I was thinking about putting together a 2014 wrap-up post and then I saw my awesome friend Rebecca’s Top 10 Travel Moments of 2014 and that sealed it for me. She had a fantastic travel year, and I’m fortunate to say that so did I. Take a look at my 10 favorite travel memories from the last year.
1. In February, I traveled alone to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula as part of a small press trip. While I knew I would miss the kids, I also knew I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go dog sledding, snow biking, snowshoeing and snowmobiling. It was incredible.
2. We explored Naples and Sarasota, Florida in April. We learned about dolphins on board the Dolphin Explorer off Marco Island, we saw a rainbow around the sun and we splashed around at Siesta Key, which has garnered many accolades as the top beach in the country.
3. In May, my husband, Dirk, and I traveled to the Caribbean for a short stay at Beaches Turks & Caicos. Okay, wow. Incredible. We took out the kayaks, went snorkeling and enjoyed some beautiful sunsets. Dirk even read Pete the Cat to a classroom of first graders. It was very tough to leave.
4. We took our very first family road trip to Atlanta for a wedding in June. It was about a 9.5 hour drive, but the kids did great. We had a fun time in Atlanta too, hitting World of Coca-Cola, Fernbank Museum of Natural History, the Georgia Aquarium and, of course, The Varsity.
5. The next weekend, we got back in the car for a three-week road trip that would take us to Syracuse, Lake Placid, Ottawa and Montreal. The absolute highlight of the trip was seeing my 10 year-old do stand-up paddleboarding and my eight-year-old kayaking on her own on Mirror Lake in Lake Placid.
6. In August, my older girls and I climbed 354 steps to the crown of the Statue of Liberty. I reserved tickets months in advance from Statue Cruises and it was absolutely worth the climb for the views alone. This was a bucket list activity for me. So fantastic.
7. Later that month, my oldest, Clare, and I explored SeaWorld in Orlando and Busch Gardens in Tampa. Clare got her photo snapped with Leon, a king penguin at SeaWorld. We then got up close and personal with a giraffe before watching a team of vets perform an endoscopy on an anteater at Busch Gardens.
8. Just before school went back in session, I flew out to Montana on my own to visit Glacier National Park for a few days. I took a Red Bus Tour along Going-to-the-Sun Road, explored Lake McDonald by boat and relaxed at Whitefish City Beach. Yes, there is a beach in Montana!
9. My parents planned to take two of my girls to Williamsburg, so naturally, I had to tag along with my two other kids. We stayed two nights at Kingsmill Resort. I truly could have spent all day in their lazy river. We also took time for the Go Ape treetop adventure course and historic Jamestown.
10. Finally, over Thanksgiving, we took the kids to Orlando. The highlight for me was The Wizarding World of Harry Potter since my middle daughter is such a fan. We also loved LEGOLAND, Gatorland and flying down ziplines at Forever Florida. Also, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios was spectacular.
It was an exciting year for memory-making. We’re looking forward to another year of exciting travels and enjoying new cities, activities and attractions as a family.