

Where to Eat

Where to Eat in Boulder

The bigger question is where DON’T you eat in America’s Foodiest Town (another reason to visit twice). Experience more in less time when you sign up for a Local Table Tour - you can sample several restaurants at a time – or here a few suggestions…

Aji for apps. You would not necessarily think about coming to Boulder for Latin American cuisine, but Aji can change that. I love their happy hour menu which includes a nice selection of empanadas, street tacos, and bacon wrapped dates, all topped off with a refreshing house-made Sangria. A delightful way to spend an afternoon in Boulder!

Kitchen Next Door for family-friendly dining. Sister restaurant, The Kitchen, has been a foodie favorite for years, but reserved for date nights and client dinners. When they opened up the more laid back and family-friendly Kitchen Next Door (located, next door, of course) I was thrilled. Not only do they have wine on tap (say what?), they have a delicious farm-to-table entrees, a robust kids menu (of which they donate a portion of sales to fund local kids agricultural programs) in a fun, bustling atmosphere.

Piece Love & Chocolate for dessert. Pure decadence! Sometimes I just go to Piece, Love & Chocolate to absorb the rich, earthy, sweet chocolate aroma into my system. Floor to ceiling shelves of chocolate makes this mama’s paradise on earth. Pick up some chocolate candies, a slice of decadent cake or try out a petite pastry. You won’t go wrong with any of these options.

Tip: Boulder is home to more than 20 breweries and tasting rooms. If you like beer, you can arrange your entire trip around craft brew and it will not disappoint!

You may also enjoy: Top 7 Family Friendly Restaurants in Boulder

Where to Shop

Where to Shop in Boulder McGuckin Hardware Did you forget something on your trip? No worries! McGuckin likely has whatever it is you need … they have everything. And, even if you don’t need anything it’s a great place to people watch. McGuckin, the local’s hardware – and so much more – store, is a Boulder icon. Heck, there was even a wedding thrown in the tool aisle recently.

Boulder Bookstore Thousands upon thousands of books, from floor to ceiling and wall-to-wall; Boulder Bookstore is a bibliophile’s dream. Exploring three floors of books are just the beginning. Settle in for some great local conversation or set your child free in the expansive kids section and you’ve got an afternoon of entertainment set!

Emilia Ceramics When you’re in Boulder, you’ll likely want to bring home something beautiful for yourself and Emilia Ceramics will most certainly have something you cannot live without. A quaint little shop at the east end of Pearl street, you can bring home the Old World Charm of hand-painted ceramics that have been meticulously selected from artisans in Mexico and Europe.

Where to Play

What to do in Boulder

Pearl Street Street performers, shops, restaurants and street vendors pepper four full blocks of a pedestrian mall downtown Boulder. Some would say that Pearl Street is the heartbeat of Boulder; a place to experience all the great (and crazy!) things this vibrant city has to offer.

Bike the City With more than 300 days of sunshine, and an equal number of bike paths, there is no better way to dive into the city than by bike. Rent a bike at Boulder Bikesmith or at one of many rent-by-the-hour bike-share stations, then head out on the trails (many of which go right along the creek) and you can get anywhere in town.

Eldorado Springs Swimming Pool I really should not be talking about the Eldorado Swimming Pool, because it a true hidden gem of our community and part of me wants to keep it that way. Located south of Boulder, Eldorado Springs Pool has a rich history. Rumor has it even the Eisenhower’s frequented this turn of the century favorite; in fact in 1910 it was the largest pool in U.S., and folks came from across the globe to experience it. Sadly, a 1928 flood knocked out most of the resort, but we still have an awesome spring-fed pool to splash around in today, and it is spectacular.

You may also enjoy: Best Colorado Towns for a Summertime Family Getaway Boulder is unique, vibrant, outdoorsy and fun. This list of gems is just the tip of the iceberg. Come for hiking, kayaking, eating, or to simply enjoy the sunshine … activities abound!

