Summer Vacation Ideas for St. Louis

Summer vacation is right around the corner. Have you started planning your vacay yet?? There are so many options that it can be overwhelming. Last spring I wrote a similar blog post you should check out. This time I want to discuss cruise options, all inclusive resorts, and local travel(heyyy Branson, MO).

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Have you tried looking up cruises? Because oh my gosh, it is overwhelming. There are so many cruise lines, so many places to go, different ports to choose, different lengths, different ship sizes. How do you choose the best one? I have talked to a few friends who have been on some, and everyone says Royal Caribbean and Carnival are pretty similar in general. Disney cruises are great for entertaining kids and just a lot of fun. I’m sure Disney will be super busy during the summer since kids are out of school, so book early.

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Cruises can range in length from 2 nights to 12+nights. You can choose an interior room, ocean view, or a room with a balcony. One thing to consider though is that you may not spend a lot of time in the room. If you are looking to save money, the way to do it may be with an interior room since you won’t need the view. There are a lot of ports to choose from as well, depending on where you plan to cruise to. Price ranges vary a lot, from $500 for 2 people all the way up to $5500+.

Are you going to want to do an excursion, such as zip lining or scuba diving, or maybe even swimming with dolphins? You can also have a spa day on the cruise if you want.

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Most meals are included, but drinks are not. You can also add on the nicer restaurants if you want to try that. The casino is not included, obviously.

Take into account travel to and from the port and a hotel stay at the port. You will probably want to visit for at least a day before you set sail.

All Inclusive Resorts

Mexico isn’t exactly the safest place right now, but if you stay on the resort, you and your loved ones should be fine. There are other options as well though, such as Jamaica, the Bahamas, the Dominican, etc, all of which are gorgeous and will be perfect for summer vacation.

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Know what is included and what isn’t ahead of time so you can plan. Sometimes it says “all inclusive” but you may have to pay for some of the top shelf liquor, airport transfer, gratuities, and some of the watersports.

More local options

We are in Missouri, so Branson is obvious. There are other options as well though. I recently went to Dallas/Fort Worth area and had a BLAST. You should definitely look into it if traveling without kids. The stockyards have lots of shopping and museums and bars. You can spend all day there, then go out to eat later and catch a concert at Billy Bob’s.

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Chicago is always a great weekend getaway, and there is so much to do for adults and kids if you have a family. The train seems like it would be a fun way to travel.

What do you think of those summer vacay ideas?

I know there are so many other options, but those are a few that could be fun for couples or the family. What are your plans?!

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5 Spring Break Family Vacation Destinations

Spring Break is right around the corner. St. Louis, MO school vacations start mid-March.  Most family vacations are already scheduled, I’m sure. I wanted to research some cool places for clients, anyway. After some research, I’ve created the list below of my top 5 family vacation destinations for Spring Break.

For the moms out there,  I know you have a lot going on right now. You deserve to be pampered.  Check out this blog post about how boudoir sessions can boost your confidence after you read through this article 😉

chincoteague island// assateague beach//family friendly vacation destinations recommendations//boudoir by tracy lynn//see more at St. Louis, MO

Top 5 Spring Break Family Vacation Destinations

You will find pros and cons for these vacation destinations in this list below. 🙂  Have you been to any of these places? Let me know!

Disney World

Walt Disney World// Orlando, FL/family friendly vacation destinations recommendations//boudoir by tracy lynn//see more at St. Louis, MO

I personally have never been to Disney, but it is on my bucket list to go as an adult! Fun, sun, beautiful weather, food, rides, what could be better?


For starters, there is a super cheap flight to Orlando from STL through Frontier Airlines, like really cheap.  I flew there in December for $150 ROUND TRIP including taxes AND bags.

Disney World has tons to do. No one in the family should be bored the entire time.  You may need a vacay from your vacay when you get home (maybe in the form of a boudoir session for you 😉 )

If you have time, be sure to take a day to visit SeaWorld!


First of all, Disney is rather expensive. I think we have all heard about how expensive it is.  From what I can tell and what I have heard however, it is WORTH it the cost.

