A first for my family, we are headed to Rancho Mirage this weekend to experience the Rancho Las Palmas Spa and Resort! We will experience what the gorgeous resort has to offer along the lines of dining, accommodations, and family-fun. We’ve never been to this part of California and are thrilled at the chance to visit. Though it’s the middle of summer and the forecasted temperatures are in the 114-116 degree-category, we are anxious to experience property water park called Splashtopia hosting waterslides, a lazy inner-tube river, and even “sandy beaches.” Stay tuned for our full review, stay cool this weekend!
On our recent vacation to South Lake Tahoe, my husband and I spent a lot of time making sure everyone in our family was happy. This meant planning activities for the five of us (bowling, beach, mini-golf), separate activities that my husband did alone (mountain biking) and I did alone (slots, shopping), and one very special event that my husband and I shared for the first time! For all the years we’ve been going to Tahoe we have never taken a cruise, and this year was the year we got the wonderful opportunity, just him and I!
Right off Highway 50, before you hit Stateline, you’ll reach Ski Run Blvd and down at the marina the Tahoe Queen sets sail twice daily, and once in the evening for a sunset cruise. My husband and I took the 2pm cruise toward the end of our vacation, which was a perfect time for us to unwind and relax together. I would suggest getting to the dock a good half-hour early to get aboard and find the spot you want to start the voyage. Don’t worry, you can move around the entire trip on the 3 levels, both indoor and out to get the best views and photographic opportunities!
On the 2pm cruise a bar is open for your favorite well drinks as well as specialty cocktails and non-alcoholic choices. Delicious chocolate-chip cookies and homemade Kettle Chips are available for purchase at the bar, as well as a lower-level dining area offering a menu of hearty lunch choices. My husband often gets motion sickness, so after a Dramamine pill, he was ready for lunch. We ordered the turkey sandwich meal which was $12 but comes with a bag of chips, apple, block of cheese, cookie, and a non-alcoholic beverage of your choice. The sandwich was huge, so splitting it was perfect for the both of us and the added condiment of cranberry mayo was something new and totally delicious!
The Tahoe Queen sports the only Mississippi Paddlewheeler on the lake and it’s a site to behold. Grab your camera to catch the paddlewheels working and if you sit in the couches at the back end of the boat, you get a gentle spray of lake water, great on a warm day!
Throughout your cruise, you can listen to the history of the lake dating back to the 1800’s, with none other than Mark Twain narrating parts of the story. Don’t be alarmed if you see a curly-grey-haired character in a white suit walking around the boat as well, part of the story is acted out in play-form inside the main level. If you’re interested, you can take a closer look at the boat’s helm and talk to the captain! This was something my husband wanted to do! I asked him what they said, and he replied, “not too much, they’re kinda busy!”
The 2.5 hour cruise takes you to Emerald Bay and back and the views are breathtaking. The ride was smooth sailing over and back, my husband and I found ourselves easily able to nap if we wanted to, it was so relaxing! I would recommend this to anyone looking to have a great time in South Lake Tahoe, I couldn’t say a negative thing about it. Next time we go up, I’d love to experience the dinner/dance cruise that showcases yummy foods for an unforgettable experience. Food, wine, and the lake, you cannot go wrong!
Prices for the daytime cruises (10:30am, 2pm Wednesday-Sunday) are: Adults $46.00, Children $15.00, food and drinks are extra. The dinner/dance cruises leave at 7pm and are: Adults $75.00, Children $41.00. Other cruises sail from Zephyr Cove as well, check out the details for more information, http://www.zephyrcove.com/.
My husband and I were given complimentary cruise tickets for purpose of this honest review, food and drinks were paid by us. Our opinions are our tried-and-true experience and were not influenced by any source.
Every year our whole family looks forward to our family vacation. Since I was a child, I have visited Lake Tahoe which borders both California and Nevada. Year-round it’s a fabulous spot for skiing, snowboarding, beach activity, boating, fishing, cruising, and much much more! If you are heading to enjoy the gorgeous South Lake Tahoe, here are a few ideas for a great family friendly vacation.
Regan Beach-Regan Beach is really more of a lakeside park than a beach. There is a playground, volleyball court, wedding ceremony area, and extensive snack bar. This is one of the better places to watch the fireworks; close enough to see them well, but far enough away that your not paralized by traffic when they are over. Free parking!!
El Dorado Beach-is several hundred yards east of Regan Beach and is also more like a lakeside park. There is large grassy area but not much in the way of usable beach. There are a number of grills here for barbecuing. Additionally, there is a boat launch here but it is one of the first on the lake to close when water gets lower.
The beach is short, but once you hit the water is shallow and great for kids to play in for a while out there.
Nevada Beach-Just one mile past the CA/NV stateline, Nevada beach is a fabulous place to jump in the lake, BBQ on the beach, and even partake in volleyball or frisbee. Built-in grills and picnic tables make this a fabulous spot for a family get together. Tons of room to eat, play, and swim with awesome views of the snow capped mountains and a beautiful sunset! Parking is $7.
