ALL POSTS IN [Family Travel]

The Royal family at the Natural History Museum on in London, England. Getty Images Entertainment

Happy Birthday to the future king of England  — Prince George! It seems like just yesterday the world was going bananas over the future monarch’s arrival, and now that Prince George turned 1, it’s time to raise your glasses – or crystal juice cups — in celebration again!

In honor of Prince George’s birthday, Visit Britain shared with us family-friendly travel ideas in the UK fit for your little prince or princess. Follow in the Royal Family’s footsteps with your little tikes as you explore all the imaginative places that lie in Great Britain.

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Charleston's Cooper River Bridge Run

Travelers, Charlestonians and runners (or walkers) alike, prepare for a big weekend in Charleston, SC. The annual Cooper River Bridge Run  happens this Saturday, April 5. Runners and walkers will find their position on the Mt. Pleasant side of the Cooper River Bridge at 6 a.m., to start the 10K race which takes runners across the massive, 2.5-mile-long Cooper River Bridge and ends on Meeting Street, just before the popular Marion Square in Historic Downtown Charleston.

Started as a way of engaging interest and awareness of better health and cardiovascular exercise, “Bridge Run” as it’s fondly called, has become one of the most popular events to happen during the spring season in Charleston – next to its world-class weddings, of course. But before the big race kicks off, the foodies and the kids get in on the action with Taste of the Bridge Run and Kids Run & Wonderfest. READ MORE

Cardiff Reef in San Diego's North County (All Photos: Lisa Singh)

Quiet beach time at Cardiff Reef in San Diego’s North County (All Photos: Lisa Singh)

If you’re California-bound, you’ll eventually want to see its birthplace: San Diego. And once you’ve checked out the famed Southern California city’s star attractions, like the San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park and La Jolla Village, you owe it to yourself to step off the well-worn tourist path and discover San Diego’s lesser-known side, where hidden gems await at nearly every turn.

The place to go is San Diego’s North County, the posh and quieter stretch of town about 25 miles north of the city. Just cruise on down Highway 101, the classic stretch of road with an array of laid-back beach towns along the way. READ MORE

Clearwater Beach, FL

Photography by Thinkstock

We asked you to weigh in on our 10 expert picks and determine this year’s Best Overall Beach. Travel Channel fans voted and chose Clearwater Beach, FL, as their fan favorite!

We said: 

“The sand at Clearwater Beach is as soft as baby powder, and the gradual slope to the warm Gulf water makes it an ideal beach for babies and toddlers” according to Have Baby Will Travel founder Corrine McDermott.

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Kids flying on a plane“I can go anywhere …”

Everyone is frightened of something, but sometimes our fears can prevent us from exploring our world. Most of the time, facing our fears can help us overcome them. But what if the fear is your child’s? And what if it’s his or her fear of flying that makes going to see grandma or taking a family vacation a nightmare … for everyone? READ MORE

Photo by Park City Mountain

What better way to welcome the holiday season than with family, festivities, and, of course, the perfect holiday portrait. Don’t just settle for mundane decorations or a white background for this year’s holiday card; head to one these locations to truly wow your loved ones – no Photoshop required.

There’s no need to scramble to deck the halls and put up the tallest Christmas tree for the perfect holiday portrait. Trade an ordinary fireplace backdrop for one of the country’s coziest hotel fireplaces – just find one near you.

Looking for something less formal … and posed? Get outside and take the kids to a nearby park for a photo shoot. For you city slickers, we’ve rounded up a list of some of our favorite urban parks. No excuses!

Capture their attention with breath-taking views of the ocean, coast, or mountains from your last vacation.  If your annual ski trip or beach house rental feels like a family reunion, why not use a photo from the last time you were all together?

Looking for more Everyday Escapes during the busiest travel time of the year? See our Holiday Tips for Family Travel.

Take a photo on your phone to share your family holiday spirit in a real Hallmark card with just a few clicks. Download the Hallmark Go Cards app to send real Hallmark cards to their mailbox from wherever you are. Download it now at Hallmark.com/GoCards.

Verruckt waterslide at Schlitterbahn Waterpark

We’ve got at least one item on your summer 2014 to-do list: Ride Verrückt. If you haven’t heard the latest buzz about Verrückt, allow us to enlighten you. Designed by Jeff Henry, the “Wizard of Water” and co-owner of Schlitterbahn waterpark in Kansas City, KS, Verrückt, once complete, will be the tallest, fastest and, dare we say — scariest — waterslide in the world!

