All posts filed under: Travel

Inks Lake State Park

We visited Inks Lake State Park at the peak of wildflower and bluebonnet season. With our State Parks Pass in hand, we wanted to find a park that was within a short drive (in case there was a freak-out moment) so the boys could have their first camping experience. Inks Lake has waterfront cabins in addition to tent camping, and that worked out perfectly for our family. Heads up that Central Texas campsites at many state parks fill up FAST in the spring. We booked this trip a month ahead to get a Friday night spot. It only got more crowded by Saturday. Checking other parks’ availability nearby, many were booked up on weekends almost 2 months ahead. Besides our Parks Pass, the best investment we made was picking up a Chillax Hammock from Costco. They normally retail for $70, and Costco was selling them for $35. The Big Kid spent the entire afternoon and early evening, lounging in the hammock. If the night hadn’t gotten chilly, he probably would’ve slept in it too. Thankfully, my husband …

McKinney Falls State Park

Ever since we bought a State Parks Pass ($70 for an entire year), we have been trying to make the most of it to see the natural beauties in Texas. The closest to us in Austin is McKinney Falls State Park, a quick 20 minutes from downtown. I’ve been there a handful of times, but there was recent rain that made the waterfalls a little more exciting than our visit last year. We got there in the morning around 10 and brought lunch in a cooler. The kids were very excited about carrying trail maps, as if we were hunting for treasure. Our first stop was toward the Lower Falls. The last time we visited, we told the Big Kid about how he lost a shoe as a baby, and it bounced on the rocks and landed in the creek below. He found the same spot we pointed out to him of the lost shoe and gave us a pose – both shoes firmly on his feet. The Lower Falls don’t look like much when you first …

Davis Mountains State Park

My husband and I have made a few trips out to West Texas before we had kids. We camped at Big Bend National Park and made stops in Alpine and Marfa. The terrain to the west with its deserts and mountains makes us feel like we’re in a completely different state compared to the mostly flat plains of North Texas and rolling hills of Central Texas. One place that had been on our bucket list was the McDonald Observatory near Ft. Davis. Over the holidays, we picked a free weekend in January and planned a drive out west. Unfortunately, the weather was really cloudy and threatening rain, so the Star Party became an indoor affair, which was still fascinating and educational. We did manage to see Venus through the clouds, which looks like a very bright star with the naked eye. Most evenings, I’m rushing from dinner to teaching yoga to running last-minute errands, and I rarely look beyond what’s directly in front of me. I miss the stars every night. I forget how vast and beautiful the …

Road Trip 2016: Albuquerque & White Sands

We had half a day in Albuquerque before heading south, so we wanted something a little less time-intensive. Since we have a Family Premier membership to the Thinkery in Austin, we could get in to reciprocal science museums for free, and we found the National Museum of Nuclear Science on the list. It wasn’t a very large museum, but the display of missiles, jets and bombers were pretty impressive to walk around. At the same time, it was awe-inspiring to see the range and devastating power contained in these missiles. The science side of my brain was like, “COOOL,” while the self-preservation side of my brain was like, “Oh, crap. That’s horrifying.” Inside were a number of hands-on exhibits. I think my husband and I were more interested in them than the kids. 😉 Since we got there right as the museum opened, we had plenty of time to explore and play without bumping into any crowds. Our final national parks stop on the trip was White Sands National Monument. We battled strong winds the full length of New …

Road Trip 2016: Mesa Verde National Park

Seeing how 2016 is quickly coming to a close, I’d better finish out blogging about our road trip from April, yeah? Thanks, NaBloPoMo, for giving me no more excuses. We left Durango bright and early in the morning to make the quick 35 minute drive to Mesa Verde National Park. When I was doing my research on this park, I was really rather bummed that we wouldn’t be able to do the Ranger-led tours through the different cliff dwellings. They required everyone to be able to scale the ladders safely, and you can’t backpack any young kids. Even though I’m 99% sure Bear Shark would have been steady and agile enough to climb ladders, I knew the Park Rangers wouldn’t allow it. Instead, we asked the very helpful Rangers at the visitor center what we could do as a family to still enjoy the park. She asked how long we had to visit, which was about 5-6 hours, and then drew us a nice driving route where we could stop at the vista points and explore. The …

Road Trip 2016: Santa Fe & Durango

It’s been 4 months since our road trip, but I haven’t forgotten to share! I was simply letting the experience marinate. Uh huh. Day 2 of our trip was mostly a driving day through eastern New Mexico. Going from Roswell to Santa Fe, it looked pretty flat, like this: We listened to the Hamilton soundtrack for these long stretches as the boys slept. By the time we rolled up toward Santa Fe, it was time for lunch and to run the kids ragged. I found a playground near Santa Fe Railyard, which had been redeveloped for park space. And of course, the boys were very excited to see train cars up close. We walked around the Santa Fe Historic Plaza before hitting the road again toward Durango. The first two days of driving were pretty unimpressive. However, the closer we got to Colorado, the scenery improved immensely! Red rocks and mountains in the distance! The weather was getting cooler and crisper too. We even saw snow on the ground as we crossed into Colorado. As …

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