Family Friendly trip to New Orleans

If you’re anything like me, taking your kids to celebrate a New Orleans Mardi Gras may not sound like the best idea. When I started planning this trip for my mom’s 80th B-day and my boys presidents weekend I didn’t realize Mardi Gras would already be going.  Visions of crazy partygoers filled my head as I was planning our trip. I was worried that going to New Orleans the week before Mardi Gras would not be the most family friendly place but all of my local connections assured me Mardi Gras was for families-except on Bourbon street. All my fears disappeared the moment we arrived in town and we “laissez les bon temps rouler” (French for let the good times roll)! From the parades, to the delicious beignets, to seeing cool critters, to staying in an amazing location, I would recommend all the fun things we got up to in the North Shore and New Orleans to any family with kids. I promise.


What we did: North Shore


Before we arrived in the city itself, we stopped in the North Shore to hit a few spots we had heard were worth seeing for families. About 45 minutes outside of New Orleans, we decided to spend the first night here, taking advantage of some fun activities the area had to offer.

Insta-gator is a family friendly educational hatchery and alligator ranch. This place was super neat and a unique experience for us. Our tour guide was super entertaining and fun and we got to learn all about the alligators and see them up close. We also got to touch their scaly skin and even hold one! This was a completely safe experience, as the alligators had their mouths taped so they couldn’t bite us. I would recommend this place for families with kids who love animals.

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Global Wildlife Center

Another super fun place filled with animals is the Global Wildlife Center, which felt like we were on a safari. You can take tours here to see all the animals in a large shaded wagon-like vehicle, where you can get up close and personal to giraffes, buffalos, zebras, llamas, longhorns, and more. What’s so fun about this place is that you can feed all the animals and touch them as they approach the vehicle. We bought a whole bucket of food, but we wished we had bought more as there were tons of animals and they were hungry! We also tried to touch the longhorn’s tongue, as our tour guide said it was good luck. This was an awesome experience and we were laughing nonstop the entire time. 




Abita Mystery House 

This museum might have been one of the most bizarre places we have ever visited. Filled with thousands of weird objects, inventions, collections, memorabilia and just straight up junk, this place was fun to walk through and have a laugh. They even had a spaceship in the backyard. This quirky museum was named Louisiana’s 4th best attraction in 2017 by USA Today and it’s a fun place to visit if you’re stopping through. 


Abita Brew Pub

While in Abita, we also stopped at the brew pub for some dinner and a flight of their beers from the Abita brewery. The food here was yummy, and it was a nice place to get some grub for the night. IMG_1040

There were some other things in the North Shore we didn’t have time for but were recommended to me if you and your family decide to take a trip down south. Some of the activities were the Children’s Museum, Mandeville LakeFront, Fountain Blue Park, and biking and hiking in the area. 

What we did: New Orleans

We had an absolute blast in New Orleans, and I was so surprised and relieved by how family friendly it was. We went for my mother’s 80th birthday, and I wanted to take Mason and Logan to see New Orleans during the Mardi Gras season. We went about the week before the holiday, so there were tons of things to do and see.


Because we went during the Mardi Gras season, there were tons of parades to see. The parades were only a half block from the Drury, so we could even see them from our hotel room. 


I would highly recommend bringing a bag of some sort if you attend a parade because you get thrown a ton of stuff! This was really fun for the kids, who made away with beads, little toys like balls and boomerangs, frisbees, stuffed animals, cups, and even a hoola hoop! My boys also made a fun sign saying it was their grandma’s 80th birthday that they got to hold up and show off. The floats were amazing, and everyone on top were decked out in Mardi Gras masks. I can only describe the experience as magical for the kids. 


I would also recommend bringing water to stay hydrated, hand sanitizer, snacks or some cash to grab treats from a nearby street vendor, ponchos in case of rain, a phone/camera, and you can even download parade tracking apps to stay on top of where the parades are. This is helpful during lulls in the parade when kids ask when the next float will arrive. 


Mardi Gras Museum of Costumes and Culture/French Quarter

During the day, I felt ok about taking the boys to the French Quarter.   The street performers, music, and people watching are so fun. We decided to visit the Mardi Gras Museum of Costumes and Culture, which was a must see while we were there. They have a lot of fun exhibits, but we spent almost the entirety of our time in the costume closet! Filled with original Mardi Gras costumes, there are so many awesome pieces you can try on here, like huge feathered headpieces, gowns, masks, giant Papier-mâché heads, and elaborate costumes. This was a great place for kids who love to dress up, and also a great place for adults too! We got so many fun pictures of all of us all made up in authentic Mardi Gras gear. I would highly recommend this museum, especially for the photo opportunities. 

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We also walked around the French Quarter for a bit, getting a glimpse at the St. Louis Cathedral and making a wish in the Jackson Square Fountain, and grabbed lunch. Jackson Square is a nice area to explore during the daytime with kids.


City Park

We loved visiting City Park, which was absolutely beautiful and great for the kids. We also lucked out by getting to eat Cafe Du Monde’s famous beignets at their location near the park, which was way less busy than the French Quarter so we didn’t have to stay in line. We couldn’t leave New Orleans without sampling some of the famous fried pastries and they were delicious!


The park also had swan paddle boats, but we opted for renting a family tandem-style bike so we could bike throughout the park. They also had Storyland playground, which is a nursery rhyme themed play area for smaller children. I would recommend this to families with younger kids. Mason, who is my 5-year-old had a blast, and while Logan who is 9 had fun, was ready to go after a little while. 



AirBoat Swamp Tour 

We decided to also take a swamp tour about 30 minutes outside of the city to see some wild gators. Our hotel’s front desk recommended the tour to us and we drove there ourselves, which I recommend since the drive is not far and it is easy to get to.

If you choose to go on a swamp tour, I would recommend picking a warm sunny day and going earlier in the afternoon, since our tour guide told us that was the best time to see the gators, who love to lay out on the mud and bask in the sun. We went closer to the evening, so it was beginning to cool down and get darker. We still got to see some alligators, but probably would have seen more if we had gone earlier. Still, it was a fun experience and can be a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the city. 

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Things we didn’t get to

We also probably would have gone to Mardi Gras World, where you can take tours of the floats being made and learn some history. However, since it was Mardi Gras season, we figured we got enough of the New Orleans experience by watching the parades and visiting museums.

You can also ride the St. Charles street car and see beautiful mansions and gardens throughout the city. However, due to the parades, the street car wasn’t running during our visit. 

Where we stayed

To make the most of our visit to New Orleans, we stayed in the Drury Plaza Hotel New Orleans. This hotel could not have been in a better location for us to hit all the places we wanted to see. Only half a block from the parade routes, staying here was the best choice for convenience and comfort.

We love staying at the Drury for a number of reasons. Check out my “7 Reasons We love Staying at Drury Hotels” here. 

We always appreciate the kickback hour Drury hotels offer because it can be a quick and easy fix for food. With three free drinks per adult and countless “snack” items to choose from ranging from fresh salads to nachos, kickback hour is great for my family with kids who need something quick and simple.