Have you ever visited Boulder, Colorado? What were your favorite things?
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When I was offered a car to review for a week, I was like “Heck yeah! Bring on the Beamer!” but then, when they told me it was a Kia Sorento SX. I have to admit, I had a brief moment of disappointment. I thought to myself, “a Kia, really?” Boy, was I in for a nice surprise! kia sorento review The Kia Sorento SX is classed as an affordable midsize SUV, in other words it’s got mini-van features without being a “minivan.” Now, after a few days of driving this thing neither the “affordable” nor “minivan” descriptions seemed to fit. I mean, this Kia is surprisingly luxurious (smart and fun, too). It reminded of the shy, nerdy guy in high school that grew up to be the hot, well-dressed millionaire. Yep, the 2015 Kia Sorento SX is like that.   Here is a breakdown of what I loved about driving the Kia Sorento (and would still be driving it, if they didn’t have to peel me out of that fine leather drivers seat).

kia sorento

Cargo space galore

When the split-level third row seat is down, you can fit tons in the back of the car. I loaded it up with firewood for a camping trip, and couldn’t believe I could also fit all our groceries and water too.

Um, hello sunroof

Driving through the mountains was a completely different experience when you can look up from anywhere in the car — even in the backseat! — and see the amazing views. The kids thought this was a pretty sweet feature.

Built in window shades

Maybe all new cars have this feature?! I thought it was pretty nifty to have back seat window shade built into the door. I was wishing that was a feature when I had little babies riding back there. That is pretty cool and totally family friendly.

Channel 8 on Sirius

Ok, I know this is not a Kia-specific feature, having Sirius, that is. But, between the super-fancy, connected-to-everything, voice-controlled data center that easily connected to my iPhone (officially called Voice-Command Navigation with 8″ Display & SiriusXM Traffic) and the side mirrors that flash when someone is in your blind spot, this car is definitely smarter than my current car. Did I mention all the ’80′s music I enjoyed this week, too?

Manual shifting option

The Kia is an automatic, which is fabulous on a normal driving day. However, if you’re in a line of traffic going down a steep hill, having a manual option can literally save your breaks. I loved being able to downshift, quickly and easily when driving through the Colorado mountains. There are six gears to shift through. I need this car in the winter here!

Smooth ride

We took the Kia on bumpy dirt roads in the mountains, but you would never have known. I was struck not only by how smooth it drove, but by how solid if felt. THIS is a car I can feel safe with my family in, and I like that. The Kia Sorento SX is a surprising option that I would have previously never considered. It’s comfortable, roomy, easy to drive, and has some really great family-friendly features. When I look at new cars next year, this will certainly be on my list of choices! The 2015 Kia Sorento starts at a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $24,995 and climbs to just shy of $42,600 for the Nappa-leather-clad SX Limited specialty trim.  While I was invited to test drive the Kia, all opinions are my own.

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Tracking PixelWyndham Vacation Rentals Summer travel is well underway and with July being National Vacation Rental Month, we’re celebrating with a few savvy travel tips and why you should consider staying in a Wyndham Vacation Rental. Our family has booked vacation rentals several times and I think it is one of the best ways to actually enjoy your family vacation. You can find homes all over the country and in popular summer destinations such as Myrtle Beach, Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains, Charleston Islands, the Emerald Coast and Hilton Head Island.

The biggest decision when planning a family vacation is, where are you going to stay? Especially if you are staying somewhere for a longer period of time or if you are vacationing with extended family or friends.

A few years ago we spent two weeks in Breckenridge, Colorado and rented a fabulous log cabin home that was big enough not only for us but for a variety of family and friends that came as well. Renting a vacation home allows you to really unpack, relax and settle in somewhere. Our family and friends were able to schedule and coordinate the days they wanted to stay within the two weeks. We cooked dinner every night and the adults relaxed in the hot tub on the porch while the kids watched movies inside. It was one of our most memorable vacations ever.

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One of the biggest reasons we choose to stay in a vacation rental is for the amenities many of them offer, such as fully-equipped kitchens, in-unit washers/dryers, private pools, and plenty of space so we don’t have to feel like we are all on top of one another. Traveling with kids, especially younger kids, there also tends to be a lot of gear that comes with them — not to mention clothes. Being able to do a load of laundry lets you pack a little less or saves you when your kids get sick, spill or make a mess out of their clothing.

