Outer Banks by Bike – A Family Bike Tour – The FINAL chapter

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Let’s watch the video FIRST this time…

With only another small mile ride ahead of us to Kitty Hawk we decided to jump on our bikes for the 12 mile ride. Before we left Nags Head we backtracked a mile to Sam & Omies for breakfast! Our first real breakfast fuel on the trip!

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Sleeping Beauty

We figured out a great way to get the little one in her Yepp Seat as easy as possible.  She loves the seat but she loves to play more! So when its time to load her up we tell her we are going to look for School Buses. She eagerly runs to her seat and says “Hurry Daddy Hurry!”  … works every time!

 

Once she is in her seat she asks each of us if we are “ready”.

“Are you READY daddy?” — “Are you READY mama?” — “READY! Lets go!

 

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Are you Ready!?

 

Our ride to Kitty Hawk was slow. We had a western wind so it slowed us up a little. We were on sleepy old Hwy 12 with limited traffic but a lot of vacation rentals. We were planning on stopping at a brewery in Kitty Hawk near mile marker 8 (everyone uses mile markers there). But somehow we over shot it and missed it all together.

 

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Jones Loop Bars

 

We stopped into a bike shop and then spent a little more time at the beach. We saw the National Park for the Wright Brothers and road in! We have a National Parks pass and were able to get in for free. We only stopped for the restrooms and didn’t do much sight seeing. The monument sits on top of a tall grassy noel with a hike to the top. Working on a few pair of tired legs we chose not to make the hike.

 

After the exploration of the museum, we headed back down Hwy 12 in search of a cute place to stay for our last night. We found one that said vacant and rode in. But no one was there. I called the number left on the door and no one answered. So we rode on. We got to the end of the road where hwy 12 meets hwy 158. We found a very nice and very expensive Hilton Garden Hotel. They had a room for us with 1 king size bed. up until this point we had been able to put the little angel in her own room or bed or crib of some sort. So a 1 room arrangement wasn’t really up our alley. At the same time the motel we stopped at earlier returned my call! They had a few rooms we could choose from. So we made the 2 mile ride back into the wind.

 

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Family Pic

 

The Beach Haven Motel is a very cute and quiet place! Completely remodeled, they accommodations were excellent! It was close to nap time for the toddler so we tried to put her down in the second room for a short nap. FAIL. She was too excited to play on the beach!

 

So we walked on the beach! We took her sand tools and walked about a mile up and turned around. We ran across a star fish, lots of shells, and she spend a lot of time watching a group of kids boogey boarding.

 

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Playing with her boat
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Daddy what are you doing ?

 

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Silly Daddy
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Watching the waves

We opted for dinner at a sports bar and grille across hwy 158. A simple dinner of seafood and steak rounded the day out nicely!

 

Our last day of our Outer Banks by Bike tour was here. A 53 mile ride from Kitty Hawk to Elizabeth city on the following day and we had finished the trip. We started around 8am and were ready to hit the road. We stopped at Duck Donuts which was across from the Hilton Garden Hotel we stopped at the day before. This was the neatest donut place we had ever seen. They literally make the donuts in front of you and then you pick how you wanted it frosted! We got half a dozen, a coffee and a small milk for the little lady. We downed ALL OF THEM with no help from the 2 year old.

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kisses

 

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Gear

 

Once back on our bikes about 5 miles into the ride we encountered some road construction which resulted in 1 of the 2 bridges being closed. We were expecting to have a large shoulder on a 2 lane, one direction bridge. We road as far down the closed bridge as we could until we met up with some construction workers who told us that they were paving large sections of the bridge and we couldn’t cross.

 

Then we road the .5 mile back to the entrance and proceeded to jump into traffic on the slim shoulder, 2 lane bridge. I had Donald ride in front and I took up the rear. That way the little angel was between us incase something happened. We waited for a nice break in traffic to start the 2 mile ride across the bridge, although the break didn’t last long. Most of the drivers were courteous and waited to pass us until the oncoming traffic was minimal.  But we had a few who were in a hurry and didn’t care about our 3′ biker bubble. Needless to say we took a break on the other side and let our white knuckles return to their normal color before we proceeded.

