Mammoth Cave National Park: What to Do


Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth Cave National Park

With the largest cave system in the world, Mammoth Cave National Park truly lives up to its name.  This cave system is a geologic wonder made out of limestone and sandstone.  It is even a UNESCO world heritage site.  The caves here are expansive and many feel more like large underground tunnels rather than the claustrophobic caverns many people associate with caves.  We recommend at least a ½ day visit to this park, including taking a Cave Tour, hiking some of the trails and exploring the visitors center. This park is the perfect stop if you are headed south towards Nashville as Mammoth Cave National Park is only located a couple miles off of I-65, about 1.5 hours north of Nashville.  


Cave Tour

Mammoth Cave National Park Cave Tour
Mammoth Cave National Park Cave Tour

A Cave Tour is the main way to see part of the park’s underground cave system.  We took the Domes and Dripstones Tour (about 2 hours) but there are many different tours that highlight various parts of the cave system.  On most of the tours, you walk about a mile but this distance varies.  Make sure to check out the Mammoth Cave National Park website to pick the tour that is right for you.  

Mammoth Cave National Park
Mammoth Cave National Park

Tip: Reserve tour tickets well in-advance.  We visited in the off season, late November, and had no problem purchasing walk-up tickets but during peak season, these tours often sell out weeks prior.  If you plan to visit during peak season (late spring, summer, early fall), buy your tickets ASAP.      


Hiking

There are over 80 miles of hiking trails here.  Near the visitors center, there are about 7 miles worth of different short (mostly 1 mile or less round-trip) trails to explore.  These trails vary with different features including sinkholes, rivers, springs, ridgetops, cave entrances and one even has a historic train engine.  These trails are home to the most unique paths within the park.   

Mammoth Cave Railroad Trail
Mammoth Cave Railroad Trail in November

Further, there are over 10 miles of forested trails on the main park roads.  We hiked part of the Mammoth Cave Railroad trail which is located right on the road we took in/out of the park.  We were afforded some pretty fall colors on this hike.      


Visitors Center

The visitors center here has some really nice displays and information.  Take some time to walk around here, read and learn more about the park.  Budget 30 minutes to an hour depending on how much you want to read/videos you want to watch.  


We hope this guide helps you plan your trip to Mammoth Cave National Park.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!

Dry Tortugas National Park Quick Guide

Dry Tortugas National Park
Dry Tortugas National Park

Dry Tortugas National Park is one of the most remote and secluded National Parks in the US.  It is located about 70 miles west of Key West in the Gulf of Mexico and the only way to access it is by seaplane or boat.  This National Park is home to the massive Fort Jefferson, a large brick structure built in the 1800s to help protect the shipping lanes in this part of the ocean and then later used to hold Civil War prisoners. This park preserves not only Fort Jefferson but also the seven Dry Tortugas islands, the most western of the Florida Keys. This island is surrounded by the clearest blue water and is well-known for its excellent snorkeling and scuba diving. You can visit this National Park for the day or stay at one of the 8 primitive campsites overnight.  We recommend spending at least a morning or an afternoon exploring this park, if not more time.  Here is our quick guide for visiting Dry Tortugas National Park.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!


How to get to Dry Tortugas National Park

Snorkeling, Fort & Moat, Dry Tortugas National Park
Snorkeling, Fort & Moat, Dry Tortugas National Park

There are two ways to get to Dry Tortugas National Park

  1. Take a Seaplane…Key West Seaplane Charters
  2. Take a Ferry…Dry Tortugas Ferry

Both options have their pros and cons but we highly recommend taking the seaplane, which is what we did. 

Fun Fact: Last time we were on a plane this size was when we met 7.5 years ago in Belize.  Crazy how a plane ride can change your life forever! 

Why take the Seaplane 


It’s Faster

Seaplane to Dry Tortugas National Park
Seaplane to Dry Tortugas National Park

The seaplane takes 35 minutes each way whereas the ferry takes 2.5 hours each way. If you take the ferry, you will be spending 5 hours of your day on it where conversely, on the seaplane, you will only spend a little over an hour. This allowed us our whole morning to explore Key West prior to going to Dry Tortugas as we went on the 2pm-6pm seaplane trip.  The plane ride to/from Dry Tortugas goes by very fast as well .  On the ride, the pilot is either pointing out different wildlife and viewpoints or an educational recording about the park is playing.  You’ll be at the park or back in Key West before you know it. 


The Views from Above

View from above on the Seaplane
View from above on the Seaplane

The views from above on the seaplane are really neat!  You fly at 500 feet elevation so you can see into the water quite well from the plane. Our pilot pointed out sharks, dolphins, stingrays and sea turtles along the way which were all very fun to see.  You’ll also see some sunken shipwrecks and other islands on the way to the park.  Our favorite view was seeing Fort Jefferson from above before landing on the water at the park. 


Avoid the Crowds 

Moat Views, Dry Tortugas National Park
Moat Views, Dry Tortugas National Park

Further, when you visit on the 8am or the 2pm seaplane trip, you will almost completely have the island to yourself.  The only other people at the park at those times will either be from one of the two small 10-person seaplanes or campers on the island (there are only 8 remote sites). If you visit on the ferry, it carries up to 175 people and it will certainly feel more crowded during your visit.  Be sure to book the seaplane in advance and book the 8am or 2pm trip to avoid any crowds. 

The seaplane is about twice the cost of the ferry (which is still expensive) but with all the pros to taking the seaplane, we think the extra cost is well worth it.


Other Seaplane Logistics

Seaplane to Dry Tortugas National Park
Seaplane to Dry Tortugas National Park

With the seaplane you have the option to do a full day trip (8 hours total, with 6.5 hours at the park) or a half day trip (4 hours total, with 2.5 hours at the park).  We did the half day trip and felt it was adequate to tour Fort Jefferson and do all the snorkeling we wanted around the Fort.  However, if you are looking to spend more time relaxing on the island or want to snorkel for more than an hour, you may want to book the full day tour.  Keep in mind though, the full day tour is twice the cost of the half day tour. 

Included with your seaplane trip is the use of snorkel gear for the day as well as a cooler of soft drinks of your choice to enjoy on the island. Both of these were added perks. It was especially nice to not have to pack or purchase our own snorkel gear for the trip.  


Caution: Beware of Motion Sickness

If you are prone to motion sickness (like Natalie), you may experience it on the seaplane.  Prior to our trip, one pro that sold us on the seaplane was being told it was a way to avoid the motion sickness sometimes experienced on the ferry.  However, on our trip, we did not find that to be the case.  Our pilot did several banking 360 degree turns to show us different creatures on our trip to/from the park.  Although these turns provided us some stellar wildlife views, they did not bode well for Natalie’s stomach. 

If you take meclizine for motion sickness, try to take that before the flight to/from the island.  Also, make sure you are hydrated and are dressed cool as the plane tends to be quite warm (which does not help with any motion sickness).  See, coming soon, How to Prevent Motion Sickness While Traveling.  Again, we recommend taking the seaplane over the ferry and would both take it again but just be aware that it may be a bit of a roller coaster ride for your stomach.


What to do at Dry Tortugas National Park


Snorkel

Snorkeling Dry Tortugas National Park
Snorkeling Dry Tortugas National Park

The snorkeling at Dry Tortugas National Park was hands down the best snorkeling we have ever done. The water here is crystal clear and the coral reef growing around the moat of Fort Jefferson is so colorful.  We saw many different colored and sized fish while snorkeling around the moat.  If you are a more experienced snorkeler, you can also snorkel in some deeper water on the North and South Beach of the park which is supposed to be stunning as well.  We highly recommend spending at least an hour, if not more time, snorkeling while visiting the park. 


Tour Fort Jefferson

Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas National Park
Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas National Park

At the park, you can take a self-guided tour of Fort Jefferson.  This took us about 45 minutes to do.  On the tour, you can read history about different aspects of the Fort.  It was also really astounding to walk through this brick fortress as it was built at this very remote location with such limited resources in the 1800s.  The architecture of the Fort is really pretty.  From the top of the Fort, you get great views overlooking the park as well.  

Water Views from Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas National Park
Water Views from Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas National Park

Relax on the Beach 

Pristine Beach, Dry Tortugas National Park
Pristine Beach, Dry Tortugas National Park

The beach here is pristine.  If you have time, enjoy a beverage overlooking the clear blue water while on the white sandy beach.   


