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Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park were stops on one of our epic Missouri to California road trips. As we planned the trip, we couldn’t wait to experience the majesty of the enormous sequoia trees. Like many people, we’d seen the pictures and videos of these amazing trees. Now it was time to experience them for ourselves. Though we only spent two nights in the park, it’s an experience I won’t ever forget. We stayed at the only lodge within Sequoia National Park–Wuksachi Lodge. This one is a little different from some of the classic lodges we’ve stayed in because the check-in building is in a completely separate location from the actual lodges. While the lobby is often in a different building from the actual rooms, this was the first one we’d encounter in which our building was a short drive away from the lobby, gift shop, and…

Imagine my surprise when I discovered there were rainforests in the Pacific Northwest! Perhaps you already knew that rainforests exist in the United States. And, perhaps, United States geography is not my best subject, but I had no idea that a place like the Hoh Rain Forest existed in coastal Washington. To me, “rainforest” meant somewhere in South America or Asia or maybe even in the middle of Africa. After I made this discovery, I knew we had to spend some time in the Hoh Rain Forest. I continued researching. The vines, the lush greenery, the potential to see a banana slug? Sign me up! I was all in. And when I mentioned this adventure to my travel companions, they were all in, too. Planning Your Visit to Hoh Rain Forest Some Background Our visit to the Hoh Rainforest was part of an enormous road trip we took in 2021.…

As we planned a trip to Yellowstone National Park, we quickly discovered that we needed to spend some time in Grand Teton National Park, as well.  I’d never heard much about this park, but when I saw others planning their trips, I realized that the parks were so close and it would be a mistake to miss this beautiful park. This is our experience. When I plan trips, I like to know what others have done. Hopefully, our experience can help you plan your trip! Planning Our Trip to Grand Teton National Park As we planned the trip a year out, we initially planned to spend two days in Yellowstone and one day in Grand Teton. We soon realized we wanted more time. In the end, we spent just the right amount of time in both parks with three days in each. To read about our Yellowstone adventure, click here.…

You may find this hard to believe, but the Lodge at Bryce Canyon is my favorite national park lodge. We’ve even stayed at Old Faithful Inn. On my birthday. While sleeping in Old Faithful Inn is one of my favorite travel experiences, there’s something special about the Lodge at Bryce Canyon. We didn’t stay in the main lodge; we had an adorable cabin a stroll away from the canyon’s edge. While we only stayed here one night, this experience will always hold a special place in my memories. One thing I’d like to mention early on in this post—make reservations early! When we booked Old Faithful Inn and Yosemite Valley Lodge, we made the reservation a year out. I know those are more popular, but don’t wait too long to book. It’s January as I write this post, and there are already dates in May and June without availability. Arriving…

One of the places we visited while in the Pacific Northwest was Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park. We wanted to visit during low tide so we could maybe see some aquatic life in the nooks and crannies, and evening was the perfect time for our schedule since we had limited time in the area. For a first-time visit, we scratched the surface of Olympic National Park, and now we know we want to visit again someday. Earlier in the afternoon, we arrived in Forks, Washington. That’s right. The setting Stephanie Meyer chose for her Twilight books. We found some of the locations that inspired the different locations in the books, and we checked out the Twilight Forever exhibit in town. We had dinner in La Push (baby!) and even stayed in a Twilight-themed room at the Pacific Inn in Forks. To read all about that adventure, click here. But…

When you think of national parks in the United States, Yellowstone is probably one of the first parks to come to mind. And why wouldn’t it? Yellowstone is America’s first national park. Established March 1, 1872, this park has been dazzling visitors with its beauty and wonders for generations. It’s only natural that our family, lovers of the American road trip, would hop in our car and make that pilgrimage like so many before us and see what the American West is all about. Planning Our Yellowstone Trip As we began planning our road trip, we weren’t sure how much time to spend at Yellowstone. Initially, we planned for two days at Yellowstone and one at Grand Teton National Park. Later, we second-guessed this. By the time we decided to add days to our trip, our lodging choices were limited. At about a year out, we’d reserved two nights at…

If you’re into amazing national parks, eventually you’ll find yourself in the Redwood National and State Parks in northern California. We really only spent about 24 hours among these magnificent old trees, but any time you can make for one of the most awesome places on earth is totally worth it. One of our first experiences in the redwoods was taking a hike in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. We’d stayed the night in a cabin at the KOA in Crescent City, California, the night before. Besides sleeping among these enormous trees, we hadn’t had any redwoods experiences yet. Since we drove down from the north, our first experiences were with the Redwood National and State Parks. Unlike most national parks, this national park merges with three California state parks to preserve and maintain the area. This is a rather recent development; the merge happened in 1994. Farther south, the…

Colorado is such a beautiful state, and Estes Park and the surrounding area has some of the most gorgeous scenery you’ll find anywhere. The last major destination of our 2020 road trip ended with a couple of days in this adorable town to check out Rocky Mountain National Park. We fell in love with the area, and we hope to make it back one day soon. If you haven’t been to this area, I certainly hope it’s on your list. Estes Park is right outside the Beaver Meadows entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park. This entrance is on the east side of the park and grants access to Trail Ridge Road, the main scenic thoroughfare from one side of the park to other. This road also takes you past the Alpine Visitor Center, the visitor center at the highest elevation of any visitor center in the United States. We also…

If you’re looking for a trip that combines adventure with beautiful scenery, look no further than the charming town of Moab, Utah. You’ll find plenty of opportunities for desert fun including Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Dead Horse Point State Park. When you’re not out exploring, Moab is a nice place to call your home base when you’re ready to shop or unwind in the pool. If you’re wondering what to do while you’re in the area, take a look at what our family did during our three nights and two full days in Moab. For this post, I’ll only be sharing the activities we actually participated in, though we only scratched the surface. There is plenty more fun that we didn’t have time for on this visit to Moab, which happened to be our first! We had such a great time, we hope to return one day.…

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