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.


South Dakota Caves – Underground Frontiers for Families

Caves and kids? Yes, my kids love caves and one is “literally dying” to take a wild cave tour when he’s old enough. Cave tours offer kids a peak into an underground world where exploration and discovery happens daily. A large portion of the Wind Cave in South Dakota is still uncharted, like deep space or the deepest reaches of our oceans. To my son, a cave is an unlimited source of adventure as he plots his expedition to discover the next, new passage in an underground frontier. The Black Hills of South Dakota offers two caves within 31...

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Lodge Review: Cedar Pass Lodge in Badlands National Park, South Dakota

The sunrise at Badlands National Park begs for my attention as sunlight peeks through the window of my cabin. The serenade of the Western Meadowlark motivates me to climb out of my hand-crafted pine bed and brew a cup of coffee. As I slip on a flannel shirt and open the door, I find the perfect spot to celebrate the morning South Dakota-style, the back porch. To fully experience South Dakota’s Badlands National Park, I stayed in a Cedar Pass Lodge cabin. The quiet rock formations come alive as the sun breaks and a symphony of birds celebrate the...

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Discover South Dakota’s Badlands National Park for Family-Sized Adventure

Dad and the kids heard it: the mountains are calling. But as Mom, you’re not so sure. Is the vision of mama bear lumbering through your campsite keeping you away from the mountain vacation your family craves? Or is it Dad trying to find low gear while your minivan races down a mountain pass? I’ve got the perfect mountain destination full of inspiring views, quaint cabins and hikes the whole family will enjoy, without mama bear and Dad’s crazy mountain driving. The Badlands and the Black Hills of South Dakota offer five national park sites. The kids want to...

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17 Spots for Family Fun in San Antonio, Texas

Looking for a destination that your family will love? Try San Antonio, the top travel destination in Texas. I love the River Walk, the cultural history and the warm South Texas hospitality along with the museums, the Tex-Mex food and the theme parks. Since it’s all within a few hours drive from any major Texas city. Here’s why I visit as often as I can. It doesn’t matter what time of year, San Antonio, Texas is always picture-perfect. On a recent weekend away with my kids, I needed a few more days. San Antonio offers the newest UNESCO World...

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Hotel Review: Hotel Contessa on San Antonio’s River Walk

It’s been a long school year and Mom needs a break; time to decompress and recharge. Imagine sipping a margarita next to San Antonio’s picturesque River Walk. Enjoy a well-deserved spa treatment at The Woodhouse Day Spa then escape into a book while relaxing on a chaise next to the rooftop pool. End your day enjoying dinner at Las Ramblas as the lights of the San Antonio twinkle. This blissful luxury can be yours at Hotel Contessa, a four-star, all-suite hotel steps away from all the sights. San Antonio is the top travel destination in Texas for good reason....

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Road Trip 101: Tween Snacks

Summer is right around the corner. My kids are antsy, ready to pack up their lockers and shove it all under their beds. We want to hit the highway and live like September will never come. But before we do, I have to pack up the Ford Explorer. So of course, I need some road trip snacks. The Great American Road Trip. It’s part of our culture. We yearn to discover our country much like the first explorers did. It has an allure of its own. For myself and my three kids, we pack up the Ford Explorer and...

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Why Would You Stay There? Tips for Picking the Right Resort for Your Family

Planning a trip to Walt Disney World is an investment of your time and your money. So which level of resort should you reserve? I stayed at a value, moderate and luxury resort during my last visit and I have all the details to help you decide.   This TravelingMom procrastinated and the value-priced rooms disappeared before I could snag one for the Saturday night of our five-day, four-night trip to Walt Disney World. To make it work, I ended up with reservations at three different resorts. No biggie, I just transferred resorts. I made it work. As a...

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Be There First: the Newest National Monument on Capitol Hill

President Obama declared a new national monument for the women’s equality movement on April 12, 2016, or Equal Pay Day. The Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument is located steps away from the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Using the Antiquities Act, President Barack Obama designated a new monument on April 12, 2016, Equal Pay Day, to recognize the women’s equality movement. The Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument is the ninth National Park Service unit dedicated to women’s history. The Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument is located at 144 Constitution Ave. NW, on Capitol Hill steps away from the U.S....

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Free Fun! Celebrate National Park Week in April

Have you heard? The National Park Service is having a party, a birthday party. Since the NPS turns 100 years old, visitors can find special events all year. Need another reason? National Park Week is April 16-24. The National Park Service will give visitors a present – free admission all week. Kids have their own celebration on April 16 at Junior Ranger Day. I even have a list of eight national Junior Ranger badges you can earn at home. The National Park Service celebrates its centennial this year. When they throw a party, they give us a present – free...

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6 Quick Hikes in Albuquerque Guaranteed to Please

Looking for a quick outing in Albuquerque, New Mexico, for your active family? Try Petroglyph National Monument, a National Park Service urban site. With one of the largest concentrations of petroglyphs, or rock carvings, your kids will be scrambling over volcanic boulders discovering drawings from over 700 years ago. Explore Petroglyph National Monument to discover rock carvings that date back over 700 years. The Pueblo Indians and then the Spanish explorers used the chocolate-brown volcanic rock to carve cultural images in stone. With its convenient location in Albuquerque, New Mexico, it’s a quick park to explore in a few...

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