Visiting Vegas’s Valley of Fire (With Kids) – 2TravelDads

Author: , October 20th, 2019

Visiting Vegas's Valley of Fire (With Kids) - 2TravelDads

Before we visited the Valley of Fire with kids it just looked like an Instagram heaven. That’s all that we knew about it, all from photos that people had taken and posted to Instagram. And then we visited and hiked and had up close wildlife encounters and fell in love. Valley of Fire State Park is the best Las Vegas day trip you didn’t know you need to do.

We’re going to help you plan and have the best visit possible, seeing some of the most amazing geology Nevada has to offer. And you can do it all on a trip to Las Vegas or as part of a southwest road trip. Watch our video guide to Valley of Fire State Park below!

LOCALE OF VALLEY OF FIRE STATE PARK

Located less than an hour Northeast of Las Vegas, Valley of Fire State Park is an easy drive to take you into another world off the Vegas strip. In the Moapa Valley (park area), you will find all kinds of unique sites. You might not find pyramids or waterfalls flowing off the tops of hotels, but there our windswept hoodoos, carved out caves and passages, and petroglyphs that predate any sort of pirate display in Las Vegas.

The geology and formations of Valley of Fire State Park are very different from what you might find in Utah, and if you are on a trip to Las Vegas and want to do a day trip into some of the most incredible nature around, this is an easier option than driving the two and a half hours up to Zion. Don’t get me wrong, we absolutely love Zion National Park but for business travelers or people without enough time to go that far north, Valley of Fire State Park will wow you and fill the need to connect with the earth.

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Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park – 2TravelDads

Author: , October 12th, 2019

Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park - 2TravelDads

Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park just north of Yellowstone is a remarkable place to explore. A must see on a Western Montana road trip, the caverns are an easy addition to any number of travel plans, including a cross-country drive. In this article we’re going to tackle the who, what, why, when and where of the Lewis and Clark Caverns (but not in that order).

Located about forty minutes south of Butte, Montana, the Lewis and Clark Caverns are just off Highway 2. If you’re driving across the state, taking the detour to the Jefferson River Valley is easy and won’t put you terribly off track. The highway actually loops back onto I-90 so you don’t even have to back track!

From Yellowstone National Park, Lewis and Clark Caverns is about 2 hours from the Gardiner, MT entrance and just under 2 hours from the West Yellowstone entrance. There are plenty of other attractions in the area, including Big Sky and Virginia City, so if you need to interrupt your Yellowstone trip, you’ll have plenty of other interesting sites and activities to make the day additionally worthwhile.

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Utah State Parks – 2TravelDads

Author: , September 12th, 2019

Utah State Parks - 2TravelDads

Utah’s National Parks get all the attention, but there are some remarkable Utah state parks and national monuments that give the National Parks a run for their money. We have some great southern Utah state parks and protected areas that are breathtaking and totally worth your time on a Utah road trip.

The goal with visiting southern Utah state parks and protected land is to get the same unique experiences as you find in National Parks but with a fraction of the crowds. True, there aren’t as many facilities or park staff to provide information, and chances are you’ll be on dirt roads for at least a part of the drive, but you’ll be wowed by the experience and ready to return on a future trip.

WHEN TO VISIT SOUTHERN UTAH STATE PARKS

Something that’s wonderful about southern Utah state parks and protected lands is that year round, they are less crowded than the National Parks. Consider this our recommendation to plan a summer vacation to Utah. Yes, it’ll be hot and you’ll need to plan appropriately with sun protection and lots of water, but it’ll be awesome.

If you choose to visit in the off season, you’ll find that some southern Utah state parks are actually at pretty high elevations so you may have some snow surprises. You may be pleasantly surprised though. For example, we visited Bryce Canyon National Park in March and while it was covered in several feet of snow still, the towns of Tropic and Escalante we perfectly dry and warm. Having said that, weather at high elevations can change rapidly and you should be prepared.

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Lewis and Clark National Park in the Pacific Northwest – 2TravelDads

Author: , August 23rd, 2019

Lewis and Clark National Park

Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, I’ve always been familiar with the history of the area and some key figures in its settlement, including Lewis and Clark, the famous 19th century explorers. In southwestern Washington and part of the Oregon Coast, there is Lewis and Clark National Park. We’re going to tell you all about this little known National Park and give you some great ways to experience it all.

