City Guide: St Augustine, Florida

Located in the northern part of Florida, St Augustine has the distinction of being known as the oldest continually occupied European settlement in North America. It was founded in 1565 by Pedro Menendez and his soldier and colonists, fifty years after Ponce de Leon claimed the area now known as Florida for Spain in the early 1500s. St. Augustine was under Spanish rule until 1763 when Britain took over for 20 years, followed again by Spain until the United States took over in 1821. Florida later became a state in 1845. The St. Augustine area became popular with tourists in the 1820s as a spot to escape cold northern winters, and the popularity grew when Standard Oil co-founder Henry Flagler founded the Florida East Coast Railway and began building hotels, churches, and a hospital throughout the area. Today, St. Augustine is a popular spot to be immersed in rich history and culture and the city offers plenty of family friendly adventures. 

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5 Ways to Explore the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument in St. Augustine, Florida

The oldest masonry fort in the United States, Castillo de San Marcos National Monument was built from 1672 to 1695 (with various interrupted breaks due to disease and conflict) to guard St Augustine, the first permanent European settlement, from both pirates and English troops. The fort was made from local coquina shell stone quarried in the area that is now Anastasia State Park and is up to 19 feet thick in some ocean side walls. The shell-stone walls helped up against cannon firing and helped the Spanish protect the fort.   In 1821, the United States acquired Florida from Spain and renamed the fort Fort Marion, later adding Florida’s first golf course on the grounds in 1895, and then declared a national monument in 1924. After being deactivated in 1933, the 21 acre fort was used as a US Coast Guard training base during World War II. The fort celebrated its centennial in 2016.

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15 Free Things to Do in Boston with Kids

I have shared many times that Beantown is my hometown, and I often bring my family “home” to Boston. We have tons of posts on things to do in Boston (our Boston City Guide is a good place to start).  Summer is an especially fun time to explore Boston, as there are so many family friendly attractions near the Harbor waterfront. This week, we’re sharing 15 free things to do throughout the Boston area. Some of these attractions are free all year, but many activities cater to the warmer weather. 

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10 Family Friendly Winter Activities in Woodstock, Vermont

Woodstock, Vermont is a quintessential New England town. Located one hour south of the Vermont capital of Montpelier and just over two hours from Boston, Massachusetts and Hartford, Connecticut, Woodstock has a population of just over 3,000 but swells with visitors in both the popular foliage and summer seasons. Many of the activities center around nature: skiing, hiking, fishing, biking, and swimming, but there are also plenty of historical museums, hands-on centers, tons of family fun, and plenty of beautiful shops (if the kids can be entertained). We visited Woodstock in the summertime many years ago, but found that winter is also a great time to visit when we returned last month. While fact checking logistics, we found woodstockvt.com helpful with places to explore, dining and shopping suggestions, and  calendars of events.

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City Guide: 15 Kid Friendly Activities in Boston, Massachusetts

I’ll disclose that Boston is my hometown, so this post will be “wicked” biased. But even the biggest Yankees fan will admit that the birthplace of the American Revolution, the home of winning sports teams, waterfront activities, world class arts and culture, and curator of foods like Fenway franks, bakes beans, chowdah, and Boston Cream Pie, is one of the most special places in the world. There are SO many family friendly activities you’ll need weeks years to see and do it all, but for our latest City Guide we’ll start with these 15 places the whole family is sure to love.

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National Park Guide: Badlands National Park in South Dakota

Badlands National Park, located in Interior South Dakota, is the location of the world’s largest fossil beds. The 244,000 acre park is home to sedimentary rock layers deposited over 70 million years ago, as well as mixed grass prairie where bison, bighorn sheep, prairie dogs, and ferrets live. There are over 60 species of grass throughout the prairies inside the park. Named by the early French trappers and the Lakota Native American tribe that founded the area, the Badlands are known for extremes: extreme weather, extreme vastness of the plains, and extreme fossil beds. Learn more about the formation of the Badlands Buttes here.

Badlands became a National Monument in 1939 and then a National Park in 1978; the southern half of the park is located on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and is co-managed with the Oglala Sioux Tribe. Over one million people visit Badlands National Park each year.

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