The Lone Star State: Kid-Friendly Vacations To Texas

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If you’re looking for a diverse and varied vacation spot, you won’t go wrong with Texas. It has everything your family could wish for, from big cities to small towns, and sandy beaches to hiking trails. It’s big, beautiful and you’ll be sure of a warm welcome.

The state of Texas covers over 261,000 square miles. To put this into perspective, it is larger than several small countries combined. So you won’t be covering the whole state on a short vacation. Here are a few highlights so you can plan your holiday accordingly.

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Dallas

Situated in North Texas, Dallas is a thriving, modern city. If you’re looking for some culture, then check out the museums. The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza chronicles the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Dallas Museum of Art is one of the largest art museums in the USA, and the Nasher Sculpture Center is home to one of the finest collections of contemporary sculptures in the world.

After all that culture, stop by Adventure Landing where the whole family can enjoy fairground attractions, miniature golf, and other fun activities.

A note for shopaholics; there are more malls here than anywhere else in the USA so you can shop to your heart’s content.

 

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Galveston

If it’s a beach holiday you’re seeking, Galveston is your destination. This historic coastal town boasts several beaches, including East Beach, Stewart Beach, Pirate’s Beach and Porretto Beach. Each has their own unique charm and you can either while away the hours sitting in the sun, or take part in one of the many activities.

In addition to the beaches, enjoy spending time at the world-renowned Moody Gardens. Or take part in Mardis Gras or the popular Dickens On The Strand festival.

You’ll find plenty hotels, apartments and a great RV resort in Galveston. Accommodation is plentiful and varied and suits all budgets.

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Houston

About 45 minutes north of East Beach in Galveston, you’ll find the US’s fourth largest city. You can’t visit Houston without stopping at Space Center Houston. Here you’ll learn all about the space programs and experience some of the exciting attractions.

Other family-friendly delights include Houston Zoo, The Houston Museum of Natural Science, Children’s Museum of Houston, Hermann Park and the Downtown Aquarium.

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Austin

Austin is the state capital of Texas and home to the University of Texas. It is known for its thriving music scene which includes everything from big name bands to country singers, jazz and up and coming artists.

Did you know that Austin is home to the largest urban bat colony in North America? During the summer months, hundreds of visitors gather at Congress Avenue Bridge, to watch as the bats emerge for their nightly feed.

Check out some of the city’s street art and murals. You’ll find a mixture of commissioned and non-commissioned work. Some of the murals are known throughout the world.

Whether you’re looking for a multi-site vacation or looking to settle for a week or two, Texas has everything from thriving cities to sandy beaches. When you’re planning your next family vacation, consider the Lone Star State.

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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Getting Around On Vacation: The Pros and Cons of Different Transport Methods

After a long journey getting to your destination, once you’ve arrived it’s time to explore! Getting around while you’re away depends on the place you’re visiting, your budget and your situation. Here are a few of the pros and cons of each.

Bus

Buses are an excellent way to get around, particularly in busy cities. Since most places will have designated bus lanes, it can actually be a lot quicker to travel in this way than any other method. Plus buses are cheap and accessible. On the downside, while they can be the quickest way to get around in busy cities for making other kinds of trips they can take a long time. The numerous stops and slow speeds mean you can be sat on them for a while. Some buses can also be old and not the most pleasant to sit on. Luckily there are more luxurious buses around these days. Companies like Shofur, for example, provide premium buses for an affordable price.

Car Hire

Car hire can give you the freedom to go wherever you want while you’re away. There’s no waiting for public transport, and you can go directly to the place that you want to visit with no messing around. If you’re travelling with babies or kids which need a lot of stuff, it’s easier to load this into the car than lugging it all on public transport. On the downside, some people might find it daunting to drive in a country which used the opposite side of the road which they were taught. Plus the driving experience is likely to be a lot different from the place you grew up which can throw people off. It can also be annoying having to mess around with documents and things to get the car, and it’s a headache if anything goes wrong with it in your possession. Plus in big cities or certain places, it’s so busy you’re not able to realistically get around by car.

Taxi

Taxis give you the freedom of essentially travelling by car, but with none of the hassle of car hire. Perfect if you don’t have a license or the inclination to drive abroad, or you’re staying in relatively close proximity to the places you want to visit. Unfortunately, taxis can be extremely expensive, especially for longer journeys. There’s the chance of a dishonest driver taking advantage when they know you don’t know the area. Plus you have to watch out for unlicensed cab drivers in some areas.

