With a ‘Chalet’ lodge perched on the top of a mountain face like a cozy castle, weekly bonfires and s’mores events, wildlife and nature walk programs, and a playful mascot named Bucky, it’s no wonder children consider skiing June Mountain to be magical. Long described as a ‘best kept secret’ amid the California ski crowds descending upon the Eastern Sierras, June Mountain–just outside Yosemite National Park–provides tranquility, community, and seriously fun skiing a world apart from its big sister, Mammoth Mountain.
For years, June may have been a secret too well kept, forcing its temporary closure for the 2012-2013 season. Managing Director Carl Williams spent the interim carving out a new family-friendly focus for June that plays to its natural strengths of affordability, fun, and pristine location.
Families used to the sometimes-overwhelming array of options, lifts, and visitors of Mammoth Mountain will find a slower pace at June, except in the un-crowded lift lines: only the double-chair ride up J1 to the Chalet may feel dizzying. Families arrive off the lift into the sanctuary of a lodge straight out of most parents’ youth, complete with wooden construction–no iron and steel accents here–and a roaring fire in a real–forget electric or gas–fireplace. Beginner and intermediate terrain span outward from the chalet’s wide wrap-around deck, offering stellar views of the Sierras and little learners.
Ambiance and atmosphere is all well and good, but June is standing behind their new family-friendly focus in a tangible way that will appeal to parents’ wallets, too: kids 0-12 now ski free at June Mountain all day, any day. No blackouts, no restrictions. As if this isn’t enough incentive to get kids to this hill, ski and snowboard lessons for kids at June are roughly half of what they cost at nearby Mammoth Mountain, making June an ideal place to get those first days on the snow under one’s belt.
Thanks to June’s manageable size (it boasts seven lifts and 35 named trails), school-aged kids can be let loose to ski on their own while parents explore the glades…or the famous Antler Bar. Runs funnel down to J2 and the Chalet, allowing for easy lunch meet-ups and stress-free departures. Take a mid-morning break to try an expert-led nature walk through the snow, or see what you can spot from the chair; thanks to June’s wilderness, it’s not unusual to see wild animal tracks in the snow. From this vantage point, it’s hard to remember one is only 20 minutes from Mammoth.
Mammoth Mountain lift tickets are accepted at June Mountain, allowing families to split their ski vacation between both resorts. Start with lessons for the kids at June to stretch your ski vacation dollar before exploring Mammoth…though be warned: you may run right back to the tranquility of June!
Vacations can be pricey and ski vacations are no exception. They don’t have to be though. There are tons of ways to save money on your next ski trip. The #1 way to save money is to talk to a local Destination Expert before you book your travel. It’s free to call and they can give you tips about your entire trip. Read more on our website about how using public transportation or reserving rental equipment ahead of time can save you money on your next ski vacation.
The VacationRoost Team
Hawaii is a great destination for family vacations. With 8 National Parks, 8 islands and nearly 800 miles of coastline there is no shortage of places to explore. Hawaii boasts some of the most luxurious accommodations in the world (e.g. the Four Seasons Resort Maui has a wide selection of spa offerings for children 12 and under!) but families traveling on a budget can also find great deals in the Aloha state.
The most family-friendly island is Maui. You can easily plan several activities a day during a week vacation. Choose from a long-list of family fun including:
- Whale watching
- Helicopter tours
- Luxury catamaran cruises
- Snorkeling and BBQ boat tours
- Submarine tours
- Swimming with dolphins
- Downhill bike tours
- Road to Hana trip to 10,000 foot Haleakala summit
- Explore botanical gardens in Kula
- Family spa treatments
- Maui flower plantation tours
Contact a Destination Expert today to help plan your next family getaway.
The VacationRoost Team
Hey guys! For this month I wanted to post a list of “fun facts” about my travels, so here are 15 things you may not know!
1) A trip to England with two of my dear friends in October 2010 is what sparked my big interest in traveling.
2) I almost never pay for a place to sleep, instead I use couchsurfing and meet super awesome people. It’s a great site because you can save money, meet cool people, and locals are usually willing to show you around their city!
3) I have a goal to visit 50 countries by the time I turn 30.
4) That goal was originally 30 countries, but I surpassed that.
5) I would like to spend time living on every continent. So far I’ve lived on three.
6) My mom always jokes that my boyfriend is the best souvenir I’ve brought home (we met in Australia).
7) I lived on a ship for a bit over 3 months, which is how a fair chunk of my traveling was done.
8) There is NOTHING that makes me more angry than people who say “Ugh I wish I could travel.” Stop throwing your excuses at me because I am absolutely not buying them!
9) My parents do NOT pay for any of my travel. They’ve loaned me money when I was in a tight spot (like in Fiji when my hosts turned out to be lame), but I always pay them back.
10) My favorite country is Ghana. Someday I hope to return and work for CAN-DO land tours, a company I toured with in 2011, for at least one year.