You can experience all of those benefits this summer and still get the added bonus of hotel-like amenities at many Wyndham Vacation Rentals properties such as shuttle service, a concierge desk, and housekeeping. It’s truly a win-win and you can also save up to 35 percent off at WyndhamVacationRentals.com.

Savvy Sassy Travel Tip:

Watch this video and hear my #1 tip when staying at a Vacation Rental.
For more information on Wyndham Vacation Rentals visit their website and start planning your next amazing family vacation! 14383469936_208f538ab2_m

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Wyndham Vacation Rentals.

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The 2010 U.S. Census reveals a draw-dropping statistic… dogs are outnumbering kids, by the millions! Not only are we adding four-legged friends to the family, many of us are treating them like – or even better than – our kids. But, with 89% of Americans planning a family vacation this summer how do we prepare for dog friendly summer travel?

dog friendly summer travel

Photo credit: Rollan Budi https://flic.kr/p/6pgXNf

In a recent study performed by DogVacay, the service connecting traveling dog owners with a pet sitter in their neighborhood, 60% of dog owners stated that arranging accommodations for their dog has an impact on their vacation plans.

  • Half (50%) say finding a good kennel or pet sitter has affected planning for their vacation.
  • Over a quarter (27%) say financial challenges such as kennel fees or paying a pet deposit at a hotel have impacted their vacation plans.

Findings reveal dog owners have delayed or skipped vacations altogether, find it harder to enjoy their trip whether they’re traveling with or without Fido and face added complexities when planning a trip

So what are summer travel options when considering our furry family members?

Getting Fido There

However you’re planning to get your dog to the desired destination, make sure he has plenty of exercise right before you leave. If you’re driving to your destination, having your dog ride along is a no-brainer. Things to consider, however, are:

  • How hot will it be? Never leave your dog alone in a hot car! Even 78 degrees can get up to a sweltering 100-120 quickly. Options are to make sure to stop at places (restaurants, shops, etc) that are dog-friendly or have someone outside with the dog during that time.
  • Consider crating your dog for the car ride so that it’s safer for you and your pet. If crating is not an option, just be sure he can have a comfortable place to lie down.
  • Do not feed your dog a lot of food prior to a long car ride.

If you’re flying. Check with the airlines on their requirements. A few pet-friendly airlines are: JetBlue, Delta, Air Canada, Southwest and United.

Dog Friendly Accommodations

Booking accommodations with your dog can be tricky. If staying at a hotel, first you need to find one that will actually take the dog, then you have to read the fine print as there are often restrictions (size, weight, etc). Some of the home share sites such as HomeAway, AirBnB, and HomeExchange.com offer the pet-friendly choices.

A few sites to consider for pet-friendly accommodations are http://www.petswelcome.com and http://www.bringfido.com.

Here is a sample list of hotel chains that are dog friendly:

Dog Boarding

While boarding your dog is an obvious option, who wants to board their furry family member? Not me! Not only is it pricey, I would much rather have my pet with me on our summer travel adventures. However, if you have no other choices, then this isn’t a bad option. Questions to ask when choosing a spot to board your dog during summer travel:

  • Is the kennel certified? To find out if a kennel has been certified, ask to see a Voluntary Facilities Accreditation (VFA) certificate.
  • Could I tour the facility? To gain the utmost confidence in Fido’s stay during your family vacation, make sure the kennel is up to par to your standards. Is it clean? Is there a large play area? Is the staff “into dogs”? The last thing you want is for the family pet to be crated the whole time.
  • What immunizations should my pet have?
  • What kind of play/exercise time do you offer?
Dog Sitter

There are two options here; find a local dog sitter to come stay with your pet at your house or find a dog sitter at your destination. DogVacay.com (the AirBnB for dogs!) is a pretty new service that offers either of these options. Now, either of these choice can be good as long as there is a level of trust. When inviting a dog sitter to come into your home, be sure to ask for references. DogVacay.com not only offers dog sitting services (with pre qualified candidates), they also have a dog boarding option where your pet can stay in the home of a pet sitter (either in your home town or at your destination).

