In May, I traveled to Atlanta to attend the Mom 2.0 Summit, a gathering of some of the most talented family bloggers and female entrepreneurs in the U.S. and Canada. While these women run the gamut when it comes to coverage–from politics and business to food and design–many of them are leaders in the travel blogging community. And who better to pump for tips about family travel than parents who embrace it as a lifestyle?
Here are eight travel recs to remember the next time you’re planning a trip with the kids:
Elena Sonnino of LiveDoGrow.com recommended taking the family to Big Sky, Montana, in winter when you can zip-line over the snow-covered trees while skiers whiz by below. Montana is a place where “everybody gets to stretch their comfort zone,” she said. And that’s always a good thing. Follow Elena on Twitter @ElenaSonnino.
Nicole Feliciano of Mom Trends suggested traveling to Istanbul, Turkey, where her kids got a kick out of the boat rides on the Bosphorus. One such excursion led them to Rigel Restaurant, where Nicole said the whole family got into the “flaming fish” experience–picking out the fish themselves and watching it be prepared in front of them. She credits the trip with making her children more open-minded eaters. Follow on Twitter @MomTrends.
For Amy Mascott of Teach Mama, Colonial Williamsburg was a big hit–especially when she took the time to find “off-the-brochure opportunities.” “Who knew the kids can make bricks?” she said, “Forget about their cute outfits!” Let your little ones take off their shoes and hop around in the clay. Follow Amy on Twitter @TeachMama.
Humor writer (and mom blogger extraordinaire) Wendi Aarons said her kids had a blast exploring White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. Once you’ve stopped at the helpful information center, it’s time to “get the discs and ride down the sand dunes!” Follow Wendi on Twitter @WendiAarons.
Rage Against the Minivan‘s Kristen Howerton, the winner of our “Travel Transforms Family” contest (and a Nat Geo Expeditions trip to Tanzania) raved about Peru’s Sacred Valley. She said that on a recent trip to visit the heart of the ancient Inca empire, her family ate at Hearts Café a total of five times. In addition to employing local women and serving locally grown food, the restaurant donates part of its proceeds to Living Heart, an organization that supports highland communities. Follow Kristen on Twitter @KristenHowerton.
Annie Stow of Stowed Stuff recommends a visit to family-friendly Cape Cod. While you’re there, she said, make sure to stop by the Sesuit Harbor Café in Dennis to savor the “greatest lobster roll in the world” and watch the boats glide by. “The kids love the experience of getting messy,” she said, “and Mommy and Daddy can bring their own wine.” Follow Annie on Twitter @AnnieStow.
Globetrotting Mama Heather Greenwood Davis, a regular contributor to our Family Time section, nominated the Palace of Versailles. “I was worried the history would be lost on the kids, but I was wrong,” she said. Headset tours allowed her boys to follow along at their own pace. “They enjoyed punching in the numbers of the various rooms and artifacts we passed and hearing the stories behind them. But the best part awaited us in the gardens, where a sunny day, ice cream cones, and gravel paths they could run on rounded out our visit.” Follow Heather on Twitter @GreenwoodDavis.
- Nat Geo Expeditions
For Disneyland-bound families, Fadra Nally of All Things Fadra advised making time for breakfast at Willy’s, a family-owned Greek eatery just a short drive from the park gates. Fadra recommends the eggs Benedict, but says to leave room for baklava. Who says breakfast can’t be followed by dessert? Follow Fadra on Twitter @AllThingsFadra.
Amy Locurto of Living Locurto raved about Jamaica, singling out a hike the family took to YS Falls as a highlight of their trip. A photo tip from Amy: the kids swinging on ropes with the waterfall in the background make for the perfect vacation action shot. Follow Amy on Twitter @LivingLocurto.
Mel Lockcuff of MamaBuzz cited the Denver area as a good target for family trips. In addition to exploring nearby Rocky Mountain National Park, she said to make time for a late-afternoon drive to the top of Mount Evans, just south of the park. “Go up before sunset and stay for the stars,” she said, “And don’t forget your telescope!” Follow on Twitter @MamaBuzz.
Carolyn Fox is director of digital for National Geographic Travel. Follow her on Twitter @carolynpfox.