In the last few years, our family has made it a mission to travel to as many new places in the year as possible. 2019 was no different! In just 12 months; we completed 7 trips to 5 new Destinations and explored 3 new places in states and cities that we had been to before. Overall, we are closing out the year extremely grateful for our traveling lives in the past three years of this blog and even more excited to see what 2020 and beyond has in store for our adventures. So, to send the year out with a bang and to continue to inspire your families to get out and see the world; I’ve decided to put together a 2019 Travel Year Review. Plus, share details and thoughts about each trip.

Hawaii: March 2019

We kicked 2019 off in Oahu, Hawaii from March 5th to March 11th 2019. After my Disney enthusiast toddler raved over the likes of Lilo and Stitch and Moana, we thought that it was only fitting to celebrate his third birthday in Hawaii and it was a great way to visit our Military friends stationed in the area. This turned out to be the best travel decisions we’ve ever made. Hawaii is such a beautiful place with tons of family friendly activities for the entire family.

Do I Need A Rental Car in Oahu, Hawaii

 

We stayed at the stunning and historic Hilton Hawaiian Village and fell asleep each night to views and sounds of Waikiki Beach. March 6thwas our son’s birthday and we spent the morning at Aulani, A Disney resort and Spa for character breakfast at Makahiki. We got to see all of our favorite characters, sung along to live entertainment and enjoyed a breakfast lover’s dream buffet.

best luau in Oahu: hilton Hawaiian village Waikiki starlight luau

aulani character breakfast at Makahiki plate and passion orange guava juice

The afternoon was spent at the Dole Plantation where we indulged in Dole Whip and fresh pineapples which was well worth the drive up. We ended the night at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Starlight Luau with AMAZING live Polynesian style entertainment and yummy Polynesian dishes. To date, the Starlight Luau was the best experience we’ve ever had. My family even got to join in on the fun and it made for some pretty great video.

best luau in Oahu: hilton Hawaiian village Waikiki starlight luau

best luau in Oahu: hilton Hawaiian village Waikiki starlight luau

best luau in Oahu: hilton Hawaiian village Waikiki starlight luau

Days 3,4 and 5 were spent at the Historic Pearl Harbor, Atlantis Whale Watching Cruise and the Polynesian Cultural Center. Pearl Harbor made a tremendous impact on our military family as the tour made us quite sad yet prideful. The Atlantis Whale Watching Tour was such a great experience for my son and I as sea life enthusiasts. Turns out that we visited Hawaii at the perfect time to experience the Whales and all their glory. Finally, the Polynesian Cultural Center was another great experience. As a history buff, I enjoyed the chance to experience Polynesian Cultures first hand with tour guides from each background. We ended the night with a fun Luau and seats to the highly -rated Ha Breath of Life Show.

In short, Hawaii was an amazing time with stunning views, top notch entertainment and great food!

 

Las Vegas: May 2019

In a last- minute decision to cancel a trip to San Diego, California; we found ourselves booking a flight to Las Vegas to debunk the Myth of Sin City. Turns out that Las Vegas is so much fun for families and small children. So much that we are planning a move in the summer of 2020!

Las Vegas New York new york pictureOur visit to Vegas was from May 7th-11thand we stayed at the stunning Hilton Lake Las Vegas which was just a few miles outside of the busy Las Vegas strip. In May, the weather was really nice. We safely avoided the heat of the summer but we had a gentle spring breeze that made it pleasant to hang out outdoors and explore.

On this trip, we visited Red Rock Canyon, Explored the Hoover Dam, took on the LONG Las Vegas Strip Walk and ate good food at some of the Best Restaurants in Las Vegas ! 5 Days was not nearly enough time to explore all that we wanted to do so we are really looking forward to returning to the area and taking you all on our adventures.

red rock canyon mother and son picture things to do in Las Vegas with kids

5 ways to stay connected as a military family

This trip was the catalyst for our decision to move to Las Vegas and we are super excited to be Las Vegas locals now. We are looking forward to exploring the area and living life in the big city dessert.