Where to Stay when visiting Dry Tortugas National Park


Key Largo Airbnb
Key Largo Airbnb

We opted to stay in Key Largo and take a day trip to Key West (about 2.25 hours from Key West) to visit Dry Tortugas National Park. Going to Dry Tortugas this way does make for a long day (we left at 6am and got back to our place around 11pm).  If you want to spend more than part of a day exploring Key West, in addition to visiting Dry Tortugas, you will want to stay in Key West or another one of the more southern Florida Keys such as Marathon.  

We stayed at a cute Airbnb, perfect for two people, right on the Atlantic in Key Largo and would highly recommend it if looking to stay further up in the Florida Keys.  On our trip, we also visited Everglades National Park (see Everglades National Park Quick Guide), Biscayne National Park (see Biscayne National Park Quick Guide) and Miami in addition to Key West, the other Florida Keys (see Florida Keys/Southern Florida Quick Guide) and Dry Tortugas National Park so we wanted a more central homebase than one of the more Southern Florida Keys.  

Lookout Point Airbnb in Key Largo

Use this link to get up to $65 off your first Airbnb


We hope this guide helps you plan your trip to Dry Tortugas National Park.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!

Biscayne National Park Quick Guide


Snorkeling in Biscayne National Park
Snorkeling in Biscayne National Park

Biscayne National Park is located in Southeast Florida, just south of Miami, and is about 95% water. It preserves not only Biscayne Bay but also the mangroves and coral reef associated with it. This includes the northernmost portion of the Florida Reef, the third largest coral reef in the world.  Further, several of the small, northernmost Florida Keys, such as Elliot and Adam’s Key, are part of this park. We recommend spending 1-2 days in this park depending on what you would like to see or do in it. Here is our quick guide on Biscayne National Park. 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!


What to do in Biscayne National Park 


Take a day trip with the Biscayne National Park Institute 

Kayaking Views in Biscayne National Park
Kayaking Views in Biscayne National Park

Since this National Park is 95% water, you need to get out on the water to really experience it. The best way to do this is to take a day trip with the Biscayne National Park Institute. This nonprofit company is the only company allowed to run day trips in Biscayne National Park. The Institute offers many different options for day trips depending on your interest.  Be sure to book your trip far in advance so that you have your pick of different tours.  We booked our trip about 3 months ahead of time for March travel with no issues; however, availability will likely vary depending on time of year.

Sail, Paddle, Snorkel and Island Visit

Sail, Paddle, Snorkel and Island Visit Day Trip, Biscayne National Park
Sail, Paddle, Snorkel and Island Visit Day Trip, Biscayne National Park

We did the Sail, Paddle, Snorkel and Island Visit day trip and highly recommend it.  This day excursion is a great mix of activity and allows you to get a little taste of everything while in the park.  First, this trip will take you on a sailboat ride across Biscayne Bay to one of the Keys within the park. Our trip took us to the secluded, peaceful and small Adams Key.  On this island, there are only two houses for National Park Rangers and a small bathroom. Besides that, you have the island completely to yourself/group. 

Adams Key (left) Biscayne National Park, Kayaking & Water (middle & right) Biscayne National Park
Adams Key (left) Biscayne National Park, Kayaking & Water (middle & right) Biscayne National Park

After relaxing and eating lunch (pack/bring your own) on the Key, you will take a kayak or a standup paddleboard into the mangroves where you will then have the opportunity to go snorkeling in the very clear blue and shallow water.  While snorkeling here, we saw a lot of different pretty colored fish along the fringes of the mangroves and really enjoyed it.  While kayaking through the mangroves, we saw a juvenile shark which was pretty neat too (avoid calling it a baby shark to avoid getting a certain song stuck in your head).  After paddling and snorkeling for several hours, you will make your way back to the sailboat and then sail back to the mainland.  We found this trip to be the right balance of relaxation and activity. 

Sail, Paddle, Snorkel and Island Visit

Other Excursions Options

Biscayne National Park
Biscayne National Park

The Institute also offers several other day trips that go to the Atlantic side of the park and into the coral reefs. On the same trip, we were also visiting Dry Tortugas National Park (see ***)  and going to go snorkeling in the coral reef there. Therefore, we opted to stay in the calm, bayside waters near the mangroves while visiting Biscayne. 

Make sure to look at all the daytrip options and pick one that suits your interests. You may consider doing two different day trips into the park to see two different parts of Biscayne as well. Once you book one trip with the Institute, you will likely get a small discount offer to book another.  If you plan on purchasing two excursions, book your top choice first and wait to see if you get an email for a discount after booking to book another. 


Where to Stay to Visit Biscayne National Park


Stay in Homestead or Key Largo

Key Largo Airbnb
Key Largo Airbnb

We opted to stay on the northern end of Key Largo, which is about 30 minutes from Biscayne National Park.  We stayed at a cute Airbnb, perfect for two people, right on the Atlantic that we found to be an excellent place to unwind and would recommend it.  

On our trip, we were also visiting Everglades National Park (see Everglades National Park Quick Guide), Dry Tortugas National Park (see Dry Tortugas National Park Quick Guide), the Florida Keys (see Florida Keys/Southern Florida Quick Guide) and Miami so we wanted a more central homebase than staying in Homestead.  However, if only visiting Biscayne National Park, Everglades National Park and/or Miami, you may want to stay in Homestead as it is closer to all three of those. 

Lookout Point Airbnb in Key Largo

Use this link to get up to $65 off your first Airbnb


We hope this guide helps you plan your trip to Biscayne National Park.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!

Everglades National Park Quick Guide


Biking in Shark Valley, Everglades National Park
Biking in Shark Valley, Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park is the largest subtropical wilderness in the US, spanning from southern mainland Florida and into the Florida Keys.  It is the 4th largest National Park in the US and spans over both freshwater and saltwater environments.  Everglades National Park is home to many different unique species including manatees, panthers, numerous birds, the American crocodile (prefer saltwater) and alligators (only live in freshwater).  Fun fact: this park is the only natural habitat in the world where alligators and crocodiles live among one another.  

Hiking in Everglades National Park, Alligator & American White Ibis in Everglades National Park
Hiking in Everglades National Park, Alligator & American White Ibis in Everglades National Park

Our favorite part of visiting Everglades National Park was seeing heaps of Alligators while biking in Shark Valley but we also enjoyed our time hiking and seeing many different species of birds.  We recommend spending 1-3 days in the park, depending on everything you want to do while visiting.  Here is our quick guide on Everglades National Park.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!


What to Do in Everglades National Park 


Visit Shark Valley

Biking in Shark Valley, Everglades National Park
Biking in Shark Valley, Everglades National Park

In Shark Valley, located in the northern section of Everglades National Park near Miami, you will have the opportunity to see more alligators in nature than likely ever before.  If you only do one thing in Everglades National Park, do this.  Here, you can rent a bike or take a tram ride on the paved Shark Valley loop trail that abuts the water.  We recommend renting and riding bikes (if you are physically capable) over taking the tram as you can stop and look at/take pictures of wildlife as you please.  However, if riding a tram is more of your jam, you will get to hear a bit of history from the tram guide and still see plenty of wildlife. 

Wildlife on the Trail
Alligators on Shark Valley Trail, Everglades National Park
Alligators on Shark Valley Trail, Everglades National Park

Along the trail, you will see loads of wildlife.  On our 15 mile bike ride, we saw 50+ alligators (including about 5 babies), 100+ birds and several turtles.  Some of the alligators were even right on the trail!  Don’t worry though, we felt completely safe while passing these alligators on our bikes and, most of the time, we were 15+ feet away (which is considered a safe viewing distance for an alligator).  These alligators seemed to care less that we were there and seemed more concerned about soaking up the sun.  

Trail Logistics
Observation Tower, Everglades National Park
Observation Tower, Everglades National Park

This trail is 15 miles in total and almost completely flat.  It is a loop trail and at the halfway point, there is an observation tower you can climb up to see the Everglades horizon, which seems to stretch endlessly.  From this observation tower, we were also able to see many alligators from above.   

Bike Rental Logistics
Biking in Shark Valley, Everglades National Park
Biking in Shark Valley, Everglades National Park

Make sure to plan ahead if you want to rent bikes at Shark Valley.  Make reservations online for the day of your choosing ($20/bike/day) and then you can pick up your bike that day between 8:30am and 12:30pm. Although you do not need to pick up your bike first thing in the morning, we highly recommend picking it up as close to 8:30am as possible.  At this early time, there are very few trams (we only saw 2 on our whole ride) or other people on the trail.  It is really nice to have the trail and observation tower to yourself as much as possible. The weather is more mild/less hot in the morning, making for a more pleasant ride at this time as well.  Additionally, you have first choice from the group of bikes at that park as many of the bikes are operational but weathered.