Tahoe Bowl-Even my 4 year old loves this place year after year! Whether you are a pro or just like to have a good time, bowling for our family of 5 was $40 for one game and shoe rental. Use the bumpers on one lane for the kids and another lane for the adults. Right inside the bowling you have Blue Dog Pizza with fabulous gourmet pies and delicious pesto chips (try them, they rock!). Full bar area for watching the ball games and chilling makes for a great day out!
Located on Hwy 50, 2455 Lake Tahoe Blvd, Magic Carpet Mini Golf offers 3 different great courses for all ages, each with a different theme, magic castle, storybook, and dinosaurs. Play one course or all 3 for a low price, $8/person. For the littlest golfers, they offer small plastic clubs. At the end of the course, all players drop their ball into a slot machine for a chance at a free game next time around. My kids love to do this year after year, and we even keep score!
Bavarian Village-Looking for a place to stay. Check out the rentals at Bavarian Village. Located just off Hwy 50, close to grocery shopping, shopping, the beach, and the casinos, Bavarian Village is a condo complex with individually owned units for rent, nightly or weekly. The complex has a gorgeous pool and spa, and for the kids, just behind you’ll find an elementary school with full playground, baseball field, basketball hoops for hours of recreation.
Stay tuned for more great ideas and tips to make your South Lake Tahoe trip the best!
If you are ever on the central coast of California, you must visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium! Open since 1984, the mission of the aquarium is to inspire conservation of the oceans. Monterey Bay ranks among the world’s most diverse marine regions, the bay is part of the largest protected marine areas in the US. The aquarium’s permanent exhibits and galleries highlight the colorful and complex marine life found in this area, from coastal wetlands to the open ocean and deep sea, along with special exhibits featuring marine life from around the world.
My older children were lucky enough to visit the aquarium in their first grade year in elementary school as part of their science curriculum. My youngest daughter had yet to go, so our family recently took a trip and it was truly amazing. My son kept saying over and over, “our ocean is so amazing…these animals are so fascinating!” They truly are! The aquarium is age-appropriate for even the youngest ocean fan, with interactive exhibits, water play, touch pools, and art. We relate so many of our encounters with “Finding Nemo” for my youngest, then the light bulb goes on for her. My older children read and learned about recycling, biology, and conservation of energy.
Check out my slide show of our visit!
There are daily animal feedings which we seemed to miss at every time frame for the Sea Otters, animals of the Outer Bay, and the Penguins as well as a Kelp Forest dive show. The newest exhibits show off hot pink flamingos and the secret lives of seahorses (including the pregnant male seahorse!) The aquarium has a number of great places to shop for souvenirs, clothing, books, and more, along with a place to dine if you didn’t bring your sack lunch!
Adults pay $29.95 and children 3-12 are $17.95 each, with senior, student, and disabled rates also available. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is open every day of the year excluding Christmas.
It was a wonderful experience, and so educational for the whole family. Located at the end of Monterey’s famous Cannery Row, you can’t find a better spot for a family vacation!
Our experience is our tried and true opinions and was not influenced by any source. We were given complimentary tickets for this review.
I hadn’t been to Knott’s Berry Farm since I was six. Lots of things have changed since then and I was thrilled when on our recent trip down to Southern California that I could take my kids there to check out the park!
In the heart of Buena Park, less than 10 miles from Disneyland, Knott’s is a place where you can go to stroll casually through the park without the crowds and chaos during spring break.
Snoopy and the rest of the Peanuts gang are the stars of the park and it helps that we all love them! Camp Snoopy is an area that is geared to the littles and was perfect for my family. I do have a thrill seeker (my oldest) who did get away to take in some big roller coasters, but we spent about 5 hours in the younger area to take in all it had to offer!
Siblings rode on some rides together, my oldest is 11 and is just “short enough” to take in some of the younger-geared rides.
Lines ran quickly and we could get on just about anything in under 10 minutes!
Dad got in on the fun too, in between taking the big kids to the bigger coasters.
I rode a few rides with my youngest and there was also a mini-coaster that even the littles could board (unfortunately, I didn’t get that shot).
The hot air balloon ride was both my 4 year olds and my favorite ride, we really felt like we were soaring in the air.
Then in the Camp Snoopy Theater, we got to watch a live show with the characters playing to a baseball theme and “Centerfield” by John Fogarty! Great fun with an inflatable ball bouncing around the crowd.
One of the special promotions during Spring Break was Spring Training at the park. Kids go around to 4 different stations including a baseball, football, soccer, and basketball station and do an event to get a punch on a ticket. When you’re all through, you take it to the “finish line” and you’re rewarded with a special water bottle and coupon for a discounted commemorative t-shirt.
With reasonable rates, families can enjoy a great park without breaking the bank! Also, AAA members get 30% off regular full day admission tickets!
Full Day Regular
Adults over 11 years old
Full Day Junior
Ages 3 – 11
Full Day Senior
Because we stayed at the Radisson Suites just a few blocks away, we could walk back to our hotel for a break, and even to grab a snack without over-spending on food at the park. It was a fabulous time and we look forward to going back again soon!
I was offered complimentary tickets to the park in exchange for my personal review. All the opinions expressed were my own and were not influenced by any source.