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Big Gay Summer Vacation Guide and Giveaway

Big Gay Summer Vacation Guide and Giveaway

Here’s your guide to a fun family gay-cation this summer with lots of great goodies for you and little ones to explore the great outdoors, stay cool at the pool, bum around the beach and look fabulous doing it.  Enter to win some of our featured products.  See contest rules below.

Here’s your guide to a fun family gay-cation this summer with lots of great goodies for you and little ones to explore the great outdoors, stay cool at the pool, bum around the beach and look fabulous doing it.  Enter to win some of our featured products.  See contest rules below.

The Gayest Place on Earth

Fly the gay-friendly skies on Alaska Airlines or pack the family into the Subaru wagon and head on down to Disney Gay Days at Walt Disney World, June 2-8, or Disneyland, October 2-4, for the gayest vacation on Earth.  The unofficial celebration attracts more than 140,000 red-shirted GLBT park goers in Orlando and more than 30,000 in Anaheim.  Of course there’s lots of rides and other attractions for kids, but most of the Gay Day festivities are geared for adults.  More information at or .

For a truly wholesome family outing, head to Provincetown, PA, for the 14th annual Family Week, August 1-8, sponsored by the Family Equality Council.  Activities include movie night and pajama parties, beach picnics and kiddie bop dances for wee ones; and coffee clutches and workshops for moms and dads.  More information at

The Great Outdoors

Hit your favorite trails with the rugged BOB Sport Utility Stroller ($299), with three 16” knobby tires and a state-of-the-art suspension system, ideal for strolling or jogging on anything from the beach to bumpy trails. Or try its sister stroller, the versatile BOB Revolution ($389), which features a smaller, swiveling front wheel that can be locked for jogging or off-roading. Find local stores that carry BOB strollers at  *Win our BOB test stroller.  See contest rules below.

Introduce the next generation of nature lovers to the outdoor lifestyle with the lightweight and functional Kelty FC 3.0 backpack kid carrier.  Adjustable for parents of different sizes, the comfy two-layer padded waistbelt and load-lifter straps help keep weight forward for better support.  A five-point harness keeps kids up to 50 pounds snug and secure.  A zip-off diaper bag makes changing stops a breeze while the auto-deploy kickstand makes loading and unloading easy.  Includes a sun/rain hood, child-view mirror, changing pad and cell phone pocket. $200.  Available at REI and Babies R Us.

The Coleman Road Trip Beach Shade is your own private cabana for getting out of the sun or an on-the-spot changing room.  It has two zippered doors, floor mat and two hanging pockets inside.  With a bit of practice it can be set up in about 10 minutes.  $49.99.  Available at Target.

Baby Voyage

The elegant and adorable Le Petit Voyage Overnight Bag by Timi and Leslie is designed for kids on the go -- and mommies and daddies who appreciate great styling and functionality, complete with baby essentials, such as a changing pad, bottle holder, diapers/wipes carrier, adjustable shoulder strap and a separate zipper compartment for shoes or laundry. Comes in cream/brown, teal/brown, and brown/teal color combinations.  $250.00.  Available at

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Fun in the Sun

A bad sunburn before age 10 can increase the chances of skin cancer by 50% as an adult. That’s why the inventors of Sun Smart UV Protection Swimwear make kids swim suits from stretchy quick-drying, lightweight ffabrics that block 97% (50+SPF) of UVA & UVB rays, in fun and fashionable styles kids want to wear, like the Superman UV two-piece suit with a towel cape.  $39.95. Available at

For cool looks out of the water, Lands’ End’s new SunLife SPF Wear line of UV protective clothing for men, women, and kids comes in great patterns and styles like the Toddler Boys Leaf Print shorts ($22.50) in Vintage Olive Floral or the girls SunLife Tee Shirt ($12.50) in Seaside Pink.  Available at or by calling 800-800-5800.  Win SunLife Wear.  See contest rules below.

