Top 10 USA travel destinations to visit in 2021 + TREND Enterprises family card games Giveaway

It’s fair to say that 2020 was one of the most challenging years to travel and I’m so glad this new year may bring more hope and positive experiences. With business closures and limits on domestic travel, it’s been difficult to find accommodations and plan family vacations. We haven’t been able to interact with family, friends, and making plans to explore new places or attending live events has been sketchy. The global pandemic has affected travel in many ways including reduced commercial flights; closure of our favorite businesses, parks, public lands, and everyone is staying home.

I’m estimating that by July, 2021, things will be back to normal.

To give you something to look forward to, here’s my list of top 10 travel destinations in the USA, that are safe to visit now in 2021. I’ve left off two favorites, my hometown of Mineral Point in Wisconsin and Sanibel Island in Florida. This top 10 travel destinations list is presented geographically from East to West in the USA.


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1.) Catch a sunset at Fort Myers Beach, Florida

📸 by @dangtravelers

Fort Myers Beach, Florida
Photo by @dangtravelers – Travel Couple David & Angela

When you think Fort Myers & Sanibel, you probably think beach, beach and beach. Of course, there’s so much more to life in the Gulf Coast. These are a few of the most charming local must-sees and gotta-do’s —by Travelocity

When I was growing up, my mom’s parents moved from Lombard, Illinois to Englewood, Florida and we would spend our Christmas breaks there every winter. I have fond memories of going from cold Chicagoland to warm Florida and spending time riding my grandma’s adult-sized tricycle and fishing with Grandpa Smith for crab.


2.) Ride a train in Chattanooga, Tennesee

📸 by @h4rdwar3

https://www.instagram.com/p/B6QwCCJBXnz/
Photo by @h4rdwar3 – 𝔑𝔞𝔱𝔢 𝔐𝔞𝔶𝔬

Take a trip back in time, to a slower-paced era when railroad travel was a way of life. Relive the romance of the rails when vintage trains provided an escape from the everyday routine. The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum provides an interactive, historical experience that will add an extra dimension to your visit to Chattanooga’s popular attractions. Here you will find the only regularly scheduled, full-sized train ride in Tennessee. The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum is so much more than entertainment… it is your chance to experience the sights and sounds of yesteryear! Please feel free to spend time visiting our Grand Junction depot before purchasing your ticket. There you will find our ticket office, cafe, gift shop, and historical displays to enjoy. We do not charge an admission fee except on some of our special event weekends.

A favorite stop for free and paid family fun is at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum in Chattanooga.


3.) Swim & fish at Lake Michell, Cadillac, Michigan

📸 by @mp26325

Lake Mitchell, Cadillac, Michigan
Photo by @mp26325 – Matt From Michigan

Cadillac’s Lake Mitchell and Lake Cadillac are connected by a navigable canal, creating 3,700 acres of Northern Michigan vacation fun. These two watery attractions invite fishers, boaters and beachgoers during the summer. And in winter, the lakes draw ice fishermen and snowmobilers. –by MyNorth.com

Airbnb has some amazing inexpensive daily, weekly and longer rentals on Lake Mitchell and there’s so many fun things to do for family fun! Check out our 2019 lake house family vacation post for more info. about Lake Mitchell.


4.) Feast on pizza in Chicago, Illinois

📸 by @BaronesPizza and @Matt.W.Sweeny

One of my favorite family activities in Chicagoland is to eat pizza and take the train from the Western suburbs to downtown Chicago, then hop the Water Taxi. The Chicago River Water Taxi may be slightly hard to find, two blocks off the Ogilvie train station in downtown Chicago but, it’s super-affordable and can accommodate a large family or group. Ride the Chicago River Water Taxi from Chinatown in the South Loop to Goose Island and back to your original destination. The best pizza in Chicagoland can be found at Barone’s in Glen Ellyn, IL and any one of the many Aurelio’s Pizza locations.