We also love the pools the Drury has. Drury Plaza Hotel New Orleans had an amazing rooftop pool that was absolutely stunning, and because it was heated, my boys got to swim outside in the middle of February.   


Drury also has a huge breakfast selection, with hot fresh food like pancakes and warm syrup, and fresh cut fruit. My boys love eating breakfast at the Drury and fueling up for a day of sightseeing. 

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So if you and your family are looking to have Mardi Gras fun, or just want to visit New Orleans, I cannot recommend the city enough. With tons of kid friendly activities, delicious food, and unique attractions, New Orleans is the perfect destination for a family vacation.

For other family friendly vacation ideas, check out these posts on:  St. Louis Union Station,  Flagstaff, Memphis, Nashville, Colorado Springs, Phoenix and more.

7 Reasons why we love staying at Drury Hotels

Have you been planning trips for 2020 yet? I love sharing all my travel “pearls” that I have learned from taking tons of trips over the years. When I’m traveling with my family, we love staying at Drury hotels. Here’s why:    

1. The Hot breakfast

Hotel breakfast is non-negotiable for my family when we are staying at a hotel. My kids LOVE hotel breakfast, and the Drury breakfast is next level. You can customize your own fresh waffles, build your own yogurt or fruit bowl and there are hot fluffy eggs and fresh biscuits and gravy. Or, if you are Mason, you’ll devour powdered donuts and lucky charms. Anything goes on vacation.  🙂  My boys look forward to breakfast at Drury.  Check our Memphis and St Louis arch post.



Drury breakfast on terrace

2.  Kickback Hour

Drury calls this a “kickback hour,” but it’s a full-blown meal for my family. I love this about Drury because going out to eat with my boys isn’t always fun. They don’t want to wait, they don’t eat that much, etc. Each night at Drury, they have a variety of dishes but the nightly staple foods are fresh salads, baked potatoes, chili, hotdogs, and nachos. They also have a rotation of other foods. My boys love when they have the taco bar. 

If that wasn’t good enough the kickback hour includes THREE free drinks a night per adult. I’ll admit there have been trips where kickback hour has been a welcome treat.  

Tip: Ask the staff for plastic cups so you can take your drinks to the rooftop terrace or pool.  Check out our Cape Girardeau post here.

Drury kickback hour Cape Girardeau MO


3.  The Pool, and hot tub

Many of the Drury properties have the fun indoor/outdoor pools. My boys think the fact that you can be swimming inside and then outside is amazing. It’s especially fun in the winter when it’s freezing cold outside yet you’re swimming in a warm pool.  Check out our road trip to Nashville


4.  Free Wifi

For those moments where everyone needs some downtime. 

5.  Free popcorn and soda

How many times have you heard “I’m hungry” or “I’m thirsty?” Maybe it’s just part of being a mom with two boys but it’s non-stop. Drury pops fresh popcorn each day from 3:00-9:00 and as simple as it sounds, it’s a fun treat for my kiddos. 

There have been trips where we do movie night at the hotel and get popcorn and soda while we watch. For my kids, it’s the little things that bring the most joy.  St Louis Union Station


6.  Suite rooms with a door to close

Traveling with kids is not easy but having the option of a suite is a game changer. There  is nothing more frustrating on vacay than not sleeping. I need my sleep. Having a separate bedroom makes traveling so so good. If my little kids need to go to bed early or if someone wants to take a nap, being able to close the door is everything. On our trip to St. Charles, my kids swam so much they went to bed early. With the separate bedroom, I could stay up watching Hallmark movies while they slept like angels. 

This is also a perk if you have more than 4 people in your family or if someone is known for snoring–no thank you!!  

I have stayed at hotels before that called a room with a partition or a ½ wall a suite. That is not a suite. Drury suites are completely separate bedrooms with a door you can close.  Flagstaff and Phoenix

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7.  The Deals

Keeping up with all the travel details has never been easier with the Drury App. I love my trips because all the confirmation details are in one spot. It also makes keeping track of my rewards simple.  

They have an advance purchase sale for up to 30% off through March 8th if you book online at  It must be 5 days in advance.  

If you sign up for their email newsletter or social media they will send you special codes periodically for 15-20% discounts on your booking too.  

Overall, we love the value that Drury offers. The breakfast, the kickback hour (drinks and food) the pool, the great locations and the WiFi means more money left in your travel budget. Whoo Hoo!


They are 100% family-owned and operated and that is one consistent reason we stay at Drury.  The staff are friendly and happy, from the front desk to the dining room. You don’t find that at other hotel chains.  

If there is a Drury, you can guarantee we will be booking it. Even better news is that they are expanding like crazy and are opening several NEW hotels this year.  Check out there up-and-coming locations here.  

So now it’s your turn! Tell me your favorite family travel pearls and check out my previous travel posts here if you are looking for a weekend getaway or spring break ideas.  Happy Travels.  XOXO  Sarah~

St. Louis Union Station Staycation

Have you heard about all the fun new attractions at Union Station in downtown St. Louis? We decided to check them out this weekend during our staycation, which was a great way to see our city in a new light.

We love staycations for a few reasons; quality time with my boys without distractions, no to-do lists for mom, and during the colder winter months it gives us something fun to look forward to. 

We highlighted all of our favorite things we did below and separated them into three categories: What we did, where we stayed, and where we ate. 

What we did

The St Louis Wheel

STL Wheel



Climb aboard one of the 42 different climate-controlled gondolas of this 200-foot-tall wheel to get an amazing view of St. Louis. We were able to see the Arch and the City Museum from the top. The boys also had fun trying to spot the stuffed animals they had left in the Drury hotel window. On a clear day, it’s possible to see nearly 20 miles away. The ride takes about 12-15 minutes and they even offer VIP cars for an extra $50 with glass floors and leather captain’s chairs. When the sun goes down, the 1.6 billion LEDs light the night sky. The wheel is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily and is $15, $10 for kids ages 3-12.

Fun fact: For those wary about heights, the wheel is checked everyday starting at 5 a.m. for safety. 


St Louis Aquarium

St Louis Aquarium

We also decided to see the new St. Louis Aquarium, which was super cool and full of fun exhibits. It took us about an hour and a half to walk through its entirety, but may take shorter depending on your family’s engagement. Mason spent a lot of time at each exhibit, but depending on your kids interest you might go through the aquarium quicker. I personally could have spent all day watching the sharks swim in their tank—so relaxing. 

One of our favorite things we saw were the otters; Sawyer, Thatcher, and Finn. It was like they were putting on a show, showing off for the crowds and sliding down their tank’s waterslide. The boys loved Stanley the rare blue lobster.

We also got to feed turtles, and pet stingrays. One exhibit reminded me of a pedicure I got in Asia, where John Fish eat the dead skin off of your hands. So cool! 


I talked with management, who informed us that they will be adding exhibits and new things throughout the year so the aquarium will not always be the same. 

What we learned:

Before you go I would highly recommend buying tickets online before you get to the aquarium to guarantee entry as the lines can get pretty long.

