travel

Family travel: Colorado camping expert offers tips for taking the kids

The title of expert on camping with kids should probably go to Boulder mom Helen Olsson, who authored the aptly titled “Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids” (Roost Books) in 2012. Olsson, an adventurous outdoor enthusiast, spent her childhood camping in upstate New York, and she now spends her summers hitting campsites around Colorado with her brood, ages 8, 10 and 13. The subtitle of Olsson’s book is “How to plan memorable family adventures and connect kids to nature.” It’s also an apt description of this guide that is one part camping primer — filled with tips, packing lists, arts-and-crafts activities, outdoor games and recipes — and one part encouragement and motivation. Here, to inspire your next camping trip is some insight from Olsson, who b...

4 kid-friendly Maui hotels and resorts your family will love

One of the advantages of winning a trip to Maui was staying at four resorts. It was also the disadvantage. But despite being on-the-go every two nights, our nomadic lifestyle gave us the opportunity to visit various parts of the island and discover what properties worked best for us. Each was family-friendly but that was where the similarities stopped. Napili Kai Beach Resort was the most budget-friendly and had our favorite views. All of the accommodations at the Honua Kai Resort & Spa are luxury suites overlooking the world-famous North Kaanapali Beach. Travaasa’s experiential resort in remote Hana was dripping with beauty, relaxation and on-site activities. The Fairmont Kea Lani’s only all-suite and villa luxury oceanfront resort on the white sands of Wailea’s Polo Beach looked like...

Maui Family Travel: Day 7’s “Sunny” Wailea and a Luau Farewell

We spent our two final days playing in the pool and beach at the luxurious Fairmont Kea Lani in Wailea. Located on the sun-kissed south shore of Maui, this unapologetically upscale resort community is famous for their crescent-shaped beaches and for having the most sunshine on Maui with less than 10 inches of annual rainfall. Of course, it rained much of the time we were there. Wailea Coastal Walk. On our final morning, I went on a sunrise run on this popular boardwalk past five white sand beaches, eight world-class resorts and three islands (Lanai, Kahoolawe, and Molokini, the tiny, partially sunken volcanic crater between Maui and Kahoolawe). This 1.5-mile trail was well-maintained and the scenery stunned.  Hawaiian Canoe Experience. While the boys snorkeled in Polo Beach’s cle...

Maui Family Travel: Days 5 & 6 The Road to Hana and Maui’s best secret

Day 5—The Road to Hana Me: “My goal on the road to Hana is to hike to a waterfall and eat a lot of fruit from the fruit stands.” Jamie (driver): “My goal is to not throw up or kill anyone.” Driving the 52-mile serpentine road along Maui’s rugged northeastern coastline to Hana was a divisive issue. Some told us “it’s pretty but after you’ve seen one waterfall you’ve seen them all” while others touted Hana as the last of Hawaii’s unspoiled frontiers. Our conclusion: if you love the remote and don’t mind hairpin turns and one-lane bridges, you will love Hwy. 36’s stunning seascapes, taro patches waterfalls, botanical gardens and verdant rainforests.  With our guidebook Maui Revealed in hand, we had our route mapped out and planned to hike to a few lesser-known waterfalls. We quickly real...

Maui Family Travel–Your guide to 7 days in paradise!

Shortly after touching down at the Kahului, Maui airport, my 7-year-old son Bode squealed, “Pinch me. Is this a dream?” It sure felt like one. A few months prior, I had won our trip to paradise through the Maui Convention and Visitor’s Bureau in what they deemed was “the best reaction we’ve ever received” (think: the next contestant on the Price is Right). As the second largest in the Hawaiian Islands, Maui’s geography is a lesson in diversity. High-altitude mountains topping out at over 10,000 feet, dazzling white, black and red sand beaches, the gloriously remote Hana and the famous road to get there are a few reasons why Maui was voted the “Best Island” by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler for 19 years. Upon arriving at our hotel Napili Kai Beach Resort at dusk, we hit the beach. The 3...

