Tag Archives: family travel

Austin Adventures Adds Collection of Top Guest Ranches for 2021

In partnership with Best Ranches in the West, Austin Adventures has added 14 first- class guest ranches to its offerings for 2021.

BILLINGS, MT – Challenging times call for creative solutions. Looking to expand its award-winning portfolio of naturally self-distancing, nature-based, small group vacations for adults and families, Austin Adventures only needed to look to its own backyard for the perfect solution – the Western guest ranch vacation.
 
In partnership with Best Ranches in the West, Austin Adventures has added 14 first- class guest ranches to its offerings. Founder and President Dan Austin and his Montana-based team drew from their personal knowledge and regional experience having hosted and operated adventures throughout the West for the past 40 years. With careful vetting and personal experience, they have bestowed their highest mark of approval on each property in this exclusive group of all-inclusive guest ranches situated in some of the most spectacular settings in the West.
 
In 2020, many North American guest ranches saw a surge of bookings from families needing to come up with safe alternatives to their cancelled cruise and international vacation plans. Austin recognized this trend early and in January began the steps to include ranch vacations in its 2021 line-up. It was, “a long overdue addition” in Austin’s words.
 
Knowing safety will be top priority to today’s traveler, Austin emphasizes the natural and healthy style of this type of vacation alternative that also embraces carefully planned and recently enacted COVID-19 mitigation protocols:

  • All are in wilderness-adjacent locations that are isolated and remote
  • Chef-prepared, fresh and locally sourced foods and wines of the region
  • Opportunities to indulge in a variety of outdoor recreational activities
  • The natural social-distancing that horseback riding provides
  • Adhering to the highest standards of housekeeping, service and maintenance
  • A rare feeling of exclusivity with VIP pampering, service and experiences
  • The ability to combine a ranch stay with a road-trip to avoid flying 

Austin Adventures’ Guest Ranch Collection for 2021 will include these highly coveted ranch properties across the West: 

  1. Tanque Verde Ranch – Tucson, AZ
  2. White Stallion Ranch – Tucson, AZ
  3. Tombstone Monument Ranch – Tombstone, AZ 
  4. Rancho de la Osa – Sasabe, AZ
  5. Kay El Bar Ranch – Wickenburg, AZ
  6. Latigo Guest Ranch – Kremmling, CO
  7. Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch – Loveland CO
  8. Western Pleasure Guest Ranch – Sandpoint, ID
  9. Running Y Ranch Resort – Klamath Falls, OR
  10. Zion Mountain Ranch – Zion National Park, UT
  11. Spring Creek Ranch – Jackson, WY
  12. Brush Creek Luxury Ranch Collection – Saratoga, WY
  13. The Hideout Lodge & Guest Ranch – Shell, WY
  14. Paradise Guest Ranch – Buffalo, WY 

“We look forward in the months ahead to welcoming to our portfolio other outstanding properties that meet our criteria,” Austin adds. The Guest Ranch Collection is expected to grow with the addition of one or two new offerings a year.
 
Guest ranch vacation packages will be available for booking through the adventure specialists at Austin Adventures. See: https://www.austinadventures.com/guest-ranch-collection/. To research and reserve any of Austin Adventures offerings, call 800-575-1540 or email info@austinadventures.com. For a full roster of Austin Adventures’ 2021 trips, covering seven continents, visit http://www.austinadventures.com
 
Based in Billings, Montana, Austin Adventures has spent 40 years building an international reputation as a top provider of luxury, small group, multisport tours for adults and families to the world’s most captivating destinations. With cruises and accommodations on seven continents, they have been acknowledged twice by Travel + Leisure Magazine with the prestigious World’s Best Awards along with other national media accolades and distinctions. Austin Adventures has perfected the art of creating itineraries featuring exceptional regional dining, distinctive accommodations, incredible guides and exhilarating activities, all while keeping all-inclusive rates and services the norm. In addition to scheduled group departures on all seven continents, Austin Adventures has developed a reputation as the leader in customized trip planning and execution, all backed by the industry’s best money-back satisfaction guarantee. Austin Adventures is a Virtuoso Preferred Tour Operator.

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Spend Spring Break with CroisiEurope; Book by Nov 30 for 5% Discount

In 2020, take the kids on an alternative spring break that will bring classroom learning to life. Discover art and history or wildlife and nature on board a CroisiEurope cruise.

