postheadericon Diamond Head Lighthouse {Photo}

Diamond Head Lighthouse

Diamond Head Lighthouse

 

 

 

postheadericon How to Have Fun in Las Vegas with Kids {without Gambling and Booze}

las-vegas-sign

 

When we had the opportunity to visit Las Vegas with kids I learned that there is a lot more to the city that never sleeps than casinos and booze.   In fact, we discovered that if you think outside the box it is in fact a fun place to have a wonderful family vacation.

 

 

Visit the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead

Both parents and kids will enjoy learning about the great engineering feat and marveling at the beauty of this concrete arch-gravity dam!  It sits on the Arizona and Nevada border so it’s pretty cool being in two places at once, too!

 

 

The Hoover Dam

The Hoover Dam

 

 

The Hoover Dam

The Hoover Dam

 

Lake Mead

Lake Mead

 

 

 

Visit Hotel-Casinos During the Day

I say hotel casino, but you’ll really be visiting a bunch of fancy malls.  Each hotel has it’s own ‘thing’ and there is shopping in each and every one of them.  Make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes because you’ll do A LOT of walking through the mazes of hotel-casinos!  Each hotel is so different and unique and after a while the kids may get a little tired of it so pick a few must-sees and see go from there!

 

New York New York

New York New York

 

Go Hiking at Red Rock Canyon

This is a hidden Las Vegas gem!  It’s about 20 miles outside of the strip area and is the perfect place to unwind from the action.  Pack a lunch and spend a few hours hiking and picnicking within the depths of these massive rocks!

 

Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon

 

 

Day Trip:  Visit Zion National Park in Utah

 

Zion National Park is about 2.5 hours from Las Vegas which makes for a perfect day trip.  The drive is so scenic and beautiful and a day hiking along the towering canyon walls, along the rushing Virgin River, and through the swirling red and white rock formations makes kids very happy!

 

Zion National Park

Zion National Park

 

 

 

Check out the beautiful Chihuly glass ceiling at the Bellagio (Free)

 

Kids marvel at the glass ceiling!!

 

 

Chihuly Ceiling at the Bellagio

Chihuly Ceiling at the Bellagio

 

 

 

Watch the Bellagio fountains at night

Every 30 minutes the Bellagio fountains dance and sing using a dramatic combination of water, music, and lights!

 

 

 

 

fountains

 

 

 

Eat at a Buffet

 

Vegas is know for it’s wonderful buffets.  Most hotels have them to some degree or another – some pretty basic and some pretty amazing!  Our favorite was at The M Resort, just off of the Vegas Strip, but well worth the drive!  It’s called Studio B and was voted “Best Buffet in Las Vegas” for good reason…it’s enormous and the food is delicious!  Did I mention the dessert bar?   Wow!

 

Studio B Buffet Photo courtesy of The M Resort

Studio B Buffet
Photo courtesy of The M Resort

 

 

 

Visit Container Park at Fremont Street

This is best done during the day as there are age restrictions at night.

 

container-park

 

 

I hope you enjoyed the list of fun things to do in Las Vegas with Kids!  To see more pictures visit my facebook page!

 

 

 

postheadericon Charming Charleston, South Carolina

Millionaire Row Charleston

 

Charleston, South Carolina is easily one of the prettiest and most charming cities in the south!  It’s a city that keeps people coming back time and time again because of its history, architecture, good shopping, and great food!

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postheadericon Botany Bay Plantation ~ Edisto Island, South Carolina

Botany Bay Plantation

 

 

Botany Bay Plantation

Botany Bay Beach is an unspoiled hidden gem!  It’s truly a unique place that is bejeweled with seashells and hauntingly beautiful driftwood trees!  You can learn more about the history of it here.

 

 

Botany-Bay-Plantation-Edisto-Island

 

 

 

driftwood-at-boatany-bay

Know Before You Go

You may be wondering if dogs are allowed on Botany Bay Beach and the answer is NO!

There is NO shelling allowed.  If you break the rules and try and take a piece of this paradise home you may face fines of up to $417.

It’s FREE!

It’s a great day trip from Charleston, SC!

 

botany-bay-beach-trees

 

 

pelicans

 

 

Edisto-Island-Botany-Bay

 

Botany-Bay-Preserve

 

 

botany-bay-beach-trees-3

 

 

botany-bay-edisto

postheadericon Kayak Oahu – The Mokulua Islands and Flat Island

Kayaking to the Twin Islands

 

Picture this:  a long stretch of sparkling white sand, water as blue as you can ever dream it to be, palm trees swaying in the back yards of million dollar homes, lush and tropical foliage everywhere, and two of the most pictured islands (The Mokulua Islands) off of the Oahu coast.  It sounds amazing, right?!  It is!

 

The Mokulua Islands are about a mile off of the shore of Lanikai Beach and Kailua Beach.  The other island that looks like a pancake is called Flat Island.  On your tour you can paddle to both of them.  I say both because you can only go on the shore of one of the Mokulua Islands, the other is off limits.  A protective barrier reef is between the shoreline and the islands which allows for easier paddling to the islands and if you’re lucky, like we were, you may even see some sea turtles swimming around you!

