Our Year of Travels: 2023

Our Year of Travels: 2023

It’s that time of year again when we reflect on our travels from the year and look ahead to what we have planned in the new year.  We had some great trips this year and are so thankful for the memories that we made.

It was tough to get everyone together for a family trip this year!  With Skylar and Braden in college, their breaks didn’t align with Ava’s high school breaks so we took several trips with just a few of us.  We will have one family trip this year – and it is the very last trip of the year, to Tucson, Arizona.  In fact, there will be 10 of us:  our family of 5, my sister’s family of 4, and my mom.  What a great way to end the year!

2023 TRAVEL STATS

New Countries Visited:  (2) Spain and Gibraltar

New National Parks Visited:  (4) Congaree (South Carolina), New River Gorge (West Virginia), Gateway Arch (Missouri), and Saguaro (Arizona).

Top 2023 Experiences:  

  • Visiting Spain with friends
  • Exploring the tiny overseas British territory of Gibraltar
  • Snorkeling in a volcanic lagoon on Oahu
  • Whitewater rafting on the New River
  • Riding the tiny tram to the top of the Gateway Arch

A Month-By-Month Breakdown

APRIL

Spring Break is one of my favorite times of the year to travel.  We get a full week off from school and we explore somewhere new together.  This year we were off to Spain, enjoying the sun on Costa del Sol, the southern coast.  We also day tripped to the beautiful white village of Frigliana, the moorish town of Granada, and the British outpost of Gibraltar.

Spain | April

Gibraltar | April

Our articles on Spain can be found here:

And our article on visiting Gibraltar can be found here:

JUNE

We were off to Oahu, Hawaii, enjoying beach time as well as a trek to the North Shore, a visit to Pearl Harbor, and a hike up to Diamond Head Crater.  We had a blast for one night staying at the Royal Hawaiian on Waikiki Beach and loved the relaxing vibe at the Aulani Resort, where we spent five nights.  

Oahu, Hawaii | June

Read all about our adventures in Hawaii here:

EARLY JULY

Our favorite place of all is our family’s lake house in Michigan.  We visit here over the Fourth of July annually with my entire family and have so much fun boating, swimming, fishing, hiking, grilling, and our mean cornhole tourney on the 4th of July.  It’s just the best. 

Lake Time | Michigan

LATE JULY

Ava and I were off to New York City for her dance troupe’s annual trip to the Big Apple.  We had a few hours of free time here and there and made a stop at the new Museum of Broadway, which we added to our list of 21 Great Things to do in New York City.

A city of contrasts:  Busy Times Square and Serene Central Park, NYC | July

Our updated New York City Guide can be found here:

LABOR DAY WEEKEND

I flew into Atlanta, meeting Mike where he was working.  After spending one night there, we drove to Columbia, SC where we based for two nights while we visited Congaree National Park.

Congaree National Park | September

Read all about visiting Congaree:

EARLY OCTOBER

Mike and I ventured east to New River Gorge National Park, located in West Virginia.  Here, we stayed in a cozy cabin, went whitewater rafting, and did the epic bridge walk.  We had a blast!

New River Gorge National Park | October

Read all about visiting New River Gorge National Park:

MID OCTOBER

We get a long fall break from school every October.  This year, we headed to southern California.  We stayed at the historic Hotel Del Coronado while enjoying beach time, shopping and dining on Orange Avenue, and taking a day trip to Disneyland in Anaheim.

Coronado, California | October

Click below to read about staying at the historic Hotel Del Coronado and more:

NOVEMBER

We spent a weekend in St. Louis, MO, visiting Gateway Arch National Park, touring the Anheuser Busch brewery, and capping off the weekend with a Jerry Seinfeld and Jim Gaffigan stand up show – what an epic duo!

Gateway Arch National Park & St. Louis | November

Our guide on visiting Gateway Arch National Park and St. Louis:

DECEMBER

Our last trip of the year is the only one where all five of us will be together, so it will be extra special.  After Christmas, we fly to Tucson, Arizona ringing in the New Year in the desert sun.  We plan to hike Saguaro National Park, visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, and explore Tombstone.  Above all, we will ring in the new year with friends and family!

Looking Ahead to 2024…

We have some exciting trips in the works for 2024. 

In March, we have a family wedding in Dallas and we are coupling it with a few days in Hot Springs National Park.

Spring break will be spent on St. John in the US Virgin Islands, also visiting Virgin Islands National Park.  In the summer, we are traveling to Germany and Austria.

Ava will be off to college in the fall and Mike and I will officially be empty nesters.  It seems crazy to think that after so many years we won’t have kids living at home full-time!  We are embracing this next phase of life and are currently planning some awesome adventures.  Stay tuned as we share all of our travels throughout the year!

We wish you a healthy, happy, and adventurous 2024.  Happy New Year!

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