In 2020, take the kids on an alternative spring break that will bring classroom learning to life. Discover art and history or wildlife and nature on board a CroisiEurope cruise. From the historical seaside cities of Rochefort and La Rochelle in France’s Aquitaine Region to Africa’s diverse flora and fauna, there’s a new adventure for every type of traveler waiting to be discovered.

Travelers who book a 2020 cruise before November 30, 2019 can receive a discount of up to 5% off per person, per trip with the special code: EARBOOUS.

Cruises include all excursions, activities, meals and drinks served on board.

Information and bookings at www.croisieuroperivercruises.com, 800-768-7232.

Austin Adventures Offers Special Incentives, Live Webinar during March ‘Family Appreciation’ Month


For the second year in a row, Austin Adventures, a leading family adventure company, is dedicating the entire month of March to “Family Appreciation,” with special incentives and giveaways, plus an interactive child & parent “Take a National Park Vacation” webinar

BILLINGS, MT –For the second year in a row, Austin Adventures, a leading family adventure company, is dedicating the entire month of March to “Family Appreciation,” with special incentives and giveaways, plus an interactive child & parent “Take a National Park Vacation” webinar that all ages will want to attend.
 
“Between work, school, athletic and social schedules, planning and scheduling a family vacation has never been more challenging, often to the point of missing the opportunity all together to create lasting bonds and memories within the family,” explains Dan Austin, president and founder of the company which has been taking families to national parks and around the globe for 35 years. “Austin Adventures is fully committed to helping anyway we can. Our goal is to take the stress out of vacation planning and then deliver an experience second-to-none.”
 
On Tuesday, Mar 12, 2019 at 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM EDT Austin Adventures invites kids and parents to a live webinar focused on helping families (especially the kids) with their vacation planning. Anyone considering a small group vacation tour now or in the future is encouraged to attend. For information and to register click here.
 
The seminar will be hosted by Kasey Austin, Outside Magazine 2014 Family Guide of the Year. Making a cameo appearance will be Dan Austin, company visionary and travel industry legend. Together, The Austin Family has set the bar for family adventure travel for decades, so much so, they are often referred to as “the First Family of Adventure Travel”.
 
During this informal and informative webinar focused on the younger generation, Kasey will offer tips and insights on planning and visiting America’s National Parks along with other popular family destinations.
 
As an incentive to register and attend, every family that participates will receive a coupon worth $250 off their next Austin Adventures family vacation. Plus, all participating kids (age 6-12) whose parents end up booking a 2019 family national park adventure will receive a logo-embossed backpack (on Day 1 of the trip) packed full of swag (logo water bottle, trip journal, field guide, hacky sack, stickers and more).
 
“I had so much fun sharing my passion for our National Parks last year, I couldn’t wait to do it all again this year. Sharing the parks with the next generation of adventurer really is my passion. I am looking forward to sharing what we know and have learned from our 35+ years of taking families deep into our national parks,” said Kasey Austin.
 
“Dan and I will draw from our own experiences and help families with real time information that can assist them in making the most of a park vacation, whether with us or on their own. There will be a follow-up email survey as well as ample time for questions and answers.”
 
The webinar will help Austin Adventures kick-off their second annual “Family Appreciation” Month. Dedicated to celebrating and encouraging family vacations worldwide, this observance comes on the heels of the company’s 2nd wildly successful “Alumni Appreciation” month held in December, 2018. Throughout the month there will be dedicated e-newsletters and blogs on family travel, special incentives, travel agent promotions and for extended families, an offer of a free trip for one guest in groups of ten or more booked.
 
To assist in vacation planning, Austin Adventures also offers a free Insider’s Guide to Planning the Perfect Family Adventure. See: https://www.austinadventures.com/free-family-travel-guide/.
 
Austin Adventures has led the field when it comes to family adventures (twice being acknowledged by Travel + Leisure Magazine as the #1 Tour and Family Tour Operator in the World). For 2019, there are over 40 family adventures planned across the globe. Here is a sampling of some of the more popular National Park itineraries on the current Austin Adventures roster. All adult rates are per person, double occupancy.
 
Grand Canyon National Park: 6-days/5-nights from $2,998; children from $2,398.
 
Alaska- Kenai Fjords National Park: 6 days/5 nights from $3,698; children from $3,328.
 
Bryce & Zion National Parks: 6 days/5 nights from $2,798; children from $2,518.
 
Yellowstone National Park:  6 days/5 nights from $2,898; children from $2,318.
 
Grand Teton National Park: 6 days/5 nights from $3,298; children from $2,968.
 