GETTING TO LEWIS AND CLARK NATIONAL PARK

Most people are going to be visiting Lewis and Clark National Park as part of an Oregon Coast road trip. The park includes a collection of sites, not just one big square, so planning a route is key. If you are coming from Portland, it’s about two hours to the Northwest Coast or Oregon. If you’re driving from the south, such as Newport, it’s a bit over two hours.

For visitors driving from the Seattle area, you’ll have about a five hour drive, as you’ll have to abandon the interstate early on and take a series of rural highways to get to the coast and cross the Columbia River. Wherever you begin, the drive is beautiful and no doubt you’ll find some great stops along the way.

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Disney World’s Animal Kingdom – 2TravelDads

Author: , August 8th, 2019

Disney Animal Kingdom

As you know, Walt Disney World is huge and truly is a lot to take in. We have demystified the process of planning a Disney World trip and understanding the layout of the full resort, but it’s now time to dig deeper into the Parks. This is our plan for a one-day Disney’s Animal Kingdom itinerary and includes everything you need to know to have a roaring good time.

Upon our first visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, all we really knew was that there was some sort of zoo situation that was really remarkable and that there was a section that was the real life Pandora from Avatar. We didn’t know that the whole park was going to feel like and that it was going to be just as magical as the Magic Kingdom.

Within Disney’s Animal Kingdom you’ll find the following lands: Africa, Asia, Discovery Island and the Tree of Life, DinoLand USA, and Pandora. Each area is very different and offers unique experiences, including surprising character meet & greets and dance party. The park is centered around the Tree of Life, so if at any time you feel lost or confused, just find the tree and you’ll be good to go. By the end of one day in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you’ll know the park like the back of your hand and you’ll love it!

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Oregon Coast Camping With Kids – 2TravelDads

Author: , July 25th, 2019

Oregon Coast Camping

We have had our first Kampgrounds of America (KOA) camping experience and are thrilled to share it with you. Before this trip we didn’t really know what to expect at a KOA, even though we’d reviewed the website and seen many campgrounds. You just don’t know what the feel of a place is going to be and how it’ll fit with your travel style until you’re actually there. I’ll tell you it was great. When it comes to Oregon Coast camping, the Astoria / Warrenton / Seaside KOA Resort was perfect for us.

LOCALE OF THE ASTORIA / WARRENTON / SEASIDE KOA

We spend a lot of time in Oregon, and particularly on the Oregon Coast. At least once a year, this year it’s been twice already, we do an Oregon Coast road trip, either from tip to tip or just one part of the Oregon Coast. If you’re coming from Washington State or the Portland area, the practical first stop for you coastal getaway is Astoria, Oregon. About two hours from Portland and 3.5 hours from Eugene or Seattle, WA, Astoria or Seaside are totally doable for an easy weekend escape.

You do have to either drive along the Columbia River for a good portion of the trip or you’ll cross the Coastal Range. Either way, the drive is beautiful and there are plenty of stops you can make along the way, from hiking in the hills to visiting small towns full of wineries. If you’re coming from Washington, you can add a little side trip to Cape Disappointment State Park either on your way to or from the KOA Astoria to get your lighthouse fix, because there are two just off the Columbia River. However you get to your Oregon Coast camping destination, you’ll enjoy the full travel experience.

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Eating Out Buena Park – 2TravelDads

Author: , July 20th, 2019

Eating Out Buena Park - 2TravelDads

Buena Park is known for being the home of Knott’s Berry Farm, but it’s so much more than that! It’s actually full of restaurants and culture that make visiting and hanging around BP really fun for the whole family. If you want some guaranteed good food experiences, here’s your guide to where to eat in Buena Park. We’re all about being family friendly and unique, so that’s what we’ve included here.

True, we like to use Buena Park as a home base for exploring more of the OC, but if you want to stick close to your hotel and the attractions on your itinerary, might as well enjoy some great Buena Park dining too. We were surprised by some of the establishments we visited, and we know you will be too!

