San Francisco, California

We arrived in San Francisco late in the day and headed straight to Baker Beach where we met up with my sister, Sarah, and her family who flew in from Washington. Sarah has planned the next stage of the road trip, as this is her dream “vacation” (she’s American now), and she had kids of ideas of things to see and do. So I wasn’t expecting to walk onto the beach to have a fantastic view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Monterey Bay Aquarium, California

After our two days at Yosemite, we drove back to the coast to the unmissable Monterey Bay Aquarium. This was top of my sister’s list of things she wanted to do in California.

It didn’t look like much from the outside, especially for a well-renowned tourist attraction, I did wonder why it is said that this aquarium is the number one in the world.

Zion National Park, Utah

When we arrived at Zion it was midday, which actually became 1pm as we drove into a different time-zone. It was HOT and the car park was full so we had to park in town. We soon realised that we weren’t prepared for this. We didn’t know that we would be encountering 25 degrees heat, and didn’t have enough shorts or sun hats.

Hollywood Boulevard, California

I had no idea how many stars there were on the Walk of Fame. There are around 2,500 stars that cover 15 blocks. It was really exciting at first, spotting all the names of celebrities. The kids didn’t recognise many names – but they did see a few: Daniel Radcliffe, Donald Trump, Shrek, Winnie the Pooh. We read as many as we could, but the streets were inevitably busy with tourists, street performers, and cameramen.

Marston Vale Millennium Country Park, Bedfordshire

The Forest of Marston Vale is a 60 square mile environmental regeneration project in between Bedford and Milton Keynes. Some of that area is made up of country park, which has a play area, visitors centre and cafe, wetlands nature reserve, woodlands, and walking routes. The last time we were there was last autumn when we had a day with the boys, and wanted a walk in the forest. Wellies definitely required.