MD Moms’ Babysafe Sunscreen Towelettes, developed by pediatrician-moms, come saturated with a gentle, sweat-proof, broad spectrum SPF 30+  hypoallergenic sunscreen that protects against UVA and UBA rays, with just enough sunscreen to cover baby from head to toe, ages 0 and up. 15 pack $26.  Available at

For the future fashionista, protect her baby face from the sun with an adorable floral print hat such as the Baby Lulu Birds Organic Knit Roll Hat. $23.50. Available at

Better than Barefoot

Geox are “the breathable shoes” perfect for summertime because they combine fashion with comfortable technology.  Geox offers the innovative and patented porous sole with a fibrous insert that draws sweat from the foot while keeping water out and feet dry and cool.  So kids can jump in puddles and still have dry feet!  Cute styles like the Snake $55 and Buggy $59.95.  Find retailers at

Eco-Friendly Scooter Bees StoryTeling Shoes feature different pictures on flaps that fold over to create four different shoe designs, made of PVC-free and phthalate-free photodegradable materials, including soda and water bottles. Sizes 0-24 months. $38.  Available at  *Win a pair of Scooterbees.  See contest rules below.

Handmade Cape Clogs will make you and the tykes stand out in a crowd.  Inspired by the casual Cape lifestyle, each shoe is individually crafted fromNorthern Europe Alder wood, breathable leather and a lightweight non-skid rubber sole and adorned with stylish prints and solids for mom and dad or adorable kid’s patterns, like the Dinosaur Blue.  Kids sizes $20-$50.  Men’s and women’s $78-195. Men’s sizes. Find a retailer at 

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Ride Like the Wind

The Fun & Function Saddle Scooter, made of high-density foam and designed by a certified pediatric occupational therapist, are soft and comfy for outdoor or indoor use with 360 degree swiveling casters and surfaces designed to accommodate children of varying ages and abilities. Ages 2-6.  $44.99.  Available at

Every kid should have a little red Radio Flyer Classic Lights & Sound Trike, tricked out with a dashboard that features blinking turn signals, a honking horn and music to peddle by as well as a sturdy steel frame and non-slip wheels.  Age 2-5 years.  $69.99.  For a list of retailers visit

Secure those valuable trikes and bikes with Wordlock Bike Lock, whichuses an easy-to-remember letter or word combination, such as B-I-K-E or F-A-S-T, or G-L-B-T, so kids and ‘rents get the fun of choosing their own secret code from 10,000 possibilities.  $14.99-$19.99.  Available at Target or  *Win a Wordlock Bike Lock.  See contest rules below.

Protect your cappy with the new “True Fit” Helmet from Bell Sports, featuring an innovative technology that provides a more secure fit and comfort. And it’s easy to put on with a single position strap.  Sizes for Toddler, Child, Youth & Adult.  $17-$26.  Available at Target and Toys R Us.  *Win a True Fit Helmet.  See contest rules below.


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Summer Stylin’

Keep your babe cool and comfortable in hot European styles with German-made Hessnatur Clothing from the designer’s new100% organic and natural baby collection, with gorgeous colors from toxin-free dyes. including china blue terry dungarees ($35) with a matching aquamarine striped onesie ($20).  Sizes 3 months to 3 years. Available at

You’re never too young to express yourself.  That’s the philosophy behind the 100% organic cotton tees from My True Genius.  Their shirts and onesies for all occasions feature inspiring graphics and sayings such as “Future Pulitzer Prize Winning Author.”  Infant and toddler sizes.  Available at

For bamboo clothing that will keep kids comfortable and has the added benefit of being naturally antimicrobial, the Sami Baby children’s collection by Jonäno includes adorable designs such as the bamboo-cotton blend Panda T ($26), and Snappy Pants ($25). Sizes 0-24 months. Available at

For chilly nights on the beach or boardwalk, kiddies can keep cozy in the hooded Lapsky Jacket, sporting an organic cotton twill exterior and lined with warm natural organic cotton fleece, and featuring exquisite details like a pre-shrunk kid-friendly zipper and kangaroo pockets for tiny treasures.  Sizes for 2 to 8 years.  $85.  Available at

What I Did Last Summer

Capture your memories in the making with the 1.3 megapixel Disney Pix Junior Digital Camera from Digital Blue.  Designed forpreschoolers (ages 3-5), it features simple buttons, rubberized grips and a large display screen, and includes software to include favorite Disney characters into photos.  Comes in Mickey Mouse, My Friends Tigger & Pooh and Disney Princess styles.  $49.99.  Available at Target, Toys R Us or 