View from the top of Verruckt waterslide at Schlitterbahn Waterpark

The 17-story Verrückt waterslide, which requires 4 people to ride it at one time, will be taller than Niagara Falls  and the Statue of Liberty. And Travel Channel is on the ground capturing the entire build — we’ll be there when the first 4 brave souls take the first plunge! The waterslide will be featured in next summer’s Xtreme Waterparks, our hit series about the coolest, most ridiculous and most extreme waterparks in the world.

Stay tuned for more on how Verrückt’s build is progressing. Until summer 2014, wet your appetite with our Xtreme Waterparks pictures.

 

Courtesy of Thinkstock

Good luck on trying to find last-minute deals for any holiday travel this year. Pauline Frommer, editorial director of Frommer’s Guidebooks, says, “This is probably going to be the highest-priced holiday fares we’ve seen in the last decade.”

The average ticket cost for the US and Caribbean is already up 9.4% over last Thanksgiving. Prices for Christmas week are up more than 7% to an average of $337.

What’s the reason behind the airfare hike this year? Travel experts blame it on mergers and consolidated airlines over the past couple years, which has forced some carriers to cut back on flights to many cities. This is the first time that planes are flying at 85% load factor — essentially full — since 1945. And today, more people are competing for fewer seats.

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The “Day of the Dead,” or Dia de los Muertos in Spanish, is often compared to Halloween due to its celebration the day trick-or-treaters hit the streets. But it has a much different purpose. The occasion is a national holiday on Nov. 1 and 2 in Mexico and centers on the gathering of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is held in connection with the Catholic All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

If it seems to you like the holiday often goes uncelebrated in the United States, you might just not be in the right place. Below are 5 “Day of the Dead” events that honor those who have died. Find a complete list of the nation’s events here.

1. Dia de Los Muertos in Los Angeles, CA 
When: Nov. 2 from noon to midnight
The celebration is held at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery and is the largest of its kind in California. The festival features an altar-decorating competition as well as live music and costume contests for the best Calaca (skull or skeleton) costume.

2. Bare Hands Dia de Los Muertos, Numero Once Festival in Birmingham, AL 
When: Nov. 2 from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Bring a small altar or memento of remembrance and dress up in bones for this energetic cultural celebration. The festival attracts thousands of visitors and is sponsored by Bare Hands, a non-profit organization that provides opportunities for community involvement and promotes cultural dialogue.

3. All Souls Procession in Tucson, AZ 
When: Nov. 3 at 4 p.m.
The All Souls Procession brings more than 35,000 people together to the streets of downtown Tucson for a 2-mile-long walk that culminates with the burning of a large urn filled with hopes and offerings from the public for those who have passed. The procession is organized by non-profit arts collective Many Mouths One Stomach.

4. Dia de Los Muertos Street Festival in Corpus Christi, Texas
When: Nov. 1 and 2
This festival brings a large art exhibition, artist workshops, and entire day-long dancing and concert events to celebrate the “Day of the Dead.” The event promotes cultural tourism by drawing artists, musicians and vendors to the area each year.

5. Dia de Los Muertos 2013 in Albuquerque, New Mexico 
When: Nov. 1 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
This annual celebration is held at San Jose de Armijo Cemetery and features sugar skull painting, costumes and music organized by the Atrisco Heritage Foundation. The foundation works through the event to promote and preserve the ancestral and cultural heritage of Albuquerque.

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Photo by Getty

Much like the hit show Breaking Bad caused an influx of visitors to Albuquerque, NM, this year, the newest take on The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, that premiered on Fox last month, is leading flocks of curious visitors to vacation to the tiny New York town of the same name.

Sleepy Hollow village administrators have noticed a significant increase in the number of visitors wandering around Sleepy Hollow Cemetery and the Headless Horseman Bridge with several tours of the area selling out as early as September – something that just doesn’t happen.

Sleepy Hollow, which was just picked up for a second season, is loosely based on the 1820 legend, but with a modern twist: Protagonist Ichabod Crane has been resurrected centuries after his death to save the town of Sleepy Hollow, and of course the world, from forces of evil.

The village, located on the eastern bank of the Hudson River, is home to “Legend of Sleepy Hollow” author Washington Irving’s gravesite and served as inspiration for the made-up town where Irving’s story of the legendary “headless horseman” took place.

The town of Sleep Hollow is embracing its new-found fame and record website traffic, creating a spooky commercial encouraging visitors to trek to the area featuring ghosts, ghouls and the headless horseman himself shopping for groceries and going about normal everyday activities.

And the attention might only gain more steam. Rumors from the show’s production company are that the cast itself will visit the town and are looking for possible storylines from the iconic area to bring to prime time television.

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