Also a season pass might be worth it if your family loves aquariums and wants to go a couple times a year. The prices for this vary depending on how many are in your family. With a season pass you also get 15% off at restaurants and the gift shop. You can also enter the aquarium at any time with a season pass and do not have to have a time specific ticket. 


As you enter look for staff having out scavenger hunt cards.  The kids can look for fun facts and clues all over the aquarium.


Parking for the aquarium is discounted when you buy online. There are two large parking locations available for guests: West Parking Lot and South Parking Lot (between 20th street and 18th street). A $5 parking discount is available when you purchase a ticket online or from the ticketing window. 

The Conservation and Education Center

A free place we stopped by was the Conservation and Education Center. This cute little stop was a fun and interactive place for kids to think about how to better treat the planet. Kids can also color fish and scan it and it will show up on a big wall which was fun.  


The Carousel 

This outdoor carousel has two chariots and thirty animals, and unlike a traditional carousel, includes a ton of different animals like a bald eagle and an ostrich, which my kids loved. It is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily and costs $5.


Mini Golf

We also played a little bit of mini golf at the outdoor course. It’s a no-frills challenging 18-hole course, but if you’re looking for a fun way to spend time, mini golf is always a good option. The course is also ADA accessible and is located next to the carousel with the St. Louis Wheel as a backdrop. The course is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Tickets are $10.


There is also a little playground for small children near the same area. 


Mirror Maze

I wasn’t sure at first if this would be worth it—but we ended up loving this! My boys at first thought it might be scary but it wasn’t at all. They were begging to go again after we finished so we ended up going twice. The maze is great for all ages, but don’t be surprised if you walk into a few mirrors! They also have fun facts about the 1904 World’s Fair within the maze. Walking through only takes about 5 minutes and is a great activity for families with kids. Plus, I got some really fun photos on my phone in there too! The maze is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily and is $8. 





Ropes Course

I have to admit, I am super adventurous and love things like this but I was a little worried that my kids wouldn’t be able to deal with the heights. However, they ended up absolutely loving it! 

There are two courses; one for little kids and another for taller kids and adults. We all made the cut for the larger course, which also had a fun zipline at the end. You are harnessed to safety lines the whole time and also have staff along the course to help and encourage you if you need it. The obstacles are on the second and third levels of the course and you have thirty minutes to make it through. 


It takes a bit of adjusting to get used to the course at first, but once you get the hang of it it’s super fun and perfect for the adventurous family. It’s also a great way to build confidence and encourage teamwork. My boys blew my mind with how much courage they had to face their fears. Afterwards at dinner, I told them that now when they think they can’t overcome a real-life obstacle to think back to the ropes course and how fearless they were. 


Good to know:  There are also free lockers at the check-in where you can stash your belongings while you go through the course, which is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily and is $15 and $5 for the children’s course. 

They don’t allow phones on the course so no selfies, sorry.

Try and get there when they open at 10:00am.  There are only 45 people allowed on the course at once and it gets very crowded so the earlier you can get on the better.

Fire and light shows:

At Union Station, they also have fire and light shows set to music for free every half-hour from 5 to 9 p.m. daily. We watched from the balcony while eating lunch. The show only lasted for a few minutes but it was definitely worth watching. At night, the shows are more dramatic and you can actually feel the heat of the flames on your face. 


The Grand Hall

There is also a 3D light show on the Grand Hall’s 65-foot-high vaulted ceiling every hour from 5 to 10 p.m. daily.

There is also a whispering wall you have to check out too! You stand on one side and wisper something that carries to the other side of the room.  Try it.


Enterprise Center Monster Jam

Pit Party

The pit party pass is extra and starts a few hours before the show but you get to see the trucks up close, meet the drivers and walk around on the floor. It was super cool!  The boys were so excited.




Monster Jam was Mason’s favorite event of our staycation trip. This show is absolute non-stop excitement. The monster trucks were flying through the air, doing back flips and stunts, competing for time, and some even caught on fire! I didn’t really know anything prior about monster trucks but we all ended up having a blast and are fans for life now. The event is very family friendly, but I recommend bringing ear covers or ear plugs for little kids or those sensitive to loud noises. Mason, my 5-year-old ended up wearing ear covers for the entire show but myself and my 9-year-old Logan didn’t end up needing them. 

Mom tip:  I was also able to bring in a backpack with our ear covers. It was not clear on the website if backpacks were allowed but I asked multiple people and they said it was okay.



For other fun ideas to help plan your staycation, see St. Louis Arch post here.  

Where we stayed

Drury Union Station



We love staying at Drury hotels because of how much value they provide our family. As a mom, I’m always trying to stretch my travel budget so I love that Drury provides the daily “kickback” hour. With three free drinks for adults and tons of “snacks,” it can be a full dinner for my family. Especially because those snacks are often tacos, nachos, hotdogs, salad, and baked potatoes, just to name a few. If your kids are like mine that eat like birds when we go out to eat and are done in five minutes, then the option of grabbing food from the hotel for a quick bite is perfect! 


My boys also love the Drury because of the free hot breakfast they provide that has tons of options like donuts, eggs, fresh waffles, and lucky charms, just to name a few of their favorites. They also love swimming in the pools and the free hot popcorn the hotel provides daily. 





Where we ate

Union Station Soda Fountain

There are several different options for dining at Union Station, including the St. Louis Soda Fountain which serves sweet treats and crazy milkshakes as well as diner-style food. I would recommend booking a reservation before you go see attractions or getting there as soon as it opens at 11:00 am to get a seat due to the long wait times at peak hours. 

Even better go after peak hours for dessert.

Train Shed

I think this would be a great date night place to grab a drink and appetizer and then go ride the wheel with your sweetie. They have a large cocktail and drinks menu as well as dinner and lunch.

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1894 Cafe is located on the second level and is a family friendly stop with quick bites as well as an outdoor beer garden constructed from an old shipping container! 

Overall, this was a fun-filled and amazing weekend. My heart is bursting with love thinking about all the fun experiences, belly laughs, and new memories we made together. The best part about a staycation is we are home within minutes, but it feels like you are on a vacation a million miles away. It’s a fun way to get a whole new experience of your hometown. 

Have you done a staycation before?  

We want to thank all of our partners on this post: Drury hotels, St. Louis Aquarium, STL Wheel, Union Station ropes course and mirror maze and Monster Jam.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  

We hope these travel post help save you time and offer tips we learned along the way.  Check out our other favorite travel posts here for ideas.  Branson, Glamping, Arizona, Memphis, Nashville, Lake of the Ozarks, and Downtown St Louis at the Arch

Happy travels to you.  XOXO  Sarah~


Family Cabin Glamping

Having fun things to look forward to during the winter months is always a plus, so this year I’m embracing colder weather activities. With two high energy little boys who love adventures, I thought winter glamping would be fun to try. We had so much fun on our trip and I wanted to post our ideas, research, tips and tricks, and hours of planning we put into this excursion in case you need help planning a winter glamping trip. 

We decided to head to Eminence Missouri, one of the most beautiful parts of MO.  


I have to say I love almost everything about camping. The food, the hiking, bonfires, the way my body feels relaxed listening to the water flowing and watching my boys having fun not being in front of a screen. That being said, I also need sleep, heating/AC and indoor plumbing.  

