We believe that traveling with kids can create wonderful family memories, and we know from experience that a good travel plan goes a long way in making a family vacation successful.
We also recognize that planning a trip takes a lot of time. Time that busy families simply don’t have. For that reason, we created Simply Awesome Trips to share all the details you need for an enjoyable family vacation at destinations in the U.S. and abroad.
“Spend your time on your vacation, not on planning it!”
It’s All in the Details- Eliminate the Guess Work
We obsessively research hotel and apartment listings, find the best of what to see and do in a destination, and scout out the local craft breweries and favorite places to eat.
If it is something we would want to know before taking a family trip, it has been included in the itinerary. We have taken our own families to these museums, on these hikes, and eaten at these restaurants. We have found out, sometimes the hard way, what works and what doesn't.
Our itineraries are comprehensive enough to stand alone but can also be a great source of ideas if you are like us and use multiple sources from which to plan your trip. We love to narrow down the overwhelming amount of travel information to reveal the best of a place--not necessarily the attractions listed in the big guide books. We often find these to be too crowded, not always kid-friendly, and sometimes don't capture the essence of a destination.
“Travel guidebooks and blog posts often leave you with too many questions unanswered. Simply Awesome Trips eliminates the guesswork.”
When you are planning your trip, have you ever wondered?
Can I do all the recommended sites in one day realistically with kids?
Which activities, restaurants, hikes, etc. are suitable for children?
What is there to do on a rainy day?
Where's the closest playground?
What is truly fun for everyone (parents and kids) and what's skippable?
How far do you have to walk from one activity to the next?
What part of town is the best to stay?
Our itineraries offer these logistical details, because it’s what we always want to know. Sometimes a tiny detail can save big aggravations, especially with kids. Guidebooks that don’t specialize in family travel don’t always think to include the tips and information that parents would love to know.
A Daily Agenda That Makes Sense
All of our itineraries include a clear daily schedule that groups activities together by proximity, ideal time of day to visit, and the best nearby dining choices. Sometimes that is the hardest part of planning- trying to figure out where everything is and how to get from one activity to another.
With our guides, it's all been laid out for you, along with directions, maps, travel tips, links to more info, and more. You’ll find plenty of outdoor activities as well as cultural and historical sites unique to the destination. The itineraries are family-focused and include activities that are fun for both kids and adults.
We cover the most worthwhile activities to do in a destination (based on research and our own family’s reviews) without forgetting that vacations are meant to be fun and relaxing, not a list to be checked off.
“Our trips tend to include a little culture, good local food and drink (without being terribly expensive), and a lot of outdoors.”
We Emphasize Getting The Family Outside
Many itineraries include easy hikes, bike rides, and float trips that have been selected for their kid-friendly length and ease of difficulty as well as their scenic beauty. (Always worth it!) We include as much fresh air as we can in our itineraries, whether it is a rewarding hike in a national park or just the location of a fantastic playground perfect for a break from sight-seeing in an urban area.
You won't find a lot of shopping recommendations in our itineraries, though certain "can't-miss" shops will be highlighted, especially if they offer something unique to the destination. And we always try to point out the nearest grocery store to our recommended lodgings because all parents know that is the most likely “shopping” they will do!
A Curated List of the Best Lodging Options
Your lodging location is most important. The best location minimizes driving or walking distances and maximizes convenience to recommended restaurants and activities. You don’t want to spend most of your trip driving in traffic, or traipsing back to your hotel for miles with tired children.
The lodging choices have been carefully selected for their ideal location, price point, safety, and proximity to your activities. Knowing what part of town to stay in is a huge part of making a trip a success. If camping is the best option, we list that too.
Many of the itineraries include vacation rentals provided by VRBO and Airbnb. More space, separate bedrooms, a kitchen, and laundry facilities make everyone happier. Again, only the best have been selected based on their location, cleanliness, and user reviews. We have used these booking sites for years for our own family vacations and have developed a sixth-sense for selecting just the right vacation listing.
Restaurant Recommendations That Both Parents and Kids Will Love
Local dining establishments are highlighted. The kind of place where children are welcome but isn't necessarily a restaurant geared primarily towards kids.
You won't find many restaurant chains in our itineraries, just good local food mirroring the destination's culture. This could mean a food truck, a pizza place, or a nice sit-down restaurant, but always delicious. If there are any local brews, wines, or coffee houses around, we'll mention those too.
Unbiased and Honest Recommendations
At the founding of Simply Awesome Trips, we agreed to travel as we always have with our families—on our own dime. No free nights, no comped visits, not even any swag. We continue to feel good about that decision to offer completely unbiased recommendations.
We do participate in affiliate marketing with some of the companies that we personally use (Booking.com, VRBO.com). They don’t pay us to write, we simply get a commission if you enter those sites through our “gate” as opposed to say a Google search. But we also recommend lodging, restaurants, and activities, where we don’t receive any commission, such as Airbnb or private rental companies.
“If it’s good; it’s good. We don’t change recommendations based on vendor.”
Who We Are
We are friends who both enjoy traveling, hiking, biking, and hanging out with our families with good food and good brews. We have not taken the proverbial year off to travel the world with kids in tow, and like many families, our vacations are squeezed in during the occasional free weekend, school breaks, and summers.
Simply Awesome Trips is a passion project for us, and we hope you enjoy your travels as much as we do.
We encourage you to contact us with any questions or feedback!
A researcher at heart, I love planning trips. My world doesn't feel quite right unless a trip is on the calendar. Scouring guidebooks, websites, and vacation rental listings is actually fun for me. My trips tend to gravitate toward scenic beauty and local food- I seek out the best of both. I also prefer apartment and home rentals over hotels, and I don't like crowds (but put up with it when warranted). I've passed these tips on to you in my travel itineraries. My husband and two daughters have given these trips a "thumbs up" and I am happy to share them with you.
The traveling bug was caught at an early age. My mother is from Scotland so my summers were spent traveling around to every historic sight of her adopted country (at least it seemed like that to my brothers and me) or back in the UK visiting family. I was the only kid in my class who returned from summer vacation less tan than when it started. I love learning about new places and researching trips. I get piles of guidebooks from the library and spend an obscene amount of time on Google Earth. I get a kick when I can see an itinerary come together from ideas on a piece of paper. There is usually something touristy, something local, something outdoors and frequently, something small and offbeat because I find I often remember those things the most.