On the 30th of June school was out and we were both wondering how in the world we would keep the kids busy for 62 days. Tomorrow, on the 1st of September, we will be driving the kids to school wondering where the time went.
I have to admit that I have very mixed feelings about it. On one hand, I’m glad that the kids will be back to school tomorrow and I will finally be able to get something done without getting interrupted every half a minute. On the other hand, I cannot believe the long-awaited summer vacation is over.
Vacation full of unforgettable experiences, amazing places and so many great memories. I’ll probably need the whole winter to write about even a small part of what we’ve seen and done, but for now – here is a short overview and 29 pictures of some of the fun, crazy and unforgettable things we did this summer.
Switzerland, France, Yellowstone, Arches, Rocky Mountains, the Netherlands… these are just a couple of places we visited with kids this summer. I look at the thousands of pictures on my computer and cannot believe they are all from the last two months… I wonder if I will ever get our family albums up-to-date…
Looking for some travel inspiration in the U.S. or Europe? This post should give you plenty of ideas for your next trips.
Our family’s summer adventures in pictures
Most beautiful roads
People often say, it’s all about the journey, not the destination. So here are some pictures of those amazing journeys in between the – just as amazing – destinations. We drove some of the world’s most beautiful roads this summer! From the highest continuous paved road in the United States – Trail Ridge Road which reaches an elevation of 12,183 feet to the longest causeway in the Netherlands crossing 32 km over the sea…
Arches National Park
We never expected Arches National Park to be so scenic. It exceeded all our expectations! Here you can find more inspiration for The Best Things To Do In Arches National Park.
Grand Teton National Park
I have to admit that I expected more of Grand Teton, but you wouldn’t tell it when driving this beautiful road.
Scenic Highway 128 in Utah
I read about this road by coincidence when preparing for our trip and it was described as ‘Utah’s best kept secret’. The pictures don’t do it justice – it’s definitely one of the most beautiful roads, ever.
Afsluitdijk in the Netherlands
Driving on the 32km – long causeway over the sea is very impressive, maybe even more so in the stormy weather we had… Even so, I’d like to redo this on a sunny day.
Furka Pass in Switzerland
There are many beautiful roads in Switzerland, but the mountain passes are truly spectacular. Not to be missed!
Needless to say, we visited some beautiful places this summer. Charming little towns, stunning landscapes, erupting geysers and the most unbelievable nature creations… All this and so much more – check it out!
Yellowstone National Park
I’d need a couple of hundred of pictures to even try to describe the amazing diversity and beauty of the World’s First National Park. Will definitely be writing some posts about Yellowstone – stay tuned.
Maroon Bells, Aspen
If there is one place worth getting out of bed for early in the morning, then it’s the Maroon Bells near Aspen, Colorado. The reflections early in the morning are unbelievable!
I cannot believe we passed Colmar so many times without ever taking the time to visit. Glad we finally did!
Giethoorn in the Netherlands
Giethoorn has to be the most beautiful village in the Netherlands! Just don’t go when it rains – see further.
Ice Grotto Switzerland
If you ever want to walk in an ice tunnel you can do so in Switzerland. Last winter we visited the Ice Grotto at Titlis, this summer – the one at the Furka Pass. I have a short video of the walk on our Facebook page – check it out!
One of the most fascinating things we did this summer was visiting the world’s most famous cheese market. You can read more about the Alkmaar cheese market in my previous post.
Dinant in Belgium
If you like fairytale-like little towns, you’ll love the charming little town of Dinant in Belgium.
Often we had to walk far, really far to get to the most beautiful places. So we hiked a lot. By the end of the summer, the kids were doing full-day 12-16km (7-10 miles) walks in the mountains as if it was a walk in the park.
The most beautiful hike. Ever. You can read more about it here – Oeschinen Lake: Switzerland’s Best Kept Secret.
If you make just one hike at the Arches National Park, make it this one. Here you can read about our experience when hiking to Delicate Arch with kids.
Crater Lake at the Maroon Bells
If you are ever in Colorado, don’t miss the Maroon Bells and don’t miss this walk. The Crater Lake is a hidden treasure at the end of this walk!
Uncle Tom’s Hike Yellowstone
With more than 300 steps, this hike is not for everyone. For us, this was the most beautiful hike in the Yellowstone National Park.
Four Lakes Hike in Engelberg Switzerland
Beautiful hike in Central Switzerland – Four Lakes Hike in Engelberg.
Crazy stuff we did this summer
Now that I think of it, we didn’t even get to one single theme park this summer. But we (and the kids) had plenty of fun! Fighting with knights, rafting and swimming in the Colorado river, climbing the rocks, swimming in the warm geyser-fed river in Yellowstone, riding a toboggan in the Swiss mountains, touching a bone of a long-extinct dinosaur… But the craziest of it all was taking a little boat for a ride in the pouring rain in Giethoorn, in the Netherlands. Amazing place, but don’t ever go on a little boat in such a bad weather… I don’t think we will ever forget this experience! My mom was with us and I am afraid that she will never join us on a trip again. Sorry, mom!
Do you know that the name Giethoorn comes from gieten. As in pour. No wonder it was pouring the whole day!
Picture time – Double Arch
Have you ever seen Asian tourists take pictures? They jump and they do all kinds of crazy things – these people must have the most amazing photo albums! Our kids were watching others ‘pose’ for pictures and decided that they could do just as well. Getting a sharp picture of three jumping kids at low light in the evening was not meant to be, but we had so much fun trying!
Rafting on the Colorado river
Rafting was not in our plans, but what do you do when it’s over 43°C (110°F) for days in a row… It was too hot even on the raft, so we all went swimming in the river. Even the kids joined!
Dinosaur National Monument, USA
We never really cared much for dinosaurs before we visited this amazing place. Kids are all into dinosaurs right now. We even have (toy) dinosaur eggs sitting in the water waiting to hatch.
Boiling river, Yellowstone NP
Don’t be mislead by the picture – it’s a real mountain river with a very strong current. And the water is cold. But then it gets mixed with the water from the nearby geysers and it’s like sitting in a hot tub. A once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Toboggan in Kandersteg, Switzerland
When the kids heard about the toboggan run in the mountains, they were so excited that they didn’t even complain once during the 5-6 hour hike we did that day – as long as they could go tobogganing afterwards! I have to admit that I was just as excited as they were. After all, I’ve never done anything like this before!
Snow in summer, Rocky Mountains
It’s always surreal when you can play in the snow on a hot summer day. On top of the Trail Ridge Road in the Rocky Mountains we found some snow in the middle of the summer. Kids loved it!
Fighting with knights, Belgium
Sometimes I envy our kids – everywhere we go, they can do so many things that are ‘for kids only’, things we never ever tried. Like fighting with knights with real swards which they could hardly lift… Oh well, at least we could join them on the toboggan.
So, this is a small part of our summer vacation. Hope you enjoyed reading this post! If this inspired you to plan a trip of your own, check our American road trip itinerary for some ideas and practical tips.
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