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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 most “otherworldly” places in the United States is the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. We’d always wanted to see this area, and one summer, as we wrapped a road trip from Missouri to California, we had our chance. We’d just been to the Redwoods, and it was time to point the car east and head home, but not before we did some exploring along the way. We stayed in Wendover, Utah, the night before, right next to the casino city of West Wendover, Nevada. And when I say “right next,” I mean it. The state line cuts right through town. Casinos are legal on the Nevada side, but not the Utah side. We even saw a casino whose building was in Nevada, but the parking lot was in Utah. I mention this because there were several cars in our motel parking lot with the white salt of…

Hattie B’s Hot Chicken has become a Nashville staple over the years. If you’re looking to sample one of Nashville’s famous foods, Hattie B’s Hot Chicken is a perfect choice. When we hop in the car for a road trip, one of the things we always look forward to is sampling some of the local cuisine of our destination. Okay, maybe it’s something I look forward to; my picky travel companions are not always so sure. Still, when one of the local dishes is chicken, maybe I can get them on board. Hattie B’s Hot Chicken: The Restaurant We took a quick two-night getaway to Nashville last summer for my birthday. For us, it’s about a seven-hour drive, so it’s completely doable as a short trip. As we researched Nashville, we knew we needed to try one of the city’s hot chicken places. After some deliberation, we chose to try…

Ever since we discovered the existence of a little place called The Clown Motel, we knew we had to go. I mean, it’s world famous. We finally got our chance last summer when we set off on a road trip from Missouri to California and back. This motel in Tonopah, Nevada, is decorated with clowns inside and out, and if that’s not creepy enough, it’s also right next door to an old cemetery. Seems like the perfect place to get a restful night’s sleep, right? The Clown Motel Lobby and Gift Shop We’d just spent two nights in Yosemite National Park, so we arrived from the west. The Clown Motel is one of the first things you see as you pull into town from that direction. I have to admit, it was a welcome sight after driving through some pretty bland areas. I know. Yosemite spoiled us! Even if you…

If you came of age in the 1990s and it’s along your route anyway, you stop at Kurt Cobain’s childhood home and the nearby memorial. You just do. On one of our summer road trips, we drove a segment of highway from Forks, Washington, to Astoria, Oregon, in a single day. When we realized we be going through Aberdeen, Kurt Cobain’s hometown, we thought to ourselves, why not? The house and small memorial park only take a few moments to see, and on a road trip like ours, you look for interesting places to stretch your legs. A Little About Aberdeen Aberdeen is a small town at the foot of the Olympic Peninsula. The main industry there is timber, and Kurt Cobain mentions this fact in the book Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana, saying that he wanted more from life. He wanted to create art, visual and…

As we learned about visiting Alcatraz, it was soon apparent that the Alcatraz Night Tour was the option for us. We initially weren’t planning to stay in San Francisco on this road trip; we planned to drive through on our way to Yosemite National Park from Monterey, California. But as we planned our trip, we realized we’d need to stay a night near San Francisco. So why not check out some of the attractions in the city? And though the Alcatraz Night Tour isn’t technically a ghost tour, the description sounded close enough. After all, we love a good ghost tour in a new city. Planning Our Alcatraz Night Tour To visit Alcatraz, you need to buy tickets for a tour, and the tickets are only available through the Alcatraz Island Tickets website. If you purchase tickets from another source, they may not be valid. If you visit Alcatraz during…

If you’re wondering about how to get to San Juan Island from the mainland, I suggest taking the ferry from Anacortes. To get to San Juan Island in Washington, you have three choices–hop aboard a seaplane, hire a private boat, or take the ferry. We discovered that the ferry is the most economical way to get to San Juan. Taking the Ferry from Anacortes to Friday Harbor–The Background As we planned our road trip that included two nights in Seattle, a friend I worked with suggested we check out Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. I’d never heard of this area, but since we were considering taking a whale tour, and I discovered this was a popular place for orca-viewing, we made a plan to spend a day on the island. Knowing what I know now, a day is simply not enough time to enjoy all that San Juan has…

If you’re heading to San Francisco, you simply must plan to spend some time in Chinatown, the oldest in North America and the largest outside of Asia. San Francisco’s Chinatown is a sensory delight; the art, the food, the music, the shopping–China’s culture is a fantastic experience and was a highlight of our road trip. Though we only spent a few hours there, it’s one of my family’s favorite memories. Planning Our Visit to San Francisco’s Chinatown We only spent one night in San Francisco, but our limited time was packed with experiences. Honestly, as we planned this three-week road trip from Missouri, we didn’t initially plan to stay in San Francisco; we intended to drive on through. I thought San Francisco would be its own trip for us one day. As we continued to plan, we realized that we’d be staying somewhere nearby anyway as we drove from Monterey…

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…

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