Once There

So, if you’ve decided to take your pup along on your family vacation, you may still need to consider a few things. For example, are you planning to explore your vacation area? Are dogs allowed? If not, you may not want to keep him in the hotel room all day. Plan ahead for a dog sitter (using DogVacay.com?) on the days that the family will be out and about. Be sure all shots are up to date, and you may even consider an additional Bordetella shot (aka kennel cough).

No matter what you decide to do with your dog for summer family travel, educate yourself on your choices and be prepared. Fido deserves it!

Do you travel with your dog? Or leave him at home? Share your stories below.
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Coronado Beach

When visiting the Southern California coast, you really can’t go wrong when it comes to finding somewhere amazing to stay. From Malibu to San Diego and everything in between, there are plenty of options to make the most of your next family beach vacation.

There is absolutely no doubt that you will fill up your Instagram feed with memories of sun-kissed faces, beach bonfires and incredible ocean sunsets. From hotels and timeshares, to private rentals and camping on the beach, Southern California has something for everyone’s budget.

Here are a handful of a few of my favorite stops situated along the coast:

Malibu: The ‘bu

Malibu is the real “boho-chic” deal. It’s the stretch of California sand that many daydream about during east coast winters. It’s where Barbie has lived her whole life, where hunky celebs surf every morning and where Sandy and Danny Zucko said what they thought would be their last good-bye before senior year of high school.

Dream getaway: Pull-up in a vintage Airstream and spend the night at the beach. Leo Carrillo State Park has back-country hiking, tide pools, coastal caves and reefs for exploring. The great outdoors not really your cup of java? The Malibu Beach Inn will tickle your fancy.

Tide Pools at Leo Carrillo State Park in Malibu

Tide Pools at Leo Carrillo State Park in Malibu | Photo credit: National Park Service

Santa Monica: Route 66

Santa Monica is glitz and glam by the sand. Where the beautiful people live, work and play, while enjoying the vibe of a city only feet from the surf. With electric neon carnivals and concerts, amazing cafes and the iconic Santa Monica Pier, it’s a town where nothing beats a good morning bike to sunrise yoga.

Perfect location: When it comes to resting your pretty little messy beach waved head, you really cannot beat The Shore Hotel. Across the street from the Pier and a short walk from the Third Street Promenade. If you are looking for something a little different and out of the ordinary, the Venice Beach Boardwalk is always a trip.

Newport Beach: The Real OC

There are beach towns and then there is Newport Beach. With beautiful homes, dreamy neighborhoods, amazing shopping, and impressive restaurants, it’s no wonder why seasons of ‘Real Housewives’ have built and lived in homes here. Where to stay? The Balboa Bay Resort is a full-service waterfront property with short and long-term rentals, it’s the perfect place to learn how to stand-up paddle. While in the OC, be sure to also swing by Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach – for possible visits the next time you’re in town.

If you dare: It’s the home to The Wedge, a popular surfing and bodyboarding spot located on the Balboa Peninsula with waves up to 30 ft. high. But do yourself a favor, it’s better to spectate even on the calmest of days.

San Diego: Coronado Island

Coronado Island is truly a very special place for family beach vacations. In fact, it might be the place in Southern California. Clean and safe beaches, quaint town-vibe, it’s the summer vacation at the beach you remember fondly as a kid. After a day of boogie boarding and collecting shells, rent a bicycle and head for ice cream in Coronado Village or moonlit bike ride on the beach path at Silver Strand State Beach.

Book now or forever hold your peace: Loews Love Kids and we’ve heard the Loews Coronado Bay Resort has it all for families — even teens! For more info, make sure to contact their concierge for stress-free family travel planning.

Photo credit: Flickr / Jarrel Jimmerson and Santa Monica State Parks

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Wyndham Vacation Rentals

Summer is here and it’s time to plan that vacation you have spent all winter long dreaming about! Whether you are escaping to Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains or down to Florida’s Emerald Coast, it is the perfect time of year to get away.

What better way to enjoy these fabulous locations than by booking a Wyndham Vacation Rental! From extra space and greater savings to convenient in-home amenities like fully-equipped kitchens and in-unit washers/dryers, Wyndham Vacation Rentals offer a range of valuable benefits.

