Amanda Williams, Rural TravelingMom

Amanda Williams, Rural TravelingMom

Amanda Williams is a self-proclaimed bird-nerd and mother to two high energy sons under five years old. She has worked as a wildlife biologist, wildland firefighter, and environmental educator, so she has a lot of outdoors experience to share--but those jobs pale in comparison to the adventure of being MOM! You can find her writing as a freelancer or exploring with the family for her own site, Field Guide to Parenting Outside. Amanda and her family aspire to become Global Citizens and consider their house merely a base camp for trip-planning operations. More comfortable in the middle of nowhere than in a big city, most of the year they'll be at large in a loaded down minivan, wandering National Parks and frequenting festivals all over the map.


Why You Should Visit Disney With AND Without Kids

Not everyone is a fan of the mouse. I know, I know! Hard to believe. What is even more outrageous is that only a year ago, I was rolling my eyes and shaking my head in disbelief (and confusion at all the Disney lingo being tossed around) as my girlfriends talked about planning their respective Disney vacations. But I learned. You should bring your kids to Disney, even if you’re a hater and you think you won’t like it. Here’s why. You know what happened as soon as I succumbed to the Disney fever? Everyone around me was discovering...

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FREE Fun in Duluth, Minnesota

Duluth, Minnesota, was named Outside Magazine’s “Best Town” in recent history and for good reason. Not only does the town have a fresh, vibrant atmosphere, there are a good many things to do that are completely free. Many of the activities that the beloved city offers will have outdoorsy folks rejoicing! If you end up in the northern reaches of Minnesota, make sure to take advantage of all the FREE activities, sights, and attractions that the Zenith City can provide your family! Duluth, Minnesota, is the second largest city on Lake Superior but has activities in spades for those...

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How Your Tires Can Change Your Trip

It’s amazing how an entire trip can be shaped by the shape of your tires. Really. It’s happened to our family more than once. You’d think we’d learn! And, since we’re rural folks who love to travel the remote countryside, when we have car trouble, it’s never a straightforward fix. Here’s an in-depth look at how good tires can frame your family foray in a GOOD way — which leaves more money, time, and energy for you to devote to what really matters — having fun! A Million Miles from Home (and AAA) We learned on more than one...

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Changes Coming to SeaWorld as Society Changes

SeaWorld, no matter your stance on hot-topic issues that have swirled around the parks for the last few years, was the inspiration for the dreams of kids like me, children of the 1980s. I can honestly say that my aspirations of becoming a marine biologist stemmed from Shamu. Now we might attribute those dreams to Finding Nemo and Disney, but for many of us, it was the mighty killer whale show in Orlando, San Diego, or San Antonio that got us started. Changes are on the horizon for the three U.S. based marine life theme parks according to the announcement on the...

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Free Family-friendly Fun in Branson, Missouri!

Known as the “live entertainment capital of the world” unsurprisingly there is PLENTY to see and do in Branson, Missouri. A smallish town, it caters to families in the summer months and snowbirds all winter long. Along with the shows and dining experiences that one simply MUST see and do while in town (which come at a cost) there is a plethora of clean family fun to be had that is completely complimentary! Read on for some of the best ways we found to experience the area for the bargain price of a little bit of your time and interest! Branson,...

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Car Seat Review: Safety 1st Grow and Go™ Air 3-in-1

Every time I heave my mass into a kneeling position, sweating and huffing, in the backseat of my station wagon, perched atop a cushy, brightly colored seat meant for one of my kids, I can’t help but wonder: “isn’t there an easy solution?” I remember insisting that my husband ride in the back seat for the first three months (maybe more) after our first son was born as I chauffeured them around a la Driving Miss Daisy. In the years that have lapsed from those first nerve-wracking days, I’ve tried several seats. One thing is for sure: convertible is king, as with the Safety...

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Parks Canada offers FREE Admission + Our Eight Favorite Parks

It seems folks are finally figuring out that Canada has a lot more to offer than just maple syrup and Tim Hortons (though we love both of those) – a lot more! Canada is huge and part of the allure is the vast, largely unspoiled landscapes that rekindle the WILD in one’s soul. For folks that are energized by this kind of adventure, Parks Canada is speaking to you (and everyone else) when they offer FREE admission in the coming months. Take a minute to make sure you don’t miss out on what’s new regarding the public lands in Canada....

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Check Out All the Free Fun in Rapid City, South Dakota

Rapid City has long been one of my families’ favorite places to travel for a little summer fun. This was a road trip I vividly remember taking with my parents and brother as a kid and I wanted the same fond memories for my children to reflect on with their own children. We planned an epic road trip itinerary to in a vast relatively rural region of the country and it did not disappoint. What was a total surprise though is how much FREE fun was ready to greet us in the west central South Dakota city! Have you...

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Calling All National Parks Enthusiasts: New Junior Ranger Badge Opportunity!

National Parks are popular with kids, it’s true. Heck! We all love them! This year, as many know, it’s the 100th Birthday of the National Park Service, so folks will be headed to our public lands for a multitude of reasons, this among them. One reason we flock to the parks is their ever-popular Junior Ranger programs. Now, kids and parents alike can get excited about a new badge in town! Want to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in a, er, mammoth way? The new site, Waco Mammoth National Monument, is sure to be a...

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Best Offline Sources for Disney Planning (and What Makes Them Great)

My mom always told me that “planning the trip was half the fun” when it came to family vacations. I’ve never asked her if that included planning our trip to Walt Disney World. Probably, but things have changed a lot in the Disney Parks since we went in the ’90s. Now that I’m the primary trip planner, I can say that planning IS part of the fun. It’s part of the anticipation. Perhaps no family trip requires more planning of meticulous details for the most success than the epic Disney family vacation. The problem for me and a few...

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