a new twist on family travel

Helping you design

A TRAVEL-INSPIRED LIFE.

get the latest issue

Want the secrets to less stress and 
more fun on your next vacation?

read the

LATEST ISSUES

What’s Inside

Issue 008
  • Ireland
  • Portugal by Design
  • Eco Hot List
  • Three Days in Maine

What’s Inside

Issue 007
  • Travel with Food Allergies
  • Wellness Retreats
  • Fall Whiskey Cocktails
  • Let’s Go to Japan

What’s Inside

Issue 006
  • Escape to Fiji
  • Urban National Parks
  • Have Baby, Will Travel
  • Six-weeks in Travel

What’s Inside

Issue 005
  • Lake Life in the USA
  • The Netherlands in Bloom
  • Spring Style Picks
  • Everything Italy

What’s Inside

Issue 004
  • Incredible Costa Rica
  • Global Holiday Recipes
  • Best Family Ski Towns
  • Escape to Australia

What’s Inside

Issue 003
  • Wild and Wonderful Scotland
  • Travel Photos 101
  • Behind the Veil of India
  • Fall Style for Home and Travel

What’s Inside

Issue 002
  • Tofino BC’s quiet, yet epic surf scene
  • Lisbon’s Family-Friendly Scene
  • Summer beauty secrets 
  • San Diego Hidden Gems

What’s Inside

Issue 001
  • Japanese Spa in Sweden
  • Gelato and Macarons
  • Family Bliss in St. Barths
  • Rafting with O.A.R.S.

what’s new

ON THE BLOG

Trips
Underwater fun for the whole family with Kids Sea Camp

Underwater fun for the whole family with Kids Sea Camp

Sometimes, "family vacations" aren’t really vacations for busy moms. You may not have to cook breakfast on vacation but you’'re still in charge of getting everyone up and dressed and down to breakfast. Then, it’s usually up to mom to figure out activities that will entertain everyone during the day. Moms come back from vacation needing a vacation themselves! But thing are different when you take your kids on a vacation with Kids Sea Camp. Kids ranging in ages from 5-12 will have full days of diving activities while you can dive, relax, or do all the touristy things that you love to do but rarely get to on a family vacation! The way Kids Sea Camp is structured allows for a vacation that has something for everyone. Children from 5-7 years of age participate in the SASY (Surface Supplied Air System) program where they learn the basics of both scuba diving and snorkeling in the pool and the ocean. They don’t have to carry a heavy tank though – the SASY system has a small tank and regulator that float on the surface. These kids don’t go underwater but instead get a really enjoyable snorkeling experience while becoming familiar with the regulator. Regulators are a big thrill for a lot of kids because that’s what creates the bubbles they love so much. Kids in Seal Team (ages 8-10) is a program that covers basic scuba diving skills, such as breathing underwater, clearing a mask of water, recovering a regulator and swimming around experiencing the sensation of being weightless. These courses can count towards the PADI Open Water Diver course when the child is old enough to take it. The second part of the Seal Team Camp involves going on ten Seal Team Missions with instructors. Missions include activities like creature identification, search and recovery diving, and skin diving. Kids get to take underwater pictures, explore shipwrecks, and learn about conservation of our ocean resources. Since a long day of diving can be grueling on little bodies, the kids' days are structured so that they spend part of the day doing in-water learning and part of the day with instructors doing excursions to nearby points of interest. For ten and eleven year olds, there’s a Junior Open Water certification program where once certified, the kids can dive when accompanied by a PADI certified instructor or with a certified parent or guardian to a depth of up to forty feet. Parents and kids twelve and up can get their PADI open water certification too – so the whole family can enjoy the water together! This is what we did on a recent trip to Grand Cayman with Family Sea Camp. My husband is an avid diver, so he went off on some dives while the rest of us were learning. My seven year old did SASY and had an amazing time. My twelve year old and I both got our open water certification. I never felt mentally exhausted as sun set on our day. In fact, I looked forward to reconnecting with my family at the end of each day and hearing all about their adventures. There were evening programs like movies and scavenger hunts that we could participate in but we could also choose to hang out and reconnect as a family. I returned from our Family Sea Camp adventure feeling rested and restored, but I’m always ready to take another...