Since July is National Vacation Rental Month (#VRMonth), Wyndham Vacation Rentals is celebrating with savings of up to 35% off. There’s nothing we love more than a good summer getaway, so we’re celebrating too! Join us for a Twitter party this Tuesday, June 17 starting at 8:00 AM PST/11:00 AM EST celebrating July as National Vacation Rental Month!

Wyndham Vacation Rentals

Celebrate Vacation Rental Month!

#VRMonth TWITTER CHAT DETAILS
• Where: On Twitter, using the hashtag #VRMonth
• Hosts: @SITSGirls and Wyndham_Rentals
• When: June 17, 2014 from 8:00-9:00 AM PST / 11:00-12:00 PM EST
• Prizes: But of course! See below for the goodies we’ll be giving away.

Twitter Party Prizes

During the #VRMonth Twitter Party, we’ll be giving away three $50 American Express gift cards.

One grand prizewinner will also walk away with the package valued at approximately $100:

• Monogrammed Extra Large Colored Zip Top Tote Bag
• Monogrammed School Uniform Vertical Rugby Stripe Beach Towel
• Book: How to Be the World’s Smartest Traveler

RSVP HERE!

To enter to win, participate with an original tweet (no retweets) using the hashtag, #VRMonth, in response to the Twitter party questions. (4) winners will be selected at random from those that reply to the questions.

Bonus time: We’ll be randomly selecting one winner from the below Linky to receive a $25.00 Amazon gift card.

Simply add your Twitter ID to the below Linky and you’ll automatically be entered to win.

*This is a sponsored post on behalf of Wyndham Vacation Rentals.

No purchase necessary. Open to legal residents of the 50 US & DC, 18 or older. Sweepstakes ends 12pm ET 6/17/14. Void where prohibited.

For Official Twitter Party Rules, which govern this event, go here.

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Sure, you’ve heard of the Grand Canyon, Yosemite and Yellowstone. But, what about Isle Royale or Gates of the Arctic? These off the beaten path National Parks will make your summer family vacation a truly spectacular (and crowd free!) treat.

off the beaten path national parks

Images: NPS.gov

1. Gates of the Arctic (Alaska)

You’ll think you’ve gone back in time millions of years when you visit Gates of the Arctic, one of many parks in Alaska. There are no roads, trails, established campsites or cell phone services in this vast (8.4 million acres!) landscape. Needless to say, this park is not for the faint of heart. If you have an outdoorsy family and you want to step back in time, you’ll love the connection with nature when you fish, hike or simply watch the wildlife

2. North Cascades National Park (Washington)

Boasting more than 300 glaciers, the North Cascades National Park is less than a three-hour drive from Seattle. Kids will love the Junior Ranger Program while you and the hubs float through magnificence on a canoe trip at the new North Cascades Environmental Learning Center.

As of this posting there are park alerts in effect. Be sure to check the National Park Service website for the most up-to-date information.

3. Dead Horse Point (Utah)

Legends say that around the turn of the century cowboys used the top of this mesa in Utah to corral horses; at one time horses were left corralled and waterless, thus the name Dead Horse Point stuck. Regardless of this grim beginning, Dead Horse Point offers stunning views not seen in other parts of the country. A popular destination for mountain bikers and photographers, Dead Horse Point also offers a stunning backdrop for ATV’s and hikers, alike. It is routinely called Utah’s “most spectacular” state park.

4. Mesa Verde (Colorado)

History buffs will love a trip to Mesa Verde! Packed with nearly 5,000 archeological sites, there are 600 “cliff dwellings” that will give you a peak into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people who lived there A.D. 600-1300. Kids can get an in-depth look at the lives of the Pueblo Indians through the History Program for Kids and grown ups can hike the trails to the mesa top sites and cliff dwelling overlooks, and enjoy the tram service.

5. Isle Royale (Michigan)

Surrounded by Lake Superior, Isle Royale is an island 45 miles long and 9 miles wide. In prehistoric times, a large amount of copper was mined from this island, but soon became a prominent hunting and fishing ground for locals. Visitors can currently enjoy hiking, fishing, boating and kayaking. You can plan to go on one of several guided tours or even go scuba diving!

