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.


Out with the Old, in with the New: Wet ‘N Wild Orlando to Close in 2016. Volcano Bay Erupting in 2017

There is no better way in my opinion to cool off when camping during the balmy (or in many cases hot and humid) summer weather than to visit a water park. Wild, windblown tresses swishing along as the slide swirls you to the bottom has you surrendering to the giddy giggling fits only brought on by those extra exciting rides and slides at a favorite water park. Yes, this is the ultimate perk of parenthood: the kids are a great excuse to sneak off to YOUR favorite water park with no shame! When in Florida and especially the Orlando area there...

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National Geographic Bee – How Well Do You Know Your Geography?

Today the top geographically-inclined brains in the nation (51 state champions and a handful more from territories and DoD entities) will compete in Washington D.C. for the National Geographic Bee. This fun albeit delightfully nerdy contest is something that would have been right up my alley in my youth. In a completely coincidental but rather timely experiment a few nights ago, I sat down at my laptop, fired up Excel, and listed all of the STATES I could recall by memory — there are only 50, how hard could it be, right? Wrong. I missed three. Apparently, my brain had...

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Crazy California Family has Committed the Ultimate Travel Fail

Part of the reason that we love to travel is to show our children the world. We show them other cultures. We love showing them that we live a pretty good life in the United States — that often times involves showing them the best our country has to offer, and for us, that is what Mother Nature has to showcase. Recently, at a vista overlooking Tumalo Falls in the Deschutes National Forest in Oregon, a “family of vandals” brought this notion of respect and traveler ambassador attitudes to the forefront. This traveling family didn’t get the memo about respecting...

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Camping 101: Getting Ready for the Camping Season

It’s that time of year! The snowy weather is likely long gone for most (or for those of you smarter than THIS gal, you live where you don’t have nine months of winter…) Now is the time that we start to plan our summers and for me, that means planning some stellar camping trips! Here are some considerations that you should be taking care of NOW — so that when you get those golden tickets (commonly known in the workplace as “leave slips” — you can throw the packs and gear and the Golden Retriever into the car with...

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Alaska Marine Highway 101: 3 Tips for Camping on the Ferry

Venturing out into the big blue doesn’t mean you cannot camp. Yes, I’m talking about camping while at sea! The Alaska Marine Highway is one all-encompassing mode of transportation that is really a vacation in itself. Un-cruisers, take note – this is often referred to as “the poor man’s cruise” since it takes the same route as many major cruise ships for a fraction of the cost. Bonus? You can bring your car and Benji too! The kids will love the adventure of camping aboard a gigantic ship. Here is a quick reference guide based on our first-hand experience...

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Where to See the Capitol Christmas Tree on Its Way to D.C.

The Capitol Christmas Tree that will stand on the West Lawn of the White House through Jan. 1, 2015, is on its way there now, traveling from its home in a Minnesota forest. Here’s where to see the tree in a town near you: Friday, November 7 Event from 11 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., with tree onsite from 11:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Mayo Clinic (16 1st Street SW, Rochester MN 55902) 4:00-8:00 p.m., with tree arrival at 5:00 p.m.  St. James Hotel (406 Main Street, Red Wing, MN 55066) Saturday, November 8 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Cabela’s (3900 Cabela Drive NW,...

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The Tale of the Traveling Tree – The Making of a Capitol Christmas

Many of us watch as the Capitol Christmas tree on the lawn outside the White House is illuminated each year. It’s almost like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade or even that silly Yule Log that you can find burning on some cable channels during the holiday season — it’s tradition. I’ve never thought much about the tree itself or any of the other traditions surrounding the monolith. I discovered this year that there is so much detail, logistical planning, and even cultural significance goes into this event .And the tree is on its way across the country right now–maybe...

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Planning a Fall Color Roadtrip for the Whole Family: 5 Tips for Fun!

The time of year in most of the northerly states is approaching when the gorgeous deciduous trees will be limited in chlorophyll and will begin the “winterizing” process which we find so splendid to see as we drive along roadsides all over the country. Yes, you can still enjoy your autumn color tour and have your kids in tow! You just need to get creative and here are some tips for fabulous family fall forays. 5) Don’t plan to drive the entire tri-state area. This should be a no-brainer, but with some, you never know! Those over-zealous folks might...

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Camping 101: What to Pack for a Camping Trip

One of the questions I get from friends who like to daydream about an outdoor getaway is: How do I ever know what to pack for a camping trip that considers rain, children, hot weather, pets, cold weather, campgrounds, mountains, woods, pools, etc. The answer is two-fold: 1) Don’t pack for everything that could happen. I try to pack the basics, fill in with versatile items, and do a fair bit of optimistic planning. 2) The unexpected travel surprises are part of what I LOVE about vacations, especially camping. I realize, however, that not everyone loves flat tires in...

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Camping 101: What to Know Before You Go

Whether you are going to be schlepping the backcountry solo or you have reserved a luxurious experience glamping in the frontcountry with your feet up and a cocktail in hand, you’ll still want to consider some of the basics before you get too far down the trail, as it were. Find the foundation for all camping planning right here. Begin at the Beginning When it comes to a 101 crash course, some of the tips can be “old hand” for the veteran tent-erectors in the bunch. However, complacency can kill a cat faster than the proverbial curiosity ever did!...

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