Archive for the ‘U.S. Travel’ category

9 Alaska Railroad Packages for Families

February 1st, 2015

Have you ever thought about traveling by train for a family vacation? It’s a great stress-free means of transportation for families with kids of all ages. Our article on the 10 Best Train Trips for Families outlines adventures to take by rail around the world, and number 10 on the list is the Alaska Railroad. After looking further into what it offers, I came across this list of summer 2015 packages. Here are nine Alaska Railroad trips to take this year:

Train on the Alaska Railroad

The Real Alaska Tour
Leave Anchorage and head south to Seward for hiking, fishing, shopping, dining, and more. Your family will visit Kenai Fjords National Park, the SeaLife Center and Exit Glacier. On day two, kids will really enjoy the dog sled ride! Rates start from $605 per adult and $253 per child. Tours are two days and one night, and are available from May 10 through Sept. 13, 2015.

Taste of Alaska
Enjoy a night in Anchorage before heading to Seward for aquatic animal experiences and an overnight in town. On day three, enjoy dog sled rides and tours of the Exit Glacier before heading back to Anchorage for an overnight prior to day four’s trip to Talkeetna where you’ll take a flightseeing tour of Mount McKinley and the entire Alaska Range. On day five, families will enjoy a jetboat ride into the heart of Devil’s Gorge before heading back to Anchorage. Rates start from $1,775 per person. Tours are five days and five nights, and are available from May 29 through Sept. 6, 2015.

Alaska By Daylight
Enjoy 10 days and 10 nights exploring Anchorage, Denali, Seward, Talkeetna and Fairbanks. Tours include stops at the national parks and Resurrection Bay, as well as a tour on the Riverboat Discovery, a historic sternwheeler. Dog-sledding, shopping, dining, and more are also available and included. Rates start from $2,879 per person. Tours are available from May 29 through Sept. 3, 2015.

Just The Basics
Ride the Denali Star Train and enjoy overnights in Talkeetna and Denali National Park. Families will explore the mountains in the national park and can stroll down the main street enjoying the shops and restaurants. Rates start from $985 per person. Tours are five days and five nights, and are available from May 30 through Sept. 9, 2015.

Denali & Spencer Glacier Tour
Begin your journey in Anchorage before two nights in Denali and one night in Talkeetna. Families will enjoy the Tundra Wilderness Tour in Denali National Park, a Talkeetna jetboat tour, and a glacial river float trip to the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop. Rates start from $1,819 per person. Tours are five days and six nights, and are available from May 31 through Sept. 6, 2015.

Deluxe Alaska Sampler

Beginning in Anchorage, families can rest up for a day of cruises through Kenai Fjords National Park before enjoying an overnight in Seward. Day three includes dog –sledding and dining at local eateries before a train ride to and an overnight in Girdwood. Days four through six include stops at the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop, Denali National Park and a Denali Backcountry Adventure tour. On day seven, families will take a 4WD jeep tour through Denali’s backcountry before one last night back in Anchorage. Rates start from $2,419 per person. Tours are seven days and seven nights, and are available from May 31 through Sept. 5, 2015.

Glacier Cruise & Interior Alaska
Ride the Glacier Discovery and Denali Star trains for a six-day, six-night tour through Anchorage, Denali and Fairbanks. Families will enjoy a glacier and wildlife cruise in Prince William Sound, a tundra wilderness tour of Denali National Park, a riverboat discovery in Fairbanks and an arctic circle flightseeing tour. Rates start from $2,079 per person. Tours are available from May 31 through Sept. 6, 2015.

Alaska’s National Parks by Rail
Take a glacier and wildlife cruise through Kenai Fjords National Park and a glacial riverboat trip on this six-day, six-night tour. Start your trip in Anchorage before heading to Denali and Girdwood. Families will see Mount McKinley and Denali National Park, too. Rates start from $1,949 per person. Tours are available from June 3 through Sept. 8, 2015.