Yosemite National Park: 6 days/5 nights from $3,698; children from $2,958.
 
Glacier National Park: 6 days/5 nights from $3,298; children from $2,638.
 
South Dakota – Black Hills (Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse Monuments / Wind Cave NP): 6 days/5 nights from $2,898; children from $2,318.
 
Banff to Jasper National Parks 6 days/5 nights from $3,098; children from $2,478.
 
For more information and trip availability, call 800-575-1540 or email info@austinadventures.com. For a full roster of Austin Adventures’ 2019 trips, cruises and distinctive accommodations on seven continents visit: http://www.austinadventures.com. To access the 2019 digital catalog or order a print copy, go to: https://www.austinadventures.com/request-catalog/.
 

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Backyard Travel Introduces Family Tour through Vietnam, Cambodia

Backyard Travel has introduced a new family tour through Vietnam and Cambodia.

Bangkok, Thailand – Backyard Travel, the online boutique tour operator specializing in insider tours throughout Asia, today announced a fun family adventure through Vietnam and Cambodia. Heading from the ruins of ancient Angkor to the idyllic beaches of Phu Quoc, this all-ages journey is jam-packed with activities for all ages.

Launching from Siem Reap, Cambodia, the 10-day Ruins, Waterways and Beaches Tour begins with explorations through the Angkor Temple Complex, zipping around the ancient city in a remork and refueling with delicious local cuisine along the way. After an exciting homestay experience in the countryside of Banteay Srei, it’s off to Ho Chi Minh City for a thrilling Vespa tour of the city. From there, it’s on to the fascinating Mekong Delta to explore the waterways and glimpse life along the river, before heading to the tropical paradise of Phu Quoc island for two full days of blissful downtime.

“Traveling with children can be challenging, but our family tours are specially designed to make sure everyone has fun,” says General Manager of Backyard Travel Trystan Trestchenkoff. “Our Travel Specialists have years of experience tailoring family trips, and selecting only the best local experiences in every destination.”

For more information about the Ruins, Waterways and Beaches: A Vietnam and Cambodia Family Tour, contact Pete  marketing@backyardtravel.com

 

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Smithsonian Family Journeys by Perillo’s Learning Journeys Offer Families Hands-on Travel Experiences this Summer

A a swim in the Blue Lagoon hot springs is one of the highlights of Smithsonian Family Journeys by Perillo’s Learning Journeys Iceland itinerary © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

WOODCLIFF LAKE, NJ – Families seeking culturally rich, stress-free travel options this summer can leave the planning to Smithsonian Family Journeys by Perillo’s Learning Journeys.

“Whether it is sleeping like royalty in an Irish castle or going behind-the-scenes in the world of anime in Japan, each program offers families an unparalleled level of access,” said Carol Dimopoulos, president of Perillo’s Learning Journeys.  “These trips are a truly memorable way for parents and grandparents to introduce children to different cultures and wonders of the natural world.”

And these multi-generational trips are very inclusive for easy planning: hotels with local character, most meals, airport transfers and on-tour transportation, exciting excursions, entertaining activities, talks by local experts, a top travel director throughout, gratuities, and emergency medical insurance are all included in the price.

Available summer 2018 itineraries (tailored to adults with children eight years and older) include:

Discover Japan:  Available July 7-17, 2018, this 11-day family journey explores modern Tokyo and traditional Kyoto. Learning and immersive highlights include:  sushi and noodle making classes; hikes through the forests of Mt. Fuji; a stay in a traditional ryokan (inn); meeting students training to be anime voice actors; a visit a Japanese family in their home; learning the art of origami, kimono dressing and Taiko drumming; and much more.  Prices start at $4,700 per adult and $4,175 per child.

Iceland Explorer:  On this seven-day adventure, multigenerational families will discover the wonder and science behind major geological sites, cruise in search of whales and puffins, and learn the history of the Viking expansion across the North Atlantic. Key attractions include: the black-sand beach of Reynihverfi; a swim in the Blue Lagoon hot springs; powerful waterfalls such as Gulfoss, Seljalandsfoss, and Skogarfoss; a visit to an exact replica of an old Viking ship dating back to A.D. 870; and much more. Available departures: June 30 – July 6 and July 28 – August 3, 2018. Prices start at $4,755 per adult and $4,100 per child.

