Family-Friendly Road Trips Throughout California

With late fall and winter travel plans on the horizon, it’s time to pack your bags, put the family in the car, and hit the road. Some of the best memories come when you’re in the car with the kids singing along to the radio! California is the perfect place to take a long weekend road trip to explore the National Parks, the coastline of Highway 1, the deserts, and the castles. 

Mammoth Lakes

Tucked along the Eastern Sierra Mountains is Mammoth Lake. Whether you’re headed there later this fall to take in the beautiful changing leaves or headed there this winter to ski, there is something for every member of your family! From Helicopter air tours over the mountains or hiking along Heart Lake, Mammoth Lake offers the quintessential mountain town feel! 

The Redwood Forest

Standing at around 250 feet and over 600 years old, the Redwood Forest is a must-see destination during any road trip! Muir Wood National Monument is the last old-growth redwood forest on the planet and is home to the only native salmon run in California. The Sequoia Sempervirens is the tallest and oldest tree on earth. 

Solvang

Known as the ‘Danish Capital of America,’ Solvang is located in the Santa Ynez Valley and offers visitors a chance to step into a European fairytale-like setting. Solvang is full of Danish heritage, which can be seen in the architecture, thatched roofs, and windmills. Solvang is home to vineyards, fantastic restaurants, tasting rooms, and boutique hotels.

Lake Arrowhead

Lake Arrowhead is perfectly positioned in the San Bernardino National Forest mountains and is an excellent escape from the big city life for Californians. Whether you are looking for a complete return to nature through hiking, water sports, and in the winter snow skiing, or you’re looking to relax for the weekend, Lake Arrowhead is the perfect destination regardless of the season! 

Ojai

Set in the Topatopa Mountains north of Los Angeles, Ojai is a quick road trip that leaves the city in the rearview mirror! Whether you are looking for the perfect place for the kids just to run around and enjoy the outdoors or looking to hop on a bike and ride for miles, Ojai is the perfect weekend getaway. Don’t forget to visit the town center to browse the local galleries, shop in the local boutiques, and eat in the local restaurants.

What’s your favorite California road trip getaway? 

Tips for Traveling During the Pandemic

Traveling during the pandemic can be scary, considering there are many different ways you and your loved ones could get infected. These uncertain times are not only frightening but life-threatening, but you have to still keep on living and experiencing life. While the CDC still states that it isn’t a good idea for you and your family to embark on nonessential travel, some people have started to get restless. If you decide to take a trip with your children, you must research ways to stay safe on your journey, so you don’t have to worry about getting sick and spreading the deadly virus.

First, you should keep a mental note of your health. If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID, you need to stay home and quarantine after getting a test. If you aren’t infected with the virus and decide on a travel destination, you must check the virus’s status in that area. If there are still large numbers of COVID cases, it is best to avoid that area. While airlines these days are practicing social distancing and keeping the plane clean, that still doesn’t mean you are in the clear. Be sure to wash your hands and wear your face mask.

Living with someone that is high risk in their chances of getting the virus is also an important factor to consider when planning a trip. Even if an area is completely safe, there is always that risk that you could potentially infect them if you come across someone infected by the virus. What is so deadly about this particular pandemic is that the virus is airborne, and people can be asymptomatic.

If you decide to travel but are understandably too afraid to fly, the CDC has stated that road trips are technically pretty safe. If you have spent your time quarantining with a particular group of people, you could go on a road trip with them and not worry about getting infected and spreading the virus. Chances are, you know, where those people have been, and it is safe to say they probably haven’t been around large groups of people. Deciding to go on a road trip could not only be a great memory, but something you could look forward to in times of uncertainty.

West Coast Family – Friendly Travel Destinations

Taking a vacation with the family is always a welcome respite from the stresses of daily life. What makes it even better is choosing just the right destination. Some are better suited to families than others are. Many of the best travel destinations are found on the west coast.

Spokane, Washington

Spokane, Washington, is excellent for families, as it boasts activities people of all ages enjoy. They can choose from experiences such as zip-lining, kayaking, and hiking through the city’s many parks. Visually, one of the highlights is the Spokane Waterfalls. A perk of visiting this destination is that it can be a country and city vacation all in one trip.

Seattle, Washington

Seattle is another hotspot for families. During the summer, days last 16 hours, so there is plenty of time to see and do everything without the need to rush. There is so much to do in Seattle, and it is referred to as an outdoor playground of the Northwest. With many beaches, families can always find a place to relax. Notable attractions in this city include the Space Needle and the Pike Place Market.

