Adventure to Yoho National Park

Adventure to YoHo National Park

This year is for our family vacation we took an adventure to Yoho National Park. Yoho National Park is in British Columbia settled in the midst of the beautiful Canadian Rockies. Yoho is situated next to its more well known sister park Banff. North of Yoho is also Jasper National Park.

We often get asked why Yoho when we tell people about our travels. We first learned about Yoho through a spread in National Geographic magazine and fell in love the with speculator views. The more we learned about Yoho the more we wanted to go.

So stayed tune for details on our adventure to Yoho National Park.

If you are wanting to plan your own Yoho National Park adventure, I suggest you check out the parks web page here.

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart 

Our Travels

For the first part of our journey, we flew into the Calgary, Alberta airport. That night we checked out Calgary a little, but spent most of our evening in our hotel room. We both weren’t feeling very well and Little One needed some play time. The next morning was a different story…our first stop was Nose Hill!

Nose Hill, Calgary

Nose Hill is an amazing park in Calgary. It is a grassy, hilly area with many wandering trails and beautiful views. We loved spending time here, and wished we had all day to explore, but we had more to see. We went to lunch and then headed to the grocery store. After that we hit the road for Yoho National Park! It was a couple hours drive from Calgary and absolutely beautiful! I loved watching the mountains grow on the horizon.

Lake Louise, Banff National Park

On our way to Yoho we stopped at Lake Louise in Banff National Park. There is a lot to do and see in this area and I wish we had more time there. After turning off Highway 1, there is a visitor center and a a row of gift shops and eateries to enjoy. We are not into the souvenirs so much but we did get a book about the Rocky Mountains. We followed the road up the mountain to Lake Louise. I can imagine that this area is extremely busy in the summer, but they have ample parking lots and they also have a bus system that can transport people to the lake.

When we were there it was snowy and we couldn’t see the tops of the mountains, but it was still gorgeous. There were lots a people out and about but the traffic would thin out quite a bit once starting on the trails. We were planning on walking on the trails but Little One went from a nice nap in the car to a cold stroller in the snow. Needless to say he was not into it!

The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is absolutely beautiful and is right on the edge of Lake Louise. I would love to stay there but it was out of our budget. Maybe someday.

After our excursion at Lake Louise we headed to Field in Yoho National Park!

Snowy day at Lake Louise
Snowy day at Lake Louise
Snowy day at Lake Louise
Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

Field, Yoho National Park

We stayed in Field in a cute rental, the Mount Van Horne Guest House. Field is a small town with a population of 200 people. Many of the homes have rental units for visitors. There is one restaurant, lodge, cafe and pottery studio for us to explore. Right as you enter town there is a gas station to the left and the visitor center to the right. We stopped at the visitor center multiple times to check in on trails and places to see, and the people there were a big help. We also purchased some bear spray…never had to use it but better safe than sorry!

Field, BC
Kicking Horse River

Takakkaw Falls

On the first day of our exploration of Yoho National Park we headed to Takakkaw Falls. Takakkaw Falls is a short drive east of Field down Yoho Valley Road. The drive there was absolutely beautiful and we stopped multiple times on the side of the road to take in views and some pictures. There is one switch back on the road and large vehicles, like campers, are not advised. We had a mid sized car and made it just fine. The morning we went out it had snowed overnight so all the evergreens were dusted with snow. It gave a magical quality to the forest.

Takakkaw Falls has a large parking lot, but I would imagine during peak season (June, July, August) that it would be very full, so it’s best to go early or later if you’re there during those months. For us in late September there were many open parking spots. Much of the trail is paved so it is easily accessible by strollers and wheel chairs. It is a fairly short hike, taking between 10-20 minutes. It took us much longer due to stopping for photos and standing in awe of the beauty around us.

Takakkaw Falls descends 830 feet down a cliff to the river. There are plenty of opportunities for rock hopping and exploring. For those adventurous souls there are many trail heads that can be accessed from the parking lot.