Exploring London and Paris: a fitting introduction to Europe for children, this 10-day tour through London and Paris explores the most popular museums and historic sites.  Highlights include: a Beefeater-led tour of the Tower of London, introduction to Shakespeare at the Globe Theatre, option to visit a number of sites featured in the famous Harry Potter films, an  interactive scavenger hunt through the Louvre Museum, and more.  Prices start at $5,725 per adult and $4,700 per child. Available departures: June 23 – July 2 and June 30 – July 9, 2018.

Discover Irelandavailable June 29 – July 7, 2018, the nine-day Discover Ireland trip introduces families to the Emerald Isle. The itinerary includes Gaelic language lessons; a two-night stay in an Irish Castle;  a lesson in Gaelic football, the most popular sport in Ireland and Hurling, the world’s fastest field sport; a visit to a local sheep farm; a cruise along the Cliffs of Moher; and much more. Prices start at $4,800 per adult and $2,850 per child.

For more information on Smithsonian Family Journeys by Perillo’s Learning Journeys, visit https://www.learningjourneys.com/family-journeys/smithsonian.  To book, call (855) 215-8691.

About Perillo’s Learning Journeys

Learning Journeys offers cutting-edge travel experiences powered by Perillo Tours’ 73 years of travel planning expertise.  More than a traditional vacation, Learning Journeys’ itineraries focus on enhanced immersion in a specific interest or passion, such as yoga and wellness, cooking, photography, watercolor painting, bird watching, dance, language study, conservation, and much more. All journeys incorporate elements of culture, nature, culinary traditions, community service, and meeting with locals.  Programs to worldwide destinations include Italy, Bali, India, Malta, Peru and more.

For more information on Perillo’s Learning Journeys, visit www.learningjourneys.com, contact a local travel professional, or call 888-884-8259.

About Smithsonian Journeys

Smithsonian Journeys is an established leader in expert-led land and cruise travel, offering more than 350 annual journeys on all seven continents. Smithsonian Journeys delivers dynamic travel experiences that uncover the authentic culture of each destination, providing access unavailable to most travelers. A broad array of travel opportunities are available, including small-group land tours (many with air included), cultural stay programs, small-ship ocean cruises, comfortable river cruises, active journeys, family journeys, around the world by private jet journeys, and tailor-made journeys for the independent traveler. For more information visit www.SmithsonianJourneys.org.

 

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Backroads Unveils Robust Program to Most Popular Family Travel Summer Destinations

Iceland is one of the most popular destinations for family adventure travel this summer © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Alaska, Yellowstone and the Tetons, Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast and Italy’s Dolomites top the list of the most popular summer travel destinations for families, according to Backroads, one of the world’s leading active travel companies that has focused more intently on family travel in recent years.

“The trend of immediate and extended families traveling together continues to grow, as families of all ages look to collect shared authentic experiences, while also doing more with limited vacation time,” the company stated.

This summer Backroads is offering nearly 450 family trip departures. This summer’s top-selling Backroads trips include easily accessible domestic destinations for those looking for an immersive vacation that is a quick flight or short drive from home. Following last year’s centennial celebrations in the US National Parks, the company’s camping trips continue to sell well.

The strong US dollar is also positively impacting growth in Europe with must-see regions like the Loire Valley, and off-the-beaten path destinations, including Sweden are trending hotter than ever.

Backroads top trips in the US this summer include:

Alaska: Family: Alaska’s Prince William Sound to Denali Multisport Adventure Tour; Family Breakaway: Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula Adventure Tour

Utah & Arizona: Family and Family Breakaway: Bryce, Zion & Grand Canyon Multisport Adventure Tour; Yellowstone & Tetons; Family: Discover the Wonders of Wyoming’s Wild Preserves Multisport Adventure Tour; Family Breakaway: Exploring the Wyoming Wilderness Walking & Hiking Tour

For families looking to travel internationally, Backroads offers many departures from European gateway cities for easy travel and extended stays on either end of a trip.

European top-selling Backroads trips to international destinations include:

Croatia: Family: 101 Ways to Play in Croatia’s Dalmatian Islands Multisport Tour; Family Breakaway: From Split to Dubrovnik via Croatia’s Island Paradise Bike Tour

Iceland: Family: Exploration at the Edge of the Arctic Circle Multisport Adventure Tour; Family Breakaway: Coastal Fishing Villages of Northern Iceland Walking & Hiking Tour

Spain and Portugal: Family: From Barcelona to Catalonia’s Peaks & Beaches Bike Tour; Family Breakaway: A Taste of Camino de Santiago Walking & Hiking Tour

Switzerland: Family: Massif Thrills in the Swiss Alps Multisport Adventure Tour; Family Breakaway: A Summer Adventure in the Swiss Alps Walking & Hiking Tour

“There is something very special about the tradition of family summer trips. Not only are they a chance to explore and discover new or favorite locations, but they are also a chance for families to spend unforgettable quality time together,” said Tom Hale, Backroads founder and president. “Our goal at Backroads is to enable people to take full advantage of their vacation time and not sweat any of the details. In many cases we have spent years in these regions and know the most beautiful hikes, the best bike rides, and which campground has the most spectacular view. We offer family trips people often dream of, but in reality know they are typically too difficult to plan on their own.”