You’ll never have to say “How quickly they forget” when you store your family vacation snapshots on the tke-along Coby DP-152 Digital Photo Viewer key chain, which can store over 60 photos in a variety of formats transferred via an included USB cable and also features a digital clock and calendar. $29.99. Available at drug stores or 

For the ultimate coffee table book, transform your favorite gaycation memories into a photo book at the Photo Center at CVS/pharmacy.  Printed on premium Kodak paper in one of three sizes, the books can be created right at the in-store kiosk with your memory card, CD or USB flash drive.   $5.99 - $14.99.  Locate a store near you at

Sittin Pretty

Spread out on the beach or at the park with the GoBaby OutMat water resistant, machine washable play mat.  When fully opened, it offers a large, soft terry surface for picnic or play, and quickly rolls up into its own bag for easy transportation on your shoulder or stroller. $39.99.  Find retailers at  *Win a GoBaby OutMat.  See contest rules below.

Hanging out never looked so good as on the Softspot ($119)by designer Amie Wozniak.  This comfy portable fold-up mat goes wherever go, for lounging with baby, TV time or anything you do on the floor, and you can choose from a variety of changeable covers ($39.99) in gorgeous patterns, like Retro Baby.  Available at

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Surf and Sand

So fabulous you’ll want to show it off in the front yard, the Badger Basket Cabana Sandbox features solid cedar four-inch seating all around and a canopy top with four mesh side shades that clip tight when playtime is over to keep out debris and the neighbor’s cat.  $249.  Available at, with free shipping.

Heading for the shore?  Take alongthe Infant UV Play Shade by Schylling.  Made of waterproof polyester, it pops up in seconds to protect children from the sun with 50+ UPF. Packs away quickly in its own go-anywhere travel bag.  Ages one month and up.  Get the lowest price ($36.49) at, the online shopping site for brand name and boutique products on sale.

Prevent the “mine, mine” syndrome with lots of sand toys to share.  The Spielstabil Backpack Sand Play Set comes with a smorgasbord of high-density and durable plastic sand toys including a bucket, watering can, molds, a shovel and a handy backpack to carry it all.  $28.79.  Available at

Not only great for building sandcastles and digging for buried treasure -- but great for the environment – the Green Toys Sand Toys Set is made in the U.S. of recycle milk containers and includes a bucket, mold, shovel and rake.  Ages 3+.  $18.95.  Available at

For kids who can’t get enough of water and sand, there’s the iPlay Sand and Water Table, a full sensory experience of colorful funnels, spinning wheels and lots of toys for scooping and pouring, and a floating boat.  Also has a cover for when playtime is over. $85.  Available at

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Hydrate or Dry

Perfect for travel inre-useable, non-spill BPA-free sippy-bottles, First Juiceorganic juice for toddlers contains 50% less sugar than the leading fruit juice and comes delicious flavors including Apple+Carrot and Peach+Purple Carrot – that’s right purple carrots, the way carrots originated in Ancient Persia.  Available in 8 oz. ($1.99) or 32 oz. multi-serve refills ($3.49) at Whole Foods and Target.  *Win a gift basket of First Juice.  See contest rules below.

For hiking, biking, road trips or other adventures, take along plenty water in SIGG Water Bottles, first in class forkids water bottles with delightful designs and a water-based, non-toxic polymer bottle liner which won’t leach into the bottle.  $18-22.  Available at or through, the site for parent test and approved products for kids.

Get into bikini (or Speedo) shape and stay strong with zero-sugar, two-calorie Zenergie DrinkTabs, 100% natural, vitamin-packed tabs that dissolve in water, perfect for  travelers and adventurers on the go.  $6.99/tube of 10 tablets.  Available at Whole Foods, Ralph’s, and

Fish are Friends

Babies take to the water with confidence in the Swimways Ultimate Rescue Boat with its unique non-inflatable design, sun canopy, adjustable seat, steering wheel and drink holder.  Ages 9 months to 2 years.  Available at, a great resource for everything to do with swimming and pools.