Glaciers, Rails & Trails
Explore Alaska by train, foot and boat with this tour, which is 10 days and 10 nights. Families will see everything from the national parks to the glaciers to the backcountry and more – its basically all the other tours combined! Rates start from $3,725 per person. Overnights and meals are included. Tours are available from June 10 through Aug. 29, 2015.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

TripAdvisor’s Top 25 Hotels for Families in the United States for 2015

January 31st, 2015

The hotel or resort you stay in during a family vacation can really make or break the entire trip. TripAdvisor recently released its Top 25 Hotels for Families in the United States for 2015 and Woodloch Pines in the Poconos was named number one. The top ranked resort has so much for families to do, with children’s programs, outdoor activities for all seasons, nightly entertainment and more. Plus, the resort offers all-inclusive meal plans, making vacation that much easier for parents to plan and budget.

Woodloch Pines resort

Rounding out the top five on the list are the Floridays Resort Orlando, Staybridge Suites Lake Buena Vista, Candy Cane Inn in Anaheim, California, and Marriott’s Cypress Harbour in Orlando. These five hotels and resorts offer top spots in warm weather destinations, as well as spacious suites, fun onsite activities, and locations close to theme parks and attractions.

The other 20 top hotels and resorts to make this year’s list include:

  • Howard Johnson Anaheim Hotel and Water Playground
  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
  • Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Sheraton Vistana Resort – Lake Buena Vista
  • Marriott’s Harbour Lake
  • West Inn & Suites Carlsbad
  • Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa
  • BEST WESTERN PREMIER Saratoga Resort Villas
  • Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando
  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Blue Heron Beach Resort
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
  • WorldQuest Orlando Resort
  • BEST WESTERN PLUS Park Place Inn – Mini Suites
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort
  • Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort
  • KeyLime Cove Indoor Waterpark Resort
  • Residence Inn Anaheim Resort Area
  • Rocking Horse Ranch

For more information on these properties, including nightly rates, check our Family Resorts and Hotels page.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

The American Discovery Trail

January 25th, 2015

For a cross-country adventure unlike any other, follow the American Discovery Trail. This 6,800-plus-mile trail is the only coast-to-coast, non-motorized recreational trail in the United States and it invites families to bike, hike and horseback ride along its route, which crosses through 15 states.

Map of the American Discovery Trail

Beginning in Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware and ending at Point Reyes National Seashore in California, the American Discovery Trail winds its way through the U.S., linking small towns, farmland, cities, and suburban communities along the way. In all, the trail connects five national scenic trails, 12 national historic trails, 34 national recreational trails, and many other state and regional trails throughout the country. Additionally, 14 national parks and 16 national forests line the trail, as well as more than 10,000 historic sites.

The American Discovery Trail passes through Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and California. Families can stop for an hour to hike the trail, or can spend a few days exploring it and camping under the stars. Pick up specific trail guides, turn-by-turn maps, hiking gear and accessories to help plan your trip, too.

For more information and all your trip essentials, visit the American Discovery Trail website.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

Seattle Announces First-Ever Museum Month

January 23rd, 2015

Daytime view of SeattleIn February, vacationing families should visit a museum in Seattle — many institutions will offer 50 percent off admission for guests staying at one of 54 hotels in the area.

In order to receive the discount, guests must present an official Museum Month Pass; discounted admission is available for up to four people per group.

Participating museums include the following:

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Visitors Center
Chihuly Garden and Glass
EMP Museum
Museum of Flight
Seattle Aquarium
Seattle Art Museum
Woodland Park Zoo

Families will be able to enjoy half-price admission at museums just outside of Seattle, too, including the Kids Discovery Museum on Bainbridge Island and the Washington State History Museum in Tacoma.

For a full list of participating museums and hotels, visit

– Amanda Geronikos

2015 Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival

January 22nd, 2015

Kid on skis gets pulled by man on horseNot only is the Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival the oldest, continuous winter festival west of the Mississippi River, but it is also an event unlike any other. Watch the local high school band march down the street on skis, see skiers jump through rings of fire, and don’t get caught without your carnival pin or you might have to push a peanut down the main street with your nose. Here’s what to expect at this year’s Winter Carnival in Steamboat Springs.