 

Farmland again. We stopped at a farmers market and purchased a cantaloupe, a banana and some Gatorade. We let the little one run in the freshly mowed grass and she played with her dinosaur in the rock beds.

 

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Snacks!
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Farmers Market

For lunch we stopped at Weeping Radish Butcher and Brewery. A very German feel to the place complete with goats in the front of the building! We got a flight of beers and some schnitzel for lunch.

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Weeping Radish

DSC_9341

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Goats!
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Beer Flight

Back on the road to Elizabeth City, we passed the site of the Grave Diggers “birth place” (for lack of better words). For approximately a 1/2 mile we passed museums, an off road track, a mini golf course, and a campsite.

 

With 15 miles left of our trip we stopped a park for the little one. It was brand new and she loved every bit of it!

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Once we were back on the road we spotted a crop duster. It swooped back and forth across the road ahead of us. The little one LOVED it and would call for the “airplane” every time is crossed the road!

 

The last stretch of the ride was tiring. We were sore and ready to be done. We had some headwind. A few hills and a little rain. We were ready for it to end.

 

Looking back we had an amazing time. Every bit was great and our little girl had a wonderful time!

 

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www.AdventureFamilyInMotion.com

 

Outer Banks by Bike – A Family Bike Tour Chapter 2

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Day 1 of cycling started in Elizabeth City, NC. Our Outer Banks by Bike Tour was underway!

 

Day 1 Elizabeth City to Plymouth
Day 1 Elizabeth City to Plymouth

 

We headed out of the parking lot and onto the sidewalk! When I had asked Siri for “walking” directions to Plymouth, NC she took us down HWY 17. This is a fairly busy road with 2 lanes of traffic each way and an center lane turning. It did not, however, have a shoulder.  So we began our trip on the sidewalk!

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Day 1 begins with big smiles!

With a few navigational turns through Elizabeth city, one dropped dinosaur and sunday traffic, we ran out of shoulder and the road slowed down. Two days before we departed for our trip, the city was hit with a storm causing significant damage to the city, homes and the road.

 

After about an hour into our trip Abigail fell asleep. In a Yepp seat, just like a typical car seat, kids sleep in the most awkward positions.  So we stopped at an abandoned farmers market and parked our bikes next to a silo and propped her head up on it to help ease some of the stress on her.  Crazy that she slept through the entire process!

 

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Nap Time!

 

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Reading during nap time

After nap time we ventured back on to why 17. Nearly 5 miles up the road we ran into the Adventure Cycling Group as they were finishing their lunch. We exchanged greetings and told them we were on the same route. Abigail gave out high-5’s and we waved our good-byes. Little did we know this was the last place to have a good lunch before arriving in Plymouth.

 

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Lunch

Only a few short miles the lead tandem of the ACA was on our heels. They passed us right before the turn onto hwy 32. This is a nice, slow country road that had minimal traffic but a LOT of cross wide. We leap frogged the tandem and pulled off for a snack. Abigail played in the mud and we took in some Honey Stingers and a good amount of water. This also let the ACA group completely pass us so we weren’t holding them up.

 

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Checking emails

Good thing we stopped to refuel our energy because little did we know we were in for a crazy bridge crossing. A 3 mile long bridge connects the north and south banks of the Albemarle Sound.  We have been riding in a lush forested area and then all of a sudden the bridge was right in front of us. It was 2 lanes but had a HUGE shoulder. What slowed us down the most was the crosswind! The white caps on the water were huge. We never thought we were going to get across it. But we took our time and the minimal traffic was slow.

 

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White Caps and 3 mile bridge!

On the other side we were hoping for a good restaurant for lunch. Being on the sound you would think there would be a good seafood joint, no such luck.  So we pass the ACA who had just crossed the bridge as well, and pulled over for a good rest and a snack. Abigail ran around wit her helmet on and played in the sand.