So I looked on Airbnb for some cabins within a few hours of St. Louis, which is how we ended up in Eminence MO.  

Quick travel tip:  

Print out directions, or take a screen shot of your gps! In the rural areas the cell reception was not good. I was meeting multiple people and didn’t realize at certain spots my GPS and phone would not work so having a plan with your family before you leave is a necessity–learned the hard way.  Trust me on this one.  

Where we stayed:  

The cabin we rented here called “Prairie Hollow Hideaway” was perfect.  IMG_9861

It was beautifully decorated like you’d see in a magazine. It was clean, with all the amenities, separate bedrooms for all of us, and had all the kitchen necessities. There was also a creek flowing right in front–ah, the sound of relaxation. Outside there was a ton of space for setting up a tent, a fire pit for bonfires, and even room outside to set up an area for fireworks and bb gun shooting.  




The hosts were so great and gave me lots of details on the surrounding area before we arrived. The boys loved the ladder that went to the bedrooms upstairs. I enjoyed having all the perks of camping with all the amenities of being at home. I would highly recommend this spot if you are planning a glamping trip.  


What we did:  

Logan is working on different life skills in Boy Scouts so we started there for ideas.      

Mom tip: There are some camping activities we didn’t have the necessary gear for so I’d suggest asking your friends and family to borrow equipment. We borrowed fishing poles, bow and arrows, a tent and a bb gun. Some activities they loved and others not so much so I was thankful they got to try things without investing in all the gear needed. 

The thing to remember about glamping is coming prepared with lots of activities to fill the time. Especially if screen time is not even an option. The cabin we rented didn’t have a TV or cell reception!


Camping Activities:  

Camp fire

When building a bonfire, make sure you have wood, matches, firestarters, etc. Our cabin provided some materials to get us started. The centerpiece of our stay was building bonfires so we could make foil packets, roast veggies, shrimp, and steaks, pop some popcorn, and roast marshmallows.

Set up a tent

Even though we were not sleeping in the tent, my boys loved playing in it. An additional bonus with setting up the tent was that it was one of Logan’s boy scout requirements.  


Mom tip: Setting up a tent is even better if you have a quick pop up tent like the one we borrowed.   


I asked the cabin owner on Airbnb for some local hiking ideas and she gave me a list of the best trails. I mentioned I was traveling with young kids and elderly family.  

One trail we checked out was only a ¼ mile from the cabin called “Prairie Hollow Gorge.” 


Play Hide and Seek

This is the first thing the boys wanted to do when they got to the cabin. It is such a simple game that can bring so much joy. 

BB Guns and Bow and Arrow.

My boys love doing these activities that I know nothing about.  Thankfully we were able to borrow the BB gun and bow and arrow and teach the boys safety while shooting at cans.



There was a babbling creek right in front of the cabin and multiple places to fish in the area.  My boys love trying to catch minnows and other creek critters.  Pack the nets, buckets and water shoes.



Eagle Watching

During the winter, eagles can be spotted in the area. Unfortunately we did not see any but it was fun to be on the lookout.  

Mom tip: Bring or borrow binoculars for wildlife sightings.  



The boys got drones from their Uncle Jeff and Aunt D for Christmas so this was the perfect place to test them out.  


Nature Scavenger Hunt

I printed a fun scavenger hunt off of Pinterest that had the boys working together. Simple but fun.



I always forget how stunning a clear sky is when you get out of the city. We saw thousands of bright twinkling stars and even found the big and little dipper.  



Our cabin host gave me 2 local options before we arrived.

  1. Two Rivers Canoe Rental, Anita 888-833-4931 
  2. Carr’s Canoe Rental, 800-333-3956 near Round Spring. It’s a great choice if you’re interested in floating on the Current River north of Round Spring.



Growing up in a small town we always shot off our own fireworks. However, my kids never got that opportunity living in a big city so I decided to pick up some fireworks from Boomland on a recent road trip. They had tons of firework options but my boys loved the gigantic sparklers, roman candles, and snow cone fireworks the best.  

This was a trip highlight and a good learning opportunity for fire safety.  

Mom tip: Use an empty bottle to shoot fireworks out of for stability.   


Board Games 

My boys love playing games and it’s such a fun bonding experience. Before we left I asked them what games they wanted to play and brought their favorites so while we were getting the food ready, they were able to play with Grandma. They chose Jenga, Candy Land, and Dominoes.  


Deck of Cards

One of my favorite childhood games was playing “Spoons.” For this game, all you need is a deck of cards and one less spoon than the amount of players playing.


Area Attractions:  

Rocky Falls

How have I never been here before? Rocky Falls made my top 10 list of the most beautiful natural places in MO. It was stunning.The waterfalls were rushing fast but the water was crystal clear. They had a moderate trail that you can hike up to see the falls from the top. Definitely put this on your bucket list if you have not been.  The photos don’t do it justice.  

Mom tip: Have your kids bring old shoes or waterproof boots for wet and muddy situations. I could not keep my boys out of the water.  

(View from base of the falls)


(View after hiking to top of the falls)


Round Spring

On our way into Round Spring we spotted a herd of wild white horses that roam the area. It was thrilling to see, as I had heard of the horses but never saw them in person. There was not a lot to see at the Spring itself in the winter but we walked across the bridge over the water to check out the beautiful view.  There is also a cave but it’s closed for the winter.  


Alley Spring and Mill

We didn’t make it here on this trip but our cabin host Dena recommended hiking the lower trail which is good for all ages and hiking abilities. The Bluff Top trail is also a must, which has slight inclines.  

Other recommendations in the area: 

Prairie Hollow Gorge

Blue Spring

Big Spring State Park

What we ate

Part of Logan’s scouting requirement was to plan each meal on a campout. We started by looking at Pinterest and saving images to try. We had a feast but here were some of our campfire FAVS!!  

One of our top favorites was veggie foil packets of carrots and corn. The boys each picked a veggie and made foil packets. All you do is take the foil, place the veggies inside, and sprinkle them with olive oil and seasoning. Then just place over the campfire grill and voila! Grilled veggies. 


Some other yummy ideas for campfire fixings are:

  • Grilled shrimp with cocktail sauce for an appetizer
  • Brussel Sprouts grilled in a cast iron pan.
  • Hotdogs
  • Filets
  • Burgers
  • Mac and Cheese (we boiled the water over the fire) 
  • Corn Bread (we brought a mix and made this outside too)
  • Smores! 


For breakfast we made coffee, egg souffles, and campground monkey bread. Get the recipe here.  


This trip was so much fun. We got to make family memories while also enjoying the beautiful outdoors and natural scenery. Have you ever been glamping? If so, where is your favorite place to go?

For more information on the area check out

Check out our other Missouri Travel posts:  Branson, Cape Girardeau, Echo Bluff, Margaritaville Lake of the Ozarks, St Louis, St Charles, and others here.  