5.) Sunbathe at Sylvan Lake at Custer State Park

📸 by @IntentionalAdventure

If swimming, paddle boarding, canoeing, hiking and sun bathing are your idea of an ideal family vacation activity, Sylvan Lake at Custer State Park, Custer, South Dakota is a must-visit. This hidden vacationland gem is a relatively quick drive from most Midwestern hometowns. Only a thirteen hour drive from southwest Wisconsin, I love the Black Hills in South Dakota and theres so much to do.


6.) Shop local in Nederland, Colorado

📸 by @4runninbikes

4runninbikes • Nederland, Colorado
Photo by @4runninbikes

A short drive from Boulder, CO is a little hippie town called Nederland. You can find local shops, a few brewpubs and good food to enjoy with your family. Stop by the Knotted Root Brewing Company or find other recreation on the Town’s directory.


7.) See wildlife at Rocky Mountain National Park

📸 by @haleysvoyage

Park Rangers are available to assist park visitors at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, the Kawuneeche Visitor Center, and the Wilderness Office. Rocky Mountain Conservancy Nature Stores are open at Beaver Meadows Visitor Center, the Fall River Visitor Center, and Kawuneeche Visitor Center. The Kawuneeche Visitor Center is open Tuesday-Sunday 9 am to 4:30 pm. Due to COVID 19, the number of visitors will be limited inside the buildings. by National Park Service

With park entrances at Estes Park and Grand Lake, Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park is a one-of-a-kind family travel destination which has wildlife, sightseeing, camping, hiking, sledding and so much more. Don’t miss Trail Ridge Road, which is often closed due to dangerous weather conditions and allows safe drivers the change to see portions of the park which are the most beautiful. Also be sure to check out the Alluvial Fan inside the park. Don’t forget your Rocky Mountain National Park passport sticker!


8.) Enjoy family-fun in Ruidoso, New Mexico

📸 by @brainspout and @matt.w.Sweeny

In Ruidoso, New Mexico, Pillow’s Funtrackers is the place for family-fun! I also recommend a zipline tour at Ski Apache, swimming and hiking at Grindstone Lake, have steak dinner and a beer at the Rio Grande Grill and Tap Room or stop in for a cup of joe on the back porch of the Sacred Grounds Coffee overlooking the Rio creek.


9.) Feel the vibe in Sedona, Arizona

📸 by @wanderlust0424

Cathedral Rock, Sedona, Arizona
Photo by @wanderlust0424

There’s so much to do in Sedona, AZ. Must-visit family attractions in Sedona include offroading or hiring a 4×4 rental, Slide Rock State Park, hiking the Oak Creek at Crescent Moon Ranch National Forest and dinner and drinks at the Oak Creek Brewery and Grill. Yum!


10.) View the scenic Grand Canyon National Park

📸 by @Lea.Blackman

Grand Canyon National Park
Photo by @Lea.Blackman

No matter how much you read about the Grand Canyon or how many photographs you’ve seen, nothing really prepares you for the sight of it. One of the world’s seven natural wonders, it’s so startlingly familiar and iconic you can’t take your eyes off it. The canyon’s immensity, the sheer intensity of light and shadow at sunrise or sunset, even its very age, scream for superlatives. – by LonelyPlanet.com

The Grand Canyon is massive, over a mile deep and 18 miles wide! Theres numerous locations to view the Grand Canyon. Make sure to purchase a digital park pass before heading out. Visit the National Park Service website to find more info on planning your visit to the Grand Canyon National Park.


Each and every one of these locations features beautiful scenery, history, hiking, and fun as well. If you are the kind of person who likes to tick beautiful vacation destinations off your bucket list, these 10 USA locations are a sure-fire way to start an adventure in 2021.

Stay Positive and Carry On 😊


Top 10 USA travel destinations to visit in 2021 + TREND Enterprises family card games Giveaway

TREND Enterprises family game night card games giveaway

Gemz is one of my favorite card games and is one of six family card games made by TREND Enterprises. In Gemz, two or more players use color coordination to win. I’m excited to share that for this travel post, I’m hosting a giveaway for one winner to received the Gemz and On Track family card games from TREND Enterprises. ENTER NOW! See all six family card games by TREND Enterprises.