Natural Bridge

Natural Bridge

Natural Bridge can be found on Emerald Lake Road, not too far off the highway. I wish we were able to explore more but it was nearing the end of the day. There is something about a river that I just need to see what is around the next bend! It was so beautiful.

Natural Bridge is a formation of rocks over the river, and the river falls under the rocks creating a bridge. There is a man made bridge over the river that offers great views of the falls.

Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake has to be one of my favorite stops on our trip. To get to Emerald Lake, continue up Emerald Lake Road. At the end of it there is a parking lot. I suggest going either early or later, since it does get rather busy. Quick note – there is a trail head at the top of the parking that goes to Hamilton Falls, which I recommend doing. At the other end of the parking lot are outhouses and the information center. There is also a small gift shop that has canoe rentals. To the right you can cross a bridge to Emerald Lake Lodge. This area is pretty busy with everyone coming and going so head down the trail opposite the bridge amazing views and less crowds.

There is a 9.2 km trail around Emerald Lake. The first part of the trail is paved and easily accessible for everyone. This portion of the trail will take you to the avalanche path. Continue and there there is a wide gravel path that leads through the trees along the lake shore to about the halfway point of the lake. After crossing a foot bring the tail turns into a rugged foot path. Personally this part of the trail was my favorite. It has more ups and downs and you really earn your progress.. I had Little One in the back pack carrier and he fell asleep, so it wasn’t terribly rough.

Enjoying the view at Emerald Lake
Trail at Emerald Lake
Canoeing on Emerald Lake
Enjoying the view at Emerald Lake
Enjoying the view at Emerald Lake

Our Adventure to Yoho

Unfortunately our last day in Field arrived and we said goodbye to our rental that had treated us so well. We headed back to Calgary but stopped at Lake Louise again, hoping that the snow cleared up a bit…it didn’t. But it was beautiful to see again!

We stayed one more night in Calgary and flew home the next day. Yoho National Park was an amazing adventure for our family and I can’t wait to go back some day!

We had so much fun in Yoho and definitely want to go back soon! This trip was also a learning experience for us, traveling with a toddler. Check out my posts here on 6 tips on preparing travel with a baby and my 20 tips for frying with a toddler.

Have you been ever been to Yoho? Let me know of your adventure to Yoho National Park in the comments below!

Traveling with Cloth Diapers

Cloth diapering

We have been cloth diapering for 16 months and have gone on several trips during that time. Through trial and error, we have learned a lot. Our trips have been getting easier by following these tips. We have done multiple trips where we traveled for an extended weekend. However, we recently went on a 9-day trip where we flew to Canada. Traveling with cloth diapers was definitely a learning experience!

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart

Discuss it

Discuss it and be committed to what that means. My husband and I had many conversations before we went on this trip on what we were going to do for diapering. Should we do disposables because it is easier? But what about our commitment to making eco-friendly choices whenever we can? In the end, choosing to travel with cloth diapers was a commitment on both our parts. If we weren’t on the same page it would have been way harder.


Plan where you will do laundry. We do not have enough cloth diapers to last a whole week without washing. Going with that many would have also been problematic because we wouldn’t have had enough luggage space. The hotel we stayed at had coin-operated laundry and this is where we planned to do the washing. We also knew that in Field (our ultimate destination) there was a hotel that might let us use the machines.

Learn how to hand wash. When you don’t have access to a machine, try hand washing. I have seen blog posts out there from people who only hand wash their diapers. I was not up for hand washing all the diapers on vacation. However, it was useful for a couple emergency situations. I have seen portable washing machines like this one, that would be great for trips where you are not flying. I foresee portable washing machines being really handy on camping trips.

We air dry our diapers to preserve the elastic. By snapping the diapers together on the ends we created long rows of diapers. We then hung them over hangers in our hotel room. They were dry in no time!

Traveling and Packing

Travel with as many clean diapers as possible. The more diapers you have, the longer you can go without needing to wash them. When on vacation I personally want to do as little amount of laundry as possible. My goal was to try to make it the whole week with only needing to wash them twice.