 

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On Foot

Travelling on foot allows you to really experience the journey. The sights, sounds and smells will always be far more intense when you’re out in the world rather than sat in a vehicle. You can explore and are likely to discover and see everything in far more detail. However, on foot, you can only cover so much distance so this is the best option when you don’t need to get too far, or if you only need to cover a small area.

Bicycle

If you’re looking to explore a park or a set area, there will often be bike rentals available to take advantage of. This gives you the ability to cover a much larger area with less effort, but you still get to see and experience everything in detail like being on foot. The downside is that this won’t be available everywhere and so it’s only going to be possible for some places. Plus if you’re travelling with children or are carrying a lot of items with you then it’s not going to be the best option.

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular Brings Waves of Halloween Fun Weekends in October #ad

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SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular Brings Waves of Halloween Fun Weekends in October!

 

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Halloween meets the sea every weekend in October during SeaWorld Orlando’s Halloween Spooktacular. This family-friendly event immerses guests in an underwater “fantasea” with trick-or-treating, whimsical pumpkin fish, sea-themed arts and crafts, and up-close animal encounters.

 

SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular takes place from 12 p.m. to park close every weekend, October 1-30. Like all special events at SeaWorld, Halloween Spooktacular is included with park admission.

 

Spooktacular Highlights Include:

 

  • Waves of Trick-or-Treat Fun – Costumed youngsters can trick-or-treat for ghoulish goodies.  Each sea-themed, trick-or-treat station features an assortment of candy favorites including Tootsie Roll and SunRype Fruit To Go, just to name a few.

 

  • Penelope’s Garden Party – This dynamic “underwater” environment comes to life each weekend with a live DJ, animal interactions, a variety of craft opportunities, bubbles floating overhead and whimsical sea-themed characters.

 

  • Sesame Street’s Countdown to Halloween – Celebrate a Spooktacular Halloween at SeaWorld with The Count, Elmo, Abby, and the rest of everyone’s Sesame Street friends!  The Count is feeling lonely this Halloween, and it’s up to you and the loveable monsters from Sesame Street to get him into the Halloween spirit.  Batty bats and spooky skeletons join the fun in a song filled stage show that invites you and your family to dance, play and sing along.

 

  • Spooktacular Dance Party – Children join Princess Penelope and her under-the-sea friends for a Spooktacular Dance Party where they can participate in line-dancing favorites as clouds of bubbles fill the evening air. The party will kick off at the Village Square in the front of the park every event night one hour before park closing.

 

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Spectacular Spooky Add-Ons available at SeaWorldOrlando.com:

 

  • Dine With Shamu Halloween Spooktacular Brunch – Guests can celebrate with an immersive and memorable brunch experience at Dine With Shamu. They will enjoy seasonal items and reserved tables that bring them up close to majestic killer whales.  There also are some Halloween surprises including a family photo in a decorative frame and a free cookie decorating kit. Prices begin at $28 plus tax for adults and $16 plus tax for kids.Pass Members receive a 10% discount.

 

  • Meet and Greet with Cookie Monster at SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular- Meet Cookie Monster from Sesame Street during SeaWorld Orlando’s Halloween Spooktacular. For just $19 per person, guests can meet the character at SeaFire Grill and enjoy his favorite treat: a cookie! Plus, every guest receives a printed photo of their meet-and-greet to take home. Pass Members receive a 10% discount.

 

  • Reserved Seating: Sesame Street’s Countdown to Halloween- Enjoy a reserved seat at a showtime of your choice for Sesame Street’s Countdown to Halloween show at SeaWorld Orlando. Priced at $19 per person, guarantee a seat for a showtime of your choice.

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The best way for families to experience SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular is with a SeaWorld Annual Pass. Enjoy 12 months of unlimited admission with no blockout dates and free parking starting at $14 a month with EZpay, for details visit www.SeaWorldOrlando.com.

 

SeaWorld Orlando’s Christmas Celebration:

 

Just around the corner, waves of holiday spirit splash over the park during SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration running Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays November 25 through December 11 and daily December 16 through 31.  Guests can make holiday memories by enjoying live shows, festive shopping and delicious food. Stay tuned for all-new holiday news and returning favorites soon.

 

For more information, park hours and to purchase tickets, visit www.SeaWorldOrlando.com.  Follow SeaWorld on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for the latest Halloween Spooktacular details and information.

