Listen to this song of the road

Music is everywhere when you travel. It’s the soundtrack to your vacation, too often unacknowledged by, ahem, the people who write about travel. But there’s a trick to making the melodies work, and it involves developing an appreciation for music, knowing how to listen with a minimum of conflict, and connecting a song to a place.

Why every awesome adventure is a movie location vacation

It’s not made of mashed potatoes or shaving cream, but Devils Tower still looks like a great landing pad for space aliens.

The mashed potatoes and shaving cream, of course, are from the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” Remember when an obsessive Richard Dreyfuss can’t get that monolith out of his head? Yeah, that was intense.

What to do when Mother Nature tries to ruin your vacation

Mother Nature vs. your vacation — you’ve been there too? But she doesn’t have to win. That’s worth remembering, even with Kīlauea about to engulf the interesting parts of Hawaii’s Big Island in slow-moving lava. And even with all those summer vacations that are up against the possible calamities, including earthquakes, hail storms, hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes, and wildfires.

This is what happened when I took a 30-day road trip with 4 teenagers

I love traditions. One of my favorite family traditions is the road trip I take with my two teenagers and a couple of their friends every summer. That’s when I load up the minivan with these four teenage girls, and all their “necessities” and we hit the open road looking for adventure — and plenty of Hampton Inn waffles and takeout pizza.

Why you should travel now — before things start to get crazy

Sometimes when you’re traveling, your timing is terrific. Sometimes, it’s just lucky.

On our trip to South Dakota last week, we were just lucky. Temperatures in the mid-70s, almost no visitors. Matt Plank, the assistant curator of reptiles of the Reptile Gardens, a private collection of alligators, snakes, and turtles, just outside Rapid City, described the mayhem of tourist season to me.

My best vacation advice? There’s no need to do it all

Want my best vacation advice? Don’t try to do it all at once.

Otherwise, you could end up like me: babbling incoherently after two straight days of driving through Arizona, Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota. I’m not making that up. If you try to push it when you take time off, you could end up wishing you stayed home.

The truth about how to survive a long road trip with kids

There’s no survival guide for long road trips with kids, but maybe there should be.

Chances are, you’ll drive somewhere in the next few weeks, and you’ll probably need one. Last Memorial Day, for example, an estimated 28 million Americans hit the road — the most since 2005 — prompting AAA to declare that the great American road trip is back.

For an unforgettable vacation, try something new

If you want your next family vacation to be unforgettable, try something new
Get out of your comfort zone. Shoot arrows at a balloon. Plummet down an Olympic ski jump with only a parachute to stop you. Feed a dangerous animal.

A berry good time in Southern California, Temecula edition

Temecula may be one of California’s best-known wine regions, but I’ll always remember it for something else: the fresh fruit we harvested on a recent visit to this out-of-the-way Southern California destination. That’s right, we saw the horde of tourists go one way, and we went in the other direction.

An immersive adventure in Baltimore’s National Aquarium

It’s not the Caribbean, but Baltimore’s National Aquarium may be the next best thing.

This aquarium lets you get close to marine life — real close. It’s an immersive experience in the truest sense. And today, anyone with the most basic scuba certification can dive into the Aquarium’s main elliptical Atlantic Coral Reef tank. It requires only a couple of hours of instruction through the Guest Diver Program.

Powder Mountain, Snowbasin stir memories of Olympics past — and a few thrills

Maybe you’ve never heard of Snowbasin or Powder Mountain, two ski resorts a short drive east of Ogden, Utah.

But what about the Winter Olympics (you know, the ones that just started in PyeongChang)? You’ve heard of them, right? Back in 2002, Snowbasin hosted the downhill, super-G, and combined events for the Salt Lake City games.

How to get better in Boulder, Colorado (and find time for a few turns)

Before my feet touched the ground, I knew something was wrong. I felt that familiar sore throat, the feverish chills, the body aches and fatigue.

I had the flu.

I rolled back into my bed at the Crowne Plaza in Denver and silently wondered, “How bad is this going to be?”

The answer came soon enough. Two of my kids — the indefatigable 11-year-old and the high-energy 13-year-old — were uninfected.

Why Crested Butte is Colorado’s most serious ski resort

Crested Butte is Colorado’s most serious ski resort.

Seriously challenging, seriously scary — and seriously fun.

The mountain’s almost-vertical, double black diamond runs, most of them accessible from a T-bar lift, are in a class by themselves. (A T-bar? Haven’t seen one of those in years.) These slopes will put the fear of God in you even if you’re a lifelong skier.

Bouncing around Colorado Springs in the dead of winter

Mention Colorado Springs and you probably think of Pikes Peak, the highest mountain in the southern Front Range of the Rockies, or the Broadmoor Hotel, the historic resort nestled in the hills overlooking the city.

But what happens when you take both of those out of the picture, plus most of the other tourists?

Not the same “old” St. Augustine

St. Augustine, Fla., founded in 1565, is the oldest continuously occupied European-established settlement within the borders of the continental United States and is a destination for history buffs. But in late November through January it is transformed into a magical destination during the Nights of Lights with over 3 million lights welcoming visitors to the town.

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