 

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stretching our legs
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Playing in the sand!
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Lets get on the road again!

 

Once on our bikes we discovered we were now in farm country. We passed several fields with lush yellow flowers. They were beautiful and we still don’t know what they are!  At the “T” in our route we stopped at a local convenience store and grabbed a sandwich, some water and salty chips! We talked to a few locals and took a photo of their Civic Center.

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Flowers
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More flowers!
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Lunch
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Civic Center

We weren’t far from Plymouth now! Abigail took another nap on the bike, and we listened to Cross Canadian Ragweed on the _________ speaker Donald has attached to his bike. He played tunes for us via his bluetooth when the trip was getting long, or tiring or just plan boring!

 

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Family photo
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almost asleep on the bike

As soon as we turned onto Hwy 64 we were within 5 miles of “town”. What that consisted of we did not know. As soon as we turned onto 64 Abigail flung her Pacifier (she calls it a NaNA or Noy Noy). We couldn’t stop with the limited shoulder, and I had 2 more with us, so we kept on going.

 

The town was performing civil war reenactments that day so the place we busier then we expected. We saw a billboard for a Holiday Inn Express and decided to stay there. Good thing because there was NOTHING else in town! After we unpacked we thought we would go into the Historic Downtown and grab a bite to eat and enjoy a nice beer. But the town was dismal at best. Nothing was open, there were no watering holes or restaurants to grab dinner at. We headed back to the hotel and stopped at the local playground so Abigail could play!

 

When we got to our room we decided to order a pizza. We had noticed a Pizza Hut and a Mama’s Pizza on the way in. Surely they would bring us a hot pizza pie. No such luck. Pizza Hut didn’t deliver and Mama’s was CLOSED. Next best thing… BoJangles! It was in the parking lot of the hotel and within walking distance. Donald took the hike over and grabbed us a massive family size dinner, complete with souther sweet tea!

 

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Holiday Inn Express

We put Abigail to bed in the crib provided by the hotel. When we stay in hotels, I set her crib up in the bathroom. That way we don’t have to go to bed at 7pm. We finished the night out with some Forensic Files.

 

Check out the video from Day 2!

 

To see Day 1 click HERE.

 

 

How to have a Weeknight Adventure!

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Our last post we gave a you Simple List of Family Adventures that you can do any day of the week. Last night we decided to take our own advice and have a weeknight adventure!

 

If you can’t tell we LOVE our bikes … we have 9 total in our basement (not counting the baby’s Strider). Our friends call it the “Bike Shop.”  Needless to say we don’t get to ride ALL variations of our bikes too often.

 

We are part of a Mountain Bike Club near our house and they have a weekly Wednesday Night Ride. Normally we are elbows deep in a CrossFit workout during this time, but the stars aligned yesterday and we were able to do BOTH!

 

The trailhead is a huge open area where everyone parks and is still off the main road by at least 400 yards, so there is no traffic or a busy parking lot with lots of moving vehicles to be concerned about. We always attend these events as a family, including CrossFit (check out Abigail’s evening Crossfit Set-up here).  The baby is not a burden to either of us, and we became parents knowing this. So we have changed our lives ever so slightly to accommodate her. When we mountain bike, we take turns. This is the only biking we do that we can’t all do together; at least not yet. Last time we were out on the mountain bikes, I got to ride and Donald stayed at the trail head and watched the Abigail. This time I stayed with her and he rode.

 

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Trail Head

 

The ride was only about an hour long, so Abigail and I explored. These trails are part of the trail system we played in the mud at last week, although there was no mud this time.

 

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Adventure equipment

 

We took our time and explored the trail. She wanted to find Daddy so we headed in the same direction the bikers went.

 

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Trail

 

We picked up rocks and looked at flowers!

 

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Finding Rocks
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Putting the flower back

 

Her Dinosaur goes everywhere with her now.

 

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showing Dino the trail

 

She found a rock for him to hold during our walk!