Marijean

My name is Marijean, I live in Sunny FL with my wonderful husband and 2 children. I love Disney, Coffee and Blogging 🙂

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Our Trip To Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains

*This post was written by Blog Contributor Heather Little

Don’t get me wrong…as a Florida resident, I love living near the beach, but sometimes you just need a change of scenery.  This summer, my kids asked to take a trip to the mountains, so we decided to visit Gatlinburg, Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains.  The great thing about Gatlinburg is that there is something for everyone – from quaint, romantic cabins for couples to fun, family resorts and everything in between.  The list of activities is just as wide-ranging.  For nature lovers, there are hiking trails of all levels that take you to beautiful sights like waterfalls, mountain overlooks, meandering streams, and wildlife encounters.  For the more adventurous, there are mountain coasters, the famous Ober Gatlinburg Alpine Slide and gondola ride, moonshine distilleries, a space needle, and even a few haunted houses!   Downtown you will find local art and crafts stores, restaurants, homemade candy, donut, and popcorn shops, as well as other fun attractions like mountain miniature golf and the Ripley’s Aquarium.

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If you take the main road through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, be sure to stop at the visitor’s centers on both ends.  Oconaluftee at the south entrance offers a historic perspective of the area and Sugarlands on the north side is a great place to stop and talk to a park ranger and discover some of the wonderful plant and animal life in the area.

 

 

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Summer in the mountains is a great time visit.  The trees and vegetation are lush and green and on warm days, you can enjoy a dip in one of the creeks that runs through the Smoky Mountain National Park and downtown Gatlinburg.  Fall in the Smokies is famous for its beautiful colors as the leaves change, making it one of the more popular times to visit.  During winter and the holiday seasons, the streets are lined with holiday lights and the entire town has a festive mood.  There’s nothing quite like bundling up with a cup of hot apple cider and a warm donut on a chilly, mountain night.  But no matter what time of year you decide to visit, with beautiful scenery and activities for the whole family, it’s sure to be a fun-filled trip!

Have you ever visited Gatlinburg?

Heather Little

My name is Heather Little and my husband and I have two sweet girls and one crazy dog. We moved to Florida 6 years ago and have loved every minute of it! I enjoy crafting, good food, shopping, and of course travel!

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Common Errors Families Make When They Go On A Long Journey In The Car

Going on a long journey in the car can cause headaches for families. You need to keep the kids occupied while ensuring you do the journey in the quickest time possible. You need to make sure you get the car ready so that it’s a smooth trip for everyone. Here are some common errors families make when they go on a journey in the car.

 

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They forget to fill up before they go

One common error families make when they go on a long journey in the car is they don’t fill up before they get on their way. They think that they should be fine for a few miles, and they will stop at a gas station on the way. However, if you have never done the route before, you won’t know where the gas stations are. You might not find one for miles when your car needs some petrol or diesel, and you may end up breaking down on the road. Therefore, fill up before you go at your local gas station so that the journey goes smoothly for your family!

 

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They forget to take a traditional map

Another common error families make when they go on a long journey in the car is that they rely on the sat nav. They hope that it will get them to their destination. But you can’t rely on just the sat nav to get you there. They often can go wrong, and if your battery fails, you won’t be able to use it to find your way to the destination. Therefore, you need to take a traditional map with you. You can follow that, as well as looking at the sat nav, to ensure you are going the right way. Map out your route before you go, so you have a good idea of roads you need to take on the journey.

 

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They don’t have the car manual with them

An additional common error families make when they go on a long journey in the car is they don’t take the car manual with them. They may break down on the journey and are not sure what’s wrong with the car. If they had the manual with them, they could check what the issue may be and know how to resolve it. You should always keep the repair manual in the car. If you do get stuck without one, you could download one from sites such as tradebit manuals. That way, you can fix the car easily and get back on the road again.

 

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They don’t take enough to keep the kids busy

Another common error families make when they go on a long journey in the car is they don’t take enough items with them to keep the kids busy. You don’t want them moaning during the journey that they are bored. You need to make sure they have a book and a toy to keep them occupied. Here are some other travel activities to keep the kids busy on the way. Take a blanket with you for the kids, just in case they get cold on the long journey. It could double up as a picnic blanket when you stop for a rest break!

 

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Remember to bring some water with you in the car. It will quench your family’s thirst while you are stuck in traffic.

Anne

I'm a mother of 2 who likes to get involved in too much! Besides writing here I started a non-profit, I'm on the PTO board, very active in my community and volunteer in the school. I enjoy music, reading, cooking, traveling and spending time with my family. We just adopted our 3rd cat and love them all!

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