San Juan Islands, Washington

The San Juan Islands of Washington provide endless choices in entertainment. Like Seattle, the San Juan Islands boast 16 hour-long summer days. Popular activities include bald eagle and whale watching. There are lots of opportunities for kayaking through the ocean and zip-lining through the forest. The only way to get to the San Juan Islands is by flying in or taking a ferry, something the whole family can enjoy.

Santa Monica, California

Santa Monica is a trendy spot in California for visitors of all ages. The Santa Monica Pier is packed with a Ferris Wheel and other amusement park rides. Street performers are often the highlight of a visit to Venice Beach. One of the most visited attractions in the city is the Loof Hippodrome, which at 100 years old includes its original merry-go-round that dates back to 1916.

Big Bear Lake, California

Big Bear Lake is another place in California where families can enjoy an exciting vacation. With a 22 mile shoreline and a manmade lake, it is a very relaxing destination. Summertime activities include fishing, swimming, boating, and biking. During the winter, activities include sledding, skiing, and snowboarding for the whole family.

Family – Friendly Activities in San Diego

There is no better way to bond with your kids and build a great relationship than taking them out on fun adventures. When you live in a fantastic city like San Diego, you can go on these fun adventures without having to drive too far from the house. This lets you create unforgettable memories that are generally reserved for expensive vacations without ever leaving the city. These are the four best things to do in San Diego with kids.

The New Children’s Museum

The New Children’s Museum is the perfect place to take kids because it allows them to have fun and stimulate their minds simultaneously. The hands-on exhibitions are so entertaining that the kids will not even realize they are learning vital skills simultaneously. While some activities are specifically designed for specific age groups, most others will appeal to kids of all ages.

Birch Aquarium at Scripps

The Birch Aquarium has been a prime attraction for San Diego children for more than 100 years. There is just nothing like being able to see beautiful sea creatures move in their natural habitat. The Birch Aquarium currently has more than 3,000 different animals on display at all times. The kids will love the opportunity to touch the sea stars and sea cucumbers.

San Diego Zoo Safari Park

The San Diego Zoo is widely regarded as one of the world’s best zoos, but its Safari Park is equally impressive. The great thing about the Safari Park is it allows the kids to get up close to the exotic animals. A truck can take you and the kids within a few inches of stunning rhinos, giraffes, and buffalo. They can even get a chance to feed a parrot during the visit.

La Jolla Cove

They may not be a more beautiful city in the United States than San Diego. Take advantage of living in paradise by spending time outdoors with the kids. One of the top natural attractions in the city is La Jolla Cove. You can walk along the picturesque cliffs, relax on the beach, go for a swim, or watch the seals. After your busy day is over, you can enjoy a delicious meal at one of the nearby restaurants.

The Future of Private Events

In a world where people cannot leave their house without a mask and hand sanitizer, it is hard to imagine any big social gatherings like a concert or convention. These events seem like a distant memory at this point in the pandemic. Many individuals are wondering what the future of private events will look like in a post-pandemic era.

Event Planning

Event planners have had to constantly adapt their plans during the pandemic. A lot of people have ended up canceling their events because of the fear of spreading the pandemic to friends and loved ones. There is no doubt that people will still have events in the future but they will look a lot different. Event planners have to be equipped with all the up-to-date social distancing requirements to plan successful private events where everyone feels safe.

Flights

Hopefully, airlines will continue to utilize thorough sanitization procedures that have been put in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the pandemic continues, you can expect to see continued social distancing requirements and mask mandates on flights. It is expected that as the spread of COVID-19 decreases, flight traffic will increase.

Convention Centers

In order to meet social distancing guidelines, vendors and event planners will need to work together to make use of what space is available in large convention or event centers. There is no doubt that there will be fewer people allowed in these spaces when they make a return because of COVID-19. During this time, an emphasis should be placed on making some experiences virtual to make the most out of the space that is available and still keeping people involved as much as possible.

The New Norm

Once businesses and planners make it through the pandemic, they should all take time to reflect on the changes that were put into place. A lot of the mandated changes were things that should have been happening already. This especially applies to sanitation procedures. Temperature checks may be put in large event centers to reduce the spread of illnesses that are not related to COVID-19. These types of safety precautions will make people feel safer resuming their normal life that seems like a thing of the past.

Travel Spotlight: Family-Friendly Travel Destinations in California

There are many places in California that are ideal for families to visit. Such a vast state has a lot to offer, and any family can find some spot where the kids can have as much fun as mom and dad.