Everglades National Park Bike Reservations

Everglades National Park
Everglades National Park

If you do not make reservations online (you may not be able to if all sold out), you can get a bike on a first come, first serve basis when they are returned from the morning riders with reservations.  However, there is no guarantee you will get a bike through this method.  When we returned our bikes a bit before noon on a Monday, there were a good 30+ people waiting for bikes and the parking lot was completely full.  If you plan to take a tram, be sure to book that in advance as well as only a handful of tram rides operate each day. 


Hike

Birds while Hiking in Everglades National Park
Birds while Hiking in Everglades National Park

Hiking in Everglades National Park is a great way to see many different species of birds and to see some of the variable scenery.   To hike in this park, you’ll head to the Ernest F. Coe Visitors Center Entrance in Homestead (northeast corner of the park) and then drive along the approximately 40 mile road that leads you to the Flamingo Visitors Center (southwest corner of the park).   There are many different hiking options along this road.  You can drive the whole road and hike them all or just drive the first part of the road and hike a few.  The choice is yours.  Here are our top hiking recommendations in the park, starting from the closet to the Ernest F Coe Visitors Center to the furthest away from the Ernest F. Coe Visitors Center.  

Hiking in Everglades National Park
Hiking in Everglades National Park

Note: Hiking in Everglades National Park is scenic but does not take you to one specifically exceedingly scenic destination like many other National Park hikes do.  Do not expect an astounding viewpoint at the end but instead enjoy the journey.  The trails here are more about seeing the different flora and for wildlife (mainly bird) viewing. 


Anhinga Trail

0.8 Mile, Out & Back/Loop, Royal Palm Parking lot

Anhinga Trail, Everglades National Park
Anhinga Trail, Everglades National Park

If you only have time to hike one trail in Everglades National Park, hike this one.  You will likely see the most wildlife on this trail as the ample water supply here attracts both birds and alligators.  We saw many different species of birds (including Anhinga) and fish during our hike.  Although we did not see alligators on this trail, it is not uncommon for visitors to see them under the boardwalks so be sure to look under those for some.  This trail is also conveniently located near the northeast park entrance. 

Tip: BEWARE of the vultures in the parking lot and make sure to cover your car windows/windshield with a tarp.  

The vultures that live in the Royal Palm parking lot (where Anhinga Trail and Gumbo Limbo Trail both start), for some unknown reason, love the rubber around the windows/windshield of the cars parked there.  These birds literally will swarm a new car and start to try to rip off the rubber parts.  Be sure to bring your own tarp or use one of the provided tarps in the large bin by the bathroom (limited supply, we had no problem getting some to borrow at the park but only enough for a handful of cars).  

Vultures at Royal Palm Parking Lot, Everglades National Park
Vultures at Royal Palm Parking Lot, Everglades National Park

We have never seen such an odd phenomenon before but this is no joke.  Although we covered our car’s windshield/windows completely with tarp and secured the tarp down, these vultures were ruthless and tore the tarp right off.  They actually ripped out a piece of our windshield rubber!  Thankfully, this piece of rubber was not actually damaged, laying right next to the car when we returned from our hike and just had to be put back into place.  However, be warned, these vultures will stop at nothing to try to take the rubber off your car and may actually do some real damage.  


Gumbo Limbo Trail

0.4 Miles, Loop, Royal Palm Parking Lot

Gumbo Limbo Trail, Everglades National Park
Gumbo Limbo Trail, Everglades National Park

This paved trail takes you through a tropical hardwood hammock.  Along the trail, there are signs to identify the different flora.  This trail is very easy to hike and be sure to combine it with doing the Anhinga Trail as it starts from the same parking lot.  Again, beware of the vultures in the parking lot of this trail.  


Pa-hay-Okeee Overlook

0.16 Miles, Loop

Pa-hay-Okeee Overlook Trail, Everglades National Park
Pa-hay-Okeee Overlook Trail, Everglades National Park

This short boardwalk leads to a raised observation platform where you can view out onto a grassy wetland area. No vultures at this parking lot. Phew! 


Mahogany Hammock

0.5 Miles, Loop

Mahogany Hammock Trail, Everglades National Park
Mahogany Hammock Trail, Everglades National Park

This boardwalk trail takes you through tropical hardwoods and gumbo limbo trees.  Also on this trail is the largest living mahogany tree in the US.  


Snake Bight Trail

3.2 Miles Round Trip, Out & Back

Snake Bight Trail, Everglades National Park
Snake Bight Trail, Everglades National Park

Snake Bight Trail takes you through a tropical hardwood hammock to a boardwalk that ends at Snake Bight Bay.  Many people like to spend some time bird watching at the end of the boardwalk. Also, bight is not a typo. Fun fact: a bight is a bend or curve in a coastline, river or other geographical feature, or it may refer to a bay formed by such a feature.

Tip: Make sure to have bug spray for this trail as it is the only trail (thus far on our guide) that is not paved and was much more buggy than the others


Eco Pond

0.5 Miles, Loop 

Eco Pond Trail, Everglades National Park
Eco Pond Trail, Everglades National Park

This unpaved grassy trail loops around a pond and will give you a good opportunity to hear/see different birds.  There are many other short pond loops along the main road you may wish to stop at too.


Looking for great hiking boots?  Here are links to the ones we’ve used for 6+ years and highly recommend: Men’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots & Women’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots


Kayak or Canoe

Kayaking or canoeing through the mangroves is a great way to see Everglades National Park.  There are a lot of different tours offered but be sure to book in advance as these tend to fill up weeks in advance.  We opted not to do this as we were kayaking through Mangroves at Biscayne National Park (see *** for more details on this) on the same trip but we would do this if we ever go back.  

Two Kayak/Canoe options: Kayak Safari and Manatees and Mangrove Tours


Go on a Pontoon Boat Tour

Pontoon Boat Tour
Pontoon Boat Tour

The pontoon boat tour we did through part of the Everglades was awesome, and we highly recommend it.  However, it only visits a small portion of the southern saltwater part of Everglades National Park so be sure to explore the park other ways as well.  On this tour, you will get a taste of the Everglades as you boat through the mangroves and see several types of birds.  You may also be lucky enough to see Manatees and giant iguanas like we did too.  This tour also takes you into John Pennekamp State Park and throughout some of the Key Largo canals.  We learned some history about all the spots we visited on this tour as well as about the development of Key Largo.  

Key Largo Everglades Eco Tour

Note: This tour leaves from Key Largo at Mile Marker 101.9.  See our *** Florida Keys Guide *** for more information on visiting the Florida Keys. 


Airboat Ride

Natalie has done this several times as a teenager and found the rides to be exciting.  We opted not to do it on our trip because we got our fill of Alligators and the Everglades through biking and hiking but this is another fun way to see the park.  There are lots of different airboat tour options near the Ernest F. Coe Visitors Center and Shark Valley.  Pick one that works for where you’ll be.  Typically, you do not need to reserve these in advance and will likely be able to walk up/get on the next airboat ride. 

Tip: Try to pick an airboat tour that does not guarantee alligator sightings as it will be more realistic. 

Further, some of these tours have an alligator show before/after the airboat ride and may be a bit reminiscent of Tiger King but with alligators instead of tigers. Do your research before booking and know what to expect.  That being said, having done both, Natalie recommends biking shark valley over an airboat ride to see alligators.   

Two Airboat tour options: Alligator Farm Airboat Rides and Captain Jack’s Airboat Rides


Bonus: Visit Big Cypress National Reserve 

Big Cypress National Reserve
Big Cypress National Reserve

Most people overlook this area, located less than 20 minutes from Shark Valley, but don’t be one of them.  Make sure to go to the Oasis Visitor Center in Big Cypress Reserve where there is a short boardwalk that overlooks a freshwater area with many alligators.  Here, we got to see alligators actively hunting fish.  It was really neat to see them stalk and pounce at the fish.  

Further, you can drive the scenic loop road (unpaved, will take about 1.5 hours without stops) to see more alligators and birds as well. We opted to only go to the visitors center here, as we had seen plenty of bird and alligators at Shark Valley, but seeing the alligators actively hunt fish from the boardwalk was completely worth the short additional drive. 

Note: An America the Beautiful Pass will get you into this National Reserve for free so take advantage if you have this!  


Where to Eat near Everglades National Park


Robert is Here Fruit Stand

Robert is Here Fruit Stand, Homestead, FL
Robert is Here Fruit Stand, Homestead, FL

This fruit stand has been in operation for over 60 years and for good reason–their delicious fresh fruit shakes/smoothies are unmatched.  Make sure to stop here for a shake or smoothie!  We also got a tasty Cuban Sandwich here that did not disappoint either.  This stand is located in Homestead near the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center.