Pack them unassembled and in once place. When a cloth diaper is assembled it takes up much more space then when all the pieces are separated. By separating the covers from the inserts, I was able to fit way more into the luggage. Also, try to keep all the diapers together in one bag. This prevents anything from going missing or having that surprise moment when you have a dirty diaper and didn’t realize you were out of clean ones.

Put the diapers in the carry on. It would be a nightmare to have all my cloth diapers be lost by the airline. For that reason, I travel with all my cloth diapers in the carry on. If I lose other clothing items, those are easy to replace. All my diapers were ordered online and would be difficult to replace on vacation.

Bring more wet bags than you think you’ll need. We brought 2 large wet bags and 3 of the small ones. The reason for this is once we started on our day adventures, we didn’t want to bring huge wet bags with us. This allowed for moving the diapers around, so we always had a small bag to bring places.

Be Flexible

Be flexible. We had this grand plan for cloth diapering the whole week when we were gone. But then we both ended up feeling unwell. Being sick on vacation, we had barely enough energy to keep up with our little one, let alone to do laundry. We did purchase a very small pack of disposable diapers and used those for a day or two. Once we were feeling better, though, we went back to cloth. You never know what’s going to happen – maybe you get sick, maybe the luggage was stolen, maybe the washer broke. If you do end up using disposables, that’s OK. The point is that you tried, and for every cloth one you use you are preventing a disposable one from going in the trash. 

Do you have any trips planned? Are you thinking about trying cloth diapering? Hopefully these tips on traveling with cloth diapers can help. Let me know how it goes in the comments below!

Next, check out my some of my tips on clothing diapering here.

Zero Waste Travel Kit

Zero Waste Travel Kit

Have you ever been in this situation? You’re at a restaurant and didn’t finish your food, so you ask the waiter for a to-go container…and they bring you a Styrofoam monstrosity (insert big sigh here). I just know that this Styrofoam container is going to be sitting in a landfill for the next couple hundred years. I have been saying for a long time that I needed to stop contributing to this. Now I can’t change what restaurants give out, but I can change if I choose to accept it. No more…instead I am going to bring my zero waste travel kit! 

I made this kit from things I already have in my home. I keep it in my car for whenever it is needed. With using this new kit I also had to implement a process at home. I didn’t want to make a kit, use it once, and then never get it back to the car. We have all been in this situation with other things.

The new system is as follows. Once the items are washed they are placed next to our key bowl. On the next trip to the car it is taken with the keys. It’s pretty simple, but it is important to spell out the expectations. 

Below are the items that I have included in the zero waste travel kit. While I encourage you to use items that you have around your home, I will link similar items, too. 

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart 

Identifying Situations

So when building this kit, the first thing I looked at was the types of situations that I find myself in. I didn’t want to put something in my kit that I would never use. 

Most of the time I have need of the kit at restaurants when we have left over food. However, I would like to do an experiment to see if fast food places would put the food in my container instead of in their wrappers. I’ll let you know how it goes! 

I also find myself needing some of my zero waste products when I am shopping, so those items have gone into the kit, as well. I normally bring shopping bags with me when going to the grocery store, but when I don’t have a bag, it is nice to have a back up. 

If you set out to make your own zero waste kit. I encourage you to look at the situations that you encounter when you wish you had a zero waste alternative.

Items in the Zero Waste Kit

Large Container 

Beeswax Wraps 

Water bottle /mason jar 

Produce bag 



Grocery Bag 

Zero Waste Travel Kit

Travel Kit

Everything for this kit is contained in a large plastic container that I already owned. While I don’t love using plastic, I would rather be putting it to good use instead of throwing it in the recycling. This container is great for taking those leftovers home in instead of using Styrofoam or cardboard takeout containers. 

I have also included beeswax wraps for any other leftovers that need to be wrapped up or for shopping. I can foresee it being useful for bulk bin purchases. 