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Giveaway entries must be complete by February 28, 2021. Entrants must be 13 years or older and reside in the lower USA States, excluding HI and AK. This giveaway is not associated with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google, Pinterest, YouTube or Linked In.

Gemz family card game by TREND Enterprises
Family Card games from TREND Enterprises

Gemz Family Card Game
Brand new bling-building family FUN! Join the fun with Gemz! This NEW Three Corner™ Card Game is simple, FUN, and will be an instant family favorite! It’s a game kids can play on their own, yet has plenty of strategy to satisfy everyone. Gemz! plays in small spaces, but brings BIG fun to parties, gatherings, game night, and more. Buy Gemz card game.

ON-TRACK Card-Game-TREND-Enterprises
Family Card games from TREND Enterprises

On Track™ Three Corner™ Card Game
Use strategy and planning to stay on track. Make the right connections to build a railroad from engine to terminal to WIN! Each player builds across a different geographic region: plains, deserts, coastlines, and mountains.

Overlooked must-have soft-roading supplies for 4x4 trips

Overlooked must-have soft-roading supplies for 4×4 trips

Feature photo by @zschrubb on Instagram

I drive a 2008 Honda Ridgeline which suits my needs for fun, comfort and long family road trips. Recently, while weathering the storm of our stay-at-home order and trying to find some outdoor fun, I discovered a network of non-paved gravel roads which are fun to explore and which weave the Wisconsin countryside with views of farms, hills, creeks.

I’m also planning to take my family on a camping trip where we’ll take my Honda Ridgeline truck on an overland soft-roading trip. This will mostly involve gravel roads in BLM, DNR and other County Highways in hopes of some outdoor fun! The terrain will be gravel roads, filled with sand or mud and if my vehicle gets stuck, I want be prepared to recover back to stable ground.

Honda Ridgeline off-roading
Photo by @triaglehonda65

While we explore these unpaved roads I’m collecting a toolkit of 4×4 supplies which I will carry in my truck in case of a slide-off or need to pull someone else back onto the road.

There’s a lot of supplies that should not be overlooked or forgotten on an off-roading adventure and packing my 4×4 will require planning to have the needed equipment as well as researching a safe route.

I was not provided product or payment for these recommendation of must-have off-roading supplies and the opinions stated here include my own opinions. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Don’t overlook these 4×4 soft-roading trip supplies

If you are sleeping, cooking or using supplies in your vehicle, leveling off your off-road 4×4 with leveling blocks and balance will provide a handy and comfortable straight footing and don’t expect to find rocks nearby to balance your truck.

Air compressor

This can be used to inflate a tire with a slow leak, fill a spare tire or fill an air mattress. If you plan to air-down tour tires, you will need to reinflate them when hitting the pavement and an air compressor is essential for this.

88P Compressor Kit with 16 foot air hose
Air compressor for up to 33 inch tires, available from TireTack.com

Tire deflator

When you drive in sand and rocks, it’s a good idea to give your ride the most comfort and traction by deflating your tires to accommodate for the terrain. Some circumstances need 15 psi and below and a tire deflator can do this quickly and with exacting precision. Air down tires to 20 psi for dirt and gravel roads and 18 psi for sand. Lower tire pressure creates a larger foot print.

0-60 psi tire pressure gauge with pressure release valve from Carid.com
Tire pressure gauge with pressure release valve from Carid.com

Winch recovery kit

Don’t mess with getting stuck. It’s going to happen and you can’t always rely on getting help from a passerby with a winch on their vehicle. Most off-road winch recovery kits include:

  • Winch line dampener (which doubles as the kit bag). “Winching using a Steel Cable is one of the most dangerous aspects of vehicle recovery as the cable stores kinetic energy. If the line or a connection point breaks under pressure, it can become a deadly projectile. Always use a Winch Line Dampener to absorb most of that kinetic energy if a break occurs.”
  • Heavy duty snatch block
  • Tow staps
  • Tree saver strap
  • Heavy duty gloves
  • D-ring shackles
Off Road Recovery Kit
Off-road recovery kit techniques from the Recovery Kit on Amazon

