This year has been a balancing act of work and play. Trying to find those moments to spend time with each other, family and friends while juggling work and extracurricular activities. While Brandon and I work full time, we try to pack in as much fun we can with the kids.
When I reflect back on 2022, here are our favorite travels and experiences!
1. Celebrating 10 Years in the Bahamas
April marked our 10 year wedding anniversary! We celebrated as a family at the beautiful Grand Hyatt Baha Mar in Nassau, Bahamas. On the soft sandy beach with our kids by our sides we had an intimate vow renewal.
The resort is luxury in all ways – great pools, amazing food, and a massive water park.
2. South Beach Food and Wine Fest
Every February South Beach is taken over with celebrity chefs, amazing food and libations. Foodies come out in droves! Brandon and I love to get away just the two of us, and South Beach Wine and Food Fest is one of our favorite events for a kids-free getaway. It’s a smorgasbord of the best food and drink. We’re like kids in a candy store!
3. Spring Break in Orlando
We surprised the kids for their Spring Break and took them Orlando, FL this year. First half of the trip we stayed at The Gaylord Palms. The inside was decked out for Spring – giant easter eggs, tulips everywhere, and even a visit from the Easter Bunny. We swam, surfed, and slid a lot at the water park.
The last part of the trip we stayed in Disney Springs, which has shopping, great restaurants and live music. We went to Hollywood Studios and finally got to ride The Rise of the Resistance. In 2021, we waited in line for 2 hours and were so close to getting on the ride and the fire alarm went off!
Growing up in Michigan, I know the beauty of Summer “up north”. I’ve been dreaming of taking the kids to spend a week in Michigan. We spent half the time with my mom in my hometown – catching fireflies, flying kites, and spending time together.
The other half of our trip we drove 2 hours to South Haven, MI to see my 3 best friends since college and my sister. If you’ve never been to South Haven add it to your list now! It’s a small town on Lake Michigan with beautiful beaches, great boating, and good food. My best friend owns The Lodge restaurant and bar. I still dream about their smoked salmon dip. I wish they could ship to Florida!
Swimming with the pigs was once on our bucket list – checked that off twice now! We swam with the pigs of Exuma and this year we took our kids to see the swimming pigs of Rose Island. Just off the coast of Nassau, a short 25 minute boat ride we were at the Island. Our full day excursion on the private island also included snorkeling, unlimited time with the pigs, an open bar and a buffet lunch. This was our kids highlight of our entire Bahamas trip!
July is also known as the birthday month in our house. Brandon and both kids birthdays are the same week! This year for Brandon’s 40th, we celebrated at our favorite resort in the United States, Bakers Cay in Key Largo. It’s hard to find any beaches in the keys but this spot has 2. They have incredible free activities like kayaks, paddle boards, and fishing.
Crystal River, FL is famous for their natural springs and it’s known as “The Manatee Capital of the World”. Labor Day weekend, my family and I headed out on a quest to see the breathtaking natural springs and hopes to see manatees. We were 6 kayaks deep, 13 paddlers in total. It was a very hot morning and while we didn’t see any manatees we did have a great time. I’m looking forward to the next time we get back to kayak Three Sisters Springs.
We loved our spring break trip so much at Gaylord Palms we came back to experience the popular ICE! 2022 featuring The Grinch from Dr. Seuss. This magical winter experience has indoor tubing, snowball games, snow machines, and the main event — a chilly 9 degrees ice room filled with ice sculpture and ice slides.
The first week of November, Disney’s Magic Kingdom transforms for Christmas and the holidays. This was our 2nd time at Magic Kingdom but our 1st time during the holidays. The halls were decked and it really kicked off our Christmas season!
Animal Kingdom was also a first for us. This is such an underrated park! The weather was not kind to us, we spent 80% of the day in a poncho. But it didn’t stop us from seeing animals, riding Expedition Everest and Avatar Flight of Passage.
10. Sister Trip to Houston
In June, I took a solo girls trip and met my sister in Houston, TX. We had 3 days to find her a new home in a very aggressive housing market. We looked at 25 houses which made for very packed days. But we laughed a lot (especially at some of the homes – dead bob cats on living room walls), and at night had good food and drinks. We achieved our mission and snagged her and her husband the house that was at the top of their list!
Wishing you a very happy and healthy new year!
Creating this blog and Salt Family Travels is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Finally after our Bahamas trip, I decided to take action after many years of giving myself excuses. Some might think a tad crazing adding another thing to my list but I’ve really enjoyed it and hope you do to!
Cheers to a great 2022! We’re currently planning our upcoming 2023 travels. We already have a trip planned to Breckenridge, CO. Where should we explore next? Give us some ideas!