2014 was an incredible year of travel for our family. We visited historic sites, hiked regions of Texas I never thought we would see, and experienced new places as a family. The hardest thing was narrowing it down to the Top 10. But here they are, our Top Travel Moments of 2014.
#1 We took an adult only ski trip to Winter Park, Colorado in February and it was the best ski trip yet. We really enjoyed the close proximity of our condo to the lifts, the variety of runs and the adult time (everyone needs it!).
#2. In March, we took a cruise to the Bahamas on Carnival’s Magic. We mades stops in Key West, FL, Freeport and Nassau in the Grand Bahamas Islands. We bonded as a family that week, tasting Key Lime Pie on a Stick, swimming with dolphins, and playing in the Atlantic Ocean for the first time.
#3. In honor of my daughter’s 13th birthday, I surprised her with a trip to New York City. It was a great trip with 3 generations (we took Grandma too).
#4. The boys & I spent a week in Florida in May and our first stop was to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s Hogsmeade at Universal Orlando. As we are a family full of Harry Potter fans, this was exciting. Jack was picked to have a wand find him, we rode every ride before 9 am and we all had our fill of butter beer. We missed the grand opening of Diagon Alley by a few weeks, so another trip is in the works!
#5. Another top travel moment from that May trip to Florida – we visited 3 Walt Disney World parks in one day! We started at Animal Kingdom at 8 am, headed over to Epcot at noon, and finished the day at the Magic Kingdom at 6 pm. Would you believe we stayed until 2 am?? Yep. We got a second wind after watching Wishes. It was incredible – I lost count of how many rides we experienced that day. We won’t ever forget it, that’s for sure!
#6. Every time we visit Florida, my son wants to see a gator. This year, he not only saw 20+ alligators on a swamp boat tour, but he got unclose and personal with one at Gatorland.
#7. This summer took us on one of our favorite family vacations yet – we rented a RV and toured the Western half of Texas. We slowed down as a family, explored with no set agenda and loved every minute of it. One early morning, my husband & I hiked up the top of “Old Baldy”, a “hill” in Garner State Park. The scenery was breathtaking.
#8. We took an 8 hour hike through Palo Duro Canyon (the 2nd largest canyon in the US) in Northwest Texas in July on our RV trip. We didn’t intend to hike so long, but it ended up being a great day. We had fun conversations, saw some incredible sites, and will never forget this time together.
#9. On a hot August day in Houston, we ventured to Kemah Boardwalk to spend the day by the water. It was hot & humid and we were grumpy and on each other’s nerves…..until I captured this shot. We laughed for days over this one.
#10. I have always wanted to go to a dude ranch and this fall, we spent 3 days at Mayan Dude Ranch in Bandera, Texas. This family-owned ranch allowed us to turn off our electronics and play together for 3 days. We rode horses, shot bows, found dinosaur tracks, and even learned to dance. We already have plans to go again!
As in every top 10 list, you have to leave moments out. I am so very blessed to be in a family that loves to travel & explore new places as much as I do. As I look back on these top 10, I see a common thread – they are all moments that we bonded together as a family. It’s not necessarily moments of great natural beauty that had me in awe, it was who I was there with that tugs at my heart. To me, that is what family travel is all about – making the memories with those you love.
Here’s to many more family travel moments in 2015!