A nature and adventure trip to Colorado


My son Logan and I share a love for hiking, exploring, and appreciating all that nature has to offer for adventurers such as ourselves. We wanted to take one last trip before Logan went back to school, so we flew to Denver and based ourselves in Colorado Springs as a central location. Colorado seemed like the perfect place for outdoor lovers like us, even if it was just for a quick visit. We tried to maximize the four days we spent in this scenic area, and we were able to see some amazing sights. Here’s what we would recommend if you’re looking for an adventure filled getaway. 


What we did: 

The Garden of the Gods

The first stop we decided to make during our stay was The Garden of the Gods. This place is absolutely stunning with red rock formations, miles of trails to explore, and the best part is, it’s free! 

  • Tip: stop at the visitor’s center first for information and a map you can take with you of all the trails 

Garden of the Gods

If you don’t want to spend the entire day hiking (especially if it’s warmer outside), we recommend driving through the park and stopping at various spots to visit the sights. It’s a great way to see the park if you don’t have the entire day to spend here.

  • Tip: make sure to bring water bottles, sunscreen, a first aid kid, and a camera in case you do decide to get out and do a little hiking 


Garden of the Gods

Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center

The Colorado Spring Olympic Training Center is a great attraction for anyone who has an appreciation for sports and athletes. We have a family friend who gave us a private tour, but you can take an hour long guided tour through the facility. At this center, you can see everything that goes into being an olympic athlete. It was a very inspirational experience for us, and we would recommend it to anyone who enjoys athletics. My favorite quote from the tour was from speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno, who said, “My mantra has always been to have zero regrets in life. Everything I do at one speed, I go all out.”  

Olympic Training Center

Olympic Training center

Olympic training center

Seven Falls

Seven Falls was by far my favorite place we visited. If you love nature and adventure, this is a must see spot. We parked at a parking lot which has a shuttle that takes you up to the falls. From there we hiked up the 224 steps to the top to see the waterfalls. It’s a pretty decent workout to get there, but totally worth breaking a sweat. The view is spectacular! 

  • Tip: If you’re afraid of heights, the hike up the stairs may not be for you 


Seven Falls

Seven Falls

Santa’s Workshop

Santa’s Workshop is a fun little amusement park on the way to Pike’s Peak and is best suited for families with smaller kids. We didn’t stay for long, but if you need somewhere to spend a few hours it might be an option. 

Manitou Springs Colorado

This is an adorable little neighborhood with fun restaurants, shops to explore, ice cream, and our favorite, the penny arcade. Only a 20 minute drive from Colorado Springs, it’s a great town to spend an afternoon in. We had lunch and found some treats at a candy shop before hitting the penny arcade. This arcade is indoor and outdoor, and has tons of older arcade games like Ms. Pac-Man and Frogger. It was so fun to show Logan the kinds of games I used to play as a kid. The arcade has every game you could imagine and is fun for everyone, even adults. It was one of Logan’s favorite stops of the trip.

Penny arcade

We also visited a fun little Christmas shop while in town, Christmas in Manitou, where we picked out a white water rafting ornament as our souvenir of the trip. 


The Royal Gorge Bridge

The Royal Gorge Bridge was about an hour and 20 minutes from Colorado Springs but it’s an easy drive. The photos simply do not do this place justice. It’s stunning. 

  • Tip: bring a printed map with you when heading out to this place. Because of its rural location, getting a GPS signal might be challenging

When we arrived, we got tickets for the bridge and the gondola. We did the gondola ride first, which was very slow and not at all scary. 

You can also walk across the bridge and get a spectacular view from up top. There are also other attractions here, such as a playground and carousel for smaller children, a beer garden and places to eat, and an amphitheater. 

The Royal Gorge

The Royal Gorge

The Royal Gorge

Echo Canyon Rafting

About 15 minutes away from the Royal Gorge was the rafting company, Echo Canyon Rafting. We chose to do the Bighorn Sheep tour which was slightly more advanced than the family tour but I knew Logan would love the faster rapids (category 2 and 3). There are several rafting experiences to choose from, making this great for kids of all ages.

  • Tip: Bring a cooler with food, snacks and drinks. There were not any quick food options in this rural area, but luckily we had some snacks in our bag to hold us over.  
  • Tip: For the rafting, bring water shoes, sunscreen, a waterproof case if you bring your phone on board, and a pair of cheap sunglasses or a lanyard to put on your sunglasses in case they get knocked off in the rapids.  

Photo tip: The rafts have go-pros mounted on the front so if you want a video tell your guide you want to sit in front, but be aware that this part of the raft sets the pace for the paddling and gets the most wet.  

White water rafting

Echo Canyon rafting

Royal Gorge Dinosaur Experience

If your kids are into dinosaurs we heard this was a fun place and it’s close to the rafting and Royal Gorge Bridge park, however, we did not have a chance to check it out.  

Other Activities that came highly recommended in the area:  

Red Rock Canyon 

Manitou Cliff Dwellings

Cave of the winds

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo 

Where we stayed:  

We flew into Denver and drove an hour and 1/2 (because of the construction on the road) to Colorado Springs.

We opted to stay at the Drury Inn and Suites Colorado Springs. We love staying at Drury hotels whenever possible because of the amazing value. I’m all about maximizing my travel budget and no other hotel compares to Drury with their friendly staff, modern and clean hotels, and loads of amenities.  

Why my boys love Drury hotels: Free hot breakfast, indoor-outdoor pool and hottub, free popcorn and drinks, and free Wii-fi for all the games they want to play.  

Drury indoor outdoor pool

Why I love staying at Drury hotels: Kickback hour with 3 free drinks per night and hot “snacks” which are a meal for my family. While we were staying here, snack options included chicken tenders, tacos, salads, hot dogs, etc. 

I also love staying in a suite when traveling with my family so we have separate bedrooms. This makes it easy for people who go to bed at different times, as well as having a more private space. 

Drury breakfast


So if you are looking for a mini vacay for nature lovers and anyone who is up for an adventure, give Colorado Springs a visit! You won’t be disappointed.  

Garden of the Gods

For other fun trips ideas check out other posts here:  Flagstaff, Phoenix, Nashville, Memphis and St Louis.

Check out our Colorado Instagram stories here.

We partnered with Drury hotels for this post but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Happy travels, where are you off to next?





What do you picture when you think of the perfect summer getaway? Fun for the kids? Blue lake water lapping nearby? A margarita in one hand by the pool? If these check your boxes for a relaxing and fun-filled weekend, try booking a stay at Margaritaville Lake Resort, Lake of the Ozarks! Margaritaville is known for its casual-luxe design feel and has recently undergone a huge renovation from the previous Tan Tara resort.

Margaritaville Lake of the Ozarks

This is the first full-service lake resort for Margaritaville. With this recent addition, there are now 18 Margaritaville-branded lodging locations. Margaritaville is all about fun for the whole family!

Margaritaville Lake of the Ozarks

Margaritaville has tons of amenities onsite, all within walking distance for a #nostressweekend! There is something for everyone at this resort, and we tried it all. Here are some of our favorite activities we did while at the resort that we highly recommend.