San Francisco

One family-friendly activity in California is exploring San Francisco. Sites such as Golden Gate Park often run free outdoor concerts. Oracle Park is a great place to catch a sports game as a family, and Union Square has tons of stores worth shopping in. The city also boasts family-friendly museums, including the Exploratorium, the California Academy of Sciences, and MoMA. Other noteworthy attractions throughout San Francisco include Crissy Field and Fishermen’s Wharf. Pier 39 is also a popular location for families to visit. Last but not least, the San Francisco experience isn’t complete without a ride on a cable car.

San Diego

San Diego is also a family-friendly location to visit. One of the highlights in the San Diego Zoo, which boasts 4,000 animals. The Safari Park at the San Diego Zoo is worth spending extra time on. It has 3,00 Asian and African animal species. For more glimpses of animals, Sea World is equally as possible among families.

Families that enjoy visiting museums often take time to visit the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum, as well as the museums in Balboa Park. It should be noted that Balboa Park is even bigger than Central Park, in New York.


Lake Tahoe

For a quieter family-friendly vacation, another popular travel spot is Lake Tahoe. This is where it’s possible to see the mountain range that is the Sierra Nevada. This lake is a great place for families to go snowboarding and skiing. When visiting during the summer months, popular activities include swimming, boating, and hiking. One highlight of Lake Tahoe during the summer is visiting its Truckee River.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Park is also a family favorite in California. Points of interest include Mariposa Grove, Tuolumne Meadows, and Hetch Hetchy. Yosemite Valley is a sight to see, with its lush meadows and active waterfalls. The best beaches in California, for families, including both Santa Monica, and Huntington Beach. For the best surfing, the place for families to be is the Santa Monica beach.

4 Tips for Planning a Family Staycation

Staycations have been one of the most popular things to do with family throughout the past few years. Some people choose to do this because long-duration is impossible due to their work, while others may have more economic reasons for not traveling. No matter the reason, a staycation should result in one thing, having a fantastic time with your family. The following list includes a few tips on planning a family staycation the right way.

Conduct Some Prep-Work Beforehand

Let’s face it, the last thing you’d want to do on vacation is wash dishes, clean the house, and do laundry. This should also be your mentality when planning a staycation. Therefore it is incredibly important to conduct some prep-work before the official start of your staycation. If possible, you could even hire someone to help you out for a day or two to get things ready. The goal here is not to worry about these daily issues during the duration of your staycation.

Set a Budget

Staycations shouldn’t break the bank. It’s imperative that you set time aside to create a budget. This is usually simple and most likely won’t take too much time to create. If you’re planning to go camping in a nearby camping site or stay at a local resort, then budgeting is a must-do. Include entry fees, food, supplies, activities, and add some splurge money to it.

Lay Down the Law

During a staycation, it can be easy to fall into your regular home routine, especially if you have teenagers. Thus it is imperative that you law down the law with some written rules before starting your staycation. Some of these rules should include technology time allowed, friend invitation rules (allowed or not?) and the most important of them when the staycation starts.

Plan it Out

There’s nothing worse than becoming bored during a staycation. During the planning process, you must outline what you want you and your family to do. Are you going to stay at home all day? Will outdoor activities be okay? Having an itinerary for your day can no doubt help reduce the chances of people getting bored.

Virtual Events – How the Industry is Changing: Part 2

Around the world, the event industry has experienced unprecedented disruption. Earlier in the year, the pandemic resulted in the mass cancellation of public and private events. In this technological age, adaptation and innovation are essential, especially in the face of unusual circumstances such as these. Virtual events have existed before the pandemic, but the demand has dramatically risen in its wake.

Conferences have experienced a significant shift from physical events to virtual ones. Similarly, private events like concerts and speakers have also experienced a chance to be better suited to a distanced, digital landscape.

Fortunately, there are many benefits to virtual events beyond the current restrictions on travel and gatherings. As the pandemic continues to influence the limitations of gatherings, the industry will continue to change.

While events like conferences are relatively well-suited to digital transformation, when it comes to events that are more geared toward the entertainment sector, the shift has been met with some hesitance. However, existing platforms, especially on social media, have proven to be remarkably effective in simplifying and enacting such a change. From the “Live” features on Facebook and Instagram to the advertising and engagement potential of profiles like Tik Tok, social media has already paved a path for events to be hosted digitally.

Private concerts, as well as speaker events, often rely on and benefit from audience engagement. Virtual events inherently lack the physical presence and subsequent energy of a live audience, but utilizing social media and other innovative platforms can supplement some of these critical characteristics to enhance the event. From allowing live comments and reactions and ensuring all viewers are visible to the performers (and vice versa) to only permit emoji-based reactions during the event, virtual events make do in their attempts to engage their audiences. 