6. Shenandoah (Virginia)

Bird watching is a popular activity of the Shenandoah National Park, just 75 miles north of Washington DC. Over half the 200 species of birds breed solely in the park, making for a spectacular and unique experience. Visitors also enjoy the park for their GeoCacheing adventures – a real-world treasure hunt! Other great family-fun includes: rock-climbing, rappelling and horseback riding.

7. Dry Tortugas (Florida)

If sand, sun and picturesque blue waters are your kind of national park trip (and who wouldn’t want that?) then, Dry Tortugas, north of Key West, is the place for you! The park is only accessible via seaplane or boat and is a part of a seven-island chain. Marine life is abundant and you can plan your entire trip around learning more about it. Camping, snorkeling, bird watching, fishing or water-gazing from white sandy beaches will complete a visit to Dry Tortugas….sounds ideal to me!

What are your favorite, crowd-free, off the beaten path national parks?
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A memorable family trip to Washington, D.C. means striking a balance. You need to embrace the history and eighth-grade-class-trip-ness of it all, but you also can break away from the marble monuments to enjoy the hip, unique offerings of the United States’ capital.

As a Washington, D.C. ‘what to do with your kids’ local blogger at A Parent in Silver Spring, I’m honored to share with you how to experience both sides of the (Presidential profiled) coin when you visit with your family.

What to DO 

washington d.c. family travel guide

VIP U.S. Capitol Tour

First Street SE

Sure, you can wait in the massive line for a generic tour of the United States Capitol Building. But why wait when Members of Congress’s staff members provide weekday tours for constituents? Once you chose your trip dates, contact one of your Senators – they have larger staffs to handle tours.

washington d.c. family travel guide

White House Tour

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Hard to believe, but it is possible to take a tour right through the public rooms of the place where the leader of the free world works and lives. When you call that Senator’s office for a Capitol tour, also ask to schedule a White House tour too. Requests can be submitted up to six months in advance. If you are citizen of another country, contact your embassy in Washington, DC to process your tour request.

What to SEE

washington dc family travel guide

Washington Monuments Cruise

3050 K Street NW – Washington Harbour – Georgetown Dock

The most pleasurable, and easiest way, to see those massive marble temples of democracy is to view them from the breezy decks of a tour boat. Much like the touristy cruises along the Seine in Paris, you get a beautiful view of the sights. I like to catch my tour boats from the Georgetown Dock. Various operators mean that a boat tour leaves every 15 minutes or so from 11:30am until 10pm or so. Evening cruises are especially cool. After your cruise, Georgetown provides loads of dining and shopping options.

Where to PLAY


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National Building Museum

401 F Street NW – Gallery Place

DC locals love this dream of a play-space-heavy museum for crawlers through elementary schoolers. From indoor miniature golf, a huge room of imaginative play areas, various LEGO rooms and more, your child will be in hands-on heaven.

Where to LEARN


Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History  - 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum - Independence Avenue at 6th Street SW

Smithsonian National Museum of American History - 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW

The three museums above are those that most people think of when they hear the words “Smithsonian.” Although there are more museums in the Smithsonian family located along the National Mall, these are the most popular and the ones that best cater to children. Since there’s no admission fee, feel free to breeze in and out and simply check out the things your family will find most exciting.

What to EAT


Good Stuff Eatery

303 Pennsylvania Avenue SE – Capitol Hill

Chef Spike Mendelsohn of Top Chef fame has several DC-area restaurants, and Capitol Hill’s Good Stuff Eatery will provide you with one of the best burger/fry/shake meals you have eaten in your life. There is a reason that Spike has won Rachael Ray’s burger challenge! The french fries with mayo bar and hand-spun shakes are delish. Mom and dad can get a Belgian beer on a tap, often a necessity after a day spent sight-seeing with kids.

Where to SHOP


Violet Boutique

2439 18th Street NW – Adams Morgan

Mom deserves some ‘me time’ after a playing Mrs. Griswold in DC all day. Head to Violet for the on-point styles, bright colors and unique accessories. The owner prides herself on curating a collection of tops, bottoms, dresses, handbags and jewelry that are accessibly-priced (almost everything is less than $100.) Yet with every item in the store, you feel as if you are in the coolest, most high end, funky boutique of your dreams.

