Looking back at 2012, I realize that this was a pretty epic year of travel for our family. With a new starting point (Las Vegas), we were able to visit destinations like San Francisco and Los Angeles that are much closer to us now than they were when we lived in Texas and the Midwest. However, that isn’t to say that we stayed close to home. This year also took us to Florida, the Bahamas, British Columbia, and elsewhere.
I’m in the mood to relive some of those great travel moments. Want to come along? Here are six highlights from the past year:
My husband and I started out 2012 with a parents-only trip to San Francisco. We are always a little sad to travel without our daughter, but having time to ourselves is essential. We enjoyed a fantastic dinner at Flour + Water, visited Alcatraz, and did our share of drinking at the hotel bar.
What I learned: Sometimes Mama needs a break! Be thankful for friends and family who are willing to babysit.
We had been told that Death Valley was rather boring and that we should try another nearby national park, like Joshua Tree. Ever the contrarians, we decided to try Death Valley anyway. Dramatic vistas, huge sand dunes, and the expansive salt flats kept us entertained for an afternoon. The park makes a fantastic day trip from Las Vegas!
What I learned: Bring sand toys for the kids…and the grown-ups.
We love Chicago, and in a way it is like a second home to us. We try to visit once a year, and this year’s trip was particularly fun. We did a few new things that we hadn’t tried before like a Wrigley Field tour. If the winters weren’t so long, I’d move to Chicago in a second!
What I learned: Even if you’ve attended a game at Wrigley Field, you should consider going back for a behind-the-scenes tour.
Although my husband had been on a cruise before, this was a first for my daughter and me. Our trip was filled to the brim with adventures: swimming with a dolphin, rushing down the Aquaduck slide, and meeting all of the popular Disney characters.
What I learned: The line for Disney Dream’s Aquaduck slide might look long, but it’s worth the wait.
We visited Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park in September with my husband’s extended family. Our group shared a house for a long weekend, giving my daughter plenty of opportunity to play with her cousins. Sometimes travel is just about fun…but sometimes it’s more than that. It’s about the simple pleasures in life, connecting with family and with nature, and taking a deep breath of that lovely mountain air.
What I learned: Winter or summer, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Colorado.
Seattle and Victoria
Usually when we travel during major holidays, we go back home to St. Louis to see family. However, for Thanksgiving we tried something new and traveled elsewhere. During our visit, we ate at some really wonderful restaurants like Toulouse Petite Kitchen in Seattle and Mo:Le in Victoria.
What I learned: Food is awesome.
I’m so thankful that this has been a travel-filled year for our family. I hope you were able to enjoy some adventures in 2012. Thank you so much for reading Wandering Off.