The water bottle or mason jar is also an essential for my zero waste travel kit. Most of the time I bring a water bottle with me but sometimes I forget. I also included a mason jar as a good alternative because it could be used for both drinking or food storage. Double duty! 

I included a straw because restaurants tend to bring you one. I like to bring my own and use one of the 5 R’s and refuse the disposable plastic type. Having an extra straw is also handy for my son, since he’s only one year old and drinks better out of glasses with a straw. Also, waiters sometimes bring us a plastic sippy cup, but I would prefer a regular glass and give him one of the reusable straws to use. 

With this kit I included some silverware. These ones are just plastic ones that I picked up some where. Instead of buying new ones, try reusing some old ones. I did link some bamboo ones that are made of a more sustainable material.

The produce bag and grocery bag are for when I find myself needing them while shopping. I got this grocery bag from a conference that I went to. I made the produce bags and you can, too…check out my post on how to make a product bag here.

Have you tried making a zero waste travel it? Let me know how it went!

Tips for Flying with a Toddler

20 tips for flying with a toddler

We recently took our Little One on his first plane ride! Before the trip we were so worried about how he would react to the experience. Would his ears feel OK? Would he sleep on the plane? Would he scream the whole time? These questions circled around my head as we prepared for our trip. I am happy to report that the plane ride went very smoothly, and hopefully by following these tips you will have a smooth experience traveling with your toddler.

***Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart .***

Booking the flight

So my first tip is to book the flight for a natural nap time. This will make it a lot easier for your little one to sleep on the plane. Once we boarded and I started nursing him, he was out right away. There was so much to see in the airport that I think it tuckered him out watching everything.

If allowed to choose your seats, try to get a window seat near the front of the plane. The window seats have a little extra room next to them. When on a cramped airplane, any extra space is a life saver.

Book a seat for your child if you can. I know that budgets can be tight but having an extra seat can be so helpful. We did not book a seat for our Little One and instead kept him on our lap. Most airlines allow babies under 2 to ride free if they ride on your lap. On the way there, we did not have an extra seat. It went okay but was cramped. On the way back we had an angel of a flight attendant who moved some people around and gave us three seats! It was so nice to have the extra space and once little one woke up from his nap, it allowed him to crawl around between the two of us. Also, my husband is 6’3″ so sitting in a middle seat was rough on him!

Other bookings

Rent a car seat if able. We rented a car seat because I didn’t want to deal with packing one and checking it at the airport. It wasn’t too much more added on to our car rental. If you are not renting a car and being picked up, check your car seat at the check in, not at the gate. When we were flying we saw a family who had three small children, They were also carrying a bag for each, a two kiddo stroller and three car seats….they looked miserable. Flying can be difficult with a toddler, so I always try to make things as easy as possible.

Read the fine print. When booking your flight be sure to read the fine print, especially when it comes to the policy regarding kids. Different airlines may have special rules when it comes to carry ons, bringing formula or breast milk, and the list goes on and on. I read it more than one time just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. While you’re at it head over to the TSA website and check out the kids section for special instructions for going through security.

What to Pack

Bring a stroller. A stroller is a life saver when trying to run through the airport. Bring the smallest stroller you are able…we did not. The purpose of our trip was to go hiking at Yoho National Park, so we wanted to bring our trail stroller.

Bring snacks. Bring your little one’s favorite, but not messy, snacks on the plane. Anything to keep them happy is the goal. I headed to the bulk bins at our food co-op and got yogurt covered pretzels, yogurt covered raisins, and dried apples. I also brought some crackers and bananas. We got Cheez-Its as our snack on the plane, which little one gobbled up.

Bring a water bottle and sippy cup. Staying hydrated is obviously really important. To get though security, your adult water bottle will need to be empty, but they allowed water to be in the sippy cup, which was a win.

Bring small toys and books. Bring some of your little one’s favorite books and activities. We brought this ball, these blocks, a car, and Hello magazines. It is important to keep little one busy and toys will help with this.

