17 in 17

16 in 16:Trips with daughters and sons-in-law

For the fifth year, John and I spent New Year’s Day developing a list of things we want to do this year. In 2013 we felt the need to make a list of fun things to do during the year because we were spending so much time working we lacked the much talked about “work life balance”.

16 in 16: Sunrise/Sunset – Miami and Key West

The list we created was meant to add some fun into the year by trying new restaurants, taking short trips and making use of our limited free time. Little did we know that this would become a well loved tradition.

16 in 16: Biking

Just as we’ve done the past four years, we sat down with the lists we’d developed to negotiate what 17 items would make the list in 2017. Since there’s no longer a work schedule to plan around, our list includes many more extended vacations, but it also includes several things that have become much loved annual events such as family weekend, our annual sunrise/sunset trip when we catch the sunrise over the Atlantic and the sunset over the Gulf on the same day and our version of a triathlon in which we take part in a biking, hiking and water activity over the course of a day or two.

16 in 16: Camping – Iceland and the Florida Keys

Camping, trips to National Parks, museums, a play, baseball and biking all made the list this year. Of course, we’ll be squeezing this year’s adventures between visits with grandchildren so it’s going to be quite a year.

No Words Needed

Acadia National Park – no words needed!

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No special camera equipment needed to capture the beauty of this park. I took all pictures with iPhone 6 (John took the picture of me, also with an iPhone 6).

99 Ways to Celebrate the NPS

Yesterday the National Park Service celebrated the 99th birthday of the park system and posted a list of 99 ways to #FindYourPark. The list includes ways everyone can enjoy the parks. Suggestions are as diverse as writing poetry, rock climbing or taking a selfie in one of our National Parks. They also suggest you post pictures or videos on social media using the hashtag #FindYourPark.

Click here to find the complete list of all 99 ideas.

Here’s some examples of ways to celebrate:

Enjoy the spectacular views at Golden Gate Bridge National Recreation Area.

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Spot wildlife at sunrise at Canaveral National Seashore.

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Swim with the manatee at Crystal River National Wildlife Refugee.

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Follow the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail from the Missouri River

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to the Pacific Coast.

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Hug a tree at Kings Canyon or Sequoia National Parks. (Or just relax on the stump of one of the trees.)

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Take a late night walk through the National Mall and Memorial Parks.

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Take a selfie at Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.

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How will you #FindYourPark?

Thanks to Meghan, Jonathan, and John for allowing me to post their pictures.

Find Your Park

It’s National Park Week! And while last weekend park admission was free, it’ still a good time to visit one of our country’s more than 400 national parks.

In the past year, we’ve enjoyed these treasures with a trip to the National Mall and the monuments and memorials of our nation’s capital.

IMG_7421Trips to Chickamauga, Appomattox and Ford’s Theater have been a good way to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

Adventures in the Big Cypress Swamp, the Everglades, the Great Smoky Mountains,  Gulf Islands and Canaveral Seashores, Shenandoah and Ocala National Forest.

It’s time to plan for summer visits to more parks…Olympic, San Juan Island, Lewis and Clark and Crater Lake…a good start.

And maybe we can squeeze in a quick trip to one of the National Parks in South Florida. Everglades, Big Cypress Swamp, Biscayne, and the Dry Tortugas are perfect places to spend a spring day in the Florida sunshine. I hear them calling my name.

Find your park and share your story at #FindYourPark.

Visit a National Park

Today is Founders’ Day, the 98th anniversary of the founding of the National Park Service, and it’s a good time to remind you to visit these national treasures.

Did you know the U.S. was the first nation in the world to set aside treasured lands to be protected and enjoyed by everyone? On August 25, 1916, the National Park Service was established to care for the national parks throughout the country that recognize and commemorate notable people and historical events and protect the natural wonders and landscapes providing a place for people to have fun and learn.

To celebrate Founders’ Day you can sign a birthday card to let the National Park Service know you appreciate their work. You may also want to like the National Park Service on Facebook and/or follow them on Twitter @NatlParkService. You can also check out their photos on Instagram by following NationalParkExperience.

As a family we’ve visited many parks:

  • Great Smoky Mountain National Park
  • Everglades National Park
  • Acadia National Park
  • Manassas National Battlefield Park
  • Glacier National Park
  • Dinosaur National Monument
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Redwoods National Park
  • North Cascades National Park
  • Dry Tortugas National Park
  • Gettsyburg National Military Park
  • Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
  • Biscayne National Park
  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park
  • Cape Hatteras National Seashore
  • Castillos De San Marcos National Monument
  • Golden Gate National Recreation Area
  • Grand Teton National Park
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Thomas Jefferson Memorial
  • Muir Woods National Monument
  • Mount Rainier National Park
  • National Mall
  • Olympic National Park
  • Point Reyes National Seashore
  • Redwood National Park
  • Rock Creek Park
  • San Juan Island National Historic Park
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Timpanogos Cave National Monument
  • Statue of Liberty National Monument
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial
  • Washington Monument
  • Wright Brothers National Memorial

but, that’s just a start. Make your own bucket list of parks you want to visit. You may want to start by visiting one or more of the eleven parks located in Florida or you may want to revisit ones you enjoyed on family vacations or maybe you want to see parks for the first time.

The good news: you can find parks in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and even in U.S. territories. They’re located in cities and remote areas and everywhere in between. You can hike, bike, drive, take a tour…be active or sit back and enjoy. What better way to get to know the U.S.?

You don’t have to go tomorrow or even this year, but make a list and check them off as you visit the National Parks. (I wonder if National Parks will be on our 16 in 16 list for the 100th anniversary of the NPS?)

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Mom