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Chipley, FL

October 2, 2016

While on our road trip from Lafayette, LA to Jacksonville, FL, we stopped in Chipley, FL for the night. There are two main reasons why we decided to make our overnight stop in Chipley, FL and one huge surprise for us when we got there.

Why We Stopped in Chipley, FL (2 Reasons)

There are two reasons why our family wanted to stop in Chipley, FL on our road trip. We noticed that there is a state park for us to explore nearby, and we were able to find a decent hotel to stay at that has some good local restaurants nearby.

Amelia and Watermelons

Amelia loved the Watermelon signs for the upcoming Watermelon Festival

  1. Chipley, FL was a good almost halfway point between us and our destination. We found a nice, small hotel (a Quality Inn) to stay at in Chipley, and there were a few local places to for our family to have dinner. We actually stayed at this exact same hotel on the way back because we liked it so much.
  2. A few minutes from Chipley, FL is Falling Waters State Park. This state park has Florida’s largest waterfall. We plan on visiting Falling Waters State Park the following day before we head back on the road to finish out journey to Jacksonville, FL. (More about Falling Waters State Park in my next post).

Surprise in Chipley, FL

After we had checked into our room at the Quality Inn, we found KC’s Pizza and Grill in downtown Chipley. This was a great restaurant with fantastic prices and very kid friendly. See the video below for more about this place.

KC's Pizza & Grill in Chipley, FL

Ravioli Kid’s Meal

Once we finished our dinner, we decided that our kids need to run around and burn some energy since they had been in the car a lot today. Our son LOVES trains, and apparently Chipley, FL has a history of trains.

Chipley, FL trail tracks

Kids on the Train Tracks

Therefore, there is an old red caboose parked in one of the main parks in Chipley, FL next to the old railroad stations along the train tracks.

Sunset in Chipley, FL

Gazebo in the Park at sunset.

This caboose is for anyone to come and climb on or takes pictures next to. So that is what we did, and we had a blast doing so.

Red Caboose Climbing

Kids Climbing on the Red Caboose



I even climbed on top of the roof!

I made it to the top

Standing on the Red Caboose

Most of all, this made for a nice surprise for us, and we created some great family memories here in Chipley.

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Florida Welcome Center I-10

August 26, 2016

On our road trip from Louisiana to Florida, we needed to stretch our legs and walk around. We stopped at the Florida Welcome Center at I-10 in Pensacola, FL. WOW! This welcome center was incredible!

Florida Welcome Center – Outside

As you drive up to the Florida Welcome Center, the first thing that you see is a huge plane statue. There are also a lot of other statues and photo opportunities in an around this welcome center.

Florida Welcome Center Airplane

Airplane outside the Florida Welcome Center

There is also a turtle statue thing right next to the entrance doors. I took a picture next to because it just looks pretty neat. The turtles name is Myrtle … #Myrtletheturtle

Florida Welcome Center Turtle Statue

#MyrtletheTurtle Statue

Florida Welcome Center – Inside

Next, when we entered the Florida Welcome Center, the kids found a small play area that was perfect for them. They had been riding in the car for so long and need some playtime. Since the kids found some fun toys to play with, my wife and I browse around at all of the brochures and pamphlets of things to do in Florida.

After a while, we take a fun picture with the NASA astronaut statue. We also get some free orange juice and grapefruit juice from the ladies at the help desk. You have to love anything that’s free, right?

Florida Welcome Center Astronaut statue

Our family with the NASA astronaut

In addition to taking a picture with the astronaut, there is also a picture booth that has some fun Florida themes. Here are a few of the pictures we took.

Florida Welcome Center Photo Booth

Jacques and I using the Photo Booth

Florida Welcome Center Photo Booth

Family Picture at the Photo Booth














Next we find the vending machines. They have an ice cream vending machine at the Florida Welcome Center. We decide that everyone needed a little treat before getting back on the road. We got our ice cream and take it outside to the picnic benches and enjoy some ice cream as a family.

Finally, it was time to leave the Florida Welcome Center. We get back into the car and continue our journey eastward through Florida. Here is a video that I put together of our time at the Florida Welcome Center so that you can get a better idea of everything that they have to offer here.

Follow our family road trip adventures on our YouTube channel, TheFunnyrats. Also you can follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and/or Snapchat.

Family Camping with Kids

August 26, 2016

Family camping with kids can be tough, but my wife and I are willing to give it a shot. We love taking adventures with our kids, and letting them experience new things.

In my previous post, we got everything we needed. Now, we head to Chicot State Park in Ville Platte, LA. We choose our site, which happens to be a TERRIBLE site (we were on a slope), and we pitch the family camping tent. While we were setting up the tent, it starts raining on us.

camping tent

Our family inside the camping tent.

Family Camping Day 1

Since it starts raining, we jump in the tent. We get it set up in the nick of time. We organize everything in the tent and we blow up the air mattresses. After the rain stops, we light a fire.

So far, other than the rain, this family camping experience is going pretty good. My wife cooks up some food for us once the fire was going and we eat together at the campsite. The sun set, and now it is time to get the kids to bed.