A leader in family travel, Backroads has been designing active vacations for almost 40 years and offers Family Trips for kids of all ages all the way up to older teens and 20-somethings. With daily route options and a range of activities, including those designed just for kids, Backroads adventures are geared toward multigenerational travelers and for families of mixed ages, interests, and abilities. The company emphasizes fun, dynamic and safety-focused travel crafted to immerse guests in a place and culture with authentic interactions and highly skilled leaders.

Backroads has nearly 450 family and family breakaway (designed for families with older teens and 20-something aged kids) departures available this summer, including options for private trips. Trip Consultants help match families with kids of similar ages and provide details on activity age restrictions and recommendations.

For more information, visit www.backroads.com or call 800-462-2848 daily, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Pacific time.
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Austin Adventures Facilitates Vacations in America’s Over-Popular National Parks

Hiking up the Mist Trail alongside Vernal Falls in Yosemite National Park. National parks are ideal for summer family vacations, so much so, they are overrun. Tour operator like Austin Adventures not only has hotel space, but can facilitate the visit to minimize crowds © 2017 Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

Last year, a record setting 331 million people visited a national park in the U.S.  2015 had earlier set the record at 307 million visitors. Over the last two years there has been a 13 percent visitor increase overall. This is a trend that experts say is here to stay.

The good news is that more and more people are enjoying America’s “best idea.” The downside is that roads, pull-overs and entrance stations are more crowded than ever, parking is hard to find, campgrounds are booked full by noon, restaurant reservations are difficult to secure and for those waiting too long to book lodging, there’s no room left at the inn.

Because vacation time is too precious for such factors as frustration and anxiety, advance vacation planning that includes putting a professional tour operator in charge of the logistics can help buy peace of mind and a better overall experience.

“When a national park is in the equation, a good tour company can give you the kind of quality park vacation that just might not be possible on your own,” said Dan Austin, President of Austin Adventures, a leader in family-focused, multisport vacations here and abroad.

Austin’s company offers a good reason of why one should consider a tour operator for a national park vacation. “We have stayed ahead of the growth curve by adding capacity and trip departures. We also work hard to block the best rooms inside a park, a year or more in advance.” This is an investment (and risk) to the tour operator, having to secure everything so far into the future. But in Austin Adventures’ case, it has been a winning strategy.

Where an individual or family may find frustration going it on their own, booking through an operator can make the process pain-free. A tour operator has the rooms, the restaurant reservations and sightseeing logistics all worked out. They alleviate parking woes by dropping guests off at a trailhead and picking them up at a different spot later. They can also avoid the masses because they know where the crowds aren’t as well as the best times to be there (on Austin’s Yellowstone Park trips they often avoid the crowds at Old Faithful by visiting at sunrise – a short walk from their lodge).

“Guests benefit from our expertise, ‘insider’s knowledge and long-standing park connections,” Austin said.

Tour operators know the area, inside and outside the park, as well as the best places to stay, eat, view wildlife, etc. They have highly trained guides who are focused on customer service, safety and security, as well as having fun, said Rick Hoeninghausen, Director of Sales & Marketing for Yellowstone National Park Lodges.

Quality tour operators often build in special touches that enhance the experience for their guests. For example, Austin Adventures will surprise their guests with fresh made ice cream and fruit parfaits served along the hiking trail.

