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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…

Yosemite Valley Lodge turned out to be the perfect place to relax on our trip. When planning our trip to Yosemite National Park, one of the first things we narrowed down was lodging. Since national park lodging can fill up early, it’s best to plan your trip a year out or more. And though I would’ve loved to stay at the flagship lodge, The Awahnee, it’s a little pricy. Since we were on a three-week road trip, we chose a more economical choice this time–Yosemite Valley Lodge. On this road trip, we’d already had several adventures that included four national parks–Grand Canyon, Sequoia, Kings Canyon, and Death Valley. We’d also been to some great cities (and towns) in California–Lone Pine, Monterey, and San Francisco. Even after all those experiences, we still were awed by the sheer beauty of Yosemite. It’s like no other place we’ve seen. Arriving at Yosemite Valley…

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…

When we visit national parks, we often stay on-site in a national park lodge if it makes sense for that visit.  For our first visit to the Grand Canyon, we knew we wanted to check out the Grand Canyon Village, so why not stay the night there? Located at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in the northwest corner of Arizona, Grand Canyon Village features lodging, shopping, and dining options right along the canyon. There are several benefits to staying right on property at a national park lodge; one of our favorites is to see park features at different times of the day. We hoped that during our Grand Canyon visit that we could see the light changes at sunset and sunrise. Another benefit is that often the day visitors thin out as dusk approaches and you may get to experience the park with fewer people. And often, national…

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…

Many Glacier is simply one of the most beautiful places on earth. Located on the east side of Glacier National Park, Many Glacier is often overshadowed by other highlights of the park, like Going-to-the-Sun Road and Lake McDonald. Though we loved exploring those places, there’s something peaceful about Many Glacier, and this area turned out to be a favorite of the entire family. When we return to Many Glacier one day, we hope to spend more than a few hours in this place. Though the pictures don’t do the area justice, and the smoke from wildfires drifted through the air during our visit, I’ll do my best to persuade you to make Many Glacier part of your Glacier National Park experience. Getting to Many Glacier We drove to Glacier National Park from West Yellowstone, so during our planning, we made reservations to stay the first night in the area at…

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