Family Fun on a Houseboat on Lake Mohave

September 11th, 2014

An Excerpt from Margot Black’s Jet Set article

houseboat Family Fun on a Houseboat on Lake Mohave

There was a beautiful moment as I was sitting on the back deck of our houseboat, enjoying the glorious sunset overLake Mohave in Nevada, when I glanced over at my husband and son splashing around in the water and thought life couldn’t get more perfect.

Renting a houseboat in the middle of the desert during the second week in August could have been the biggest misstep; instead, it turned out to be the most wonderful, joyous, incredible surprise.

I’d booked the boat, which we dubbed “Biggie” because it was able to sleep 12 very comfortably, from Forever Resorts on a last-minute getaway for the three of us plus my dad and stepmom

As we drove toward the Cottonwood Cove Resort & Marina, which is a short drive from Laughlin, Nevada, and Bullhead City, Arizona, the sheer beauty of the region completely overwhelmed us.

By the time we got to our boat we were just excited to get onto the lake, a reservoir formed by the Davis Dam on the Colorado River—especially as the temperatures seemed to skyrocket by the minute…


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Exotic Family Experiences For Tighter Budgets & Timelines

September 3rd, 2014

An Excerpt from Margot Black’s Peter article

museum 1024x873 Exotic Family Experiences For Tighter Budgets & Timelines

We all know there are destinations we want to see, and there are destinations we can actually afford. When it comes to traveling with kids, there are always extra factors to consider. After discovering great swaps for popular destinations, family travel writer Margot Black shares her alternatives. Read on to discover how she found that you don’t need to leave the country—or travel far—to have memorable family experiences, teach your child about other cultures and languages, and see wildlife up close.

My love of travel is something I’m keen to pass on to my son, a naturally adventurous kid, who loves visiting different places. He’ll try international foods and makes new friends everywhere, so I want to show him the world. However, after penning an exotic wishlist of must-see destinations, I realized I’d also need to raid his college fund to make it happen.

So, how was I going to show him Capitol Hill, the Amazon, the Serengeti, Bavaria, and the Great Barrier Reef? Find out more…

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Hit the Surf: 8 Kid-Friendly Beaches

July 2nd, 2014
Around the 4th of July, our hearts and minds start to really turn westwards toward our beaches. Whether it’s to beat the heat for an afternoon, or a fun family day away, here are some of the best kid-friendly beaches to hit up in LA County!
There’s nothing like a sunny Southern California day at the beach, but making the trek west with your little ones can sometimes be a daunting prospect. Between worries of crowds, high surf, and all that sand that will still be in your car when they leave for college, you might even be tempted to skip it all together.  But here’s a secret: half of the challenge is in knowing where to go. With clean bathrooms, shallow breakers and short walks from the parking lots, a day at the beach can be a–well, a day at the beach. Added bonus: all that sun, sand, and running around is a guarantee for a sleepy kiddo and an easy bedtime.

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Malibu Area Beaches

Westward Beach, Malibu
This lovely stretch of sand is private and picturesque. Often used for filming (yes, you recognize it from everything from Planet of the Apes to Iron Man), the large cliffs provide a stunning backdrop for your family’s beach day. Just be advised, this north-facing beach’s surf breaks shallow and close to shore, and while the surf is generally not huge, smaller munchkins and beginning swimmers need to be watched closely, especially by the water’s edge. If you keep your eyes peeled, you may even catch a glimpse of some body surfing dolphins! There is a pay parking lot or free parking on the street, just be advised you will have to cart your stuff and your little ones if you park on the street. The restrooms are generally clean but the lifeguard tower is only manned in the peak summer season.

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Flip Flop Ranch – Family Farm Stay

July 1st, 2014
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“A visit to the Flip Flop Farm is an outdoor family travel experience we will never forget!”

Nothing better encompasses outdoor family travel than a farm stay. We spent the weekend at Flip Flop Ranch ( just outside of Big Bear. Farm vacations are very reasonably priced and you can’t do better at being outdoors and in nature. Only a few hours from home, we felt like we were experiencing the true Wild West!

Flip Flop Ranch is a small family farm dedicated to preserving livestock and sharing the farm stay experience with others. You can expect a genuine farm experience in the desert countryside of southern California but do not be afraid of the nitty gritty and the bugs. You need to be more careful about impulsively taking a kitten home with you (more on that later). You will likely be in the company of two or three other families for your stay and expect to be surrounded by of all kinds of animals.

Over the course of the weekend, my son Jett fed and milked goats, pushed a wheelbarrow around like his life depended on it and picked out an egg from the chicken coop. His first excited words at the crack of dawn the next morning were, “Can I go eat my egg now?”

You do not forget you are enjoying the outdoors for even a moment with the constant company of goats, horses, roosters, geese, chicks and kittens! Kittens are always the kids’ favorite and Jett was no exception. My husband and I were quick to fall in love so I caution you to beware, because the cuteness is contagious!

Jett loved following Farmer Tom around and watching him sheer sheep, chop wood and do all kinds of manly chores. Farmer Tom even shared baseball tips with all the boys. Farmer Serina was also such a patient teacher with Jett while he followed her around throughout the day.

After an eventful farm vacation weekend, we were sad to leave the comfort of the forty acres tucked away on the outskirts of Lucerne Valley. Every family with a kid should experience a farm stay—we hope to return in the fall during apple harvest, but hope they hide the kittens!

All you city dwellers need to consider getting away for a weekend down on the farm. See things you’ve never seen before: baby goats being born, sheep being sheered and little chicks chirping away. Do things you’ve never done before: milk a goat, feed livestock and spend the day as a farmer-in-training. It is an outdoor family travel experience you will never forget!

15 Places Your Kids Should See Before 15

June 16th, 2014

It took us hours of heated debate, weeks of research, and years of experience to whittle down America’s monuments to a definitive list of 15 musts for anyone under 15. Not only are these attractions fun and (shhhh) educational, they’re especially magical through the eyes of a child.

By Nicole Frehsee, Friday, Mar 11, 2011, 9:00 AM  |  Subscribe to the magazine
 15 Places Your Kids Should See Before 15

A stunning look over Yellowstone National Park.

(Courtesy Mila Zinkova/Wikimedia Commons)

Two years ago, we picked 15 American landmarks every kid should see, from Ellis Island to Redwood National Park. Our new and improved 2011 lineup takes that challenge even further, by highlighting how our country’s top sights cater to kids’ abbreviated attention spans. From roasting marshmallows around a campfire to playing dress-up at Monticello, these cool, interactive activities ensure that the younger set will enjoy these must-see spots as much as their parents do.


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