Some of Austin Adventures’ most popular National Park family itineraries include Yellowstone Family Adventure, Yosemite National Park Multisport, Grand Canyon Family Vacation & Tour, and the Bryce and Zion National Park Tour in Utah. For information on all of the company’s National Park adventures, see: http://www.austinadventures.com/national-park-vacations/

Based in Billings, MT, Austin Adventures has spent more than 40 years building an international reputation as a top provider of luxury, pre-set and custom-designed small group tours for adults and families to the world’s most captivating destinations. In 2013, Austin Adventures joined the Xanterra Parks & Resorts® portfolio of experiential leisure offerings that includes operations in Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Zion, Crater Lake, Glacier, Rocky Mountain and Petrified Forest National Parks; Mount Rushmore National Memorial; Furnace Creek Resort in Death Valley National Park; and five Ohio State Park Lodges as well as the Geneva Marina at Ohio’s Geneva State Park. Xanterra Parks & Resorts also owns and operates Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va., the Grand Canyon Railway and Hotel in Williams, Ariz., the Grand Hotel in Tusayan, Ariz., Windstar Cruises, VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, Country Walkers and Austin Adventures.

For information on Austin Adventures, www.austinadventures.com, call 800-575-1540 or email info@austinadventures.com.

 

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Moab Adventure Center Gears Up for Families During National Parks Centennial Celebration

Moab Adventure Center just 4.5 miles from Arches National Park and 30 miles from Canyonlands National Park, is gearing up for a rush of families who have marked 2016, the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, as the “it” year for visiting “America’s Best Idea.”
Moab Adventure Center just 4.5 miles from Arches National Park and 30 miles from Canyonlands National Park, is gearing up for a rush of families who have marked 2016, the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, as the “it” year for visiting “America’s Best Idea.”

MOAB, UT– Moab Adventure Center, just 4.5 miles from Arches National Park and 30 miles from Canyonlands National Park, is gearing up for a rush of families who have marked 2016, the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, as the “it” year for visiting “America’s Best Idea.”

Creating a family vacation in Moab is easy enough once the family has decided how many days they can be in the region. Then it’s a matter of getting everyone up and out early so that at least two activities can be scheduled each day.

Families with children ages 5 and up can discover some of the most scenic canyons in the Southwest from the unique perspective – and excitement – of rafting through rushing but playful whitewater. Half and full-day as well as two day programs inclusive of overnight camping and meals can be arranged. Half-day rates start at $60 for adults and $40 for youth. See: http://www.moabadventurecenter.com/trips/rafting/

A Two-Day Raft & Camp package at $265 for adults and $195 for youth places families on an overnight adventure along the Colorado River. Come dinner the first evening the food miraculously surfaces from a dutch oven before bedding down in tents under the stars. All food, gear, guide fees and equipment are provided. http://www.moabadventurecenter.com/trips/rafting/twoday.php

Off-road 4×4 excursions make a wonderful family experience for all ages. Professional guides operate custom Hummer® vehicles with raised seating in the rear for optimum passenger viewing while climbing to the top of seldom-seen, awe-inspiring Moab overlooks. Scenic outings are for two or four hours and at sunset. Rates are from $83 for adults and $51 for youth ages 3-15. http://www.moabadventurecenter.com/trips/hummer/

Families can extend their budget by purchasing a pre-set activities and lodging package such as the Rock & River Package that includes a two-hour Hummer Safari in the morning and a five-hour river rafting trip in the afternoon. The rate is $149 per adult and $107 per youth for this guide-enhanced immersion in Nature. http://www.moabadventurecenter.com/trips/packages/

Older youth may want to do some slick-rock mountain biking and zip lining; everyone can partake of hiking, guided or not; and just possibly Mom and Dad can get away for a romantic hot air balloon ride over the mysteries this landscape holds.

Families may also opt to hire a private tour guide for a day or longer. The guide can also take over much of the decision-making and provide that other-person-buffer families sometimes appreciate to keep things running smoothly. The best hiking trails, views, discoveries of petroglyphs and Indian lore, and hidden places for stand up paddle boarding all play into the many activities and experiences that a guide can arrange. http://www.moabadventurecenter.com/trips/private-tours/

To make it easier to get to Moab there’s a new air service from Salt Lake City and Denver into the region. San Francisco-based Boutique Air provides passenger airline service to Canyonlands Field Airport. It provides two flights daily to Salt Lake City at $59 per flight and one flight daily to Denver at $79. The airline will provide five flights per day during Moab’s busy tourist season.

Moab Adventure Center is at the epicenter of nature-themed rather than theme park-style adventure, promising activities that include rafting, jet boating, stand up paddle boarding, hiking, mountain biking and hot air ballooning. Hummer safaris, rock climbing, canyoneering and horseback riding are also popular. Many of these activities are conducted with guides, an arrangement that helps preclude the kind of impact to the land that can happen when uneducated visitors venture into areas where they perhaps shouldn’t be. Guides help people understand how and where they can move through back country areas with the least trace possible.

