Help plan our summer travels!
We’re in planning mode for our next round of travels. It’ll be our first big international trip as a family of four so we’re looking for something easy, fun and where we can go at our own pace and adjust along the way. We’re heading to North America this time around and I’d love input from you on places to go, things to do and any great eats along the way. Here’s the rough outline itinerary we have so far:
We’ll be flying from New Zealand to Honolulu. At this stage, our idea is to spend a week each in Oahu, Kauai and Maui. Lee’s visited Kauai a couple of times with his family and has very fond memories of Hanalei Bay so that’s a must do. Everything else is up in the air. What are your favourite beaches in Oahu, Maui and Kauai? We are looking for kid-friendly spots with shallow water and no waves. We’re planning on getting vacation rentals in each island and exploring from a base. I’ve been scouring Airbnb and VRBO for condos but if you have specific recommendations I’d love to have them.
Pacific Northwest Road Trip
Four to five weeks
We’ll be flying from Hawaii into Seattle. We plan on picking up a car in Seattle and driving all the way to San Francisco. I’m super excited to hang out with my travel blogging friend Keryn from Walking On Travels. She’s an expert when it comes to Seattle & surrounds and has pre-school aged boys for Reuben to play with. What are your favourite things to do in Seattle? Should we swing by Mount Rainer National Park?
Portland is on our list because it’s big for foodies so any restaurant, food truck or cafe recommendations you have would be great. What else do you suggest for Portland?
Further down in Oregon we want to focus on natural wonders and National Parks like Crater Lake and Klamath Falls. We might spend a few days on the coast also. What do you suggest?
We’ll stretch our travels down into California at this point to visit the Redwoods. Where is the best city to base ourselves while visiting the Redwoods?
Next we’ll be making our way inland to Yosemite National Park via a stop in Lake Tahoe. If you’ve been to either, how many days would you devote to each? What are the best trails, hikes or activities for families with small children? We’ll have a baby carrier for Hazel but Reuben will be walking (or on Dad’s shoulders!).
Finally, we plan on finishing up in San Francisco for more good food and sightseeing in the big city. Where do you suggest we go in San Francisco?
Four to five weeks
We spent six weeks in Las Vegas when Reuben was a baby and had a great time. We love this city! I’m looking forward to all the great restaurants, a bit of casino action and shows. There are so many great things to do with kids in Las Vegas. Reuben doesn’t remember our first visit so I’m sure he’ll enjoy doing them all again. Moreover, we’ll be looking for a breather from quick travelling after a busy two months on the road. What are your favourite things to do in Las Vegas?
After that, who knows?
Our next step will dependent on if we can get a six month tourist visa for the US. If we can’t, we’ll only have 90 days and will have to exit North America at this point and head into Central or South America. If we can stay in the US, I’d like to head to the East Coast and then down to Florida for a cruise. If we can’t, then we need to look for flights to somewhere like Guatemala, Colombia or Argentina.
We’ve just spent a week on Kauai and we’re currently staying on Molokai! We loved Kauai’s north shore, Waimea Canyon, the Napali Coast and the Smith Family Luau. I would also recommend visiting Molokai rather than Maui – although I’ve not been to Maui. It’s just beautiful here, very unfettered as there’s little tourism and only 8,500 inhabitants. Check out our instagram 😉 http://instagram.com/wanderlustersuk/#
Just looked up the Luau… looks great!!
The new High Roller Wheel shouldn’t be missed. Not sure the age of you son, but if he is 7 or under, pay a visit to Container Park. Besides the cool 3 story treehouse and slides, there is a small open field perfect for kicking around a soccer ball. There is no cost to go, they have free live music on the weekends, a balloon artist (works on tips) and plenty of food and drink options all in repurposed shipping containers. Parking (if you rent a car) is free on Sundays.
Hope you have a fabulous trip!
Oh, that looks awesome Kate! Will definitely add it to our to-do list for Vegas.
Exciting! And happy travels. Sounds like a pretty flexible all-age itinerary so far.
I’m used to looking for fun toddler activities but now Reuben is a bit bigger he can do more. Hazel will just have to tag along! Will be interesting travelling with a baby again.
Yay for visiting Seattle! I love our city in the summer and I think you’ll have a great time! (If you’re here in July there is a fun food festival called bite of Seattle that I love!) We’ve also been to Oahu and maui and a few other places on your list so totally let me know if you need some suggestions:) So excited for your trip!
We won’t make it to Seattle until August unfortunately!
I’d love some suggestions for beaches and things to do in Oahu and Maui. My main concern is finding beaches that are safe for small kids. Got any ideas?