Margaritaville Lake of the Ozarks

On property amenities:

  • Three outdoor pool complexes. One has a swim-up bar and another has a toddler splash pool and waterslide. My boys had a blast cannonballing, diving for rings, and splashing non-stop. They could not get enough of all the swimming areas!
    •  Mom tips: Save your luggage space because the resort offers towels!
Margaritaville Lake of the Ozarks
  •  A fitness center, and basketball and tennis courts.
  •  Jolly Mon Indoor Water Park. This indoor water park has 600 feet of water slides, a lazy river
    for tube floating, a hot tub, water basketball, and a three-story beach house play area. This place is perfect for rainy or cooler days when the weather is unpredictable. There’s also a snack bar area on site. It’s $17 pp, 2 and under free, $5 observation fee to watch your kids if you don’t want to slide. Towels provided.

    • My boys had an absolute blast at the water park and we spent a good 4-5 hours here. It’s an awesome way to spend the day when the weather won’t cooperate.
    • Good news if you are not staying at Margaritaville, you can still come for the day to the waterpark.  Special fees apply.
Margaritaville Lake of the Ozarks
Margaritaville Lake of the Ozarks
Margaritaville Lake of the Ozarks
  •  Fin City Arcade features state-of-the-art video games, classic favorites, and electronic simulators. I normally don’t let the boys spend too much time in arcades but for excellent behavior, my boys earned a video game card and they were in heaven!
Margaritaville Lake of the Ozarks
  •  Fin City Bowling is the resort’s eight-lane bowling alley, which can be set up for bumper bowling and hosts cosmic bowling nights.
  •  Port of Indecision Marina offers watercraft rentals, such as wave runners, pontoon boats, ski boats, paddle boards, and paddle boats.
    • ○  If you want to rent a boat but have no clue how to drive one the marina suggested to Google “Lake of the Ozark Charters” and enquire to hire your own driver from the area.
    • ○  If you are under 36, you have to have a MO boaters license. If you are over 36, you just have to have a MO license.
    • We opted to cruise the lake in the paddle boats. The boys loved looking for the ducks, large carpe, and geese. Bring your quarters for fish food
Margaritaville Lake of the Ozarks

●  On-site spa, call 573-348-3535 to schedule a spa appointment

●  Harbor Master Mini-Golf Course is the resort’s onsite mini-golf course and fun for the whole family!  As if my boys are not competitive enough, they wanted to play some mini golf! It was super fun, on-site and kept them busy.

Margaritaville Lake of the Ozarks

●  Daily Scenic Cruises on the Tropic Island Yacht allows guests to get out on the water and enjoy picturesque views of the Lake of the Ozarks. For reservations call 573-348-0083. The boat leaves Tues-Sun at 3:00.

●  Horseback Riding gives guests the opportunity to explore the resort grounds in a unique way.  I’d recommend making the reservation in advance because they fill up fast. The ride is approx 1 hour in length. If your kids are small they have pony rides too!

Restaurants options on property:  

There are so many amazing restaurants on property.  I was impressed with the amazing food and atmosphere of them all.

●  LandShark Bar & Grill. This newly opened flagship waterfront restaurant features delicious classics like nachos, wings, and signature LandShark burgers. This restaurant overlooks the lake and has a swim-up pool bar for even more fun! There are approximately 40 slips (2 docks) open to boaters who wish to dock and dine at LandShark Bar & Grill. They’re available on a first come-first served basis.
FYI- Boaters welcome. If you are at the lake you can drive your boat over to enjoy eating at Landshark. We would highly recommend the fish tacos. They were absolutely amazing.

●  JB’s Boathouse Grill boasts classic nautical décor with bright blues and crisp whites and is the perfect spot for diners to enjoy breakfast fare, sandwiches, salads, steaks, drinks and more.

○ There is an additional package when you book your room where you can add the breakfast buffet, which features all kinds of fresh fruit, cereals, sausage, waffles, and more. You can also order off the menu for breakfast like I did. I opted for a tropical fruit parfait. Yum! This restaurant also has a stunning view of the lake and marina with an outdoor patio out front.

●  Frank & Lola’s Pizzeria. Pizza night is something my family can all agree on. This family-friendly casual dining option is ideal for families and friends looking to grab a fresh pie while enjoying a game of pool or darts. My boys went crazy for the dessert pizza. So yummy!


●  Windrose Marker 26 Lakeside Dining is the resort’s beautiful lakeside restaurant, serving exceptional seafood, steaks and more.

●  License to Chill Bar & Grill is the resort’s lobby spot, immediately welcoming guests to paradise upon arrival. The perfect place to grab a margarita to start your trip off right.


●  The Tiki Hut Pool Bar is located at the resort’s Lakeside Pool, offering tropical beverages for those enjoying fun in the sun. The kids can even get frozen smoothies. My boys would recommend the mango.


●  Margaritaville Coffee Shop which is located in the lobby serves freshly brewed coffee from signature blends, as well as blended frappes, tea, smoothies and hot cocoa.

The shop also has breakfast pastries and breakfast sandwiches, fresh fruit cups, and yogurt parfaits. I ordered a skinny vanilla latte and smoothies for the boys.

Quick Shop is a convenience store on site where you can get ice cream, fudge, wine/beer and all sorts of snacks.

Margaritaville felt like a true escape. With amazing restaurants, tons of fun amenities, and everything right at our fingertips, it was a no stress family weekend close to home. My boys had an absolute blast. Logan’s favorite thing was the Jolly Mon Indoor Water Park, while Mason’s was the arcade and the slide at the outdoor pool.  My favorite by far was that everything we needed was on property- swimming, entertainment, restaurants.  

Margaritaville is a state of mind, centered on fun and escapism. The brand adapts to a variety of locations and is sure to be fun for travelers of all ages! It embodies paradise in every way, whether that’s on the sandy beaches of Florida, or at the Lake of the Ozarks! Happy travels!

If you are looking for other Missouri getaways check out Branson, St. Louis, Cape Girardeau, St. Charles.

Where are you off too this weekend?

As a busy working mom, if I don’t make my health and wellness a priority, who will? So when I find a hidden gem that not only can help me relax but has tons of benefits, I have to share it with all my friends. Radiance Float + Wellness offers so much for all of you ladies out there.

I started going to Radiance this winter because I’m always freezing! I work in and out of my car all day long, so during the long winter months I crave warmth. I discovered Radiance’s infrared sauna, and it is heaven. The sauna is a dry heat, making it easier to withstand the high temps of up to 140 degrees. It’s one of the only ways I feel like I can get warmed up after a long winter’s day.

The infrared light penetrates several inches into your body which creates heat, resulting in hyperthermia on a cellular level. This makes you sweat, but instead of the air around you being hot, your body is, allowing you to be more comfortable than in traditional steam saunas. If you have been wanting to give the sauna a try, book your appointment with code: 50Sarah for 50% off.

The sauna has many benefits, such as:

  • Weight loss. One hour in the sauna can burn up to 600 calories.
  • Detox. A session helps to rid your body naturally of harmful toxins.
  • Reduces pain.
  • Decongests. I used the sauna before I had an important flight. I was sick and congested and was worried about my ears hurting on the plane. The sauna totally helped me to decongest so I was ready for my flight.
  • Reduce stress. During a session you can read or simply relax with zero distractions.