Are you a Washingtonian or DC-tripper? Share your recs in the comments!


Images courtesy Jessica McFadden, the Architect of the Capitol, WhiteHouse.gov, Violet Boutique and Lil’ El and rubyshoes on Flickr via a Creative Commons license. 

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Some very exciting summer vacation plans for Savvy Sassy Moms…I will be taking a 6 week family road trip this summer and hitting up seven southern cities in the south!  I do love those S’s.

Since moving to Costa Rica last summer, my kids have not touched American soil (my husband and I however, have both been back a few times for work) so we have decided to take a little tour of the south this summer. We have traveled a lot, but we have not been to either South Carolina or North Carolina. I’ve been to Atlanta, but only for a short weekend and we have not spent much time in Orlando so we thought why not take this opportunity to see them all and make it a fun family road trip!

SavvySassySummer2014

Where will the road take us exactly? We will be in Orlando, Savannah, Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Raleigh, Charlotte, and Atlanta. So, this past weekend we started doing some road trip prep and taking a few notes about the places we are going and what we possibly want to do and see, as well as where to shop and eat!

1. Orlando, Florida

We will be hooking up with both the Grandma’s for some summer fun in Orlando. As the #1 family vacation destination in America, we are sure to get our fill of amusement parks, theme parks, water parks, and family-friendly attractions. This city is definitley for the kids, so it will be interesting to see how we handle making all three generations happy, stay tuned!

Possible things to do: Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World, Gatorland, Dinner Shows, Airboat Rides, Indy Racing, Helicopter Rides, Warbird Adventures, Epcot, LEGOLAND, and the list goes on…. Helpful Website: Experience Kissimmee Follow them on Twitter @Kissimmee

2. Savannah, GA

There is just something about just saying Savannah Georgia that calms me. This will be a great place to slow it down a bit from the wild time on Orlando and soak up some true southern charm.  I do not know a thing about this city, but looking forward to learning more. I have high hopes for Savannah.

Possible things to do: Bonaventure Cemetery, Carriage Tour of Savannah, Telfar Museums, Savannah Riverfront, Foodie Tour. Helpful website Visit Savannah Follow them on Twitter @VisitSavannah

3. Charleston, SC

The history of Charleston and its arcitecture appeals to me the most  We will be here for the Fourth of July, so I am excited to see the Fireworks in this true all American town!

Possible things to do: Kings Street, Sullivan Island, Folley Beach, Isle of Palm,  Rainbow Row, patriots Point Naval Museum, Bone Hall Plantation, Charleston City Market, Children;s Museum of Low Country.  Things to Eat: Peanut Butter Burger at Poe’s Tavern, She Crab Soup and a mason jar Margarita at Yo Burrito. Helpful Website: Explore Charleston Follow them on Twitter @ExploreCHS 

4. Myrtle Beach, SC

Another destination that looks like fun for the whole family and really caters to the kids. With beaches and boardwalks with games and rides this is sure to be one of the highlights for the kids! The hotels seem to have a lot of amenities for the kids.

Possible Things to Do: Boardwalk, Broad Way, Myrtle Waves Waterpark, Ripley’s Aquarium (Mermaid shows), Wild Water Park. Helpful trip planning website: VisitMyMyrtleBeach follow them on Twitter @MyMyrtleBeach

5. Raleigh, NC

Raleigh & Charlotte might be the cities I am most excited to check out because I have no idea what to expect.  I really know nothing about North Carolina, but I have always heard such wonderful things about North Carolina and both cities seem to be uber family friendly.

