mile high

We’re in the club! We went camping at Mile High Campground in North Carolina. The times were as glorious as the views! At first I wasn’t sure I really wanted to go because, you know, camping. And also Jared’s expectations.

We were getting ready to go camping. I had gotten both kids “ready”. Jared looked at Liam and said “Let’s go do your hair.” And I was like “Why, we’re going camping. He looks cute. He is going to wear a hat anyway. Why do you need to do his hair?” And my husband looked at me sideways and said “We still do our hair when we are camping.” And I was all HOLD THE PHONE! What? You don’t even have hair, big guy! The only reason I want to go camping at all is so that I don’t have to wear a real bra, or put on make-up, or do my hair for three days! If your expectation is that hair will be done and real bras will be worn, I cannot go camping!

But we went anyway. Nan and Pop joined us for a night. It was a blast.




Mile High Campground (as featured by ABC)

Mile High Campground (as featured by ABC)

Camping in the Smokies

There is nothing like escaping the heat and heading to the mountains.  We just found a new favorite camping place in North Carolina called Mile High Campground.  The views are spectacular.  It’s no wonder Good Morning America picked Mile High Campground as one of America’s Favorite Places.

Mile High Campground is located in Cherokee, NC just outside of the Cherokee Reservation.  Most campsites have amazing views that go for miles, and an incredible sunset view that makes this place a must see at least once in a lifetime.

BIA Highway 407
Maggie Valley, NC 28751


Our recommended campsites

  • T1 (has a good amount of space for kids with a nice view)
  • T00 (drive-in site with a wide view and lots of space)
  • T0 (private site but small area.  Drive-in site)
  • T4 (very private site with wide view, not drive in, and small)

If none of the tent-only sites are available, the other red circled sites are other good options.

Soco Trout Pond

We visited a trout pond for the kids to snag some dinner and teach them how to cook a trout over the fire.  It was a fun addition to our camping trip.

Soco Gap Trout Pond

Panama City Beach – Best Time to Visit the Beach

Panama City Beach – Best Time to Visit the Beach

Our Little Secret!

I’m not quite sure how the tradition started of going to Panama City Beach in November, but we traveled to the beach one year around Thanksgiving and it has since become a yearly tradition.  The weather is warm, but not too hot.  The prices for vacation rentals are typically half of what they are during peak season.  The beaches are so much less crowded.  November and December are the BEST times to go to a Florida beach!

Some of our favorite things in Panama

The Pier & Pier Park

The Pier is one of our favorite places in Panama City Beach.  You can fish off the pier, or walk to the end and watch the fisherman catching redfish, pompano, bonita, whiting, flounder, sharks and more.  Across the road from the pier is Pier Park, a large development with all kinds of dining, shopping and entertainment.

Muy Wayne O’s

When you go to the beach you typically want seafood… but if you’re in the mood for some TexMex or BBQ… must eat at Muy Wayne O’s!  One if the best finds on our vacation. We have come to Panama City Beach for years and it wasn’t until I searched trip advisor for ideas that we decided to see what all the great reviews here were all about. I was blown away with their brisket, best I’ve ever had! No wonder they took the trophy…

Shell Island

Exploring the Saint Andrew Bay is a favorite of our family.  We like to rent a large Pontoon boat to travel to Shell Island, where the girls will typically walk the sandy banks around the outer edges of the bay toward the ocean searching for crabs, shells, and dolphins while the boys take the boat around the outskirts of Shell Island and fish.  Every time we’ve been out on the bay we’ve seen dolphins… sometimes even swimming in the wake of our boat.

Las Vegas – 10 Free Things-to-do with Kids

Las Vegas – 10 Free Things-to-do with Kids

10 Free Things To See With Kids

Las Vegas has been on our travel list for a long time, and we finally found an opportunity to see Vegas with the Kids. We are frugal travelers so to get the most out of our trips we always research free family things to see and do.  The list is long in Vegas, but here are the Top 10 sites we saw in Vegas.

1. World’s Brightest Beam of Light

The Luxor Hotel & Casino: You can find great deals for hotels in Vegas on Groupon.  We booked our room at The Luxor which was much cooler than I imagined.  The pyramid-shaped hotel was fascinating to the kids and a really fun place to stay while we explored Vegas for 2 days.  The light beam that shoots from the top of the pyramid hotel at night is 315,000 watts and is seen from over 200 miles away.

2. Statue of Liberty

New York, New York Casino: Since we have been to New York City, the kids have been obsessed with the Statue of Liberty… so no surprise they loved seeing the Statue of Liberty once again in Vegas.

3. Dancing Water Fountains

Bellagio Casino: The fountain shows Mon-Fri 3p-8p every 1/2 hour, 8p-12a every 15 min, Sat-Sun: 12p-8p every 1/2 hour, 8p-12a every 15 min.

4. The Conservatory

Bellagio Casino: 14,000 square foot atrium with 55 ft ceilings, botanical garden open 24 hours per day.  It reminds me of a mini version of The Opryland Hotel in Nashville.

5. 27 Foot Chocolate Fountain

Bellagio Casino: Open daily from 7a – 11p

6. The Volcano

The Mirage Casino: This was the one thing Liam wanted to see most.  The volcano erupts every hour from 7p until 11p nightly.

7. Gondola Canals

The Venetian: Even though it isn’t cheap to ride the Gondola boats, it is fun to take a stroll by the Gondola Canals for the view.

8. Wildlife Habitat

Flamingo Casino: Open 8a – Sunset

9. Eiffel Tower

Paris Casino:

10. M&M Store

More pics from Vegas

California Redwoods

California Redwoods

Road Trip on the 101

During our stay in Southern Oregon we took a road trip from San Francisco to Brookings driving up Hwy 101.  If you have an opportunity to road trip this stretch of land, you’re in from some fantastic sites.  The famous redwoods were amazing, so here are three places we stopped that are must-see locations we’d highly recommend to others.

Stout Grove

Address: Highway 101, Crescent City, CA
Info on TripAdvisor

We’ve hiked this grove a couple times over the years and it is always a favorite to come back.  Even the drive to the trailhead is spectacular.  It’s a level trail that is easy hiking taking you through enormous Redwoods and meeting at the Smith River.

If you are in for a dip in the Smith River, there is a great swimming hole just a bit further down the road that offers a rocky beach and some deep pools to cool off or sunbathe on rocks.

The Grandfather Tree

A great spot to stretch your legs and check out the grandeur of one of the oldest living trees today.  The Grandfather Tree is over 1800 years old and 264 ft tall with a diameter of 24 feet.

Info on TripAdvisor

The Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree

Classic road trip photos here!  It is just a few miles off the 101 highway and well worth the wait.  It is likely you will wait about 30 minutes or so in a line of cars waiting to drive thru the tree.  Make sure you tuck your mirrors in.

More info on the Chandelier Tree