11) Au pairing abroad is super easy to do and a great way to travel and make money. It’s not much money, but I lived off of less than $100 a week in Europe, including traveling for 4 weeks over the summer and several week-long trips — and I came out of my year there with about $400 more than when I went in.
12) Being back in the USA has made me feel pressure to go back to university, get a degree, and start my career. But that’s not my path. This country seems so obsessed with that mentality and it makes me mad.
13) I have slept in a park before with two of my friends in Italy. It was an awesome night.
14) I want to spend 3-6 months doing a bike tour of Vietnam.
15) The list of places I haven’t been to feel endless, but I’m excited to tick locations off my list and have more stories to tell.
The 12 Days of Christmas is the song that we sing,
And to you twelve presents we bring!
December the 12th is when the deals start-
Unwrap one each day, then add to your cart!
Booking your trip is a dream come true,
Merry Christmas from the VacationRoost Crew!
Our 12 Days of Christmas promotion offers 25% or more off your next vacation rental in our top mountain destinations. Each day we unveil the new deal, so be sure to mark your calendar for your favorite resort.
The VacationRoost Team
Sledding for my kids means charting their own course down powdery hills, making snow forts, and engaging in a snowball fight or two…most of which is not on offer at major ski resort tubing parks. While we enjoy resort parks in Lake Tahoe for low-key thrills, we crave more adventure and flexibility. (I also crave lower prices.) If your kids agree that ski resort tubing parks are often too tame, check out Adventure Mountain Lake Tahoe.
Located on Highway 50 near Echo Summit (three miles from Sierra-at-Tahoe ski resort), Adventure Mountain is an old-school sledding hill with approximately a dozen blazed trails down the side of a large hill and room for you to create your own. The snow at the base of the mountain has been groomed into berms to keep tubes and sleds from whizzing right into the parking lot, but we’ve still seen it happen. This is completely a do-it-yourself mountain, with few rules and regulations. Families can rent sleds and tubes if needed, and there’s a small day lodge with shelter and a snack bar, but we bring our own snacks or lunch and eat it picnic style on sunny Tahoe days.
The runs are divided into beginner and advanced, so yes, there is a place for small children and more cautious sledders, and kids love the ability to start small and get more daring as the day goes on. We visited on a December day during the holiday break, and while crowded, there were enough runs to keep waiting to a minimum. The sledding paths at Adventure Mountain are accessed by walking trails up the side (not rope tow or magic carpet here!) so you’ll earn your hot chocolate break! Adjacent to the sledding hills is the entrance to a network of cross-country and snowshoeing trails, so family members can certainly split up and participate in different winter sports.
The mountain is open 9 am or 10 am (depending on day) to 4:30 pm (no lights here!), and you can certainly stay all day. If you do, bring extra gloves and socks for the kids and stow them in the car, which is close enough to access any time. We spent as much time playing in the snow with other families as we did sledding, and those dry layers were welcome. There’s space for fires in marked fire pits, and on cold or stormy days, sanctuary can be had in the lodge. There are no helmet requirements at Adventure Mountain, but for what it’s worth, we highly recommend you require them of your kids. We had a few tumbles for which we were grateful for ours.
Best of all, the cost of Adventure Mountain is just $20 per car load. No individual entry fee whatsoever. Rentals vary, but if you come with your own sleds and a packed lunch, you’ve got yourself a fabulous $20 day in Tahoe!
Where to next? For leisure travelers, a huge part of the joy comes from planning the trip and looking forward to it. That explains the dose of endorphins you might feel as you giddily click “purchase” on the airfare you’ve been hovering over. It explains the stoke of booking hotels, vacation rentals, tickets of any kind, and while reading up on a destination.
When you’re online researching your next big trip, you need a soundtrack for the excitement. Here are a few travel tunes to rock as you pull the trigger on the trip purchase, complete with some lyrics to belt out as you book. Spontaneous dance parties encouraged.
The Black Keys – Have Love Will Travel
I took a boat and I took a plane
I might hitch-hike or jump a railroad-train
Your kind of love drive a man insane
So look for me walkin’ just any old way
Have love, will travel
Have love, will travel
If you need lovin, oh baby I travel
If you need lovin, oh baby I travel
Mos Def – Leaving on a Jet Plane
I’m leaving, on a jet plane
I don’t know if I’ll be back again
Kiss me and smile for me
Tell me that you’ll wait for me
Hold me, like you know I’ll never go
Even though you know I will
Daft Punk – Around the World
Around the world, around the world (x72)
Lenny Kravitz – Fly Away
I wish that I could fly
Into the sky
So very high
Just like a dragonfly
I’d fly above the trees
Over the seas in all degrees
To anywhere I please
Oh I want to get away
I want to fly away
Yeah yeah yeah
Camera Obscura – Let’s Get Out of This Country
Let’s get out of this country
I have been so unhappy
Smell the Jasmine my head will turn
I feel like getting confessional
We’ll find a cathedral city
You can convince me I am pretty