Get junior into the swim of things and explore all the physical and mental benefits of swimming with The Gentle Revolution’s How to Teach Your Baby to Swim, From Birth to Age Six, by Douglas Doman, a specialist in mobility development for well and brain-injured children. $14.95.  Available at

For a versatile, easy-to-pack along toy, Wet Wheelsby Munchkin can go from floating in the tub or pool to rolling on dry land.  Dolphin and turtle characters come in bright colors with a clear window on their back filled with mini sea creatures and wheels filled with beads for visual stimulation and cool sounds.  $7.99.  Available at and Babies R Us.

Out of the pool or bath, wrap your water baby in the plush 100% cotton hooded Terry Robe by All About Baby, in cool colors and patterns for babes and older kids, and even get it monogrammed.  $30 to $80, Available at  *Win one of two books from the All About Baby book collection, “The Jester Has Lost His Jingle” or “A is for Adam.”  See contest rules below.

Old Fashioned Fun

If you choose a stay-cation this year, you can still take a trip -- down memory lane, with toys with a past from the Vermont Country Store, like good ‘ol Original Lincoln Logs ($49.95) with 115 wooden pieces for creating cabins and great memories, or the Silly Circus Push Toy Rattle ($22.95) with an endearing, cheerful melody that you will always remember.  Available at

 Toddlers Still Love Pushing This Tin Chime and Hearing Its Cheerful Melody

  • Colorful barrel is real tin, handle is smooth plastic
  • An ideal toy for children ages 18 months and up

Like the ones from your youth, this tin push chime creates a beautiful melody.

What’s summer without a bar-b-que, and with the so-cute realistic Classic Burger by Small World Toys ($9.99), with bun, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, patty and cheese, even little ones can get in on the action.  This and other pretend food sets available at the 

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Animal Madness

If a visit to the zoo this summer would just be too stinkin’ hot, you can bring the critters to you with Zoobies, cute plush toys that convert into a pillow and blanket.  Animals include lions, tigers and bears, oh my!  $34.  Find retailers at

Kids may say “see you later,” when they get a hold of this Plan Toys Dancing Alligator pull toy and are charmed by its rhythmic click-clack when pulled.  Not only is it cute and clever, its is safe and eco-friendly, made of discarded rubberwood trees, non-toxic glues and water-based dyes, this eco-friendly toy. 19 months and up.  $19.  Available at

Learning has never been so fun or musical, than with the Leapfrog Baby Learn and Groove Animal Sounds Guitar, with engaging sing-along tunes in English and Spanish that teach counting skills and animal names and noises.  Ages 12-36 months. $21.99.  Available at

Pampered Baby

Be sure to pack all the essentials for baby’s skin on vacation, such as Belli Skincare.  The collection includes Calm Me Hair and Body Wash ($18), Nourish Me Enriched Body Cream ($19), Pamper Me Talc-Free Powder ($14) and Protect Me Diaper Rash Cream ($12).  Available at

While you’re making vacation memories for a lifetime, reminisce with the nostalgic scent of iconic Johnson & Johnson No More Tears, celebrating 50 years of infant care with two new additions to the line, Johnson's Bubble Bath & Wash $3.99 and Head-To-Toe Foaming Wash, $4.89, using an updated, milder formula. Available at drug stores nationwide.

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Minimize your Baggage

Flashbags are fashionable and functional totes made of eco-friendly materials with cool slogans and designs, perfect for outings to the beach, pool or farmer’s market, Available in S, M & L, $29 - $49 at

L-Bags,the eco-friendly answer to plastic produce bags, are perfect for packing bathing suits and other delicates in your luggage, then re-use for shopping.  Made by hand, the durable mesh fabric allows clerks to read price stickers but will not add weight to your order.  In two sizes, short for $2 and long for $3.  Available at

Olive Smart Sack is a bundle of colorful reusable bags in one small sack, designed to fit into a car cup holder or purse, made of washable supplex nylon and can hold up to 20 pounds each.  Great for laundry when you travel.  Get six bags for $39, or a half sack with three bags $24.  Available at

Goody Green Bag is a roomy tote bag big enough for your towel, sunscreen and beach goodies, or use it for shopping or an overnight bag.  It folds down to the size on an envelope for easy packing in your suitcase.  Comes in several funky patterns.  $8.95 each or $39.95 for 5-pack.  Available at


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K. Pearson Brown