Use a back pack as a diaper bag. If you already use a back pack you are ahead of the game! But if you don’t, they make life so much easier. When going through the airport and helping little one it is so much easier to have both of your hands free.

packing a diaper bag

Day of Trip

Pre-check into the flight. Again, try to make life as easy as possible. If your airline allows pre-check into your flight, I recommend you do it and skip those lines.

Dress in layers. Airplanes can be either too hot or too cold so it’s best to be flexible and dress in layers. Bring extra clothes, too, in case there is some sort of accident.

Soft sole shoes or socks. Once little one starts crawling around on your lap, you are going to want them to have soft soles. We did this and it worked great. Once the plane landed, we put little one’s shoes back on and he promptly stepped on my hand and I ended up with a bruise for a week.

At the Airport

When you arrive at the gate, check in with the attendants. If you bring a stroller or car seat to the gate, you will need a tag from them to label it. They may also give you special instructions for where to place the stroller/car seat for storage on the plane. This is also a great time to ask for seats to be rearranged, if needed. When we were assigned our seats upon purchasing tickets, they had my husband and I sitting in different rows. That was not going to work for us. The attendants were in full agreement and changed our seats so we were sitting together!

Check bags at the gate if able. Depending on how full the plane is, the gate attendants might call for volunteers to check bags at the gate. There is no charge for this. We did not check any bags at the check in counter and managed to pack everything we needed in our two carry on bags and our two personal items. By checking one of our bags it allowed us to store one of our personal items in the overhead bins. This freed up some leg room for my tall husband. It was also one less thing to keep track of and haul through the airport.


When sitting at the terminal waiting for the plane to board, let your toddler crawl around when waiting to board. This will help them burn some energy and help get them ready for a nap on the plane.

Change their diaper just before boarding. The bathrooms on planes are tiny and I would not want to change Little One’s diaper in there. Try to change the diaper just before you board and then right after landing. Hopefully you are able to go through the flight without needing it to be changed.

Families board first. Pay attention to the announcements and board when called. Originally I thought I should wait until the end to board so Little One would spend as little time as possible on the plane. However, there are real benefits to boarding first. The first is that you are moving around less people when trying to get to your seats, which can be challenging. It also let Little One check out his new environment and watch the people come aboard. If we would have waited until the last minute to board I envision Little One having a hard time going to sleep during take off because he would have still been interested in watching everything.


On the Plane

Use jackets to create a seat between the window and seat. This creates a little seat for a little butt to sit on. Little One loved looking out the window. Having made a little seat it allowed Little One to look out the window better and got him off my lap for a bit.

Nurse or give formula during take off and touch down. I have heard that this helps with ear popping – I am not sure if it did or not. But it did help Little One go to sleep, which was a big win.

Phew…those are my 20 tips for flying with a toddler! I hope your trip with your little one goes well and that this advice help you out. If you have any other tips for flying with a toddler, let me know in the comments below!

For more tips on traveling with a little one check out my preparing for travel with a baby.

Preparing for Travel with a Baby

We are going on an international vacation! OK, so we are going to Canada, but it is still international and involves a lot of preparation. Here are my tips on preparing for travel with a baby.

* Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart


One of the first things to do when planing a trip is to make sure that all travel documents you’ll need are accounted for. In our case, one thing was getting Little One a passport. We learned a lot in the processing of getting this passport. This website will list the full requirements for getting your child a passport. Some of the important things we learned are that both parents must be present (or have documentation from the other parent). We both had to declare that we were allowing our Little One to travel outside the USA. Another thing we learned was that the application could only be paid by check or money order, which was more annoying than anything.

We will also be traveling with a photo copy of Little Ones birth certificate, just in case (we never ended up using it, but I guess better safe than sorry.)

Booking Travel

When booking travel its important to consider how you will be traveling, when, and for how long. Try to book any flights during your child’s nap time if they are still taking a nap. Hopefully they will sleep through most of it then. I know many people who do long flights will travel at night so the child will sleep as normal.