It will be busy.  I have some local Orlando friends who say when kids are out of school, the park is crazy busy.  But it’s an experience worth the expense. And if you go in with the expectations that it to be busy, you won’t even think twice about it.

San Diego, CA

San Diego, Ca//family friendly vacation destinations recommendations//boudoir by tracy lynn//see more at St. Louis, MO

On the other side of the country is Disney Land, SeaWorld, the Pacific Ocean, Dolphin Cruises, sea lions.   I had a blast in San Diego last summer. I am so ready to get back there!


There’s lots and lots to do at this vacation destination! You can try SeaWorld San Diego, go see the Pacific ocean, eat great food, go dolphin and whale watching, and see sea lions in the wild. Take a day trip to Los Angeles if you have time!


The plane ticket may be a bit expensive and the flight is pretty long. Hotels are also somewhat pricey in some areas and driving can be crazy at certain times of the day!

Chincoteague Island, Virginia

Chincoteague Island, VA// Assateague Island, VA//family friendly vacation destinations recommendations//boudoir by tracy lynn// St. Louis, MO//see more at

This is my personal favorite.  I have been three times and am ready to go back.    This small island just south of Maryland on the outer banks of Virginia, is the cutest island ever!  Also, check out the book Misty of Chincoteague on Kindle or purchase the book here. I read this book when I was about 10 years old and fell in love with the entire island.


Chincoteague Island is one of the more inexpensive destinations! It doesn’t have any chain restaurants, beach stores, or anything you would find at other Island vacation hotspots. This island makes up for it in things to do.

Wild Ponies of Assateague Island//Chincoteague Island, VA// Assateague Island, VA//family friendly vacation destinations recommendations//photo by Boudoir by Tracy lynn//see more at St. Louis, MO

There are even wild ponies on Assateague Island (connected to Chincoteague). Sometimes you can literally be on the beach and the ponies will be hanging out there as well!  The ice cream shops are amazing, the food is good, and they have some really neat BBQ restaurants/food trucks with games for kids.

It’s about 2 hours outside of Washington D.C. Take a day to see D.C. while you’re out that way.


Honestly, the only real con that I have noticed is that it’s pretty far.  It was a 14 hour trip for us. Flights are a bit expensive– however, it will save 2 extra travel days. Time is money after all!

Expect chillier weather for spring break. It’s more north along the Atlantic Ocean.  Maybe save this for summer!


I personally haven’t experienced Chicago like I should for someone FROM Illinois. It’s on my list of vacation destinations for this year. Expect a report back to you once I experience it. 🙂

Chicago, IL// Navy Pier//family friendly vacation destinations recommendations//see more at St. Louis, MO


Chicago is pretty close, just a five hour train ride from St. Louis.  There also seems to be a ton to do, from Navy Pier to Millennium Park, Shedd Aquarium, the Planetarium.  Thankfully, the kids will never be bored!


First, Chicago style pizza is the exact opposite of STL style pizza. St. Louis natives may not love it. You should try it.  But if that’s the worst thing about Chicago, I think you’ll survive.

Next, they are home of the Cubs.  Cardinals fans can ignore that section of town, right? Just steer clear of Wrigleyville.

In all seriousness, traffic and hotel expense will be the worst thing you have to deal with. But if you stay in the city and use the ‘L’ trains, you won’t have to deal with the notorious traffic.


You didn’t think I would leave Branson out did you?  I may not personally be a fan. Midwesterners have to experience it at least once. P.s.  The photo below is not the actual Ferris wheel in Branson. FYI that one is more terrifying.  Not safety wise, but it is huge!

Missouri Family Vacation Destinations// Branson, MO//family friendly vacation destinations recommendations//see more at St. Louis, MO


Since Branson is about a 3.5 hour drive from St. Louis, it’s a great weekend getaway if the kid’s spring break isn’t super long. The city is especially kid friendly.  They have Silver Dollar City, the Dixie Stampede, shows, shows, and more shows.  Additionally, there’s a kids park with bumper cars, boats, the ferris wheel, mini golf and more. Also in Branson you’ll find the Titanic exhibit, the wax museum, outdoor malls, and so many restaurants.  However, if that isn’t your scene, Big Cedar lodge is beautiful!