The shift to virtual events has come naturally for much larger events, and a similar shift will continue to occur for private events, as well. Utilizing passcode-protected platforms to host such events, creating private accounts to host them on social media, and cultivating a personalized, optimized event to appeal to the changing needs and desires of the audience are all ways that private events are changing.

Initially, many in the event industry chose to postpone their events rather than cancel them altogether. With a broad digital landscape available, many organizers realize that the third option—making the switch to virtual events—is more appealing.

To read part one about how the events industry has been affected, please see last month’s blog!

Originally published: https://chrisjanese.com/virtual-events-how-the-industry-is-changing-part-two/

Virtual Events – How the Industry is Changing: Part 1

The COVID-19 epidemic changed the way several industries work. Most notably, the event industry has changed drastically. For months, it’s been essential for people to maintain social distancing and isolate themselves in homes that they know to be clean and virus-free. Almost no one has been flying, staying in hotels, or entering convention centers. Luckily, technology has made it possible for many events to continue.

Services like Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts have been booming. They have made interactive virtual events very accessible to the public. There are different kinds of meetings available to organizers. Webinars allow for multiple speakers—a host controls whose mic and video feed are on. In many cases, it’s also possible to live stream meetings. For large companies or organizations like churches, this has made it possible to continue to meet more or less as usual.

However, it’s possible to use virtual events for other business functions like lead generation. When people sign up for online summits or free introductory calls, they provide companies with plenty of information. For example, they’re telling businesses how to contact them, what they do, and what their pain points are in their business. This isn’t just a trickle, either. For example, Thinkific’s Amplify 2020 series brought in about 10,000 new leads for the company.

That means that virtual events can ultimately be a real sales engine for a company. There’s a significant ROI on the low-cost, low-effort tasks needed to set up a virtual event. Creating a landing page, registration page, and spreading the word aren’t that difficult. While pre-recorded talks can be used, they don’t have to be. Popular speakers have been home, often without much to do. So lining up talent is also not as challenging as it might seem on the surface.

Finally, virtual events are accessible to more people in more places. The reason behind this is simple. Travel has always been prohibitive for some people who would like to attend a conference. They may have to be somewhere else that week. Or they may be more needed at their office base. Offering live streams has democratized access to seminars, conferences, and training opportunities. In the long run, this can mean significant increases to sales figures, not just leads.

Events across the board have been canceled or changed due to the current climate. Next month this series will look at how the private events industry has been impacted. 

Virtual Family Trips for Times You Can Not Travel

With the United States government’s releasing of guidelines for the return to normalcy into three phases, it does not seem likely that travel, as it has been known, will return anytime soon. With the summer months approaching, months that are traditionally the time for vacations, perhaps families can take virtual trips as a diversion from their separation from society and the monotony of day-to-day living. Here are some suggestions for virtual family trips:

Hershey, Pennsylvania

The home of America’s first mass-produced milk chocolate bar (Nestlé produced the first milk-chocolate bar 25 years before Hershey’s) offers a virtual visit. There are several virtual trips, a few of which are virtual rides on any or all 15 calm to wild roller coaster rides, including the new and thrilling Candymonium.

WildEarth Kids Sessions

Students at home with their parents can take a virtual action tour if they join safariLIVE. They can virtually visit some of the famed wildlife areas, interact with experts, and drive through the African wilderness if they enter. There are virtual tours seen from the back of a jeep of famed wildlife areas through the wilderness where they will see elephants, gazelles, lions, and tigers.

Australia

Families can experience unique events with iconic personalities of the country acting as hosts. There is a fantastic tour of the Great Barrier Reef and sightings of Great White sharks. Students can visit the Outback with its unusual animals and the Sydney Opera House. A virtual ride on a ferry is also fun. The beautiful South Bank Parklands has gardens and a rainforest walk.

France

This beautiful country has a wide variety of places to visit. Paris is an excellent start for a virtual visit to the top of the Eiffel Tower for a panoramic view of the City of Lights. There are virtual tours of the Louvre art museum and the Chateau (castle) Versailles, where the Kings Louis XIV, XV, and XVI resided. The ornate mirrored hall is the site of the Treaty of Versailles after World War II. A virtual tour takes students to the second-highest mountain in Europe, Mont Blanc, and other famous French destinations such as Provence and its fields of flowers from which French perfume is made.

London, England

The virtual tour can move across the English Channel to London, where visitors can see the historic structures (Buckingham Palace, Westminster Bridge on the Thames). The trips to the English countryside are beautiful. Some activities include the Rosewood Explorer club that provides tips on how to build an indoor fort.

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