Year-round occupancy for the area’s 3,500 beds runs between 74 and 80 percent, primarily from March through November. While availability on Moab Adventure Center’s rafting, hot air balloon and other activities can usually be accommodated, lodging may be an issue and people should book accommodations well in advance.

For pre-trip-planning and reservations,visit the Moab Adventure Center website where a catalogs, trip guides and the Moab Insider’s Guide can be ordered. See http://secure.moabadventurecenter.com/express/inquiry/ or call 866-904-1163.

 

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Backroads Offers Selection of Spring Break Family Adventures, from Florida to Costa Rica to Hawaii

Visiting the Butterfly Sanctuary in Key West. Backroads is offering a series of family adventures to places from the Florida Keys and Everglades, to Costa Rica, to Hawaii © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Visiting the Butterfly Sanctuary in Key West. Backroads is offering a series of family adventures to places from the Florida Keys and Everglades, to Costa Rica, to Hawaii © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

BERKELEY, CA –Backroads, a leading active travel company, has just introduced a slew of spring break trips for the whole family, ranging from Florida’s Key West and the Everglades to Hawaii’s Big Island, Costa Rica, Palm Springs and beyond. The all-inclusive family adventures offer a perfect blend of activity choices for all ages including biking, hiking, kayaking, cultural exploration, great food and unlimited opportunities for adventure.

Backroads makes traveling easy for families by handling all of the planning and logistics and making booking a breeze. Families traveling with Backroads find it easier to engage with the destination, with everything taken care of, there is less family tension and as kids unplug from their electronics opportunities for interaction abound. Each itinerary balances quality time together and apart, with welcome opportunities for everyone to take a break and recharge—usually impossible on a family vacation.

“Spring break is an ideal time to embark on a family adventure. Many of our destinations are not as crowded as in the summer and the school break is a welcome respite for busy kids and their parents,” said Backroads Founder and President, Tom Hale. “Because we take care of all the details, families can fully relax and enjoy their time together, and even book last minute knowing we have reservations at the popular hotspots.”

Some of the most popular family trips planned for spring break 2016 include:

California’s Palm Springs & Joshua Tree Bike Tour (new in 2016), March 28-31:
Bike on quiet roads amid gravity-defying rock formations and Joshua trees, rock climbing, pool time at luxury hotels, bird watching, hiking and more.

Everglades to Key West Family Multisport Adventure Tour (March 6-11, March 20-25, March 27 – April 1): Winter sunshine in America’s Caribbean – biking, walking & hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, glass-bottom boat rides, history, culture and relaxation

Hawaii’s Big Island Family Multisport Adventure Tour (March 13-18, March 20-25, March 27-April 1, April 3-8): Big-Time Fun on the Big Island from Coast to Crater

Costa Rica Family Multisport Adventure Tour (Family Breakaway and Family departures), April 4-8: From Arenal Volcano to the Pristine Pacific Coast

Santa Barbara & Ojai Valley Family Bike Tour (April 4-8): Rolling Waves and Rolling Hills on California’s Coast

Ecuador: Galapagos & Andes Multisport Adventure Tour (March 20-27):Ancient Culture & Wondrous Wildlife in Ecuador’s Islands & Highlands

Caribbean Family Adventure Multisport Tour (new in 2016), March 21-26 and April 4-9: Beaches, Rain Forest and Volcanoes on Nevis & St. Kitts

Argentina’s Lake District Family Multisport Adventure Tour (new in 2016), March 20-27: National Parks & Epicurean Delights in Patagonia

Belize and Guatemala Family Multisport Adventure Tour (March 13-19, March 20-26, March 27- April 2): Jungles, Maya Temples & The Barrier Reef

More information about Backroads’ family adventures is at www.backroads.com/award-winning-tours/family.

Backroads was founded in 1979 by Tom Hale and has been in business for more than 37 years. The company hosts thousands of guests, 80% of whom are repeat guests or referrals from past guests, in hundreds of locations across the globe. Backroads was named one of the top 100 places to work by Outside magazine in 2015, and is a founding member of the Adventure Collection. For more information, visit www.backroads.com or call 800-462-2848.

