STUDIO CITY ( — Katie Bodell, a blog editor for, appeared on KCAL9 News on Sunday morning with 2014’s top lesser-known, family-friendly travel destinations. is a community of travel savvy parents who share their insight on the best places to travel with kids.

From a list of over 20 destinations and hotels submitted by’s staff, the following are among their favorites:

Sonoma County

Safari West in Santa Rosa is THE place to stay while visiting Sonoma County with kids. The whole family will have a blast sleeping in a luxury tent and waking up to the sounds of Africa. Visitors will also enjoy a two-and-a-half-hour safari tour where they may encounter giraffes, zebras, antelope, and various other animals that call the African savannah home.

Getaway Adventures has a summer for their Peddle and Paddle Tour. Meet up in the quaint town of Sebastopol, ride through Graton and the peaceful vineyards of West County until you arrive at the tree-lined town of Forestville. After lunch, kayak down the slow-moving river as you gaze up at the wild flower covered banks. Biking skills are for “energetic beginners.” Recommended for kids 6 and up. Be sure to check out their Bike ‘N” Safari Tour as well.

Older kids, ages 10 and up, will love the Sonoma Canopy Tours in Occidental where they can zipline through Northern California’s Coastal Redwoods at speeds of up to 25mph. This eco-tour educates their guests about the unique ecosystem of the impressive Redwoods, all while having soaring FUN!

More and more wineries are trying to attract families including the Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville. Coppola, the film director extraordinaire, has built a winery that houses much of his popular movie paraphernalia, great food, artisan ware, and a pool so the kids can swim. Open every day in the summer, daily passes to this hotspot go fast. To ensure entry, reserve a “cabina” which includes pool passes, towels, lounge chairs, water bottles, and up to 4 wine tasting flights.

Vancouver Island, British Columbia

In a single day on Vancouver Island, families might see a dozen bald eagles, a trio of bears, and a pod of whales. On the next, kids might count 100 sea stars in one tide pool, encounter a luxurious garden, or take a walk through British Columbia history.

Destinations such as Pacific Rim National Park are easily accessible: hike along a coastal rainforest trail in the morning, just to pop out at a windswept beach for an afternoon picnic. Take a guided sea kayak tour perfect for kids in Ucluelet Harbor with Majestic Ocean Kayaking and join an intimate whale watching tour by Zephyr boat withRemote Passages in Tofino.

Accommodations range from luxury resorts such as kid-friendly Black Rock Oceanfront Resort gripping the rocky coastline, British inspired five star accommodations and delicacy at the Fairmont Empress in Victoria, to no-frills rental cabins right on the sand of breathtaking Mackenzie Beach.

In Victoria, the capitol of British Columbia, families can interact with history at the Royal BC Museum, get fancy over high tea at the Empress, or visit the famously beautiful Butchart Gardens.

Getting to Vancouver Island is half the fun: BC Ferries and the Victoria Clipper take take visitors from either Vancouver or Seattle straight to various parts of the island.

Big Island, Hawaii

Stay at the Hilton Waikoloa Village where you can watch the sun set from the comfort of an oceanfront hammock tied to two palm trees, stand-up paddleboard alongside graceful sea turtles, make friends with a baby dolphin as she glides alongside her mother in a quiet lagoon and laugh as the kids take their 100th trip down the water slide, squealing as if it was their first. Snorkel, shop, spa, or simply soak in some rays while the trade winds blow.

No trip to the Big Island of Hawaii is complete without spending some time at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park where you can get up close and personal with the most active volcano on the planet. The Lava Boat Tours offered by Lava Ocean Adventures will bring you within 30 feet of red-hot flowing lava and your family can experience ripples of molten rock flowing into the ocean, hear the hissing and spluttering as the hot lava hit the cool ocean water, and feel the warmth of the earth’s belly upon our skin.

Cowboys, or Paniolos as the Hawaiians call them, are an important part of Big Island history and culture and horseback riding is a great way to experience Hawaii’s upcountry as well as the dramatic and stunning Waipio Valley. Na’alapa Stables will take you down the steepest paved road in North America and into a waterfall and mountain rimmed valley where locals still grow fields of taro, a staple food in Hawaiian culture. Visitors will love riding upstream on horseback and taking it all in.

For more information, click here.


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