Possible things to do: Natural History Museum, Pull in Park, Museum of Art, Marble Kids Museum, Franki’s Fun Park, KIng’s Baracade, Poole’s Downtown Diner, Trophy Brewing Company. Helpful website: Visit Raleigh follow them on Twitter @VisitRaleigh

6. Charlotte, NC

Carowinds Amusement Park, Mint Museum, Kids Library, Freedom Park, Discovery place, Lazy 5 Ranch, Biltmore Estate, Carolina Raptor Center, Richard Petty Driving Experience. Where to stay: Great Wolf Lodge. Helpful website Charlottesgotalot.com and follow them on Twitter @CharlottGotAlot

7. Atlanta, GA

I’ve only been to Atlanta once, for a blogger event hosted by Coca Cola, so I really didn’t get to spend time exploring the city at all.  I’ve also connected through Atlanta for international flights many times, so I have got to know customs very well, but now it’s time to see what all the buzz in Atlanta is about!

One of my favorite websites is the Thrillist.com that gives you the coolest ideas of what to do in cities all across America, unfortunately they haven’t launched many of the southern cities we are going to, but they do have Atlanta and Atlanta looks like a very exciting city to see! I will no doubt gain 10 lbs just from eating my way through Atlanta.

Possible things to do: Olympic park, World of Coca Cola, Atlanta Zoo, Puppetry Arts, LEGOLAND Discovery Center, Andretti Carting and Games, Medival Times, Chicken and Waffles, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes Festival (July 20th). Helpful Website: Atlanta.net and Atlanta.com Follow them on Twitter @DiscoverAtlanta

Do you live in any of these cities?  Have you traveled to these cities, with kids!?

Please leave a comment on the must see and do, favorite eats, what to drink, where to shop and where to take the kiddos. Tweet meet all summer and give me some tips or your favorite city gems!

*Use #citygems with your city #Orlando #Savannah, #Charleston, #MyrtleBeach #Raleigh #Charlotte #Atlanta so I can easily find and save and share your tweets.

Follow my summer road trip on Instagram ya’ll @andreafellman

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Think you need the latest guide book for ultimate trip planning? Not with Pinterest! Plan your summer trip — AND fill your bucket list — with these tips and tricks for using Pinterest as your travel guide.

Summer Travel Pinspiration

To get started using Pinterest for summer travel inspiration, log into your Pinterest account (you have a Pinterest account, right? If not, go here to set up yours) and create your travel planning boards. I like to start with Bucket List, Destination Boards, Planning Boards and Sharing my Trip. These four categories will help you organize your travel planning, and help you easily share your experience.

Dream It

On your Bucket List board you can pin everywhere you think you want to go. Simply query your desired destination in the search bar in the upper left-hand corner or go directly to the Travel category and see what pops up. Most pins have AMAZING photography and as an added bonus, many pins link to a website that offers more information.

Now, you may not actually be able to go to most of these places, but searching the options will help inspire an actual trip. Once you’ve become inspired you can create boards of specific places you can realistically go to, these will be your Destination Boards.

Tip: If you’re not sure you want all your followers to know your travel plans, make your board a Secret Board

Summer Travel Pinspiration

Plan It

Once you have created a few Destination Boards, now it’s time to create your Planning Boards. For example, I am planning a trip to Mt. Rushmore with the family this summer. I have created several boards around this trip: Camping near Mt. Rushmore, Where to Eat in Rapid City, Things to do with Kids in South Dakota, History of Mt. Rushmore and — of course! — Hiking Outfit Ideas. Not only have I found great tips and ideas through Pinterest, I have also pinned posts from all over the Internet to these boards (such as the area’s tourism department and other local sources.)

You can also use the autofill tool of the search bar to find more great pins. When I typed in Mt. Rushmore, I got the option to choose from “Mt. Rushmore Vacation”, “Mt. Rushmore Trip” and others. Another great way to find relevant pins is when you find a pin you like, Pinterest will suggest other pins and pinners pinning similar content (that’s a lot of “pinning”)!

Tip: Don’t just stick to pinning images… videos, infographics, and slides make for great content, as well!

Summer Travel Pinspiration

Share It

Did you discover a new or interesting café on your trip? Or did you capture some really amazing images? Share your experiences, too! Not only can you share your images, you can map your trip using Pinterest’s new-ish feature called Place Pins. This offers a great visual to look back on after your trip.

Tip: Invite your friends to share with you on a few of your travel planning boards. If they like something you likely will, too!

What Pinterest Boards are inspiring YOUR summer travel?
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