The 102nd annual carnival kicks off on Wednesday, Feb. 4, with opening ceremonies at 5:30 p.m. at Olympian Hall. Directly after the opening event, families are invited to the Speed and Slight Night Ski Jumping event, where kids ages 12 and older can register to learn under the lights. On Thursday, Feb. 5, afternoon and evening events include the Cross-Country Skiing Obstacle Course at 4:30 p.m. and then the Air Bag Jam Session, where skiers fly into the air and land on a 15-by-50-foot air bag in the snow.

Begin again on Friday, Feb. 6, with the Soda Pop Slalom on Mount Werner in the morning, before lunch at the Bear River Bar & Grill, where families can feast while watching the Vintage Ski Race & Ski Fashion Show. In the afternoon, head over the historic Howelsen Hill where Nordic ski jumpers will fly through the air during the Nordic Ski Exhibition. Afterwards, enjoy a family snowtubing party all together! Cap off the night at the annual Sorel Soiree at 7 p.m. in Olympian Hall.

Wake up on Saturday, Feb. 7, and head to Steamboat’s Lincoln Avenue as street events take place from 9 a.m. to noon, including kids skiing down the street behind the horses that pull them through jumps and hills. Grab lunch and visit one of the many attractions in town in the afternoon before heading the Night Extravaganza at Howelsen Hill at 7 p.m., where the famous Lighted Man takes center stage as skiers jump through rings or fire and fireworks explode in the snow.

On Sunday, Feb. 8, start your day exploring snowshoe trails and taking in the beautiful snowy scenery. At 11:30 a.m. the Diamond Hitch Parade begins where the Steamboat Springs High School marching band skis down Lincoln Avenue while playing classic songs. End your family’s winter carnival weekend with a three-course dinner the 9,000-foot-high Hazie’s gourmet restaurant as the sun sets over the mountains.

A Winter Carnival button is required for entry to all events. Buttons are $10 each and can be purchased at the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, City Market, All That or Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty. For more information, visit

Can’t make it to Steamboat Springs for this winter carnival? Check out these other exciting winter festivals for families for one closer to you!

– Hilarey Wojtowicz

4 Lehigh Valley Travel Packages for Families

January 21st, 2015

Children jumping with Crayola Crayons at the Crayola ExperienceLocated about 90 minutes from both Philadelphia and New York City, Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley is a great spot for families to take a weekend trip with children. This year, the area’s official visitors bureau, Discover Lehigh Valley, is offering special travel packages for local attractions and accommodations, making your vacation simple and easy to plan.

Stay & Create
Get crafty with kids and book the Stay & Create package for overnight accommodations, two tickets to the Crayola Experience and two passes to the green screen attraction, “Say Crayola!” Additional tickets are available for up to 25 percent off when purchased in conjunction with this package.

For a list of participating hotels and package prices, visit the Stay and Create page on the Discover Lehigh Valley website.

Stay & Investigate
Discover the scary side of Lehigh Valley, if you dare. Book the Stay & Investigate package and enjoy overnight accommodations and tours of the area’s spookiest spots, such as the Museum of Indian Culture and the Historic Hotel Bethlehem.

For a list of participating hotels and package prices, visit the Stay and Investigate page on the Discover Lehigh Valley website.

Stay & Ski
Hit the slopes at Bear Creek Mountain Resort or Blue Mountain Ski Area and save with the Stay & Ski package. Ten hotels are participating in this promotion and all packages include overnight accommodations and passes to one of these two ski resorts.

For a list of participating hotels and package prices, visit the Stay and Ski page on the Discover Lehigh Valley website.

Stay & Scream
Get a thrill in Lehigh Valley this spring and summer with the Stay & Scream package. Kids and teens will love the rides at Dorney Park and the slides at Wildwater Kingdom. Book the package at one of 13 participating hotels and save – each hotel offers a package with tickets included, or discounted admission to the parks. Note: Dorney Park opens May 1, 2015, and Wildwater Kingdom opens May 23, 2015.

For a list of participating hotels and package prices, visit the Stay and Scream page on the Discover Lehigh Valley website.

– Hilarey Wojtowicz