Robert is Here


La Quebradita Mexican Grill 

La Quebradita Mexican Grill
La Quebradita Mexican Grill

This authentic Mexican restaurant located in Homestead has a classic menu.  The food is great here and can be enjoyed on the very pretty garden filled patio.  We had the shrimp fajitas and a chorizo burrito, both were delicious! 

La Quebradita Grill


Another place you could stop to eat is at one of the many fruit stands you will pass traveling from Shark Valley to Homestead on Fl-997 S.  Unfortunately, most of these were closed on a Monday when we went passed them but these local stands looked like a great place for a simple and unique meal as well. 


Where to Stay Near Everglades National Park


Stay in Homestead or Key Largo

Key Largo Airbnb
Key Largo Airbnb

We opted to stay on the northern end of Key Largo, which is about 35 minutes to the Ernest F Coe Entrance and about an hour to the Shark Valley Entrance.  We stayed at a cute Airbnb, perfect for two people, right on the Atlantic that we found to be an excellent place to unwind and would recommend it.  

On our trip, we were also visiting Biscayne National Park (see Biscayne National Park Quick Guide), Dry Tortugas National Park (see Dry Tortugas National Park Quick Guide), the Florida Keys (see Florida Keys/Southern Florida Quick Guide) and Miami so we wanted a more central homebase than Homestead.  However, if only visiting Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park and/or Miami, you may want to stay in Homestead as it is closer to all three of those. 

Lookout Point Airbnb in Key Largo

Use this link to get up to $65 off your first Airbnb


We hope this guide helps you plan your trip to Everglades National Park.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!

4 Days in Joshua Tree National Park


Joshua Tree National Park is full of not only Joshua Trees but also canyons with hidden palm oases, towering rock formations and other unique flora.  

Forty Nine Palms Oasis, Joshua Tree National Park
Forty Nine Palms Oasis, Joshua Tree National Park

This National Park is where the Mojave and Colorado Deserts meet.  The Mojave, or high desert, on the northern side of the park is where you will find the iconic Joshua trees.  The Mojave desert is the only place in the world where these unique trees live.  The Colorado, or low desert, on the southern side of the park also has distinctive vegetation including, but not limited to, the thorny and plentiful Ocotillo plant. 

Wall Street Mill Trail, Joshua Tree National Park
Wall Street Mill Trail, Joshua Tree National Park

We truly enjoyed our time hiking and exploring in Joshua Tree National Park.  We hope our guide helps you find experiences you will love in the park as well.  The first part of this post is a 4 day guide to exploring Joshua Tree National Park. The second part of this post goes over the logistics of visiting the park, including how to access Joshua Tree National Park and where to stay around the park.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you  


Day 1: Hike Ryan Mountain, Cap Rock and Hidden Valley Trails


Hike Ryan Mountain

3 miles round-trip, 1,000 feet of elevation gain

Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree National Park
Ryan Mountain, Joshua Tree National Park

Ryan Mountain is an exhilarating uphill hike that leads to panoramic views of the park.  This trail was the most challenging hike we did in the park, due to the quick elevation in a short distance. However, it is well worth the effort.  We did this hike in about 1.5 hours but recommend budgeting at least 2 hours depending on how quickly you hike.

Ryan Mountain Trail Views, Joshua Tree National Park
Ryan Mountain Trail Views, Joshua Tree National Park

Looking for great hiking boots?  Here are links to the ones we’ve used for 6+ years and highly recommend: Men’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots & Women’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots 


Hike Cap Rock Nature Trail 

0.3 miles round-trip, 39 feet of elevation gain, loop

Cap Rock Nature Trail, Joshua Tree National Park
Cap Rock Nature Trail, Joshua Tree National Park

After hiking Ryan Mountain, head to the nearby Cap Rock Nature Trail. This trail leads you through pretty rock formations and foliage with many informative signs along the trail to teach you about both.

The Cap Rock Nature Trail is the most inclusively accessible trail we did in the park. It is appropriate for all fitness levels as it is very short and flat. 


Hike Hidden Valley Nature Trail

1.0 mile round-trip, 114 feet of elevation gain, loop

Hidden Valley Trail, Joshua Tree National Park
Hidden Valley Trail, Joshua Tree National Park

Next, head to Hidden Valley Nature Trail. This trail brings you through a unique ‘hidden valley’ surrounded by rock formations on all sides with lots of pretty trees and scrubs in it. The foliage that grows in the hidden valley is so extensive because of how the rocks on the outside of the valley protect the it from the wind and drain in ample water into the area as well.

Hidden Valley Trail, Joshua Tree National Park
Hidden Valley Trail, Joshua Tree National Park

This trail offers some of the best views in the park for very minimal effort. There are also many signs along the path to identify and educate you on the different plants and wildlife throughout the valley. 


Day 2: Hike Forty Nine Palms Oasis, visit Skull Rock and Hike Wall Street Mill/Barker Dam Trails


Hike Forty Nine Palms Oasis

3.0 miles round-trip, 636 feet of elevation gain, out & back

Forty Nine Palms Oasis, Joshua Tree National Park
Forty Nine Palms Oasis, Joshua Tree National Park

This was one of our favorite trails in the park as it was relatively short and quickly led you to a beautiful palm oasis.   We set out on this trail just after sunrise and would highly recommend starting at this time as we were the first people on the trail and only saw about 5 other people in total throughout our hike.

Forty Nine Palms Oasis, Joshua Tree National Park
Forty Nine Palms Oasis, Joshua Tree National Park

On this trail, you hike up for the first half of the out hike and then down into the oasis.  This hike did not feel overly strenuous given that the elevation gain was broken up between the out and return journey, making for a rewarding yet relaxing hike.


Stop at Skull Rock

Skull Rock, Joshua Tree National Park
Skull Rock, Joshua Tree National Park

Next, head to Skull Rock, which is located right off the road. You can quickly park on the side of the road to see this rock that truly resembles a human skull.  Alternatively, you could also hike the associated nature trail around the rock that is approximately 1.7 miles in total with minimal elevation gain. 


Hike Wall Street Mill & Barker Dam Nature Trail

Wall Street Mill is an out & back trail that is 2.4 miles round-trip with 23 feet of elevation gain & Barker Dam Nature Trail is a loop trail that is 1.3 miles with 63 feet of elevation gain. 

Wall Street Mill Trail, Joshua Tree National Park
Wall Street Mill Trail, Joshua Tree National Park

After stopping at Skull rock, head to the Wall Street Mill and Barker Dam Trails. Both hikes are relatively flat and easy to complete.  On both of these trails, there are MANY Joshua trees for you to adore.  Both of these trails also have many signs along the way to teach you about the flora and animals in the area. 

Wall Street Mill Trail, Joshua Tree National Park
Wall Street Mill Trail, Joshua Tree National Park

The Wall Street Mill trail brings you to an abandoned mill that previously processed gold in the late-1800s. Conversely, the Barker Dam trail takes you past petroglyphs and a previously functioning cattle dam. 

Barker Dam Trail, Joshua Tree National Park
Barker Dam Trail, Joshua Tree National Park

We recommend combining these two hikes as you can park at Barker Dam lot or Wall Street Mill lot to access both.  We parked at the Wall Street Mill lot and our hike was, in total, about 3.6 miles round-trip with little to no elevation gain. 


Day 3: Hike Lost Palm Oasis, visit Cholla Cactus Garden and Hike Arch Rock Trail


Hike Lost Palm Oasis

7.4 miles round trip, 1,026 feet of elevation gain, out & back

Lost Palm Oasis trail is located on the southern side of the park, which is at a lower altitude and is part of the Colorado Desert so the flora looks a bit different here. 

Lost Palm Oasis Trail, Joshua Tree National Park
Lost Palm Oasis Trail, Joshua Tree National Park

This hike has a decent amount of elevation gain but it doesn’t feel overly strenuous as it is spread out throughout the hike.  We found the pace and effort of this hike to be quite pleasant. 

Lost Palm Oasis, Joshua Tree National Park
Lost Palm Oasis, Joshua Tree National Park

After 3.4 miles, the trail ends but you are not yet at the Oasis.  You can see the oasis from atop the rocks but you have to scramble down to get to it.  After you reach the sign that indicates the trail goes no further, go to the left to scramble down into the palm oasis and/or hike up to the right for the best birds-eye view of the palm oasis. We enjoyed relaxing in the oasis, which we had completely to ourselves, before making our return journey. 