THE SOURCE OC: GO-TO SPOT FOR FUN AND FOOD

Who knew that we’d find a new favorite hangout in Buena Park? A little back story: we used to live an work in Buena Park long before the kids were born, so it’s always been a bit of a second home for us. The Source OC is a new and awesome spot that I wish was around when we lived there. It’s full of restaurants, sure, but it also has some really fun murals and shops. If you need something K-Pop they’ve got you covered. If you are too hot and need to escape with kids for an hour or two, there’s an amazing indoor play space: Play Pie.

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Joshua Tree Day Trip – 2TravelDads

Author: , July 11th, 2019

Joshua Tree Day Trip - 2TravelDads

Visiting Joshua Tree National Park is a great addition to a vacation to Palm Springs or Southern California in general. It’s a very unique National Park and visiting is a very different experience compared with Yellowstone or Yosemite. I’d sooner relate it to visiting the Everglades than any other Park. There are tons of things to do on a Joshua Tree day trip, but you need to know what to do before you just show up.

Before arriving at Joshua Tree we’d done some research around hiking and unique features of the park. We didn’t fully understand the layout though and had to adjust our plans to be able to experience the best of a Joshua Tree day trip. The following guide should help you plan, prep and have an awesome time exploring this fascinating place.

WHAT IS A JOSHUA TREE?

So glad you asked. A Joshua Tree is a member of the yucca or lily tree family. It’s like a giant succulent that grows only in hot, arid climates. They are very rare outside of the deserts of the American Southwest (there’s a small grove in Mexico), but their yucca cousins can be found in deserts all around the world.

The Joshua tree is a rough, pokey plant. It doesn’t get very big, unlike the Sequoias or Redwoods, and it’s rarely grows straight up. Joshua Trees are shaped like Dr. Seuss trees and look a lot like the silhouette of a person jumping out to scare you. They really cool. They don’t bloom every year, but when they do it is amazing and since it’s so rare, if you get the chance to visit when they’re blooming, you’ll be one of the few people on Earth that experience it.

By Rob Taylor – Full Story at 2TravelDads

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Things to Do In Buena Park, California – 2TravelDads

Author: , June 15th, 2019

Things to Do In Buena Park, California - 2TravelDads

If I say “Orange County” you most likely think of the beaches or Disneyland, and that makes sense, but did you know there in another really fun destination in Orange County? There are so many things to do in Buena Park, just to the north of Anaheim, that it’s both a great home base for Orange County and a wonderful destination in itself.

Here’s a fun fact: we used to live in Buena Park! When we lived just off Knott in the mid 2000s the neighborhood was nothing exciting. Today, Buena Park has become a bustling, colorful city that’s the entertainment capital of Orange County. We had three days and enjoyed tons of things to do in Buena Park.

Why Choose Buena Park?

Buena Park is located in northern Orange County, bordering Anaheim and Cerritos. A large part of the city is residential, but then the rest is all about the fun. The city has become a hub for really good food in addition to fun and activities.

Buena Park is ideal for both hanging out and being a home base for all things SoCal. If you’re staying in Buena Park, it’s an easy hop onto the 91 to LAX, the 5 to SNA or Beach Blvd down to Huntington Beach. Also super close is Disneyland: just a quick zigzag down into Anaheim. Really, anywhere you may want to go in SoCal is easy to access from Buena Park because it’s situated between so many highways.

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Instagramable Guadalupe, California – 2TravelDads

Author: , May 30th, 2019

Instagramable Guadalupe, California - 2TravelDads

I hate to be that guy but I’m going to share with you the best secret spot in California for Instagram worthy pictures. I know, you’ve seen it a thousand times but this you want to check out for sure. Guadalupe is the best surprise of a town and it’s the most Instagramable town in California, or at least the Central Coast.

There are some places that have been ruined by Instagram and people over running things in an effort to get a cute picture or something. That’s not the case here. Instagramable Guadalupe, CA is cool and would only benefit from people sharing its awesomeness.

A party of the Santa Maria Valley, Guadalupe is nestled between wine country, artichoke fields, and the sand dunes of the Guadalupe Nipomo Dunes Preserve. It’s about three hours north of Los Angeles and 40 minutes south of San Luis Obispo. It’s a short jaunt off the 101 and totally easy to add to a California Coast road trip. It’s one of the less visited towns off the 101 and is absolutely worth your stop.

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