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You simply can’t go to Hollywood without seeing the sign up on the hill.  On our arrival day, we couldn’t contain our excitement as we drove our rental car towards our home for the next two nights–Magic Castle Hotel. Just ahead of us, we could see the Hollywood sign for the first time. We certainly looked like the ultimate tourists as we tried to capture our first picture. Oh well. We were tourists! The next morning, we checked out the sites in West Hollywood. After lunch, we knew we wanted to try to get a better view of the Hollywood sign. Our time was limited; we were heading to San Diego the next morning. Sure, we could’ve hiked up to the sign, and I’ve heard that’s a pretty cool experience. But since our schedule was tight, and our nine-year-old was with us, it made sense to check out Griffith Observatory.…

For Christmas this year, my husband and I decided to take a getaway together instead of buying each other gifts. We do this often, actually, and I am so grateful to be married to someone who loves trips as much as I do. Since Branson is only an hour and a half away, it often works well for a destination for us as a couple. My parents stay with the kids, and suddenly it’s just the two of us on a little road trip. This year, we stayed at a cabin at Silver Dollar City campground near Branson, Missouri. Formerly, the campground was known as The Wilderness at Silver Dollar City. I’ve always wanted to give it a try, so I thought, why not? I was sure to reserve a cabin with a fireplace. If I was going to do this, I was going to do it right. Luckily, that…

You may be wondering where to eat in Springfield, Illinois, for families when you are checking out all the Lincoln attractions and all the other great things Springfield has to offer.  Don’t worry!  We’ve got you covered. We’d like to thank the Springfield Convention and Visitor’s Bureau for hosting us at all of these wonderful restaurants in Springfield!  As always, all opinions are honest and our own. Most people visit Springfield, Illinois, with the intention of taking in all of the Abraham Lincoln attractions.  And this is an awesome reason to visit!  The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library remains one of my family’s favorite museums anywhere, and we had a blast on the Lincoln Ghost Walk.  You can click here to read more about our experience at the museum and here to learn more about the ghost walk. Still, while your family is having all of these amazing adventures,…

When planning our first trip to Los Angeles, one of the most daunting aspects was trying to find hotels in Hollywood that met our needs. So many places were out of our price range, yet we wanted to be close to Hollywood attractions since we’d never been to LA.  We also wanted a family-friendly hotel where we felt safe, and we needed a place to park our rental car.  When I discovered the Magic Castle Hotel, I knew I’d found the place for us! About the Magic Castle Hotel The Magic Castle Hotel is a small, adorable hotel that, at one time, was an apartment complex.  Many rooms face the courtyard with the pool and poolside tables.  The location is great if you’re looking to see the Hollywood stuff; the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Grauman’s Chinese Theater are just a couple of blocks away.  Since they used to be…

When we started planning a short trip to Charleston, I knew we’d love a visit to Fort Sumter.  While reading up on the tour, I soon discovered that Fort Sumter Tours handled the boat rides out to the fort.  Since we were only staying for a night on this trip, I thought it would be best to take the first ride of the day.  You can actually take the boat from downtown Charleston at Liberty Square or across the harbor at Patriots Point in Mount Pleasant; the schedule differs at each location.  Though we were staying in a hotel at Mount Pleasant, Liberty Square had the earlier time, so we chose that tour.  It’s not too difficult to drive across the Ravenel Bridge to Charleston, so we woke up early, checked out of the hotel, and headed to Charleston.  The first tour was at 9:30 am. Beginning the Fort Sumter…

When I discovered that you could see sea lions and seals in the wild at La Jolla in San Diego, I knew we had to make La Jolla Beach a part of our quick diversion to San Diego.  We only planned one night in San Diego after two in Los Angeles, so we had to prioritize our activities.  Visiting the seals and sea lions was a perfect activity for our family! Finding the Sea Lions and Seals This was our first visit to San Diego, so we weren’t sure what to expect.  We chose Fairfield Inn and Suites San Diego Old Town for our hotel for its proximity to Old Town.  La Jolla is about 20 minutes away, so it’s an easy drive from Old Town.  Once we got to the La Jolla area, we looked for a  place to park.  Here is a map of the area from the…

We’d like to thank Historic Tours of America for free tickets to our recent visit to Ghosts and Gravestones Ghost Tour in San Diego. As usual, all opinions are honest and my own. If you’ve followed my family’s adventures for a while, you’d know that we love to take a ghost tour when we travel. It’s a great way to learn some history of the area with a spooky twist. And if you travel in the summertime, it’s a great way to get some touring in when the temperatures are cooler. When we began planning a trip to San Diego, I knew I wanted to see the Whaley House, known for its paranormal activity. What better way to see it than at night as part of the Ghosts and Gravestones tour? Before Your Ghosts and Gravestones Tour in San Diego We arrived early in the day, and after a morning…

When we visit Walt Disney World, we drive from Missouri, so our trips are usually at least two weeks long.  We often arrive in Orlando in the afternoon, and sometimes we stay offsite for a night before we really get the trip started.  I also try to build in pockets of rest throughout the trip so we aren’t so exhausted that we aren’t enjoying ourselves.  Believe me, in the summer when we travel, it’s a good idea to hit the parks at rope drop and take an afternoon break; then we usually head back to the parks in the evening. If you’re not ready for the parks, where can you get that taste of Disney?  Why Disney Springs, of course.  You should definitely check out the entertainment and shopping, and while you’re there, you may as well try a fun place to eat.  Raglan Road is a fun place to…

When we started planning a trip to Norfolk and Virginia Beach, I knew I wanted to stay right by the ocean.  We’d never stayed anywhere with an ocean view, although when we visit St. Augustine, we are just steps from the beach without the view.  After a little bit of research, we discovered that several hotels are available at the beach, and many advertise that every room has an ocean view.  We settled on the Comfort Inn and Suites Virginia Beach Oceanfront. The First Day at Virginia Beach When we arrived, it was raining.  In fact, it had been raining for our last leg of the drive.  By the time we’d parked and found our room, the rain let up.  We loved our ocean view! Our suite was perfect for us; we had a separate bedroom on the opposite side from the window facing the ocean.  Then we had a…

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