Trips
Winter Escape in Sonoma County: Wine Taste and Storm Watch in One Weekend

Winter Escape in Sonoma County: Wine Taste and Storm Watch in One Weekend

Escape to Sonoma County When I say ‘Sonoma wine country’, I know what you’re thinking: sun-dappled vines on warm summer days, a glass of rosé in your hand, and perhaps a charcuterie picnic al fresco. But guess what? Wine tasting by the flickering glow of a fire can be just as idyllic. And by planning your Sonoma County getaway in winter, you’ll avoid traffic, crowded tasting rooms and high room rates, too. Fly into Santa Rosa The Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport is the cutest you’ll ever see, and a breeze to get in and out of on Alaska Airlines. After flying in, rent a car and stay the night right in town, at The Sandman . Long a Santa Rosa institution, the Sandman enjoyed an upmarket refresh in 2017, and now basks in the glow of a retro, artsy vibe while still remaining blissfully affordable. On weekends, the pool bar will be open for a first night cocktail, and a dip in their outdoor hot tub is a must. Work out the next morning, enjoy your complimentary breakfast, then head out to…   Healdsburg This town in the heart of Sonoma wine country is a charmer, with a quaint downtown quarter featuring boutiques, bookstores, and fair trade stores you could lose yourself in for hours. After a leisurely morning (when is the last time that happened when you traveled with the kids?) head to Highway 128, where just outside town, you’ll find wineries featuring Sonoma’s signature Cabernet Sauvignon. We loved that we could get into Silver Oak’s new winery facility without a reservation, and their sleek, modern Leed-certified building showcased the vineyards with rain falling on the vines outside. Right down the street is Hawkes Wine , even cozier with a winery dog sleeping on a cushion by the wood-burning stove. From here, you can continue along the Alexander Valley to hit more wineries, such as Seghesio Family Vineyards or Williamson. We opted to keep driving, heading toward the southern end of the county to the namesake town of Sonoma. Here, we enjoyed another adorable town center to explore before heading to Cline Cellars , where we toured this eccentric property that was once a carp farm and then a horse ranch before growing grapes. If you’d rather stay in town, Sonoma boasts dozens of tasting rooms within its city center, allowing you to sample even more efficiently. Sonoma Coast Once you’re ready to leave the valley behind, head toward Bodega Bay on the Sonoma coast. Follow Highway 1 north, stopping as often as you like to take in the view. You may luck out with blue skies, but more likely, if you come in winter, you’ll be enjoying a crashing sea via a storm-swept vista. Either way, the beauty is stunning. Be sure to get an early enough start to arrive at Timber Cove Resort in Jenner, CA before dark. This property was built in the 1960s and while beautifully updated, it retains its rugged charm. The inn seems to blend into the wild coastline around it, with 25 acres of cliffs, hiking trails, lawns and gardens. Stay in one of their oceanview rooms with a fireplace and balcony, then plan on having a hard decision to make: stay in and open a bottle of Sonoma wine while enjoying the fire and the record player and records in your room (yes, really!) or heading to Coast Kitchen, located just past the welcoming bar, in the main building? We opted for dinner, which started with fresh oysters and continued with rockfish and salmon. The wine list is deep, the cocktails are smart and fun, and the ambiance is warm and cozy. In the morning, you’ll want to linger by the big fireplace in the lobby while enjoying breakfast, then hit the trails either on-property or at nearby Salt Point State Park or Fort Ross State Park. Or, just stay in and read by the fire or enjoy a game of bocce ball outside by the ocean if the weather is clear. We recommend staying at least two nights to fully soak it all in before heading back to Santa Rosa! Managing editor at Twist Travel Magazine, Amy Whitley has been a travel writer, editor, and columnist since 2009. Amy publishes the family travel website Pit Stops for Kids, writes monthly for US News Travel and additional national outlets, is a travel and outdoor gear reviewer and influencer, and is an editor at OutdoorsNW Magazine. Shop Twist Travel Magazine Purchase print copies of single issues or subscribe and save!...