Family Travel: 5 Helpful Tips for Flying with Toddlers

Last weekend I had the opportunity to travel alone.  And let me tell you I was bored! I waltzed through security and had an hour to spare! Without a toddler I didn’t need all of the extra time I normally allow for catastrophe. Because if you don’t plan for it, catastrophe will happen. When traveling there is a lot you cannot plan for. Traveling is already a new experience to a toddler so when traveling there are some ways to help with their anxiety (and yours). Time. Allow yourself plenty of time.  When you are two you want to explore life. Not rush through it.  Rushing your toddler through an airport will frustrate them because they love to see new things.   Check your luggage.  We normally take small weekend trips to see family in other states so we p...

Colorado Travel: Breckenridge’s Best Winter Activities for Families and My Adventure of a Lifetime!

My husband and I dream of owning a cabin someday and Breckenridge has long been at the top of our list.  Only a 1.5-hour drive from Denver (I-70 traffic snares notwithstanding) this authentic mining town has everything I love: a world-class ski resort, the Blue River (a tributary of the raging Colorado River), an idyllic Main Street, gourmet dining, glittering boutiques, endless hiking possibilities and it is part of an 80-mile network of paved, motorized bike paths that connect other Summit County resorts like Dillon, Keystone, Copper Mountain and Vail. We have spent long, languid summer and fall days in Breck but here’s my confession: we have never been there once the snow flies. And if you love winter like I do, you know that Breckenridge is one of Colorado’s best famil...

Postcards to Denver from a 10-Year-Old and His Mom

From western New York: “The farm has ten chickens and two bunny rabbits. My chicken’s name is Geraldine. The rabbits are Sam and Matilda. I miss our dog. She would have so much fun here, but we were worried she would eat the chickens.” “I forgot what it feels like to stay in bed long enough to listen to the birds, watch the sun move across the room and let my muscles stretch awake one at a time.” From Snowmass, Colorado: “Mom and Dad made us go on a hike. Why does anybody like hiking? You go up and up and up, and they keep saying it’s beautiful, which… who cares?! Then mom counts her mosquito bites. It would be more fun if we could bring the dog.” From Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado:

Summer Adventures in the Boulder Area

Mountainous, Organic, Natural, Hip, Green, Fresh Air, Outdoorsy, how would you describe your neighbors to the North? As a mom of three, let me take you through some of the family friendly activities that you must know about. Some things that are just so fabulous you will have to get in your car and find yourself driving this way. Of course, if you prefer to bike, that would be fine too. What do ponies, humongous hay bales, a crazy zip line, sand in crevasses of your body that you didn’t know you had and one extremely large turkey have in common? – Sunflower Farms, of course. Located just south of Longmont, no summer is complete without a trip to this old fashioned farm. There truly is something for everyone to enjoy. My animal lover can’t get enough of feeding the goats. She’s been h...

Come Hail or High Water: Our Family’s Shortest (and worst) Camping Trip

I have tried to instill a love of nature in my kids–just last week we went hiking four times, my daughter recently returned from YMCA of the Rockies’ traditional overnight Camp Chief Ouray and at the end of July they’re both enrolled in Avid4Adventure’s Survival Skills Camp. We are an outdoor-loving family! But my favorite childhood memories are of camping and that is one area in which we’ve fallen short with my own family.  There is nothing like the sense of community at campgrounds, playing with new BFFs, eating tin foil dinners and s’mores, exploring and exploring some more, and telling stories around the campfire. Here’s a recap of our camping trips since having kids. Trip 1: Hadley had just turned 1 and was a horrible sleeper so she wailed all...

7 Apps Your Kids Will Love on Roadtrips

Help your kids fight off car fatigue with these insanely fun, kid-friendly apps. Road trips don't have to be a bore!

Denver’s Best Hikes for Kids!

Updated March 2021. Hiking with your little ones is a great way to spend the day close to home while enjoying the special outdoor spaces unique to the Front Range. Here are the favorite hikes of the Colorado Mountain Mamas, a hiking club for moms with babies newborn to 5 years. Do you want to trail  Best for Moms with new babies: South Valley Park, Coyote Song Trail Although it’s close to the metro area, this area is quiet and wildlife abounds. This hike is about 2 miles and is mostly flat – great for first-time hikers and anyone interested in a gentle hike. Mount Falcon, Castle Trail to Meadow Trail This is a high-elevation, 2-mile hike and the views are spectacular! The terrain is pretty flat and should not be too strenuous. Red Rocks Amphitheatre Loop This terrific hike is pe...

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