We are choosing to fly and rent a car once we get there. When flying, review your airline’s guidelines when it comes to flying with little ones. Most airlines will allow children under the age of two to ride for free on your lap. Depending on how your little one does, you can help your budget by having them on your lap. If you know this wouldn’t work for you, getting a seat for them is always an option.

Most airlines also allow two of the following items: stroller, car seat, and pack and play. They can either be checked when checking in for the flight or at the gate. This is most convenient for the stroller.

We also will be renting a car. Most car rentals have car seats available for a fee. We decided that the cost of the car seat outweighed the inconvenience of hauling our own.

When booking anything, make sure you read the fine print when it comes to your little one.

Post trip update: on the way back there was a row behind us that only had once person in it. The flight attendant came by and asked the person in the aisle seat to move a row behind to give us three seats. This made a world of difference for our comfort! If you are able to book a seat for your little one, it sure is nice to have that extra seat!


To check a bag, or not to check a bag…that is the question. The fees for checking the bag are outrageous, so we tried to use strictly carry on bags instead. Before traveling, try to compile a list of everything you will need. This will help your packing and try to make space as efficient as possible. Most airlines will allow a carry on bag and a personal item like a diaper bag, purse, computer bag or back pack.

We are trying to conserve as much space as possible, so we will definitely be taking clothes that are versatile and hand washable if needed. We have tested it out and can get everything we need into two carry on bags and two back packs.


Something to keep Little One busy while being cooped up in the plane or car is essential. We are packing a few small toys – a wooden car, a ball, and books. The Hello magazines are perfect for travel. They are small and have many activities, they are easy to wipe off and sanitize when needed, and are durable. We will also be loading up our electronic devices with shows. Normally we don’t let him watch too many shows, so it will be a special treat when flying.


Snacks are a must. Pack snacks that are easy to eat, don’t require refrigeration, and aren’t messy. We hit up our local food co-op and checked out the bulk bins. There were a lot of options, like yogurt covered pretzels, yogurt covered raisins, dehydrated apples, bananas and graham crackers.

Going though security at most airlines will not allow liquids to be taken though security. There are exceptions to this rule, though, when it comes to breast milk and formula. Read the TSA rules before your flight to be current on any changes. If there is any liquid traveling with a little one the TSA will need to test it. We were able to bring a sippy cup with water in it and there was no problem.

The lines for security can be long, so having snacks, drinks and entertainment available is a must.

Be Prepared

Be prepared for traveling with a little one by following the above tips. Also try to be mentally prepared for a long day. Things are going to go wrong, so just take deep breaths and roll with it.

Just one last tip before I wrap up this post – be nice to those around you and to those working. As the saying goes, you catch more flies with honey then vinegar!

Do you have any other tips for preparing for international travel with a baby? Let me know in the comments below!

Exploring Lester Park

This past weekend, Little One and I explored Lester Park, which is one of my favorite parks in Duluth. It is often overlooked by tourists and has more of a local vibe. Due to this, it is not normally crowded and there is plenty of space for activities. I know there are many trails I have not yet explored in the park (future blog posts?). For my trip this time I stuck close to the rivers and checked out the beautiful waterfalls pictured below. Of course, we also played on the play ground!

Lester Park features two rivers – Lester River and Amity Creek. Both have amazing views and a host of waterfalls. When entering the park from the parking lot, you must walk over a beautiful stone bridge. The bridge is also a part of the historic past of Duluth.


There are so many activities to take part in. You can enjoy hiking, water falling, and biking. There are also picnic areas with grills, a delightful play ground, and ball area. The play ground features a couple slides, a ‘rope bridge’-like structure, and plenty of climbing opportunities. There is a rock wall feature that the kids can climb that has little wilderness animals carved into it. Very cute!

During the winter, there are many groomed trails for cross country skiing. Head to the Duluth parks website for updates on grooming and trail conditions. There is also a large open area that would be great for snow shoeing or making a snowman.

There is so much to do in this park, I highly suggest you check it out!