Radiance also offers many other services for total body wellness. Some of my favorites are the relaxing salt room and the oxygen bar. I was recently congested and was taking a flight the next day so I opted to give these a try and what a difference they made. My ears were thanking me on that flight. The eucalyptus and peppermint scents are my favorite.

For the approaching summer months I decided to try the cryo-slimming to help me get a boost on losing some extra winter weight. I’m not proud of it but every winter when I go into hibernation mode. I put on a few extra pounds!

Cryo-slimming is a new service that was created in Paris, France which peaked my interest. It sounded like a great solution for those hard to treat places on your body you might need a little extra assistance with. So after some research and talking with people about it, I decided to try the cryo-slimming on my stomach.

Cryo-slimming uses thermal shock to cause the death of fat cells, without damage to your skin. The treatment takes 28 minutes, and begins with 4 minutes of heat at 104 degrees, followed by 24 minutes of cold at 17 degrees. The heat causes the fat cells to migrate towards the surface of your skin, where they are then blasted with the cold temperatures. The dead fat cells then exit your body naturally over the next two weeks.

Cryoslimming. What to expect: It’s a little bit of a process, although the procedure itself is quick. I started with the cryo-slimming, which you can do every two weeks. Then two days after, I would hit the sauna which helped my fat cells leave my body. Then in the third week, I would do the cryo-toning, which helps to tone the area. I lost one inch in my first session! #Hallelujah


When I posted videos of this process I would get a lot of questions so I thought it would be helpful to list all the questions based on my experience below:

1. Is it miserably cold?  

No. I was nervous about this too, especially since I’m always cold but after a few minutes it numbs the area and you don’t feel much. I promise it was tolerable.  

2.  Did you see results?  

YES! I lost 1 inch in the first session alone and and once I was done with all of my sessions I was down 2 inches around my waist and below my belly button.  

This was in combination of a healthy diet and consistent exercise.

3.  Can you see results with one treatment?  

I think every person will be different.  For my goals I knew I would need more than one treatment and Radiance put together a package for me based on my needs.  If you don’t have a lot to lose one treatment may be enough but I’d consult with them first. You may want to try just the toning treatment if you just want to tone a certain area.  

4.  Is there down time?  

No. I was worried about this too and many days I would stop in on my lunch hour.  There is no down time. For the slimming treatment it takes 2 mins for the warming, 12 mins for the cooling on both sides of the stomach. Then you spend 10 mins on the total vibration machine and you’re done.  It is quick and painless.  

5.  What does it feel like?  

To me it felt like getting an ultrasound. Painless.

6.  What are the best body parts for the cryo-slimming?  

Stomach for me, but I also talked to people that had it done on arms, bra fat, and chin. They also have a cryofacial you can get for anti aging on your face.  

7.  Do you have to eat a certain diet?  

To maximize results I think you need to be trying to live a healthy lifestyle with eating and exercising.  They do recommend not eating carbs or sugar for 4 hours after the treatment and drinking lots of water to flush out your system.  

8.  How much does it cost?  

Depending on your needs they will create a package for you.  This is how my treatment worked.

Day 1: Cryo-slimming
2 days later infrared sauna session
Day 7: Cryo-toning
I repeated this schedule and had 3 cryo-slimming sessions.  

So your package may look different based on your needs but they are offering 25% off packages for the cryo so if you are interested I’d book quickly!

Overall, I loved my experience and got the results I needed to keep me motivated to getting summer and pool party ready.  

Have you heard of cryo-slimming or have places on your body that won’t get better no matter how many sit ups you do?  Tell me about your experience and feel free to send questions if you have them!

** I partnered with Radiance float and wellness on this post but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

I have heard many great things about Sedona, so we decided to explore the town and stay overnight. You could easily take a day trip to and from Flagstaff if you wanted. On the main street in the downtown area there were many places to explore, such as charming shops, restaurants, and the visitor center which featured different tour companies. We strolled up and down the streets but couldn’t leave without adding a new stuffed animal to the boys’ collection to remember Arizona! I also picked out a Christmas ornament, which is my favorite kind of souvenir to remember our trips together.

What We Did

Red Rock Magic Trolley

In Sedona, we took the Red Rock Magic Trolley, which is a great way to see all the red rock formations and to get acquainted with the downtown area. It’s also a super relaxing ride and they even give out cookies halfway through the tour (the boys favorite part)!

In the area there are also multiple hikes you can do. I recommend the Courthouse Vista Trailhead for kids. Although the city is famous for the Devil’s Bridge, I decided not to take the boys on this one due to the complexity of the hike but I’m dying to check this hike off my bucket list.  Another unique site in Sedona is the Chapel of the Holy Cross.  

Pink Jeep Tours

A Pink Jeep Tour was a must for Sedona. This turned out to be Logan, Mason, and Grandma’s favorite part of our trip! Our driver Sean was a fantastic tour guide, taking pictures of us and giving us lots of interesting information about the area. The tour took us off-roading down the gulch in a bright pink open jeep. Because it was a little chilly that day, they even provided us with blankets.

Sedona Airport Overlook

Our tour guide also told us that for amazing views and photo opportunities that we should drive up Airport Road. I would highly recommend this. They also have an overlook where you can pay $3 to get an ariel view. There’s even a restaurant if you want dinner with a view.

Where We Stayed

While in town, we booked an Air B&B and stayed right on the main strip at Sedona Uptown Suites. It was the perfect size and location for all of us, and was clean and updated with two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Where We Ate

While you’re in town, I recommend grabbing a healthy lunch at Wildflower. They have tons of yummy choices to pick from. Or if you’re looking for a unique pitstop, give the famous Cowboy Club a try. They have grilled rattlesnake and cactus fries! If you still have room for dessert, indulge your sweet tooth at Sabrina’s ice cream.

Don’t miss our Phoenix and Flagstaff posts too. Have you been to Arizona? What’s your favorite part?

Flagstaff is a great place to stay in Arizona if you want to visit iconic attractions such as the Grand Canyon!

Out of Africa Wildlife Park

Out of Africa

On the road trip from Phoenix to Flagstaff, we stopped at Out of Africa Wildlife Park in Camp Verde.

This park has a lot of exhibits and shows you can check out, but the African Bush Safari is a must-see! Visitors get to ride in a large open window bus where you can see tons of different kinds of animals, such as zebras and giraffes, roaming around.

They also have walking areas and free trams that go through the park where you can check out the exhibits. My boys love to see animals, so this place was a perfect stop on our way to Flagstaff.

Montezuma Castle National Monument

Another potential stop at the same exit is the Montezuma Castle National Monument. It is an 800 year old building made of limestone, and it is the best preserved cliff dwelling in North America.