Stop at Cholla Cactus Garden 

Cholla Cactus Garden, Joshua Tree National Park
Cholla Cactus Garden, Joshua Tree National Park

After hiking to Lost Palm Oasis, stop at Cholla Cactus Garden. Here, you can take a short walk through an area completely FILLED with Cholla Cactus, a unique type of cactus not seen elsewhere in the park.  This destination is a quick stop but definitely worth it to see these cacti that stretch as far as the eye can see. 


Hike Arch Rock

1.2 miles round-trip, 88 feet of elevation gain, out & back 

Next, head to the Arch Rock Trail. This is a short hike, with minimal elevation gain, to a unique rock arch that also takes you through some other interesting looking rock formations along the way. This arch is not as impressive as the ones we’ve seen in Arches National Park (see Arches National Park Quick Guide) but the rock formations here were nonetheless neat to see. 

Arch Rock Trail, Joshua Tree National Park
Arch Rock Trail, Joshua Tree National Park

Note: Make sure to pay attention to the signs and turn right once you cross the street here otherwise you will end up on the California Riding/Hiking Trail accidentally (like we did).  We were not paying attention and followed a hiker in front of us, assuming they were going to Arch Rock as well.  Remember to always independently verify when hiking and to look at the signs even if you think you know where you are going. See What you can Learn from our First Backpacking Trip for more on independent verification. 


Beware: To access all the spots on today’s itinerary, you will drive on the windy Pinto Basin road that may provoke motion sickness (see…coming soon, How to Prevent Motion Sickness while Traveling) 


Day 4: Hike Lost Horse Mine Trail  


Hike Lost Horse Mine 

6.4 miles round-trip, 1000 feet of elevation gain, loop

This loop trail is very peaceful and offers varying views throughout. We recommend hiking this loop in a clockwise manner so that you do all the elevation gains in the first half of the hike. The second half of the hike is then much easier as it is pretty much flat.  

Lost Horse Mine Trail, Joshua Tree National Park
Lost Horse Mine Trail, Joshua Tree National Park

The first half of this hike, you will climb towards the Lost Horse Mine, an old preserved gold mine. During this climb, you will be afforded vast desert views.  The second half of the hike, you will be on a mainly flat part of the trail and see some of the largest Joshua trees in the park.  We liked seeing how variable the Joshua trees are in size depending on where you are hiking in the park. 

Lost Horse Mine Trail, Joshua Tree National Park
Lost Horse Mine Trail, Joshua Tree National Park

Alternatively, you could hike to the Lost Horse Mine as an out and back hike, 4 miles total round trip. However, we recommend hiking this as a loop because you will see more variety on the loop trail and the second half is a relatively easy hike. 


Relax or Return Home

Spend the rest of your day relaxing, as well did, or fly out later this evening home. 


Logistics


How to Access Joshua Tree National Park 

Fly into Los Angeles, Las Vegas or San Diego to access Joshua Tree National Park.  Los Angeles Airport is a bit closer (30 minutes closer) than the latter two but we chose to fly into Las Vegas because we were also visiting Death Valley National Park on this trip and this airport worked out better for us logistically. See our Two Days in Death Valley National Park guide if you want to add this onto your adventure too. 

Also, LAS is typically less expensive for us to fly into than LAX.  For the best flight deals, see our 5 Ways to Save on Flights post and/or become a member of Scott’s Cheap Flights, a flight subscription service we use and love.  Use this link for a FREE 2 week trial of Premium Scott’s Cheap Flights

Another option is to fly into San Diego, which is about 3 hours from Joshua Tree National Park. For more information on visiting San Diego and great hiking in the area see San Diego, California Quick Guide.


How this Itinerary is Set-Up

While visiting Joshua Tree, we did one ‘highlight’ (more challenging/stunning views) hike per day and then one or two shorter hikes afterwards to see as many trails as possible. We also strategically planned this itinerary to see things close together in the park on the same day to optimize travel times. 


Where to Stay

Set up your home base in Twenty Nine Palms, Joshua Tree or any of the other surrounding communities in/around Yucca Valley. Wherever you book, make sure you are on the northern side of Joshua Tree National Park, as this is where most the attractions/trailheads in the park are located. 

Landers Airbnb outside of Joshua Tree National Park
Landers Airbnb outside of Joshua Tree National Park

We choose to stay in Landers, about 30 minutes Northwest of the park, to allow us to book a more economical Airbnb with a lot of outdoor space.  We loved our Landers Airbnb and highly recommend it.  It was the perfect spot to unwind after our mornings hiking in Joshua Tree National Park.  We particularly loved spending our afternoons reading in the hammocks here.  Use this link to get up to $65 off your first Airbnb.


We hope this guide helps you plan your trip to Joshua Tree National Park.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!

Two Days in Death Valley National Park


Death Valley National Park is the largest US National Park in the lower 48 states.  Do not be fooled by the name ‘Death Valley’ as this park is full of colorful and unique features at almost every turn.  From the Badwater Basin Salt Flats to Artists Palette to Mosaic Canyon to Ubehebe Crater, you will not be disappointed with the variety of stunning sites this park has to offer.  Also, if you are a Star Wars fan, you will recognize many of the sites from Episode IV and VI as both had scenes filmed here.  

Ubehebe Crater, Death Valley National Park
Ubehebe Crater, Death Valley National Park

This National Park is more family and non-hiker friendly than most of the other National Parks we have visited.  Most of the impressive scenery in the park can be accessed via driving and a relatively short walk. 

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park

We were pleasantly surprised with how much we enjoyed Death Valley National Park and hope our guide to exploring it helps you enjoy it just as much as well. The first part of this guide is our two day guide to visiting Death Valley National Park. The second part of this guide is a logistics section that includes how to access the park and where to stay.  

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you


Day 1: Badwater Basin, Natural Bridge, Artist Drive, Devil’s Golf Course, Zabriskie Point, Dante’s View, Salt Creek Interpretive Trail and More


Visit Badwater Basin 

1 mile, flat, out & back

Badwater Basin, Death Valley National Park
Badwater Basin, Death Valley National Park

Badwater Basin is an area full of unique looking polygon shaped salt flats that is unlike anything we have seen before.  These salt flats are also located at the lowest elevation in North America at -282 feet below sea level. 

Badwater Basin, Death Valley National Park
Badwater Basin, Death Valley National Park

You can briefly walk out onto these salt flats but we recommend walking out almost a mile to get the best views of them.  The further out you are, the better appreciation you get for the vastness of these formations that seem to stretch on endlessly. We visited at sunrise and would highly recommend this time as well because there were few other people at Badwater Basin at this time and the lighting was fantastic. 


Hike Natural Bridge Trail 

1 mile round-trip, 180 feet of elevation gain, out & back

Natural Bridge, Death Valley National Park
Natural Bridge, Death Valley National Park

Next, on the Natural Bridge Trail, you hike up through a canyon to a natural bridge rock formation.  This short hike is pleasant, fast paced and only about a 5 minute drive from Badwater Basin.  You should have no problem accessing the trailhead on the unpaved road leading up to it in a sedan, but be mindful that the road may be in worse condition if there has been any recent rain. 


Artist Drive

Artist Drive, Death Valley National Park
Artist Drive, Death Valley National Park

After visiting Natural Bridge, head to Artist Drive. Artist Drive is a nine mile one-way road through various multicolored and eroding hills. The Artist Palette viewpoint is the main attraction on this drive.  You can see this viewpoint from the pullout but we highly recommend walking around the Artist Palette area to get even better views and picture opportunities.

Artist Palette, Death Valley National Park
Artist Palette, Death Valley National Park

Artist Drive is beautiful whatever time of day you visit (we visited late morning) but afternoon lighting is said to make colors the most dramatic.  Parts of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope were filmed in this area as well.


Devil’s Golf Course

Stop next at Devil’s Golf Course, which is a vast collection of jagged salt spires, named so because “only the devil” could play golf on such a rough surface.  On a hot day, bring your ear to the ground to listen to the salt crystals make a popping noise as they expand/contract.  

Devil's Golf Course, Death Valley National Park
Devil’s Golf Course, Death Valley National Park

Note: This destination is a quick, 5 minute stop to view the area as there is no hiking or walking trail here.  To access Devil’s Golf Course, it is only a very short drive off the main road. 