 

 

 

 

 

Atlanta: May 2019

Unfortunately, 4 Days after returning to St. Louis from Vegas; we had to go home to Atlanta for a funeral. The circumstances were less than ideal but we took one day as an opportunity to explore our hometown as tourists.

 

During this trip, we visited the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coke and explored one of my favorite hidden gems called Baps Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Atlanta which is a stunning Hindu Temple just outside of the city. If you’re ever in Atlanta, I highly recommend visiting! Again, this trip was short so we crammed everything into one free day.

 

St. Louis: June 2019

 

 

 

 

We live pretty close to St. Louis so it’s a monthly event to explore the city and enjoy a staycation. However, we were invited out to get a behind the scenes tour of the brand -new St. Louis Aquarium and other family sites in the city. So, we spent the weekend trying new restaurants and learning more about things to do in the area. We stayed at the historic Union Station Hotel and enjoyed stunning architecture of the 1920’s train station and marveled at the nighty projection show. The next two days were spent at the famous Gateway National Park, catching stunning views of the city at the 360 rooftop and hard hatting around the aquarium that finally opened in December of 2019. We can’t wait to see how it turned out!

 

Kansas: August 2019

After living in the American Midwest for the second time, we made it our mission to explore a little more of the region and all that it has to offer. A partnership landed us in Kansas City which is just a short 4- hour drive from our house and we had a great time exploring but mostly eating our way through the city.

 

Kansas City and the suburban neighborhood of Merriam is so charming and full of history. We spent our first few days exploring those historic sites followed by finding the best places to eat in Kansas City. After all, what’s Kansas City without BBQ? The last day was spent at a historically swanky hotel, watching artists paint murals and a unique Saturday farmers market with even more good food to discover. After this trip, we learned that we totally favor the Kansas City, Missouri side over the Kansas side but the city as a whole offers a ton to do and see if you’re considering a weekend getaway in the Midwest.

 

St. Louis: September 2019

In September, we headed back to St. Louis for more than our usual frolicking in the city. This time, a partnership took us to the Spirit of St. Louis Airshow. The airshow piqued the interest of my little future astronaut/pilot and we enjoyed watching the talented pilots spin, dive and do tricks.

The next day, we surprised our little one by taking him to see his favorite characters at Disney on Ice. After moving from Florida and traveling to Disney World when we wanted

 

 

 

 

December 2019: Miami and The Bahamas

In December, we celebrate A LOT! Between Elijah’s Birthday, our anniversary and Christmas; it’s usually a no brainer that we choose travel in December.  This year, our vacation of choice was Miami and the Bahamas on a 4- day cruise on the Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas.

Miami is essentially home to us so we spent a few days exploring some of our favorite places with some of our favorite people and family before heading on our cruise. Our cruise on the Navigator of the Seas has two stops in the Bahamas (Coco Cay and Nassau). We were super excited to be cruising with Royal for the first time and cross the Bahamas off our travel list.

 Coco Cay was definitely the highlight of the trip. We enjoyed perfect weather on their private island and enjoyed trading in cold Missouri for sun, sand and tropical vibes. Unfortunately, bad weather cancelled the second half of our trip to Nassau and EJ came back with the Flu. Nonetheless, we made the most of our trip and made some great family memories to close out the year.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR0312.JPG

 

 

In 2020, we are looking forward to many more traveling adventures including our move out West. We are so excited to be Las Vegas locals and are excited to take you all with us as we explore more of the American Southwest and West Coast. If you’re a west coaster, be sure to send us some suggestions for MUST see places!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Sierra Redmond

I am Sierra Redmond; a mom, military spouse and travel industry expert on a mission to inspire families to travel near and far. On the blog, you’ll find travel and food guides, tips for traveling with kids, Military, all things Disney and our chronicles as new Las Vegas locals.