2017 was a great year of travel for us. We explored new countries, new food, and shared some amazing experiences together, which is always the goal around here.

We were able to make great use of our Every Kid in a Park 4th-grade pass, which was a primary goal for us. We were also completely blown away by Peru, and came away with a new perception of this beautiful country.

We enjoyed heavy doses of sunshine (and pie) in the Florida Keys and the US Virgin Islands, and we adored London during the holidays this year. We also got our Harry Potter fix at the British Library, Oxford, and the Warner Brothers Studio Tour.Hogwarts in the Snow - WB Studio Tour London

We hope your family had a great year of traveling and as always, we hope we’ve inspired you to take your kids to awesome places! Here are our favorite stories, moments, and pictures from 2017.

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Our favorites of 2017 – Come Along for the Trip!

Cadence’s Favorites (by Cadence)

Favorite boat ride – air boats through the mangroves in Everglades National Park

My favorite boat ride was an air boat ride through the Everglades. It was really cool because we went really fast, and we saw alligators. One of the alligators got right up next to the boat. We got these headgear things that had a microphone, so you can talk to people.Air boats in the Everglades with kidsairboat tours - Everglades National Park with kidsRelated: Visiting Everglades National Park with kids.

Favorite water slide – Hyatt Regency Coconut Point – Bonita, Springs, FL

My favorite water slide was the slide in Bonita Springs at the Coconut Point Hotel. It had the longest line, but it was worth it. You had to have an inner-tube or a double-person tube. You put your tube in this big opening and you kick off, and when you get to the end, you are in the lazy river. Once I got turned around and then fell out of my tube!Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Water SlideRelated: Check prices and read reviews here.

Andrew’s Favorites (by Andrew)

Favorite Hotel – Hotel Lizzy Wasi, Urubamba Peru

My favorite hotel was Hotel Lizzy Wasi in Peru. We had been delayed, and we needed to stay somewhere in Urubamba, Peru. The Lizzy Wasi hotel was available at the last minute because it wasn’t their busy season, and it was fun to have the place to ourselves! The owner Elizabeth was really nice, and it had beautiful scenery, making it my favorite hotel that I stayed at in 2017.Hotel Lizzy Wasi - Urubamba PeruRelated: Check prices and read reviews here.

Favorite Restaurant – Dishoom – Covent Garden, London

My favorite restaurant was Dishoom in London. I had never tried Indian cuisine before so it was a new experience for me. I had curry, bread, and lamb kebabs with a Bombay cola to drink. It was some of the best food I have ever had in my life.Dishoom London

Dad’s Favorites (by Carrick)

Favorite train ride – PeruRail

My favorite train ride this year was an easy choice – riding with PeruRail from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes on our way to Machu Picchu. The train runs along side the Urubamba River through the craggy Andes, and every turn is just spectacular.

Peru Rail to Machu Picchu PeruRelated: Taking the kids to Machu Picchu

Favorite sunset – Key West, FL

Gulf Coast susnsets are pretty magical in their own right.

Then there’s Key West.

Book a sunset cruise and enjoy the show. We used Sebago Key West for ours. Enjoy a sunset cruise in Key West with kids

Favorite plane ride – Dry Tortugas National Park – Key West, FL

I’ve said it all year, but if you’re going to visit Dry Tortugas National Park, skip the ferry and take the boat plane. It costs a little more, but you’ll save tons of time, and won’t regret one second of it once you see the views!Sea plane to Dry Tortugas Naitonal ParkSea plane to Dry Tortugas National ParkBook here with Key West Seaplane Charters.

Favorite Memory – Finding “our tree” on Magens Bay St. Thomas

Carrie and I were married on Magens Bay St. Thomas, and we had pictures made on the beach next to a crooked palm tree. We returned this summer with a copy of that picture so we could show the kids. Still there!Magens Bay St. Thomas

Favorite dessert – Key Lime Pie in Key West

This ridiculous key lime pie comes from Bagatelle Key West and tasted as good as it looks. They’ve somehow mastered meringue in the muggy Key West climate. #FoodSorcery.Key lime pie from Bagatelle Key West

Favorite road trip – Cleveland and Cedar Point, OH

After school let out for summer we hopped in the car and headed to Cleveland with a stop in St. Louis. It was a great trip, with visits to Cuyahoga Valley National Park, a ride to the top of the Gateway Arch, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Father’s Day spent riding roller coasters at Cedar Point, which was just perfect.Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Cleveland OhioRelated: Visiting Cuyahoga Valley National Park with kids

