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When we visit national parks, we often stay on-site in a national park lodge if it makes sense for that visit.  For our first visit to the Grand Canyon, we knew we wanted to check out the Grand Canyon Village, so why not stay the night there? Located at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in the northwest corner of Arizona, Grand Canyon Village features lodging, shopping, and dining options right along the canyon. There are several benefits to staying right on property at a national park lodge; one of our favorites is to see park features at different times of the day. We hoped that during our Grand Canyon visit that we could see the light changes at sunset and sunrise. Another benefit is that often the day visitors thin out as dusk approaches and you may get to experience the park with fewer people. And often, national…

If you spend enough time driving Route 66 and learning about the highlights along the way, you’ll inevitably stumble upon the El Rancho Hotel and its movie star history. When we found ourselves driving through the American Southwest, we couldn’t resist staying a night. Located right on Route 66 in Gallup, New Mexico, this historic hotel is not only a fun place to sleep, it’s also a fun Route 66 attraction that will have you looking in every nook and cranny for its surprises. History of El Rancho Hotel In the 1930s, a man named R.E. Griffith, known as Griff, came to Gallup. He liked the area enough that he decided to build a hotel, so he hired Joe Massaglia to build the hotel on Route 66. In 1936, the hotel was completed. Griff’s brother, movie director D.W. Griffith, used the hotel to house movie stars and production crews that…

Many Glacier is simply one of the most beautiful places on earth. Located on the east side of Glacier National Park, Many Glacier is often overshadowed by other highlights of the park, like Going-to-the-Sun Road and Lake McDonald. Though we loved exploring those places, there’s something peaceful about Many Glacier, and this area turned out to be a favorite of the entire family. When we return to Many Glacier one day, we hope to spend more than a few hours in this place. Though the pictures don’t do the area justice, and the smoke from wildfires drifted through the air during our visit, I’ll do my best to persuade you to make Many Glacier part of your Glacier National Park experience. Getting to Many Glacier We drove to Glacier National Park from West Yellowstone, so during our planning, we made reservations to stay the first night in the area at…

Ever since I learned that the historic Old Faithful Inn was a place, I knew I needed to stay there one day. My dream was realized this summer when we made our first visit to Yellowstone National Park. We also happened to stay on my birthday. How amazing is that? National park lodges sell out quickly, so we booked our two nights at Old Faithful Inn about 11 months in advance. If you’re planning a trip to the most popular parks, I certainly recommend planning your trip a year out so you won’t have to settle for anything less than what you want to do. Plus, you’ll have all year to look forward to your awesome trip! Disclaimer: One thing I should point out right now–Old Faithful Inn is NOT a luxury resort with all the bells and whistles. In fact, if you stay in the Old House like we…

If you’re planning a trip to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, be sure to put Storytellers Cafe on your to-do list! Mickey’s Tales of Adventure Buffet was a wonderful memory for us. One of my favorite things to do on a Disney trip is to try fun restaurants and meet our favorite characters. Luckily, Disney allows you to combine both of these into one experience. Character dining is something we always make time for on our trips. When I saw the adorable outfits the characters wore at Storytellers Cafe, I knew we had to give it a try! Visiting the Grand Californian Hotel Storytellers Cafe is located in the Grand Californian Hotel and Spa. What’s cool about this hotel, besides the architecture and theming, is that it has a private entrance to Disney California Adventure Park. You can walk out of the resort and into Grizzly Peak, the park of the…

If you’re looking for a Walt Disney World resort that has easy access to Epcot, you really can’t go wrong with Disney’s Boardwalk Inn. Since we’ve begun our Disney adventures, we’ve also stayed at The Beach Club. While The Beach Club is a wonderful resort, I think the Boardwalk edges it out a little for being the favorite for our family. Our family’s favorite resort overall is Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. To read about our stays there, click here.  We often do split stays so we can reap the benefits of different resorts while trying different Disney experiences. If you’re into split stays or you love Epcot, keep reading. Click here to read more about renting DVC points to save on deluxe stays at Disney. To help you plan your next Disney vacation, I’ve outlined 6 reasons that Boardwalk Inn wins in the Epcot-area resorts category. 1.…

My family tends to look for the interesting and quirky when we travel. When we started planning a road trip that included the U. S. Southwest and some national parks, I knew we should try to snag a reservation at the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona. We were lucky to get one, and I do recommend a reservation. They don’t have a lot of rooms. So sit back and relax, and I’ll tell you the story of our night in Holbrook. The History of the Wigwam Motel I’d always wanted to stay in one of the Wigwam Motels. At one time, the United States was home to seven Wigwam Motels with the location in Holbrook known as Village 6. Besides the one in Holbrook, only two others remain in operation: Cave City, Kentucky, and San Bernadino, California. Frank Redford built the first one, located in Cave City, in 1933.  He…

If you’re taking a road trip in the Southwest, and you’re traveling along Route 66 or nearby, why not stay at a historic Route 66 roadside motel, like the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico? For this road trip, we opted for unique and nostalgic lodging, and we couldn’t have had more fun taking in the details and imagining what it used to be like to travel America’s iconic highway just a few decades ago. Blue Swallow Motel: The Property The lobby of the Blue Swallow is like a time capsule. You’ll see all kinds of details from yesteryear, and if you look closely, you’ll see items from other locations along Route 66. I was surprised to see a pop bottle from Cozy Dog Drive-In in Springfield, Illinois. The fireplace is fun to check out, too. So cozy! The property is intimate and adorable. When the neon comes on in…

We’d like to thank Visit Springfield for sponsoring our trip to Springfield! As always, all opinions are honest and our own. Last summer, we had the opportunity to spend a few days in Springfield, Illinois, to visit the Lincoln attractions and everything else Springfield had to offer families. If you’re looking for an awesome Midwest road trip destination for your family that mixes history, learning, and family fun, then Springfield is the place for you! First Things First: Head to the Springfield Visitors Center Before you do anything else, stop in at the Springfield Visitors Center in downtown Springfield at the corner of 6th and Adams St. They will give you schedules of any events happening, and they may have some great coupons! They will definitely answer any questions you have about the area. Be sure to also check out the display of Lincoln’s law office. The building is the…

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