Trips
Springtime Dogsledding in the Last Frontier

Springtime Dogsledding in the Last Frontier

Springtime Dogsledding in the Last Frontier It’s midmorning near Fairbanks, Alaska, and I’m indecisive about my wardrobe. March is a bit bipolar up here, swinging between bright sunlight and a wintry mix of sleet and snow. I’ve got to make up my mind, though, since my comrades are already yelling at the top of their lungs that they’re ready to go. There’s 10 of them, and every single one is impatient to get on with the day, appropriate clothing or not. “Put on the hat,” my guide and friend Anita suggests, pulling up the snow hook. “It’s going to be a fast trip.” Jamming the beanie over my ears, I signal amidst the cacophony that I’m ready. Anita sweet-talks Sookie, leader of this motley crew, with a “Let’s go, Sugar Bear!” and we’re suddenly and silently sliding away into the frosted spruce and birch forests of the Goldstream Valley. It’s spring, the snow is fast, the daylight long, and we’ve got a team of sled dogs doing what they love best; run. While residents of the Lower 48 states begin making plans for gardening or baseball season come March, most Alaskans are still shoveling snow off their front porches. Winter at northern latitudes stretches out longer than most of us care to think about, but from the perspective of winter recreation enthusiasts, it’s pretty perfect. After all, if one can’t control the weather cycles, one might as well embrace them. Dogsledding is Alaska’s state sport, with deep cultural connections ranging from Arctic transportation for hunting to the famous Iditarod Sled Dog Race, a 1000-mile haul from Anchorage to Nome. It’s also one of the most popular attractions for the two million people visiting Alaska each year. Most of those arrive between the months of May and September, getting their sled dog fix through short kennel tours offering cart rides, or more expensive heli-mushing experiences high atop glacial snowfields. In March and April though, fewer tourists vying for a spot and more moderate temperatures (think 20 degrees above Zero rather than 20-below), families with dog-crazy kids wanting the real deal - huskies, mushers, and sleds with all the trappings - show up for a day or more of sleddogging the way it was meant to be experienced. Gee or Haw? Learn the Mechanics Dog sledding is a sport of science, and everything centers around these four-legged athletes providing the power. Visitors to a working sled dog kennel during the snowier months can have the chance to witness, and in many cases participate, in daily operations in addition to jumping on a sled. Would-be temporary mushers learn about nutrition (sled dogs can burn up to 10,000 calories per day during a long-distance race), sled construction, training, and dog care. Have more than a few hours? Consider an overnight adventure deep into Alaska’s wintry backcountry, where the enduring spirits of wilderness and human innovation meet in perfect harmony. Harness your team, hitch up, then mush through the mountains before settling in for an evening of hot cocoa while viewing the colorful curtain of aurora borealis from your sleeping bag. Know the Options Sled dog kennels serving winter visitors are generally found between Anchorage and Fairbanks, and operate through the end of March or beginning of April, depending upon snow coverage and temperature. Most are easily reached via rental car, but visitors should have a working knowledge of driving in snowy or icy conditions. If driving your family around a slippery road system doesn’t sound appealing, consider booking a tour that provides transportation to and from the kennel. Also important is the procurement of winter gear. Sled dog rides are chilly affairs, especially if one is riding in the “basket” and not moving around during the trip. Make sure everyone has adequate base layers and warm, waterproof outerwear, including mittens (they keep hands far warmer than gloves), hats covering ears, snow boots, and sunglasses to protect against the glare of Alaska’s famous midnight sun. Don’t want to purchase mountains of outerwear? Rent from Alaska Outdoor Gear Rental in Anchorage and send it back at the end ofyour trip. Tour Companies Salmon Berry Tours: This small company offers several dogsled tour options, ranging from day trips to a special Iditarod Sled Dog Race starting line event the first weekend of March. Planet Earth Adventures: With a 10-day adventure centered around the Iditarod and aurora borealis, this is a trip of a lifetime for race fans. Be prepared for adverse weather conditions, lots of driving, and an abundance of time with sled dogs. Kennels Dallas Seavey Racing: This four-time winner of the Iditarod now operates a successful tour business in Talkeetna, about three hours from Anchorage. Guests receive an in-depth tour of the kennel before mushing into the dense spruce forests of the Seavey homestead. Multi-day trips also offered. Dream A Dream Sled Dog Kennel: Tours range from a few hours to a three-night, four-day immersion into life as a sled dog handler/musher on the Dream A Dream campus. Longtime musher Vern Halter spends time with each guest, making sure they understand the complexities of mushing, Alaska, and the art of driving a team. Denali National Park Sled Dog Kennels: No rides are offered here, but those visiting the park during snowier months should absolutely stop by for a visit. These dogs represent the last of the Park Service’s working kennels, and winter is their time to patrol, haul supplies to remote stations, and, for the puppies, learn about life as a sled dog. Also a bonus: the park is never crowded in the winter, and Nordic skiing and snowshoeing here can be spectacular. Shop Twist Travel Magazine Purchase print copies of single issues or subscribe and save!...

Get instant access to the
latest digital issue for free!

Sign up to get instant access to the latest digital issue!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Sign up to get free access to Twist Travel Magazine online

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest