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The Narrows is one of those popular hikes that lives up to the hype. When I first heard of the hike in Zion National Park a few years ago and realized that it included walking in water, I knew we should give it a try. The scenery is gorgeous, and the cooling water would be welcome in the summer heat of July. Since Zion National Park is popular in the summer, you want to be well-informed about the park. You also have a choice to make when you decide to hike The Narrows–do you rent gear or not? I hope our experience will help you navigate the park and make the best choices for you and your family. Arriving at Springdale and Zion National Park We arrived in Springdale, Utah, in the evening after driving from Tonopah, Nevada, where we stayed a night in te Clown Motel. To read about…

Monument Valley is just one of those places everyone should see at least once. The landscape is breathtaking, and when you’re at Monument Valley, it feels like you are in a completely different world. Located within the Navajo Nation in Utah, Monument Valley is a sacred place to the Navajo, or Dine, their name for “the people.” Jeff, Kristin, and I are so grateful to experience a moment in this special place. Our visit is one that we will never forget. It’s no wonder that so many great Westerns and other films were made here. The land, for the most part, looks the same as it has for centuries; it’s absolutely stunning. It’s also wonderful that the Navajo continue to welcome visitors to Monument Vally, and that there is a pretty unique place to stay with breathtaking views. The View Hotel is the perfect place to stay for a night…

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…

We’d been dreaming of visiting Monument Valley for years, and as we planned a trip out west, I discovered the Monument Valley Dreamcatcher Evening Tour by Simpson’s Trailhandler Tours. We loved the idea of getting up close to the monuments, and we also wanted to experience the area through the lens of the Navajo people. Since this tour is in the evening, the temperatures promised to be better during our summer trip. And when we discovered that the tour would share Navajo culture through storytelling, dance, and food, we knew this was the tour for us. This trip was actually our second attempt at experiencing Monument Valley. Our first visit to the area was during Covid, and restrictions kept visitors out of Navajo Nation, and rightly so. We did get a picture from the Forrest Gump Viewpoint, though. This time, we had the opportunity to stay in the cabins 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.…

One of the most peaceful yet otherworldly places I’ve ever been to is Canyonlands National Park: Island in the Sky. Located near Moab, Utah, this national park features sandstone mesas and deep crevices surrounded by the Colorado and Green rivers; it looks like the setting of an old-time western movie.  It’s difficult to explain the feeling of looking out into the vast landscape from the top of the plateau.  If you’re in the Moab area, this is a great place to add to your itinerary! Once you’re at the top, the Island in the Sky scenic drive is a great way to see the highlights of this part of Canyonlands. Mesa Arch, probably the most popular hike, is not difficult and is relatively short. Other great features along the drive have paved walkways, making it a great option for families. Getting to Island in the Sky This park is only…

If you’re checking out the national parks near Moab, Utah, be sure to make some time for Dead Horse Point State Park. Luckily, if you’re heading to the Island in the Sky section of Canyonlands National Park, you’ll be near the entrance to this beautiful state park. To read about our visit to Canyonlands National Park: Island in the Sky, click here. To access these parks, you’ll need to make the drive up towards the entrances to both parks, and this could take about half an hour. The drive itself is gorgeous, and the beauty at the top is worth it. We were glad to make a slight detour and check out the view. Since it’s a state park, there is a fee for visiting separate from the national park fee. Also, there are some campgrounds in Dead Horse Point State Park, and some have yurts, so if you want…

When we planned our road trip throughout the Southwest and up through Utah, I knew we had to stop at Arches National Park near Moab. I’d read blog posts and seen wonderful pictures, especially of Delicate Arch, that most famous of arches that is even pictured on the Utah license plate. As the planning progressed, we decided we needed three nights in Moab to experience all the things the area had to offer, including Canyonlands National Park. We made a cabin in the KOA campground our home base for our adventures in Moab. To read more about our stay at the campground, click here. In the end, we came nowhere near experiencing all the great things in the area, and (spoiler) we failed to make the trek to Delicate Arch. If you’d like to learn some things about our experiences, get comfortable. I’ll share with you what went right and…

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