Horseshoe Bend and Lower Antelope Canyon

Horse Shoe Bend

As a homebase during this portion of the trip, we stayed at the Flagstaff Drury Inn and Suites. From there, day trips to Horseshoe Bend and Lower Antelope Canyon were an easy feat. Horseshoe Bend is an absolutely stunning view where the Colorado River bends into a horseshoe shape. There, they are currently building a parking lot for future travelers to park and walk to the bend, but in the meantime, we parked a distance away and a bus dropped us off. From there we walked half a mile over some sandy and rocky terrain where the best pictures can be snapped of the Bend.

*Mom Tip: If your kids are brave like mine, I’d keep tight reins on them or avoid this place. The rail for safety is pretty tiny. My heart was racing the whole time, worrying that my boys might get too close!

After we saw the Horseshoe Bend, we visited the Antelope Canyon. I cannot recommend enough Dixie’s Lower Antelope Canyon Tours. Our tour guide Raymond was phenomenal. He showed us all the good photo opps and even helped us set the camera to get the best shots.  We even got to see a velociraptor footprint at the end of the tour!

Lower Antelope canyon
Lower Antelope canyon

I’d recommend having reservations before you visit this canyon. We drove from Flagstaff, so I was devastated when I was turned away by some other tour companies. In addition, some other tour companies may not be the best pick for you and your family, so do some research before paying a visit. Upper canyon tours end early and don’t get as much light. Others don’t take cash or do not allow children.

From the office of the tour company, you can walk to the canyon and weave in and out of all the amazing rock formations. There were steps and ladders getting in and out of some places, but my boys didn’t have a problem.

Lower Antelope canyon
Lower Antelope canyon
Lower Antelope canyon
Lower Antelope canyon

The majestic beauty and sheer wonder of this canyon is indescribable. I have never seen anything like it! Mason and Logan loved the canyon as well, even pretending to be little Indiana Jones. Definitely make a visit to Antelope Canyon if you’re planning a trip to Arizona.

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon

From Flagstaff you can also take a day trip to The South Rim of The Grand Canyon, which speaks for itself and can’t be missed if you’re in the state. The spectacular geology will take your breath away, not to mention make for some pretty amazing photo ops. This was my third time to the Grand Canyon, and it is absolutely amazing.

The grand canyon

Once you are in the park there is a visitors center that can guide you to what you’d like to see. We opted to ride the shuttle around the park and hop on and off to eat lunch and check out different areas. We saw lots of wildlife eating alongside the road too. There are several hikes, biking, shopping and eating options.

The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon

Bearizona Wildlife Park


Another place we checked out on our way to the Grand Canyon was Bearizona Wildlife Park, which has wolves, birds of prey, barnyard animals, bison, and you guessed it, bears. They have an area where you can walk to see smaller critters, an area that you can drive through in your car, and a bus ride with open windows that goes through the bear area. They also have shows such as the birds of prey show. If you and your family love animals as much as we do, this place is definitely worth checking out.

Bearizona was the perfect stop to break up the driving from Flagstaff to The Grand Canyon.


Drury Inn & Suites Flagstaff

Drury Flagstaff

We stayed at Drury Inn & Suites Flagstaff, located in the quaint downtown area of Flagstaff, which had tons of shops and restaurants to explore all within blocks of our hotel. Our room was a super cute double queen suite, that had a stunning view from the balcony of the San Francisco mountain peak. We absolutely loved staying in Flagstaff! This Drury was one of our favorites. The best part is we know what to expect when we are at a Drury hotel. Amazing locations, suite options for family space, free breakfast, free kickback hour (3 free drinks per parent), snacks, popcorn, a pool, laundry, Wi-fi, and friendly staff. I have not found this at other hotel chains so consistently!

Drury breakfast

Our next stop is Sedona, AZ. If you missed Phoenix, check it out here. Have you been to Arizona before with kids? If so, tell me what your family loved?

Click here to check out my other posts from Arizona!

Fun in the Valley of the Sun! We headed out west for some outdoor fun on Spring Break. When we first arrived in Arizona, we stayed in Phoenix for a few days.

Lost Dutchman State Park

While we were in Phoenix, our goal was to be outside as much as possible. First on the list was the Lost Dutchman State Park. My boys and I love hiking. The Superstition Mountains were highly recommended for having scenic views and being kid-friendly. There is an entrance fee of $7 and a map is provided upon arrival. The park has many hiking trails that cut through the spectacular views of the Sonoran Desert landscape. We decided on the Treasure Loop Trail, but it was more challenging and advanced than we had expected.

Take a pic of map

Logan’s tip: When hiking, take a photo on your phone of the map. I cannot tell you how many times we had to reference it. The last thing you want is to get off on the wrong trail with little hikers.

Suspicious mountains
Logan photos

Mom’s tip: Remember to always bring a First Aid Kit when you’re hiking with kids! Both of my boys wiped out on this trail. Thank goodness for the good Samaritans we met along the way. Also, be sure to bring plenty of snacks and water. Don’t forget sunscreen! All that being said, the trail was very beautiful and provided great views of the scenic Superstition Mountains.

Suspicious Mountains

Goldfield Ghost Town

Goldfield Ghost town
Goldfield Ghost town

We also visited the Goldfield Ghost Town, which is just minutes from the
Superstition Mountains. Built in 1893, this old mining town is a must destination for any kids interested in westerns. There are all kinds of shops and restaurants to explore, including a museum and a train ride. In its hay day, the town had three saloons, a brewery, a general store, a blacksmith, a boarding house, a school, and a meat market. Visitors can get a feel of what life was like in a boomtown in the wild west. Another fun thing this destination features is a live reenactment of gun fights, just like an old Western.

Desert Breeze Park

In Chandler, we visited Desert Breeze Park, which was near our Drury Hotel. This park has a lake with ducks, bathrooms, picnic tables, shaded pavilions, a huge playground, and even a little train that goes around the park that you can purchase tickets for. The kids had tons of fun running around here, getting all of their energy out. It was a great last stop.

Other Recommendations in the Phoenix Area

A couple of other places that were highly recommended in the Phoenix area that we didn’t get to visit were:

  • Odysea Aquarium
  • The Cactus League – If you are a baseball fan, you may want to check out spring training baseball games. We met tons of families checking out their favorite teams at spring training.

Drury Inn & Suites

Drury Chandler AZ

When we were in Phoenix, we stayed at Drury Inn & Suites in a friendly suburb in Chandler. As always, they have all the perks we are looking for when traveling with the family and looking to maximize our vacation budget. Free, hot, delicious breakfast before setting out every morning is a great bonus that they provide. They have pretty much every breakfast item under the sun, but Mason’s favorite is by far the lucky charms and powdered donuts!

Drury breakfast

They also offer the crowd pleaser Kickback Hour every night from 5:30 to 7 PM, which includes three free drinks for adults and tons of snacks, such as hot dogs, nachos, tacos, and more. For my family, the snacks are more like a meal and provide a cheap but tasty alternative to going out to a restaurant every night for dinner.

The hotel also has free Wi-Fi for all of your vacation needs, like downloading movies or audiobooks for the plane ride. Plus, their suites are the perfect way for my family to travel because you can close the doors of the separate bedrooms when it’s time for the kids’ bedtime.

Our next stop is Flagstaff, my personal favorite of the trip.  Stay tuned!