Hike Desolation Canyon 

3.6 miles round-trip, 600 feet of elevation, out & back

Desolation Canyon, Death Valley National Park
Desolation Canyon, Death Valley National Park

The trailhead to this hike is located less than 10 minutes up the road from Devil’s Golf Course. This hike is through a narrow canyon before leading to a ridgeline with vast views of Death Valley.  Views on Tatooine in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope were filmed here. This canyon was neat to see and very peaceful (we saw only 2 other hikers on it) but we would not rate this hike as a must do.  However, it is along the way and if you have time, it is worth checking out.  Also, be mindful of where the trail leads as we got off the trail for a short distance thinking we were on the correct path.


Optional Add-On: Hike Golden Canyon Loop 

4.3 miles loop, 850 feet of elevation gain

This hike offers colorful canyon views and can be accessed from the Golden Canyon Trailhead or at Zabriskie Point.  We chose not to do this hike because you can get very similar, if not the same, views of the Golden Canyon area from Zabriskie Point.  Instead, we chose to hike Desolation Canyon as outlined above.  


Zabriskie Point

Zabriskie Point, Death Valley National Park
Zabriskie Point, Death Valley National Park

Next stop at Zabriskie Point that offers stunning views overlooking golden colored badlands. This spot is beautiful anytime of day but most popular at sunrise and sunset. 


Drive Twenty Mule Canyon 

Twenty Mule Canyon, Death Valley National Park
Twenty Mule Canyon, Death Valley National Park

After visiting Zabriskie point, head to Twenty Mule Canyon. This canyon is a 2.4 mile unpaved one-way road through colorful badlands.  You may recognize the landscape here from Jabba the Hutt’s Palace in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. This trek is not a must-do either, but it is along the route we took and another iconic Star Wars spot. To add this drive, at most, will only take 10 extra minutes. 


Dante’s View 

Dante's View, Death Valley National Park
Dante’s View, Death Valley National Park

This location is the highest viewpoint in the park overlooking the Panamint Mountains and Badwater Basin.  Dante’s View was used in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope as an overlook spot of Mos Eisley.  From our research, it offers one of the best sunrises in the park but we opted to see the sunrise at Badwater Basin instead as it is, in our opinion, the most unique place in the park. 


Hike Harmony Borax Works Trail 

0.4 miles round trip, 50 feet of elevation gain, loop

Harmony Borax Works Trail, Death Valley National Park
Harmony Borax Works Trail, Death Valley National Park

Next, stop at this Borax Mine Site where you travel back in time to see where 20-Mule Team Wagons began their 165 mile journey south to the Mojave Railroad Depot to deliver borax salt.  This spot is a good place to stop for families as it is a brief walk around the mining site with interesting artifacts and information. 


Hike Salt Creek Interpretive Trail 

0.5 miles round-trip, flat, out & back

Salt Creek Interpretive Trail, Death Valley National Park
Salt Creek Interpretive Trail, Death Valley National Park

On your last stop of the day, visit the Salt Creek Interpretive Trail. This unique boardwalk trail goes through a marsh that is home to rare and resilient pupfish.  We did not see any pupfish on our walk but see if you do!  It is neat to see this water source in the very dry and desolate Death Valley desert. 


Tip: Budget more time at each spot (other than Devil’s Golf Course) than you would think. 

There is up to a mile one-way walking at each of the sites to get to the best viewpoints.  However, this walking is relatively fast-paced, flat and easy.  Due to this park mainly requiring only light walking, it is a great park for families with young children, in comparison to some of the other parks we have visited, as there is a lot to see but not a lot of strenuous hiking required to do it. 


Day 2: Mesquite Sand Dunes, Mosaic Canyon and Ubehebe Crater


Visit Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes 

2.0 miles round trip, 185 feet of elevation (depending on how many dunes you climb), out & back

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park

These impressively large Sand Dunes can be viewed from the parking lot but we recommend trekking out onto the dunes to see some of the less visited (and with less footprints) Sand Dunes.  We recommend visiting at sunrise or sunset for the best views, least amount of people and best lighting.  We visited at sunrise and only saw 3 other people.  These sand dunes reminded us of the ones we saw in the Sahara but not as large or expansive (see Top 3 Morocco Experiences for more on the Sahara). Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope filmed scenes here as these are the sand dunes of Tatooine. 

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Death Valley National Park
Fun facts about the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes:

#1 These sand dunes can get up to 200 degrees on the surface in the summer.  Most creatures only come out at night, even in the winter months, and otherwise stay in their underground dens.

#2 Sand is everywhere in the desert but sand dunes only occur in places where there is wind, something to stop the wind and a large supply of sand.  You will not find sand dunes anywhere else in the park. 


Hike Mosaic Canyon 

4 miles round-trip, 1,200 feet of elevation gain, out & back 

Next, hike the Mosaic Canyon trail. This trail was our favorite hike we did in Death Valley National Park.  This canyon is filled with slick rock narrows as well as uniquely colored and patterned rocks. 

Mosaic Canyon, Death Valley National Park
Mosaic Canyon, Death Valley National Park
Tip: Beware scrambling required. 

After 1.25 miles, the trail becomes a bit unclear and confusing as you need to start scrambling.  Look for arrows on the ground (made of rocks) to help point you in the right direction. These arrows are the only real markings/directions on the trail.  

Mosaic Canyon, Death Valley National Park
Mosaic Canyon, Death Valley National Park

Note: To access this trail you have to drive on an unpaved road for about 2 miles.  It is passable in a sedan but you have to drive on it pretty slow as it was more uneven than any other of the unpaved roads we traveled on in this park. Again be mindful of road conditions if there has been recent rain.

Looking for great hiking boots?  Here are links to the ones we’ve used for 6+ years and highly recommend: Men’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots & Women’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots


Visti/Hike Ubehebe Crater

1.5 mile loop hike, 500 feet of elevation gain, loop 

Ubehebe Crater, Death Valley National Park
Ubehebe Crater, Death Valley National Park

After hiking Mosaic Canyon, head to Ubehebe Crater. This large volcanic crater is very impressive to see in-person.  It is 600 feet deep and a half mile across.  You can simply drive up to this crater or hike around it.  We recommend hiking around it as you’ll get different views of the crater and see the little Ubehebe Crater as well. 

Ubehebe Crater, Death Valley National Park
Ubehebe Crater, Death Valley National Park

The drive to this spot is about an hour from the Stovepipe Wells or Furnace Creek areas.  The drive goes by fast though as you’ll see lots of interesting rock formations and scenery along the way. 


Optional: Stovepipe Wells or Furnace Creek Visitors Center.  

If looking for somewhere to get food in the park, stop at Stovepipe Wells or, if you are looking for some more history on the park, visit the Furnace Creek Visitor Center.  We opted to relax at Airbnb this afternoon but both of these activities could easily be added onto this day. 


Drive Home or Continue onto Joshua Tree National Park

Drive back to Las Vegas (or your point of origin) tonight or tomorrow.  Another option is to drive southwest through part of the Mojave Desert, like we did, to continue your adventure and explore the iconic Joshua Tree National Park (see Four Days in Joshua Tree National Park).


Logistics 


How to Access

To access Death Valley National Park, fly into Las Vegas, which is about 2 hours from the closest town, Beatty, to easily access the park.   

For the best flight deals in and out of Las Vegas, see 5 Ways to Save on Flights and/or subscribe to Scott’s Cheap Flights to have the best deals sent right to your inbox.  Use this link for a FREE 2 week trial of Premium Scott’s Cheap Flights


Where to Stay

Set-up your home base in Beatty.  It is about a 30+ minute drive (depending on where you are going in the park) into Death Valley National Park from this town. We highly recommend our one bedroom Beatty Airbnb as it was cozy yet very comfortable and with a full (small) kitchen.   Use this link to get up to $65 off your first Airbnb  

Beatty is an eclectic town of about 1,000 people that is home to the largest candy store in all of Nevada, Death Valley Nut & Candy, (which also sells delicious homemade ice cream that we most certainly enjoyed) and several small restaurants.  There is a Family Dollar in town but this store only sells the very basic things so if you plan to cook your own food and need groceries, make sure to buy them in Las Vegas before driving to Beatty (like we did). Otherwise, you will be SOL.  


For Best Experience, Arrive the Day Prior

We recommend arriving in Las Vegas the day prior to starting this trip as the first day is full day and you will want to start your trip into the park before Sunrise.  Another option is to visit all the spots on our two day itinerary in one VERY full day but we do not recommend this as it will involve A LOT of driving and you will not have time for really any hiking. 


We hope this guide helps you plan your trip to Death Valley National Park.  Anything you’d add to our guide? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!