Favorite roller coaster – Millennium Force

When you visit a park like Cedar Point where every coaster is epic, it’s a difficult choice, but the Millennium Force is my pick. It was our first ride of the day, and the one I was there to ride. It’s absurd how tall it is. It will do things like steal your breath and make you cry, but one thing it doesn’t do is disappoint. This thing is a monster. See also: Top Thrill Dragster. Mercy…Millennium Force - Cedar Point Sandusky OhioMillennium Force Cedar PointRelated: Visiting Cleveland and Cedar Point

Favorite stroll through a park – St. James’s Park

When we visited London over Thanksgiving, we had some time to kill before the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, so we headed to nearby St. James’s Park. With some color still in the trees, it was a lovely walk on a crisp morning. We took pictures of the black swans in the pond, and enjoyed some great views of London along the way.St. James's Park London UKLondon sightseeing for kids at St. James's Park near Buckingham Palace.Related: 22 awesome things to do in London with kids

Favorite tour – Peru’s Sacred Valley

We always try to do a tour of some sort in each place we visit. It’s fun for everyone, and it helps us to understand a destination on a deeper lever. This year the winner is our tour with Venturia Tours in Peru. They picked us up from our hotel (the incredible Tambo del Inka in Urubamba) and took us to Chinchero, Maras, and Moray. Totally worth it and stunning in every way.Moray Peru with kidsRelated: 50 things to do in Peru’s Sacred Valley

Favorite unexpected surprise – Peru

Peru just stole our hearts. We’ve wanted to return ever since we got home.Baby goats in Cusco Peru

Mom’s Favorites (by Carrie)

Favorite museum – The British Library

My favorite “museum” of 2017 was the British Library. For a book nerd like me, this was Mecca. It’s a cool enough place on its own with the treasure room filled with ancient and important historical texts, but you add on a limited engagement Harry Potter exhibit, and I’m hooked.Things for kids to do in London - the British Library

Favorite hike – Virgin Islands National Park, St. John USVI

My favorite hike of 2017 was the hike Andrew led us on in Virgin Islands National Park. It was part of his Scout requirements, and even though it was miserably hot, it was a gorgeous place to be. Plus, it was a great family bonding experience.Hiking around Virgin Islands National Park with kidsRelated: Exploring Virgin Islands National Park.

Favorite Feeling – Sand in My Toes – St. Thomas, USVI

I have finally decided once and for all that I’m a beach girl. The minute my toes touched that glorious white sand, my stress just melted away. There’s nothing quite as relaxing as walking along a beautiful beach with the people you love.Magens Bay Beach St. Thomas USVI

Favorite Meal – Conveyor Belt Sushi – Yo!Sushi London

I’m not a fan of sushi myself, but thankfully, Yo!Sushi has a variety of other tasty items like dumplings and noodles to fill me up. I don’t know what it is about the novelty of a conveyor belt that turns our kids into such fearless eaters though. I just get a kick out of watching them wait for their favorite item to come along. Definitely a fun family experience.Yo! Sushi Baker Street London

Favorite National Park – Mammoth Cave National Park

My favorite National Park… this one is tricky because each one is beautiful in its own way. The views at Virgin Islands National Park are spectacular, the magnitude of Fort Jefferson and the flight to Dry Tortugas just takes your breath away. But, I keep going back to Mammoth Cave as a favorite. Such a mesmerizing place full of wonder.Mammoth Cave tours with kidsRead more about our visits to America’s National Parks here.

Favorite wildlife encounter – It’s a tie

Andean condors in Peru (Carrick)

We paid a visit to the Santuario Cochahuasi Animal Sanctuary just outside of Cusco. Here they rehabilitate animals and release them back into the wild. You don’t understand how big an Andean condor is until it flies just over your head and you can feel and hear its wings beating the air. Very cool.Santuario Cochahuasi Andean Condor

Polydactyl Cats at the Hemingway House – Key West, FL (Carrie)

My favorite animal encounter was, naturally, the Hemingway cats. It was crazy cat lady paradise – a fluffy six-toed kitty at every turn!6 toed cats at Hemingway House in Key West

Llamas and alpacas in Peru (with a few extras thrown in) (Cadence)

My favorite wildlife encounter was when I got to pet llamas and alpacas in Peru. I liked the llamas better, but the alpacas were fluffier. There was even a baby alpaca! There was also a cat named Paloosa and she was so sweet! She would curl up in your lap, and she wouldn’t move until you got up. I tried to give her to my brother, and she dug her claws into my shoulder!Sanctuario Cochahuasi near Cusco PeruSantuario Cochahuasi Animal Sanctuary Cusco Peru

Alligators in Everglades National Park (Andrew)

My favorite wildlife encounter was seeing alligators in Everglades National Park. I had never seen a gator in the wild until then. The gator went right up to our air boat, and I was the one sitting right next to it. It was an amazing experience.Airboat Tour Everglades National Park

So there you have it! Did your family make some great memories traveling this year?

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