 

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Dino and his rock
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Dinosaur loves to hold rocks

 

We poked along at no fast pace, playing with our shadows and touching nature.  I have found lately that if I let her choose the pace, and the direction on the path we are going, she feels like she is making decisions and I am supporting her. This has helped with our Tenacious Twos. We struggle at somethings, but if she has a chance to make decisions and be independent the day can go much smoother.

 

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Taking a break
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holding Hands

 

When it was time to head back, I carrier the little adventurer for a bit. We had walked into the trail system about a mile. When we got back we had a drink and chilled at the Sprinter.

 

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Hanging out in the Sprinter!
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Taking a Break

 

A great after work adventure was had by all! Have you been out on an after work adventure this week? Tell us about it! Send photos too and you could be featured you on our next post!

 

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Best Family Trips – National Geographic Travel

Namibia, Erongo Region, Swakopmund. A group of friends run down the steep face of a coastal dune kicking up sand.

Photograph by John Warburton-Lee Photography, Alamy

National Geographic Travel has posted their Best Family Trips around the World! These are just 12 of the top 100 from the book 100 Places That Can Change Your Child’s Life.

 

  1. Amalfi Coast, Italy
  2. Gettysburg, Pennsylvania
  3. The Great Wall, China
  4. Hong Kong
  5. Iceland’s Ring Road
  6. Machu Picchu, Peru
  7. Manhattan, NYC
  8. Marrakech, Morocco
  9. Namib Desert
  10. Havana, Cuba
  11. Paris, France
  12. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Where is your next trip going to be? I wonder which of these places would be the best to travel by bike?

Kidical Camping with the Hansen Family – Guest Post!

Our first guest blog post is from Sami Fournier: WhimsicalCycleTours WhimsicalCycles@gmail.com 

 

Last March we made it our family mission to escape endless winter in our home town of Bend, Oregon and emerge into warmer climates. Of course, our goal was to bike with our tiny toddler, while she’s still willing and has no choice. Bonus to baby Iris for still being in diapers. At not-quite 2, our barely 20 lb. offspring was an intrepid traveler by Chariot trailer, with her custom green-with-pink-grips-and-saddle Strider strapped on the back.

 

Kidical Camping with the Hansen Family
Kidical Camping with the Hansen Family

 

We had been riding around Bend with her for a good year on short trips when we decided to take our show on the road. Our first overnight bike-with-baby adventure was to be a guided tour by a mom, blogger and twitter socialite named Elle. That’s pretty much all we knew about the trip when we took off for Sacramento from Bend, a good 8 – 10 hours driving. We knew we were going to be loaded with tents, sleeping bags and other camping gear, but we didn’t know how it would shake down, since we had really never done this before. We knew the sun would shine, and it would be warm and we would make new friends. And that’s really all we needed to know.

 

The route was a well-worn one for Elle and her own 2 boys at 2 and 4, and her parents and hubs Jose. Sacramento has a brilliant bike path that connects two towns. The American River Trail is long and flat, and winds along the sub-urban edge of California’s Capital, providing a hum of activity and a route for every flavor of cyclist. We visited Practical Cycles to buy Iris a new helmet for the trip. We spent the night in a hotel in Folsom, had breakfast at Karens Bakery  and drove to our departure point to park our Honda Element at a park marked by urban blight, some unsettling features such as sleeping drunks and graffiti bathrooms all locked up. We worried about whether we’d ride away from our car and never see it again, and we wondered where everyone was.

 

And then we had a yard sale. Everything needed unloading and re-loading to balance, squeeze and rationalize our load to make lunch, diapers and such necessities accessible, and to bury all the unmentionables. I thought we’d never be packed, or each of us would surely have at least one conniption each before it all became mobile. My husband had it more under control than I suspected, though, pulling the baby’s rig behind a well-loaded ExtraCycle, complete with cooler, while I towed only my loaded panniers. When we did start to see people rolling in, they were in a huge flock, kids and bikes and flags and bells. The party had arrived! We said hi, met about 6 families, and Elle got her first look at the crazy family she had invited via Twitter, and did not expect to ever seriously join. Soon we set off in a parade of 20+ souls, winding along the trail and regrouping occasionally. Dads had kids on platforms, moms had Mundos, some kind of dog-trailer contained a pet, and we had Iris, who passed out before mile 2 was underway.