Grand Canyon National Park Quick Guide


Grand Canyon National Park

The Grand Canyon is one of the most beautiful places we have ever seen.  Pictures truly do not do justice to the magnificence and vastness of the Grand Canyon. It is definitely a must see in-person experience.  This park holds a special place in our hearts as we got engaged while hiking on the South Kaibab Trail.  We recommend spending 2-3 days here, depending on how much hiking you want to do.  Here is our quick guide on Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!


What to do in Grand Canyon National Park


South Kaibab Trail

South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon National Park

This hike affords gorgeous views of the canyon the entire trail.  Beware though, it may be an easy hike into the canyon but the climb back up is very steep. 

Skeleton Point, Grand Canyon National Park

We hiked down into the Canyon, just beyond Skeleton Point (where we got engaged) before turning around.  Our hike totaled approximately 6 miles with about 2,000 feet of elevation gain on the way up. You could easily shorten this day hike to any length you felt appropriate for your fitness level. 

South Kaibab Trail PDF

Looking for great hiking boots?  Here are links to the ones we’ve used for 6+ years and highly recommend: Men’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots & Women’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots


Bright Angel Trail

Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon National Park

This hike offers further astounding views of the Canyon.  Again, beware that the hike back out of the Grand Canyon is harder than the descent into the canyon.  

We hiked to Indian Garden.  Our hike totaled approximately 9 miles total with about 3,000 feet of elevation gain on the way up.  Again, this hike is easily shortened. 

Bright Angel Trail PDF


Helicopter Ride 

We did not do this, we felt we saw enough of the canyon hiking. However, we have friends who have done helicopter tours and they rave about it.  If you are short on time and cannot hike as much, this might be a great way to see more of the canyon. 

We only visited the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  If you are looking to extend your trip, you may consider visiting the North Rim but we’d recommend planning on at least a week trip in that case. 

If you are visiting the North Rim, consider also visiting Horseshoe Bend in Page, Arizona. Please see Epic 10 Day Utah National Parks/Southwest Road Trip for more information on this location. Another option, if you are feeling physically ambitious, is to backpack and hike rim to rim.  


Tip on Weather: The amount of daily hiking you can complete will be dependent on your conditioning but also the time of year you visit. We visited in March when the weather was much cooler and dehydration is much less of a concern. Expect more challenging hiking if you visit in the hot summer months.


What/where to eat in Grand Canyon National Park


Cameron Trading Post and Motel Restaurant 

Here, you can order traditional Navajo tacos and we’d highly recommend this unique, as well as delicious, menu item.  A Navajo taco is basically a traditional Mexican taco but served on fry bread. Calories don’t count when you are doing a hiking trip right?


Restaurants Inside the Park

There were about 5 different restaurants on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  We ate at two below:

Maswik Food Court: A casual place to get breakfast, lunch or dinner. This location is the most economical place to get a hot meal, and we ate both breakfast as well as lunch here one day. Certainly nothing fancy but it was nice to be able to get some fresh food after hiking. 

Arizona Steak House Engagement Dinner

Arizona Steak House: Go here for a more elegant dining experience, located on the rim of the canyon near the Bright Angel Trailhead. We ate here to celebrate our engagement and were not disappointed with our food or views of the Grand Canyon.  

Grand Canyon National Park Restaurants


Where to stay in Grand Canyon National Park


Cameron Trading Post and Motel 

Views Outside Our Room at the Cameron Trading Post Motel

Located 30 minutes from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park, this accommodation is a perfect place to stay before your first day in the park. If you are arriving at the Grand Canyon from Phoenix or anywhere else south of the park, it will help break up your drive.  The next day, we were able to get an early start to head into the park.  The restaurant here, as noted above, is excellent.  The trading post has a large gift shop that was fun to explore as it has an extensive array of traditional Navajo art and items. 

Cameron Trading Post


Accommodations in the park

Although a bit more pricey than staying outside of the park, staying within the park is the best way to get an early start on hiking and exploring in the park.

We stayed at the Thunderbird Lodge but there are several different options on the South Rim.  

Tip: Make sure to make reservations early as accommodation options are limited and fill up months is advance.

Grand Canyon Lodging


We hope this post helps you plan your trip to the Grand Canyon.  Consider heading south and visiting Sedona, Arizona as well (see Sedona, Arizona Quick Guide for all our tips).

Anything else you’d add to our guide?  We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please send leave us a comment!

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!

One-Day in Great Smoky Mountains National Park


Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited National Park in the United States and for good reason.  This park is not only beautiful but very accessible by car and a natural stop on many road trips.

We spent one day in Great Smoky Mountains National Park while on a road trip. Great Smoky Mountains National Park was a natural, and convenient, stop for us while driving between Nashville, TN and Asheville, NC.  We felt that one day in the park was enough for us this time. However, you could easily spend a week here with all the different hiking that is offered.  

Here is what we would consider a perfect one-day itinerary for visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!


Stay Overnight in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

To get an early start on your day exploring Great Smoky Mountain National Park, stay overnight in nearby Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Gatlinburg is less than 15 minutes outside of the park, making it the perfect place to stay overnight before heading into the park. 

You may also consider staying overnight in Pigeon Forge which a about 30 minutes north of the park. However, we found accommodations to be equally priced in both locations so it made more sense to stay closer to the park in Gatlinburg.

We did not spend anytime in Gatlinburg, other than at our accommodations. It is very touristy and feels like the Wisconsin Dells on steroids.  We were there to see the mountains!  That being said, a family with young children who are not as apt to hike may really enjoy exploring these towns around the park as they have plenty of family friendly activities. 


Complete an Iconic Great Smoky Mountains National Park Hike

After getting an early start into the park from Gatlinburg, we headed to the Alum Cave Trailhead to hike into the mountains.  There are dozens of different iconic hikes to do in Great Smoky Mountain National Park and you could spend your entire day trying to hike as many different trails as possible.  However,  we opted to pick one longer hike that we felt embodied the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains: Alum Cave to Mount LeConte.  After reading dozens of different travel blogs, it was clear that the overwhelming consensus was that this route is the best hike in Great Smoky Mountains National Park due to the variety of the terrain along the trail as well as the views at the summit.  

Alum Cave to Mount LeConte Hike

Views while hiking to Mount LeConte, Great Smoky Mountain National Park

We hiked from the Alum Cave trailhead to Great Smoky Mountain viewpoints just past Mount LeConte Lodge.  This trail is about 12 miles out & back (including going to the lookout points, extra mileage that is not accounted for on most hiking apps) with about 3,000 feet of elevation gain.  This hike had plenty of forest and mountain views.  

Views hiking up to Mount LeConte (left and right), Mount LeConte Lodge (center)

Along the way, we saw plenty of interesting geological features, including Arch Rock and Alum Cave.  At the top, you are rewarded with panoramic views of the Great Smoky Mountains.  This trail also has a cute small lodge, Mount LeConte Lodge, at the Summit that made for a good spot to stop and eat lunch. You can actually stay overnight at this remote lodge, to break up the hike a bit more, but we opted to do this as a day hike.  

Mount LeConte Views, Great Smoky Mountain National Park

In total, the hike took us about 5.5 hours to complete (with breaks) and we highly recommend this as a “one and done” hike in the Great Smoky Mountains.  

Some other iconic (and shorter) hikes that you could do instead include Clingmans Dome trail, Chimney Tops trail and Laurel Falls trail.  

Mount LeConte Via Alum Cave

Looking for great hiking boots?  Here are links to the ones we’ve used for 6+ years and highly recommend: Men’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots & Women’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots


Drive Through the Park and Stop at the North Carolina/Tennessee State Line

After completing our hike, we drove further into the park. Along the way, we saw plenty of pretty Great Smoky Mountain Views.  There are several turn off points along the road but the most prominent is at the North Carolina/Tennessee State Line. This makes for a nice point to stop, get out and stretch your legs, and take a break from the winding roads (especially if you are prone to motion sickness like Nat).  

At this stop, you get vast mountain views without the effort of a long hike.  The views here are really not comparable to our hiking views from earlier in the day. There is something about the effort to see the view that sweetens it. That being said, if you are not able to hike, these are the best mountain views you will get in the park.  


Bonus: Add on a Visit to The Blue Ridge Mountains/Asheville 

After visiting the North Carolina/Tennessee State Line in Great Smoky Mountain National Park, we headed into the Blue Ridge Mountains on our way to our next stop on our Roadtrip, Asheville, North Carolina. This city is a less than 2 hours driving from Rocky Mountain National Park. We recommend Asheville as a good overnight stop on a road trip after a long day of exploring the park. (See Hiking Shortoff Mountain in Asheville, North Carolina.)