Getting There

Lester Park can be found at 61st Avenue East & Superior Street in Duluth. You can find out more information about Lester Park on the Duluth Parks website. You can reach Lester Park via the Lakewalk trail. If you’re taking the trail, once you cross the river take a left and head up the road a bit to the park entrance. If you take a right off the bridge it will take you down to Brighton Beach, which is also a fabulous park.

This is a little shorter post then I normally write, but I just had to share this little gem on the North Shore. Have you ever been to Lester Park? What did you think?

For more North Shore adventures, check out my post on Gooseberry Falls and Lutsen Mountain.

Exploring Lester Park River stream
forest path
Exploring Lester Park, water fall and bridge.

Lutsen Fall Adventure

Lutsen Fall Adventure

I know it is still August, but fall is fast approaching the North Shore of Lake Superior (yay!). This area is gorgeous all year long, but fall is really when it shines. The trees are in the process of changing colors and are lit up in brilliant yellows, oranges, and reds. Things tend to slow down a bit, and there are less people visiting, which makes it the perfect time for a Lutsen fall adventure.

These are my top spots to take in along the amazing North Shore. This is the kind of list that would be different for everybody, so use this as a guide for more exploration!

Where to go

The small town of Lutsen is home to all season resorts and fun activities. In the summer it hosts hiking, canoeing, golfing, and alpine sliding, just to name a few. In the winter there are many different types of high quality cross country ski trails to traverse, as well as many ski and snowboarding runs spread out over several (small) mountains. There are also numerous resorts and restaurants open year round, as well.

Lutsen Mountains can be found 90 miles up the shore from Duluth, then a left off Hwy 61 up Ski Hill Road. On the way from Duluth you will pass through Two Harbors, Beaver Bay, Silver Bay and Tofte, among other small communities. Being a less than two-hour drive, this is an easy day trip from Duluth.

The Gondolas

Something you must do when visiting Lutsen Mountains is to take a trip in the gondolas up Moose Mountain. As someone who hates heights, I did find the thought of going up in the gondola a bit daunting. However, I found that during the ride up it was best for me to have my back to the cliff. Riding down was the opposite – it was best to be facing the cliff. What helped my anxiety the most was that the views were stunning. It really took my mind off the height. The gondolas are a really good size and can fit multiple people. Our group included myself, my husband and Little One in our hiking stroller.

Lutsen Fall Adventure
The Top of the Mountain

Upon departing off the gondolas at the top of Moose Mountain, the Summit Chalet has a restaurant and restrooms. The chalet has a delicious grill-style food service and has an amazing deck that looks out onto Lake Superior! 

There are also trails and awesome lookouts on top of the mountain to enjoy. Please note that we found that the stroller was very difficult to navigate in certain areas and we really would have been better off with a carrier back pack.

The Cost

The round trip gondola ride costs $24 per adult, children aged 6-15 is $16 (little ones 5 and under are free), and seniors 65+ are $20. I recommend checking the website, though, because of all the different passes and combos to choose from. I know that it can be a bit pricey for some adventures, but it really is worth it. There are ways to get to the top of the mountain (around 1000 feet above Lake Superior) via the Superior Hiking trail, so if hiking up mountains is your thing, give that a try instead!

You can find more information on their website

There so many amazing places to witness the amazing fall views on the shores of Lake Superior. Generally speaking, the Lutsen Mountain experience is one of my favorite attractions along the North Shore. Have you been to Lutsen? Share your experience in the comments below!

Check out my post about Gooseberry Falls here!

5 Tips for Visiting Gooseberry Falls with Kids

5 Tips for Visiting Gooseberry Falls with Kids

The summer season is fast approaching so I thought I would share with you one of my favorite places on the North Shore – Gooseberry Falls. Gooseberry Falls is a Minnesota state park that is located 40 miles north of Duluth on Hwy 61. It has three main waterfalls and one more that requires a hike into the park, but most visitors just visit the big three. The park also hosts many other trails for hiking and biking, as well as beaches on Lake Superior. Here are my 5 tips for visiting Gooseberry Falls with kids.