 

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National Park Foundation Grants Support White House’s ‘Every Kid in a Park’ Initiative

Grants from the National Park Foundation, part of its Open OutDoors for Kids program, support the White House youth initiative, Every Kid in a Park © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com
Grants from the National Park Foundation, part of its Open OutDoors for Kids program, support the White House youth initiative, Every Kid in a Park © 2016 Karen Rubin/news-photos-features.com

More than 140,000 kids will have the opportunity to visit federal public lands and waters in the 2015-2016 school year, thanks to 186 grants from the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks. These grants, part of the Foundation’s Open OutDoors for Kids program, support the White House youth initiative Every Kid in a Park.

“It is inspiring to see the National Park Foundation and many other partners step up to support our goal of getting fourth graders and their families into parks, public lands and waters that belong to all Americans,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “These generous grants will ensure children across the country have an opportunity to experience the great outdoors in their community while developing a lifelong connection to our nation’s land, water and wildlife.”

The 186 grants announced total $1.1 million and provide funding to remove barriers to accessing our nation’s public lands and waters, with a special focus on underserved and urban communities. With cutbacks in school funding for field trips, this strategic funding will help provide comprehensive access to all federal sites, including national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, marine sanctuaries and more.

“We have long known that kids learn better when they have opportunities to practice what they are learning in school, and parks and public lands offer them great opportunities to get their feet wet while collecting water samples, studying wildlife in its natural habitat, or exploring the places where history happened,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “These grants provided by the National Park Foundation will connect schoolchildren with public lands and waters, taking the lessons out of their schoolbooks and bringing them to life.”

National Park Foundation grants, supported by Disney, have made it possible for more than 400,000 students (including this year’s grantees) to visit national parks and other public lands and waters. Since 2014, Disney has been the lead sponsor of Open OutDoors for Kids, opening a world of possibilities, inspiration and adventure for young people.

“We want to help people everywhere, from all backgrounds, discover how national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and other public lands and waters are relevant to their lives, and the best way to do that is to give people the opportunity to experience them first-hand,” said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation. “Through our grants that provide funding for transportation and in-park learning, we are able to connect youth and their families to these special places and inspire people across the country to find their park which, in turn, can foster a lifelong connection to all that public lands and waters have to offer.”

The National Park Foundation is leading the on-the-ground efforts for Every Kid in a Park in collaboration with the National Park Service, Forest Service, Department of Education, Army Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Reclamation, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Collaborations between schools, teachers, youth groups, Friends Groups, and other partner organizations make each grantee’s project possible. Examples include:

Boston African American National Historic Site (Massachusetts)

  • More than 600 fourth-graders in the Boston Public Schools system will visit the park and learn about the importance of the African American community in Boston and the fight against slavery.

Libby Dam and Lake Koocanusa (Montana)

  • More than 170 fourth-graders will use a stream table model with conservation district partners, visit with a wildlife rehabilitator and see live birds of prey, learn about animal track identification, tour the dam and outdoor recreation areas, and go on a nature hike and scavenger hunt.

Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area (Idaho)

  • 100 fourth-graders from Reed Elementary School will hike in the footsteps of those who traversed the Oregon Trail.

Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary (Michigan)

  • Approximately 650 fourth-graders from local schools will get hands-on experience exploring underwater shipwrecks with robots, taking water samples in the Thunder Bay River, and learning the effects of climate change with NOAA scientists.

Pisgah Ranger District (North Carolina)

  • More than 150 fourth-graders from local schools will have the opportunity to be “gumshoes” and travel back to 1905 to learn tools and traditions from mountain culture, including washing clothes with a washboard and forest water.

Patuxent Research Refuge (Maryland)

  • 500 Baltimore, Prince George’s, and Fairfax county public school fourth-graders will participate in wetland observation and water quality sampling, outdoor wildlife and habitat games , an educational tram ride, and a woodland scavenger hunt.

Saguaro National Park (Arizona)

  • 2,550 fourth-graders from Tucson schools will explore the Hohokam culture by creating petroglyphs, digging into the past with archeologist tools, tasting foods of O’odham and Mexican cultures, and engaging in homesteading chores like those of the Hispanic and Anglo-American settlers. Students will also learn about hunting and gathering during hikes through the park.

The National Park Foundation thanked Disney for its generous support of Open OutDoors for Kids.

Individuals, foundations, and corporations can visit www.nationalparks.org/everykidinapark to contribute to the National Park Foundation’s efforts to support Every Kid in a Park. You can also view the full list of grantees, and their projects, on the same website.

To participate in the Every Kid in a Park program, fourth graders nationwide can visit www.everykidinapark.gov and download a free pass.

The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service.  Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards.  Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.

 

For more travel features, visit:

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www.examiner.com/international-travel-in-national/karen-rubin

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