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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…

When we started planning the Glacier National Park portion of our road trip, I kept reading about this little place called Polebridge Mercantile that sold delicious huckleberry bear claws that were made right on-site, along with bread, rolls, and other pastries. I read social media posts, articles, and reviews. Mentions of Polebridge Mercantile popped up everywhere, and people were raving. What made this place so great? I was curious enough to investigate. Getting to Polebridge Mercantile During the previous day, we made the trek along Going-to-the-Sun road from the east side of the park. To read about that adventure, click here. After our gorgeous drive, we checked in at the KOA in West Glacier for the night.  The next morning, we were ready to explore the west side of Glacier National Park. But first, we set out to sample some huckleberry bear claws. The map says the drive was about…

Mount Rainier National Park is one of the prettiest places we’ve ever visited. Though we only got a taste on our day trip from Seattle, Mount Rainier was certainly a highlight. Whether you have a day or a week, Mount Rainier National Park is certainly worth a visit. A Little History of Mount Rainier A very long, long time ago… According to archeological findings, Mount Rainier has been used in some fashion by native peoples for at least the last 9,000 years. Scientists and historians believe that people came to Mount Rainier to hunt and gather other necessary items for survival. People from the Cowlitz, Muckleshoot, Nisqually, Puyallup. Squaxin Island, and Yakama tribes still use the area for worship and other gatherings. In 1792, Captain George Vancouver, an officer in the British Royal Navy, spotted the mountain and named it for his friend, Rear Admiral Peter Rainier. Though people of…

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…

Two Sisters Café is just one of those fun locally-owned places that have an eccentric vibe with no-frills good food. Known for their fried chicken, Two Sisters Café is a great place to stop while you’re exploring the east side of Glacier National Park. The morning we checked out of Old Faithful Lodge in Yellowstone, we made our way north to Browning, a smaller town but one with some amenities, like grocery stores and hotels. In fact, Browning is billed as the largest town on the Blackfeet Reservation. We arrived early enough to get in a swim at the hotel, but soon we were itching to see some of Glacier National Park. I’d read about Two Sisters, and it sounded like a great match for my family. So, we headed over to Babb for dinner with plans to check out Many Glacier in Glacier National Park afterwards. We stopped at…

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.…

If you’re planning to visit Glacier National Park, be sure to put Going-to-the-Sun Road on your list of must-dos. We absolutely loved the area, and we can’t wait to return and explore more of the park. Though reservations to this part of the park can be a bit nerve-wracking, it’s worth the effort if you can snag one of these tickets. One thing that makes the crowds converge at once–snow. The road isn’t fully open until summer, sometimes not fully opening until the first week of July. There’s only a window of a few months before snowfall closes the road again, usually in October. Since traffic in the area has continued to increase, a reservation system separate from the park admission is now in place. If you’re lucky enough to get lodging reservations in the park or to reserve a tour, you won’t be required to get the $2 reservation…

One of the most popular activities in Grand Teton National Park is to experience the area around Jenny Lake. You can either hike around the lake, or you can take one of the ferries to the other side. We even saw people swimming in the chilly water in June! No matter how you choose to experience the area, you’re in for a treat. Jenny Lake is one of the prettiest places inside the park and not to be missed! Jenny Lake: What to Do Jenny Lake was named after Jenny Leigh, the Shoshone wife of trapper Richard Leigh. Both Jenny and Richard, also known as Beaver Dick, helped guide the Ferdinand Hayden Expedition of 1872.  Sadly, Jenny and their six children all died of small pox within a two-week span in December of 1876. The Jenny Lake area is popular in Grand Teton National Park for many reasons. The lake…

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