OMG OMG OMG I am so so excited for you and your family, what an excellent summer you are going to have! …Can you spend MORE time in Kauai and less in Oahu? Hanalei Bay is gorgeous, and iconic, and all that — but the best beach for families in Kauai is on teh other side of the island – the south side is calmer so the surf’s less rough. Try Poipu down there, please!! You can rent snorkeling equipment right on the beach, and it is so super for snorkeling. Then as long as you are on the south side of Kauai, rake a short drive to Waimea Canyon for a jaw-droppingly stunning hike. I hope it’s okay if I leave this here for you: http://thevacationgals.com/accessible-hiking-waimea-canyon-kauai/ Mark Twain called Waimea Canyon the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific,” go see why. If you’re outdoorsy you will like Kauai and Maui much more than Oahu – can you mush your schedule around a little to spend more time on those islands?
And Portland is one of my favorite places in the entire United States. THose food trucks are not fair to the restaurant owners though. Allll those hipsters love that scene of standing up and eating, but think about it – actual brick-and-mortar restaurants pay property taxes to the city. The food trucks rumble in, set up shop, and leave, taking away business form the restaurants. It’s not cool, and really, just because the hipsters think it’s fun to stand up and eat, doesn’t mean you have to follow that crowd. One of my favorite restaurants closed a couple of years ago, right near where the food trucks started parking.
Thanks for your suggestions Jennifer! Yes, our itinerary is flexible. I’m just looking for accommodation now and it’s actually proving pretty hard to find places that are available in Kauai over the summer. Poipu looks better than Hanalei for little kids. I think you’re spot on there!
Do you think AC is a must in the summer? I’ve assumed we will need it but I’m having difficulty finding accomm that actually has it. We’re coming from winter in NZ so I imagine we’ll find it hot!
Waimea Canyon looks incredible. We’re not really hikers but easy walks are great for us.
Sorry your favourite joint shut down! We just like food trucks because we like to eat different meals from one another without having to have fights over who gets to choose the cuisine for the night! 😉
Sounds like you’re going to have a wonderful summer! I LOVE Kailua beach on Oahu (famous for President Obama’s visits). You’d expect it to be an insanely expensive, exclusive beach, but it feels much more like a local hangout. And gorgeous!
Sounds like a great trip! We’re spending just over 2 weeks on Maui, on our way to SE Asia – we’ve been to Maui lots, and just love it there!
If you’re renting a condo, Kihei in South Maui is great – my favourite is Kamaole Sands, right across from Kamaole III beach. If you want to know anything about Maui, contact me via my site and I’d be glad to help! 🙂
I’ve just seen a really great looking condo at that exact resort and it’s reasonably priced. Thanks so much for the tip!!!!
Sounds like an amazing summer you have planned! I love the west coast – the scenery is stunning and the cities just so cool! If you make it to the east coast, definitely make a stop in my home state, North Carolina! Asheville and the outer banks are really beautiful 🙂
We might do an East Coast road trip after Vegas if we get our visa!
We briefly worked in San Francisco. You’ve got to visit Ocean Beach. Which we enjoyed by day, sunbathing, and by night, Anchor Steam keg parties. Wahey.
Hopefully it will still be warm enough for the beach in September Matthew!
It sounds like you are going to have a very busy summer! I hope you have a great time with all of your diverse adventures.
Your trip sounds great. When my daughter was little we went to San Francisco a lot. She enjoyed the bay cruise that goes under the Golden Gate Bridge — it’s kind of fun to look up and see it from beneath — and rides around the bay. We also took the ferry to Sausalito and walked around there (there’s a good ice cream shop not far from where the boat docks). It’s fun if you like walking — horrible if you don’t.
Reuben would love to go under the bridge. Great idea!
Okay, Vegas is my jam! I take the kids all the time. There is plenty for families to do! I love to stay at the Mirage, because the pool is really great and the kids love to swim. I pick restaurants with live music like Nine Fine Irishmen, because the kids can be there until they stop serving food (usually around 10pm). Most of the casinos have live (free) shows, my kids love the Sirens of T.I at Treasure Island. I have post on my blog about Las Vegas with Kids. You might want to check it out before you go again. I’ll be there this summer as well!
We won’t be there until late September but plan on staying through October so let me know if you wind up planning another trip there later in the year!
You should really consider coming a couple hours north to visit Vancouver once you hit Seattle. You would get a little taste of Canada in a great city at the prefect time of year for a visit!
We are definitely coming to Canada but not until later in the year. Our rough plan is to spend a few months skiing in Whistler over Winter so will hit Vancouver first!
We plan on heading to Whistler for the ski season so Vancouver will definitely be a stop on our way north!
If you end up driving through the Midwest (specifically Indy or Chicago) let me know!! 🙂 I’d love to meet you!
No advice sorry as the PNW is still on our bucket list, but I am positive it’ll be amazing! And wow, 6 weeks in Vegas … what did you guys do there for that long?
I can’t help you plan but I just wanted to let you know that I’m excited about meeting up with you in America!!! 🙂
Hey ! 5 weeks in Vegas might be long ! Expecially with kids ! But there are quite a lot of things to visit around, like Death Valley (bring water !!). Make sure to book a night out in Vegas, Circle du Soleil is great for kids ! and tickets get sold out weeks in advance !