Catherine Parker, National Parks TravelingMom

Catherine Parker, National Parks TravelingMom

Catherine Parker has a passion for travel with only two states left in her quest of seeing all 50. As a former flight attendant with one of the largest airlines, there isn't a major North American airport that she hasn't landed in at least once. Since clipping her professional wings after 9/11, she combines her love of the open road with visiting national parks, historic sites and cultural icons. She is based out of Central Texas, dividing her time between writing and restoring a 95-year-old house. She shares her life with her three kids, her husband, two cats, a dog and six backyard chickens.


How to Heal a Broken Heart at Ocean Blue and Sand Dominican Republic

When Carrie Bradshaw of Sex in the City found herself with a broken heart, she headed to an all-inclusive. It worked for her, so I figured it would work for me too. Grabbing my passport, a bikini and the chicest sunglasses I own, I hopped a plane bound for the Dominican Republic. To soothe over the bitterness of life, I spent a week lounging and luxuriating next to a beach with water the color of my favorite jewelry box. Why Stay at an All-Inclusive Waking up on a recent Wednesday morning, I grabbed my passport and hopped a plane headed for the Caribbean....

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Lose Yourself in a National Park for Free in 2017

Did you find your park? It’s not too late. Make it a point to discover the awe-inspiring beauty or the rich cultural history of the United States by visiting a National Park Service Site in 2017 with your family. US national parks offer many free sites and the biggest attractions like Grand Canyon offer several fee-free days in 2017. US National Parks for Free! National parks offer priceless beauty and for 10 days in 2017 the admission price is just that–priceless. Only 124 of the 413 US national parks charge admission ($3 to $30). The remaining sites are free...

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Palm Springs Aerial Tramway: World’s Largest Rotating Tram Cars

Perched high above the Coachella Valley, minutes from Palm Springs, California, I discovered an alpine forest with towering trees and summer temperatures rarely reaching 80F. As the seasons change, the treed oasis transforms into a winter wonderland perfect for a day of sledding or snow-shoed exploring. Climb aboard the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway for a breathtaking ride in the world’s largest rotating tram cars. My kids love different. So when I told them I wanted to ride a rotating cable car up the side of a mountain to visit our next national park site, they were all in. On...

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Legendary Luxury at Death Valley’s The Inn at Furnace Creek

When Old Hollywood needed an escape from the demands of making movies, they hopped in their convertibles drove out to a luxurious desert getaway, four hours from Los Angeles. The glamorous still lounge by the legendary pool, sipping cocktails and hiding under large chapeaus, sometimes shining brighter than the nighttime stars overhead. But it’s the service and the amenities that shine the brightest at The Inn at Furnace Creek, the iconic luxury property that offers hospitality as warm as the sunset in Death Valley National Park. Legendary Luxury at Death Valley’s The Inn at Furnace Creek Near the lowest...

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Hiking in a Volcano – Oregon’s Newberry National Volcanic Monument with Kids

My kids can never get enough of things that go BOOM! I have a family full of active kids, and we just had to head to central Oregon to hike in the center of a volcano. Newberry National Volcanic Monument has plains of lava, piles of lava and a tube made from lava. If your kids are fascinated by all things lava, like my kids, add this National Park site to your next Oregon road trip. Every summer I load up my three kids (8, 12 and 13) and hit the road. This summer we explored the Pacific Northwest. In-between...

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Discover Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge with Your Kids

Love a scenic drive and fields of lavender? This mom does. Do the back-seaters need a break from the screens? Mine do. My SUV can’t pass up a Fresh Cherries sign along the country roads of Oregon’s Fruit Loop. On a recent road trip, I found outdoor activities to keep my kids hiking and snacking along the Columbia River Gorge for days even saw some snow in July at a year-round ski destination. Discover Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge with Your Kids Oregon showcases seven wonders across its state, and one of the destinations is 30 miles east of Portland. The...

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San Juan Island: Washington Getaway for Families

On a recent road trip through the Pacific Northwest, I hopped the Washington State Ferry to discover San Juan Island. Its history, whale-watching and fields of summertime lavender had me hooked. After landing, I discovered an island without a traffic light where the only congestion happens at the ferry terminal on Sunday evening. San Juan Island is located in the Strait of Juan de Fuca along the Canadian border. This island boasts a temperate climate with unique shoreline whale-watching. An ideal destination for families with a slow, island pace. Family friendly activities range from exploring the island bike, kayaking...

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Blast Zone: Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument with Kids

The eruption of Mount St. Helens is one of my first memories of the world outside my immediate home and family. As a first-grader, I remember watching the evening news with my family and seeing people covered in suffocating gray ash climb out of a military helicopter. Since then, I’ve wanted to witness the aftermath of the most destructive volcanic event in U.S. history and share it with my kids. Mount St. Helens was once a recreational playground for Washington, similar to Mount Rainier National Park. Until one quiet Sunday morning in 1980 when the snowcapped mountain vaporized and...

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Redwood National and State Parks: Discover the Land of Ewoks

As a true kid of the 80s, my introduction to the Redwoods came one Saturday afternoon when I saw my heroine, Princess Leia, speeding through a fern-covered grove of giant trees outwitting the Stormtroopers. Hooked, I added it to my life-long list of places I needed to visit. Fast-forward a couple of decades and I had to introduce my own Jedi Padawans to this mysterious land, known as the Redwood National and State Parks. Might it still might be harboring mischievous Ewoks? Kids love records, and it doesn’t matter what the record is most times. On a recent road...

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Exploring Our National Parks One Book at a Time

As the National Parks TravelingMom, I cherish the time I explore our national parks with my three kids. As the summer fades and fall approaches, my kids get busier and busier with school and I yearn for the endless summer days hiking through our national parks. Until our next national park adventure, I can read Martha Day Zschock’s new book, Journey Around Our National Parks, with my kids and relive our days meandering through our favorite national parks together.   Exploring Our National Parks One Book at a Time I love books as much as I love our our...

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