Recovery straps including tree saver and snatch straps

Tree saver, winch strap, tow strap


Shackles or hitch shackle and hitch lock

Hitch shackle for 2 inch receiver
If you don’t have safe tow points on your truck but you do have a hitch receiver, use a hitch shackle

Photo by @h4rdwar3

Electric winch

Electric winch for an off-road truck
Typically, you should buy an electric winch with 2-4 times the pulling weight of your vehicle. For my truck which has a GVW of just under 5,000 lbs, this 10k lb winch is perfect for my needs

High-jack, wheel chocks and jack base

With loose ground when changing a tire, your vehicle’s stock jack set is not going to suffice.

Hi-Lift Jack


For instructions on how to winch from another vehicle or other winch points, here’s information from towmart.com:

If you get stuck, you may have to rely on another vehicle to pull you out. The simplest way to do that is to use a couple of shackles and a snatch strap. Keep the kit in easy reach of the driver’s seat.

The snatch strap needs to have a minimum breaking strength of three to four times the weight of the vehicle you plan to use it with. They’re made of nylon and are designed to stretch. This helps add a little extra tug to your tow.

Three-and-a-quarter-ton shackles are the right choice for connecting one end of the strap to the recovery point on each vehicle.

When you attach the shackle to the recovery point and strap, make sure you tighten the pin completely. You should then back it off a quarter turn or so. This lets the required flex happen without harming the threads. 


Traction mats

These must-have items will get you out of deep mud or sand, sticky wet snow and make sure to get four! Off-road traction mats also double as low profile leveling blocks and don’t forget to turn off tour VTM-4 so your tires spin together on each axle. And don’t plan on using floor mats, you will see these mounted on 4×4 roof racks or bumpers for a good reason!

Photo by @great.white.ridge
Photo by @great.white.ridge

Long or small shovel

Digging out is difficult at best when you encounter a stuck vehicle and is a most important recovery vehicle you’ll be glad to have even for burying compost or a small fire pit.

Small shovel


First-aid medical kit

Off-roading will put you in the middle of nowhere and when an emergency happens, you want to be prepared with first-aid supplies. Plan on this and check and refill used items each excursion. Shop for or make your own full medical kit as a simple first aid kit will not be enough for your OHV adventure.


All-terrain tires

Consult your owners manual for the original equipment size tires to fit your vehicle. In my case, I’ve done a ton of research and am very knowledgable about tires so knowing that my Honda Ridgeline comes with OE size 245/65R17, I’m still able to fit certain brands of 265/65R17 tires with a tread width of 8.5 inches or less. Below is the list of my favorite all-terrain tires for my Honda Ridgeline RTL. I recommend using tirerack.com to purchase new all-terrain tires as they provide free shipping to all lower 48 continental USA States and will ship direct to your local favorite auto shop and have a great selection.

Firestone Destination A/T2

Yokohama Geolandar A/T G015

Hankook Dynapro AT-M


Tools

This may seem obvious but is often overlooked! If you don’t already have a stocked tool bag or box in your four wheel drive supply kit, you can simply buy a full tool set too! Make sure your tool kit includes vice grips, oil for tour truck, extra gasoline, a hatchet and hammer, drivers, sockets, wrenches, gloves, a tire plug kit, pliers, WD-40 or other rust-removal item, lighter or weatherproof matches, headlamp, wire, rope, zip-ties, duct and electric tape and of course a multi tool.

Photo by @zschrubb
Photo by @zschrubb

Fire extinguisher

There’s different kinds of fire extinguishers however on an off-roading 4×4 trails camping trip, you’ll want a B-rated (liquids fire) and C-rated (electrical equipment) fire extinguisher in case of the worst!


Snatch block

Want to double your winch’s recovery power? Yes, a snatch block tool will provide this essential ability.

Snatch block


Grab handles

These support handles can be installed on the inside of your off-road truck on back of head rests, pillars, doors and cross members, to provide grip in those “oh sh!t” moments where passengers will want to grip tight even while buckled.

Universal fit headrest grab handles


Heated blanket

Find a heated thermal blanket which is large enough for two people which plugs into your cigarette lighter to stay warm inside tour vehicle or around the fire.