Like every other destination in this blog post, I think that the worst thing about Branson is the expense and especially traffic in town. Everyone will be there since most spring breaks are right around the same time.

Where are you going?

Where are you going for your vacation destinations this year? I would love to know! Traveling is one of my favorite things and always love to hear about new places I may want to see. 🙂

Be sure to check out this last post about confidence boosting (which I mentioned at the beginning of the article.  Moms deserve some love and pampering, too.




Maternity Boudoir Photography// New Moms

Many of you know that I photograph maternity boudoir photography in the St. Louis, MO area.  This time in a woman’s life is such a magical moment (and very uncomfortable at other times).  I love being able to capture it for my beautiful clients.  Check out a recent maternity boudoir session here.

maternity boudoir photography// cream maternity dress/ photo by Boudoir by Tracy lynn//see more at St. Louis, MO

Preparing for your new bundle of joy

My sister is currently pregnant (and so cute pregnant, too) and due in May. She is the first of the two of us to experience pregnancy. It has been fun trying to figure out what we need to prepare for and we’ve had so much fun planning her baby shower.

While planning her baby shower, I thought it would be a great idea to put together a list of things a new mom will need to prepare.  I know those first few months will be a huge change. Hopefully, prepping in advance with things recommended by moms will make the transition easier!  I asked my past maternity boudoir photography clients for some suggestions and compiled this list below.  I am the first to admit I don’t know what half of this is. If it’s on the wrong list, please forgive me! I am excited to watch my sister figure it out before I have to!

maternity boudoir photography// white lace maternity dress// St. Louis, MO//


List: New moms//How to prepare for your new baby// nursery items//taking care of yourself//



  • 3-4 newborn gowns
  • Zipper onesies
  • Sleepers
  • 2 packs of white onesies

List: New moms//How to prepare for your new baby// nursery items//taking care of yourself//


  • Dr. Brown’s Bottles
  • Kiinde Bottle Warmer
  • Kiinde Breast Milk Bags
  • Dr. Brown’s formula Dispenser
  • Diaper cloths for burping

Diaper bags

  • Jujube
  • Dokoclub Diaper bag backpack


  • Jogging stroller- much easier to push.

List: New moms//How to prepare for your new baby// nursery items//taking care of yourself//


  • Boppy newborn lounger
  • Rock and Play
  • Mamaroo infant seat
  • Dock a tot
  • Vibrating bouncy seat
  • Graco Pack n Play with sheet
  • Fisher Price Play Yard
  • Bumbo Floor seat
  • Chico High Chair
  • Car Seat Base


List: New moms//How to prepare for your new baby// nursery items//taking care of yourself//

Prepping for the hospital

Thankfully, my mom is a labor and delivery nurse at the hospital where my sister will deliver.  She will be sure my sister is prepared, but here are a few suggestions from new moms fresh from delivering their babies!

  • Adult depends are WAY better than the undies and pads the hospital gives you
  • Dermaplast spray in the blue can
  • Padsicles
  • Coconut oil if breastfeeding
  • Plenty of snacks
  • Huge water bottle or cup

Taking Care of Yourself

Most of the new moms that I spoke to said self care is also important.  You are going to want to spend all of your time with your new bundle of joy.  You HAVE to take care of yourself after and allow your body to heal. If your sister, mom, or best friend want to watch your precious baby to give you a break to let you nap, take advantage of the offer! There’s no shame in self-care and it’s essential!

maternity boudoir photography// cream maternity dress/ // St. Louis, MO photo by boudoir by tracy lynn. see more at

Maternity Boudoir Session

Don’t forget to book your maternity boudoir photography session at around 7 months.  This is about the time your bump isn’t too big that you are miserable, but still big enough to be seen in the photos! Click here to get in touch with me!

One more tip: Be sure to check out my Pinterest boards as well for more pins for new moms. Preparing for a newborn is as exciting as is it scary, but you so got this!