Kidical Camping – Whimsical Warm Weather Adventuring with the Hansen Family
Kidical Camping – Whimsical Warm Weather Adventuring with the Hansen Family

 

A playground picnic, a potty break, a group broke up and I broke away, for a solo mom spin at about mile 20. It was shaping up to be a longer ride than expected, since stopping and chatting and running around happened about every 7 miles. 30 miles was easily going to turn into a 3 hour tour. Miles of smiles, though, as weather was breezy and mild, sun was abundant, and all was right with our band of merry pedalers.

 

Kidical Camping with the Hansen Family
Kidical Camping with the Hansen Family

 

As we broke into small groups at the end, our destination came into in sight at the trail’s end. The river winds to a narrow channel at Negro Bar, and that’s where we crossed over on a bridge at Folsom, and wound down steeply to a sweet little campsite. We were the first group to arrive, and our reserved campsite had been taken over by a large boyscout troop, who had spread a dozen scouts into our space! We had to tussle with them for our rightfully reserved spot, but they eventually retreated and our site became free. It was shady and well-appointed with tables and a firepit, and we cozied in to a nice flat spot to pitch our tent. Everything was right there, dry and handy. No hiking to and from the car, we just unrolled. As we spread a tarp and made our home for the night, Iris made herself popular with Elle’s kids by sharing her new Strider, which she had not started to truly glide on yet. The kids ran and screamed and whooped at the freedom of arriving by bike. The adults unwound and chatted, and we mused about how we vanquished the boyscouts. We have so much in common and many great stories about our travels and challenges as biking families.

 

Then Elle’s friends showed up with a pizza and some PBR, and we readied the firepit for s’mores. An early evening, a great night’s sleep, a walk to the camp facilities and we snuggled together with the baby for a bit of a chilly evening. We love sleeping outdoors, waking to camp-coffee and our oatmeal, rolling out just a bit after sunrise with the ‘early’ crew.

 

Kidical Camping with the Hansen Family
Kidical Camping with the Hansen Family

 

Our roll home was another easy flat 30 miles, and we pushed the pace a bit to be the first ones back again. We like to ‘win’ the bike tour. ☺ Low and behold, the car was safe and sound, right where we’d parked her. We rewarded our accomplishment with a walk around downtown and some gelato, and then we hit the road for home.

 

The first outing was so great, and so successfully executed, that we tried another bike camping trip a few months later in Eugene, OR. Less miles, more people, and a huge potluck feast, with live music and wading in the water as well as a nature scavenger hunt, dozens of kids to meet and play with. Did I mention the really nice welcoming people? Shane MacRhodes does an amazing job organizing ‘Kidical Mass’ group excursions in Eugene. Jon and I even won the grand prize donated by REI for the raffle, and ended up with a pop-up canopy, which will surely be handy for this year’s adventures. We are giving some thought to inviting all our new friends to ride right here from home to a nearby site in Tumalo or Sisters, OR. Now that we know how to do it right, we welcome and invite anyone to come along.

 

Biking to camp with our kid has been the best low-cost vacation option as has these added benefits:

  • We ‘unplug’ for the weekend, letting our kiddo have our full attention
  • Nice fresh air, great exercise and yummy food
  • We see people and things we’ve never seen before, such as families just like us, who practically live on our bikes
  • We show our child a quiet, relaxing mode of transportation that she can actually enjoy, with other kids and families doing the same. We give her that gift of a healthy lifestyle habit.
  •  We see strange birds, animals, people and have remarkable new experiences together, solve problems together, and make decisions together about when to go or stay, when to stop and take a break, to eat and drink and how and where to ride, as a group and a family, teaching coping and social skills that kids need to work together with others all their lives.