My husband and I used to drive up to Gooseberry on a whim and spend time at the park, but it takes more planning now that we have a little one (like everything when kids are involved!). So below are my top 5 tips for visiting Gooseberry Falls with kids.

Tip #1 Getting Started

Gooseberry Falls is an awesome place and you will probably spend more time there than you would have anticipated. With that in mind, pack water and snacks just to be safe. There are not spots out on the trails to refill water bottles or purchase snacks so bring your own. Just be sure to take every thing that you bring in out of the park again…remember, no littering! Also, there are lots of stairs in the park and on a hot summer day you can become dehydrated very easily. The visitor center is by the parking lots if you would like to fill water bottles before you get started. Another thing to consider is the weather. If you aren’t familiar with Lake Superior, it can be noticeably cooler than even a couple miles inland. Prepare for you and your little ones by packing an extra layer or two.

Tip #2 Plan for the Littles

Gooseberry is great for people of all ages and as far as water-falling on the North Shore, it is very accessible. The parking lots are easy to navigate and the visitor center is large and accommodating. The trail to the upper falls is nicely paved and easy to access via stroller or wheel chair. However, that is only to the upper falls – there are four in total. If you would like to visit the other waterfalls, a stroller is not going to work. I suggest a carrier for the little ones if you would like to do more exploring on the trails or falls. There is a lot to see at Gooseberry and a good carrier could make your trip that much more enjoyable!

Tip #3 Before you Hike…

As I said before, there is a visitor center near the parking lot. This is one of the only areas in the park where there are restrooms (there are also some down by the beach and campground but none along the falls). So be sure that everyone in your party uses the facilities before you start. I guarantee that if you only kinda have to go and you get to the falls and hear the thousands of gallons of water rushing over the cliffs, your kinda-have-to-go will change into a need-to-go!

Tip #4 Events

As mentioned, there is a fantastic visitor center at Gooseberry. For example, they have a section that is a dedicated education center. There is much to learn about the geography of the area and the plants and animals that call the park home. Gooseberry also offers many special events for learning at the park (you can check out their full calendar of events here). There is something for all levels of interest, including guided hikes, birding, interesting special programs, and geocaching.

Tip #5 Safety

I hate to bring down the mood with safety but it should be a serious consideration when out in the forests. Most accidents should be able to be avoided if the safety rules are followed. Gooseberry has signs posted that indicate warnings and risks – read them, follow them, and ensure everyone in your party follows them. There can be some real dangers in the park, so they are there for a reason. One of the biggest rules that I see people disregarding all the time is playing in the water. Because the river has some very strong currents, little kids could very easily be swept away. Stay out of the water in non-designated swim areas. These areas are also liable to change, so if you visit one year to the next the park may update these due to the ever changing nature of the river.

Also pay attention to warning signs at the beach. Lake Superior is obviously a very large body of water that is unpredictable. Things to be especially aware of are postings regarding rip tides and E. coli in the water. You can find more information on rip tides here and here. Though they are not an everyday occurrence, it is best to be informed!

I have one last safety note to pass on: be cautious on cliff edges because it’s easy for anyone to fall. But another is that the rock edge may not be stable and rock slides can (and do) occur, potentially endangering others. It is best to stay back from the edge and enjoy the view.

I sounded very much like a concerned mom in that last tip. But then again I am a mom so I guess if the hat fits, right?

5 Tips for Visiting Gooseberry Falls with Kids

Bonus Tips

My first tip is that it can get really busy during the day. Shoot for visiting early in the day and/or early in the evening.

Second tip – Gooseberry is family friendly, and that includes our four legged friends! Be sure that your pet can handle being around many people and keep them leashed at all times. Also clean up after your pet…it should be a given but some people don’t do it.

I hope with these tips you can have a fun family vacation at Gooseberry Falls. It is one of my favorite places on the North Shore and definitely worth checking out!

Let me know if you have any comments or questions. I would love to hear about your adventures at Gooseberry, so leave a comment below!

See more post here.