Family Camping Day 2

The next day we wake up in the camping tent, and we had a rough night. Every one was sliding off of the air mattresses because our family tent is on a slope (as I stated earlier). Also it is COLD (well cold for a Louisiana family who were on their first family camping experience).

Nighttime in the Family Camping Tent

Jacques in the Family Camping Tent at Night before Bed.

Finally, the sun came out, we make some tea and got the fire going. So that helps to warm us up. My wife makes some delicious pancakes over the fire in her new cast iron grill. This is perfect for cooking just about anything over a fire. Because we have such a great grill, we have a delicious breakfast together as a family.

After breakfast, we drive to the Louisiana State Arboretum and a park ranger teaches us about snakes. The kids get really excited when they get to pet a snake. After learning about snakes, the ranger takes us on a very short, kid friendly hike in the arboretum. Amelia is excited to see all of the caterpillars that are crawling around.

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Camping Gear for Family Camping

August 25, 2016

Camping Gear is important if you want to have a successful camping experience. Especially if you are camping with two kids, since it can be difficult. Let’s find out as my wife and I take our two kids, Amelia (5) and Jacques (3), on our family family camping experience.

camping gear: tent

Inside the camping tent.

Preparing to Buy Camping Gear

We know that we had to get the right camping gear so that we are prepared for this experience. First, my wife did some research beforehand on Pinterest to see what we would actually need to go on a family camping trip.

Next, we went to a couple of stores to get the necessary camping supplies that we needed to do family camping, and here is a video of our shopping experience.

We found all of the camping gear that we needed at three stores, and this is what we narrowed our camping gear down to.

Camping Hear You Must Have for Family Camping:

Camping Gear Haul

Finally, here is a haul video of everything that we got for our family camping trip. We discuss why we chose some of this camping gear in this haul video.

In addition, my next two blog posts will be about our experiences camping as a family, so look for those very soon.

In addition, we invite you to follow our family travel adventures on our YouTube channel, TheFunnyrats, and follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and/or Snapchat.

Also, If you want to help support us in making and writing about our travel adventures, if you have something to buy on, please use our affiliate link. You pay the same great Amazon price, but we get a little commission for sending you there.

Music Festival in Louisiana

August 24, 2016

A free music festival that happens every year in Lafayette, LA is Festival International de Louisiana. It is a great music festival for all ages in the heart of Cajun Country, Lafayette, LA. My wife and I, who are Lafayette natives, take our two kids there every year.

Our family having lunch together at Festival International Music Festival

Our family having lunch together at Festival International.

Music Festival Expectations at Festival International de Louisiana

Festival International is hosted in downtown Lafayette, LA every April. The music at this music festival is always great and eclectic, especially if you can make some of the night performances. Therefore, make sure to bring some cash with you because you will want to buy a CD or two! I have found some of my favorite artists from this music festival.

Also, if you are looking to stay at this music festival the entire day, there are plenty of food vendors for you to choose from. Lafayette, which is in the heart of Cajun Country, is known for it’s delicious food and restaurants. Believe me, anything and everything is good!

Our son, Jacques, devoured some delicious blueberries at this music festival

Our son, Jacques, devoured some delicious blueberries.

In addition, if you plan on bringing your kids, this is definitely something that they will enjoy. Make sure to bring some snacks for them to enjoy. Also there is a local school nearby that hosts an arts and crafts area in the playground of their school. Therefore, there is plenty of room for your kids to run around and burn some energy! Be ready for them to fall asleep in the car afterwards!

Finally, here is a fun video of our first day at Festival International from this year. Hopefully it will give you an idea of what to expect from this free music festival.


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Nature Park – Camp Salmen Nature Park – Slidell, LA

August 22, 2016

Camp Salmen Nature Park was not on our radar for our family road trip. It was a nice surprise when we stumbled across this beautiful park. This summer our family went on a road trip from Lafayette, LA to Jacksonville, FL. On our way there, we stop in Slidell, LA at Camp Salmen Nature Park to eat lunch. We pick  lunch up at Sam’s (it’s cheap and easy, and we needed gas).

Camp Salmen Nature Park

Camp Salmen Nature Park

First, when we get lunch on the road, we usually stop at a park to eat. Then we let our kids run around on the playground to play to burn some energy. We are so surprised by Camp Salmen Nature Park. It is over 100 acres of nature, a historical site, awesome playground, great hiking trails, and more.

Things to Do at Camp Salmen Nature Park

Most of all, our kids had a fun time exploring what we could of Camp Salmen Nature Park. The playground was a lot of fun, and I thought the old trading post historic site was really neat. There is a pond area with a decent view and lots of old oak trees for us to climb on.

My wife climbing on a tree at Camp Salmen.

My wife climbing on a tree at Camp Salmen.

I wish that we could have hiked on some of the hiking trails while we were there. We simply ran out of time. We were needing to get to our hotel down highway I-10 to continue our road trip. Therefore, I see us coming back to this park to visit longer. We only were able to see probably about 15% of this amazing nature park.

In addition, our family loves to go hiking. Due to these time constraints and the fact that it was a hot a humid day in Louisiana, we did not get to hike the trails. Finally, here is a fun video of our family’s time exploring this nature park.