If you need tools or ideas on how to organize your first community bike camping trip, get in touch!

Just a little more about Sami: A former League of America Bicyclists Director of Education, and a current League of American Bicyclists Certified Cycling Instructor as well as a former Safe Routes to Schools Coordinator, currently a full-time mom in Bend, OR.

https://twitter.com/Sami_Hansen

 

Best Indoor Water Parks

FamilyTravelFiles.com recently published their list of the Best INDOOR Water Parks in the U.S.  This is guaranteed winter family fun!

Wilderness at the Smokies in Sevierville, Tennessee. This indoor water park has over 7 acres of water park extravaganza!  Including a wavepool, waterslides, tubing and wading pools for the little ones. 

Wilderness at the Smokies in Sevierville, Tennessee
Wilderness at the Smokies in Sevierville, Tennessee

Wisconsin Dells as always had the corner market on family fun. Kalahari Waterpark a variety of indoor magic from surfing and lazy river floating to a water rollercoaster and flume rides.

Kalahari Water Park
Kalahari Water Park

Sahara Sam’s in West Berlin, New Jersey is where its at! The Largest indoor waterpark in the state includes family rafting, extra long body slide, water obstacle course and a toddler lagoon.

Lizard Lagoon
Lizard Lagoon

These are just 3 of the top indoor water parks that the FamilyTravelFiles.com recommends. Check out the rest of their list for more info. 

Adventure Family In Motion

 

Charlottesville, VA

Today we jumped in the van mid afternoon for an outing to Charlottesville Virginia.  We really enjoy checking out historic downtown areas and seeing what eclectic shopping and food we can find.  The goal on all our trips is to find something for everyone in the family!  Today was no different.

 

First order of business was food and a BEER.  We stopped at the South Street Brewery in downtown Charlottesville.  We found easy parking directly across the street (not always easy for us in the Urban Adventure Van).  Inside the brewery you find all the character you would expect from an old brick building. The bartender was very welcoming and knowledgeable.  The atmosphere was laid back and even had a nice warm fire going in the center of the establishment.  The beers were all top notch (we shared a sampler to insure we had the opportunity to try them all) and finally settled on the Expresso Stout as our favorite.  Cool place, GREAT vibe and good beer.
iPhone Show
iPhone Show
Nose Kisses
Nose Kisses
Tattoo
Tattoo

 

Show
Show
After we had filled our bellies it was time to check out the local shopping at the Historic Downtown Mall.  The area is closed to vehicle traffic and provides a quaint walking area with all local stores.  There are clothing stores, jewelry shops, coffee bars and our little girls favorite find of the day, the Virginia Discovery Museum.
used books
used book store
Bike Parking ONLY
Bike Parking ONLY
Family
Family
Adventure Family In Motion goes to Charolettesville
Adventure Family In Motion goes to Charlottesville

 

Chalk Wall
Chalk Wall
Vintage Dress
Vintage Dress
Bathrobe
Bathrobe
The Virginia Discovery Museum is a hands on children’s dream come true!  We turned our little lady loose and let her touch, climb on and color to her hearts content.  At $6 per person, it was a bargain, keeping her attention and allowing her to blow off some steam. It is always a treat to watch your child as they interact with other kids their age.
building
building
science
science
trains
trains
music
music
games
games
slide
slide
games
games
coloring
coloring
After we just couldn’t handle anymore fun at the museum,  we headed back to the street for one last pass before our trip home.  Along the way we stopped at Splendora’s for a coffee and some gelato.  WOW, gelato is a serious treat!  We tried the Salt Carmel gelato and were very pleased with the choice.  We’ll be returning to Splendora’s for another shot at the multitude of combination possibilities.

 

The afternoon in Charlottesville fulfilled our constant quest for new and exciting locations.  We checked out a cool brewery, did some shopping, took a ton of photos, hit a kids museum, and discovered gelato!  Not bad for a quick afternoon adventure.  We will be spending more time in this cool town very soon.