Jerry can or gas tank

While we plan our off-roading trip route, we may find it handy to have extra gasoline which should always be mounted on the outside of your vehicle.

5 gallon gas can for vehicle with pour spout


Deadman anchor

If you need to winch out of stuck location but you don’t have a second vehicle to assist and you don’t have a tree, giant rock or other super heavy object to anchor your winch to, you will need a deadman anchor. This winch anchor is a tool that lets you create your own winch line anchor point.

Deadman earth anchor

How to use a deadman earth anchor


Additional suggested off-roading supplies (from members of the Honda Ridgeline Owners Club Facebook Group)

  • Change of dry clothes – because you never know when you have to get out and rig a winch line, spot your friend or walk a trail ahead of your truck while it’s raining
  • Two-way radio CB – “not all areas get cell phone reception.”
  • A hat – the sun can be hot as hell!
  • Batteries/flashlights/bug spray/sunscreen
  • Camp chair – to relax and to enjoy the small things in life.
  • Snacks – because when you stop, you’re going to have the munchies.
  • Chain saw (with blade oil, sharpener and eye protection) – for taking down fallen trees on the trail.
  • Manual bow saw and machété 

For more information about must-have Off-road 4×4 supplies, review the Wisconsin Off Highway Vehicle Association’s Safety Checklist:

Click to access ohv%20safety%20checklist.pdf

Off-roading trail tips

Other must-have off-roading supplies resources

You’re ready for an off-roading OHV adventure!

Planning To Move to Singapore? Here is What You Should Know

Planning To Move to Singapore

Planning To Move to Singapore? Here is What You Should Know

Relocating from one place to another can bring about mixed reactions and even worse if you are relocating to a different country. It could be a happy moment as you would be breaking the monotony of staying in one place for an extended time. On the other hand, it could be a very frustrating moment if you do not make proper and adequate arrangements.

Planning To Move to Singapore? Here is What You Should Know

Proper planning before traveling is essential. Here is a guide on some of the fundamental issues that you will need to consider to make your travel and stay as smooth as they can be.Read More »

5 Essential Back To School Safety Tips For Milwaukee Families

We’re proud to bring you a back-to-school safety article which, this time is a guest post by Donna Fitzgerald who is a mother of two and enjoys journaling in her free time. She also enjoys traveling and sharing her experiences with readers. You can visit her blog at goodhomehealth.net

With the end of summer coming to a close, you’re likely packing away summer gear and hitting the back to school sales. Every new school year is a bittersweet experience whether your kids are starting kindergarten or entering the halls of a middle school.

Here are some safety tips to consider while you and your kids are preparing for a brand new school year.

Kids with School bus

School Bus Safety For You and Your Kids

Even if you drive your kids to school, there’s a good chance that your child will ride a school bus at least a few times during the school year for trips or extra curricular activities. While you can expect that your child’s educators may teach some bus safety tips and appropriate behavior, it’s a good idea to remind your child how to enter and exit a bus safely, stay a safe distance away, and to always cross the street when it’s safe.
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Spring Green General Store, Spring Green Wisconsin

5 day trips to visit in Southwest Wisconsin

Wondering where to go this weekend near Madison, Wisconsin?

Shop & Eat at the Spring Green General Store 🥪 Spring Green, WI

Whether you trek to Spring Green, WI via WI-23 northbound from southern Wisconsin or westbound from Madison, Wisconsin, the drive to Spring Green is amazing and could be considered part of the adventure. The Spring Green General Store features a cafe offering local fair and a retail store highlighting artists’ goods, environmentally-friendly groceries and household items. Look for fair trade and local items at this small community-focussed business which is a great place to meet friends for a drink, bite to eat or live music. In addition to regular music gigs at the cafe, mark your calendar for the Spring Green General Store’s annual music events including BobFest and BeatleFest. Visit them on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest or read more about the Spring Green General Store on TravelWisconsin.com.

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Most popular instagram photos from 2017

A post shared by Karin Dittmar Miller (@springgreengeneralstore) on

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