 

How it All Began

Kailua Sailboards and Kayaks  is a little shop in a strip plaza that offers kayak rentals, SUP rentals, guided tours and more.  We arrived at the shop and rented two tandem kayaks to venture out to Flat Island and The Mokulua Islands on our own.  We got a map and had to watch a short video on safety, but it was quick and painless and the staff is really helpful.  The shop is located a couple blocks from the beach so the friendly guys at the shop loaded our kayaks on a cart and we were on our way!

Kayaking to Twin Islands

 

It takes a little bit of time to walk the kayaks to the beach and get them in the water.  The most difficult part will be dragging the kayaks through the sand to actually get them in the water.

Before you leave make sure you have everything you need:  a dry bag, back rests, life vests, sunglasses, sunscreen, and your cooler.

 

Tip:  Notice the cooler?  We picked it up from Walmart at the beginning of our vacation.  We love to keep cold drinks in the car when we’re exploring!  The morning of our kayaking adventure we picked up some snacks, lunch, and drinks and had an awesome picnic on the Mokuluas!

 

Notice Flat Island in the distance.  This is the island we went to first.

Notice Flat Island in the distance. This is the island we went to first.

 

View from Flat Island

View from Flat Island

 

 

Kayaking to Flat Island

This is the first destination you’ll reach.  It’s a strait shot out from Kailua Beach Park.  You’ll want to land just past the sand bar where the bird sanctuary sign is.  Birds nest on this island so you must stay within the roped areas.

Tip:  Bring water shoes, the rocks are rough on your feet when you’re exploring the island.

 

This was a nesting bird on Flat Island!

This was a nesting bird on Flat Island!

 

Exploring Flat Island

Exploring Flat Island

 

 

Kayaking to Mokulua Island

 

There are two Mokulua Islands, but as I mentioned, you can only land on the one on the left when viewing it from the beach.  From Flat Island it takes about an hour and a half to get to Mokulua Island.  You’ll go over beautiful coral reefs and might even see a honu (sea turtle)!

 

Kayaking to the Twin Islands

 

Kayaking

We made it!

We made it!

 

The closer we got to Mokulua the larger the waves got.  I think the most difficult part was riding the waves into the beach.  As a rule, when kayaking in ocean waves, you want to keep your kayak perpendicual to the waves.  If you’re parallel to the waves you are more likely to get flipped over.  It’s easier said then done, but we were beginners at this time and managed just fine!

 

Once we were on the island we got out our picnic lunch.  We found a great little spot and ate and then the kids enjoyed swimming around in the beautiful crystal clear water!

 

Mokulua Beach

 

Mokulua Islands

 

 Know Before You Go:

  • You can not get a permit to go on the islands on Sundays.
  • You don’t need to be super fit to kayak, but you do need to be in relatively good shape and able to swim.
  • Wear Sunscreen.
  • Bring Sunglasses.
  • Wear a Hat.
  • Wear your bathing suit.
  • Bring a waterproof camera!  All of the photos above were taken with my Canon Powershot D20.  I believe there is a newer model of this camera!

 

 

 

 

 

postheadericon Symmes Chapel aka {Pretty Place}

pretty-place

 

There are no words for how beautiful this chapel is!  It sits atop of Standing Stone Mountain and offers breathtaking views as far as your eye can see!  It also marries more than 100 couples per year, wow!

If you’re visiting Dupont State Forest it’s only a short drive away.  It is located at the YMCA Camp Greenville in Cleveland, SC.

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postheadericon Visiting Epcot with Kids

Epcot

 

Epcot may not be the first park you think of when you’re planning your trip to Disney, but it should definitely be on your list!  Although it doesn’t have the big roller coasters that are so attractive at the other parks, it has something that the other parks do not….Worldly Experience!  Out of all the other theme parks we’ve been to, Epcot does the best job of sharing these other countries with you in a way that keeps both adults and kids engaged!  Does it have the same ‘magic’ that Magic Kingdom does, no, but it has many other reasons to fall in love with it all the same!

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postheadericon Eternity Bay / Halona Cove – Oahu, HI {Photography}

Eternity-Beach

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postheadericon Sandy Beach Park – Oahu, HI {Photo Essay}

Sandy-Beach-Park-Hawaii

 

Sandy-Beach

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postheadericon Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort – Hotel Review

Hilton-Hawaiian-Village

Visiting Hawaii (Oahu) with Kids – Hilton Hawaiian Village

Choosing the right area to stay in can be a tough decision.  Between the famous North Shore and Turtle Bay area, the beautiful and peaceful Ko’Olina area on the Leeward Coast, the breathtakingly stunning Kailua area on the Windward Coast, or the infamous Waikiki Beach area in Southern Oahu the choices are endless.

After hours of searching hotels and trying to decide the best fit for our family we decided to stay in Waikiki Beach -a bustling beach city full of life!  We chose Hilton Hawaiian Village because of it’s sprawling grounds, multiple pools, lagoon, and wide beautiful stretch of beach.  It’s also within walking distance to shopping, dining, and entertainment.

 

Did you Know:  The North Shore is an infamous spot that attracts surfers from around the world, but those big waves do not happen in the summertime.  They are in the winter months (November-February).  Summer waves are gentle making it a perfect spot for beginners.

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