Shortoff Mountain hiking views, outside of Asheville, North Carolina

Tip: Do NOT visit during peak season (summer, early fall, late spring)

We visited in November and really enjoyed visiting the park at the time. The combination of cooler temperatures, fall colors, and minimal crowds made for a great short visit. If you are visiting during peak times, especially in the summer, you will need to factor in more drive time. Do not expect to the have any of the trails to yourself.

Driving through Great Smoky Mountain National Park in late Autumn

Fun Fact:  Smoky Mountain National Park is FREE to visit.  

That is correct, this park is one of the only National Parks you can visit for free. This land was once owned by the state. When the state transferred ownership to the federal government in the 1930s, it was agreed upon that no fee would ever be charged to enter this area.  


We hope this guide helps you plan your trip to Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Anything else you would add to our guide?  Any other day hikes you would recommend?  We would love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment. 

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!

Kenai Fjords National Park and Seward, Alaska Quick Guide


Harding Icefield in Kenai Fjords National Park

Seward, Alaska, located about 2 hours southwest of Anchorage, is the entry to Kenai Fjords National Park.  This national park is well-known for it’s hiking, most notably the Harding Icefield trail, and vast wildlife.  We recommend spending 2-3 days in Seward to allow enough time to explore the park.  Here is our quick guide on Seward, Alaska and Kenai Fjords National Park. 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!


What to do in Seward


Hike Harding Icefield Trail in Kenai Fjords National Park

Harding Icefield View in Kenai Fjords National Park

This is truly the hike of a lifetime.  If you only do one hike in Alaska, do this one.  Not only is it unforgettable for us because of the pristine and diverse scenery along the trail but also because it is the trail where we got charged by a bear.  See Top 5 Most Picturesque Alaska Hikes and What you can Learn from Being Charged by a Bear in Alaska posts for more details. 

This hike is 8.2 miles round trip with 3,812 feet of elevation gain. Add a mile if you hike to the base of glacier before or after.

Views hiking up to the Harding Icefield

Looking for great hiking boots?  Here are links to the ones we’ve used for 6+ years and highly recommend: Men’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots & Women’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots


Visit the base of Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park

As an alternative or in addition to hiking the Harding Icefield trail, you can hike a shorter, less than 1 mile, trail to the base of Exit Glacier in Kenai Fjords National Park.  As you hike on this trail, it is very interesting, yet sad,  to see the Glacier recession points over time.  

Base of Exit Glacier

Kenai Fjords National Park Boat Tour

Active Glacier onboard our Kenai Fjords National Park Boat Tour

Other than hiking the Harding Icefield trail and visiting Exit Glacier, take a boat trip is the best way to access Kenai Fjords National Park.  On our 6 hour day tour, we saw an active glacier as well as a lot of wildlife including orca whales, humpback whales, puffins, sea lions, seagulls and sea otters.  No wildlife sightings are guaranteed but the tour companies–through knowing the areas well, using binoculars and communicating with other ships in the park–make their best effort to find as many sightings as possible.  There are several different companies you can use for a tour but Major Marine tours has some of the best online reviews and is the only one with a National Park Ranger aboard. 

Wild Sealions in Kenai Fjords National Park

Major Marine Kenai Fjords National Park Boat Tour

Tip: We recommend doing a full day tour that goes further out into the national park, past the protected Resurrection Bay waters.  You get to go to an active glacier and are more likely to see wildlife on these longer tours.  However, if you easily get motion sick, like Natalie, you may consider doing a half day tour that stays within the protected waters.  Natalie did feel queasy at times on the full day tour, but she felt the motion sickness was worth the extra wildlife and glacier views. 


Hike to Vagt Lake

Vagt Lake outside of Seward, Alaska

This trail was so serene and felt untouched by human activity.  The trail takes you through a beautiful forest before bringing you to the secluded Vagt lake.  While hiking on this trail, we saw no other people but certainly thought we were going to see a bear with how much bear scat we saw along the trail and the heavy foliage around the trail. Make sure you are very “bear aware” here.  (See What you can Learn from Being Charged by a Bear post.)  This out and back hike is about 3.2 miles and there is an option to loop around the lake that totals a little over 4 miles.

View from where you park to hike the Vagt Lake trail

Tip: This trail was exceedingly hard to find.  It is not marked on google maps, not in the All Trails App and there are no signs on the Seward Highway to indicate where to exit to get to it.  If you google Vagt Lake, the trailhead slightly south of the lake and just off the Seward hiking, south of Lower Trail Lake.  It may take a bit of searching to find the trailhead but we think it is worth it.

Vagt Lake Hike


What/Where to Eat in Seward


Fresh Salmon

We got some fresh, locally caught salmon from the grocery store in Seward which we prepared at our Air B n B cabin.  This salmon was so fresh and delicious, we highly recommend buying locally caught fish. Since our Air B n B had a full kitchen, we did not eat any meals out in Seward so we do not have any restaurant recommendations here. 

Tip: We really enjoyed having a full kitchen and being able to make our own food, especially after some long days of hiking. We recommend accommodations where you can do your own cooking.  


Where to Stay in Seward


Cabin Mile Marker 23

Cabin outside of Kenai Fjords National Park

This Airbnb was one of our favorites.  This cabin felt remote but was located right off of the main Seward highway, about 20 minutes from Seward to the north.  We found this to be the perfect place to unwind and cook after some long days of hiking and exploring Kenai Fjords National Park.

Book your first Airbnb using this link for up to $65 off your first stay

Airbnb Cabin Mile Marker 23


We hope this post helps you plan your trip to Seward and Kenai Fjords National Park.  Anything else you’d add to our guide?  We’d love to hear your feedback or questions.  Please leave us a comment! For more Alaska information, please see Alaska Road Trip: The Perfect Guide.

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!

Talketeena, Alaska and Denali National Park Quick Guide


Denali National Park Savage River Loop on a Rainy Day

Talketeena, Alaska is a cozy town, about 2 hours north of Anchorage, that serves as the ‘Gateway to Denali’.  Most people stop here before continuing onto Denali National Park which is about 2.5 hours north of Talkeetna.  This small hippy-ish town has a Sedona-like vibe (see Sedona, Arizona Quick Guide).  The community here is kind, open and accepting of visitors as well as connected to nature.  We recommend spending 1-2 days in this fun little town and at least 1 full day in Denali National Park.  Here is our quick guide on Talkeetna, Alaska and Denali National Park. 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. That means that, at no cost to you, we may get a small commission if you purchase through these links. This helps us keep providing travel resources for you!


What to do in Talkeetna


Day trip or overnight trip to Denali National Park

Horseshoe Lake Trail near the Entrance of Denali National Park

Denali National Park is about 2.5 hours north of Talketeena and houses North America’s tallest peak, Denali (previously named Mount McKinley) as well as a vast amount of Alaskan wildlife.  We took a day trip to Denali National Park from Talkeetna where we visited the sled dog kennels, hiked several trails, got some astounding clear views of the Denali peak and explored the visitor center.  

Sled Dog Kennels at Denali
Some of the sled dogs at Denali National Park

Natalie’s favorite part of our visit to Denali National Park was visiting the sled dogs kennel.  If you are a dog person, you will love this experience, especially if you are missing your own pup from home.  Here, you can meet several sled dogs and learn about the history of their use in Alaska and the park.  

Hiking in Denali
Horseshoe Lake Trail

We hiked the Savage River Loop (2 miles round trip) and the Horseshoe Lake trail (3 miles round trip from Visitor Center).  If we had more time, we would have liked to hike the Triple Lakes Trail (9.5 miles one-way) near the entrance of the park or some of the trails further into the park.  Before researching Denali, we did not realize how few marked hiking trails exist within the park (relative to the park’s large size) and that most of the hiking in Denali is backcountry and unmarked.  

Looking for great hiking boots?  Here are links to the ones we’ve used for 6+ years and highly recommend: Men’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots & Women’s Keen Waterproof Hiking Boots

Denali Bus Tours and Driving in the Park
Views Driving in Denali National Park

Other than hiking or backpacking, the best way to see the park is through taking a partial or full day bus tour.  You can only drive the first 15 miles of the road that traverses Denali National Park.  After this point, you have to ride one of the park buses to anywhere else in the park you want to visit.  The road in the park continues to mile 89 but it takes 12 hours to drive to the end of this road and back (road is very narrow and winding, making it so the buses have to drive relatively slowly). 

We only drove the first 15 miles of the park to allow us more flexibility but if you really want to explore more of the park or increase your chance of seeing wildlife, you need to take one of these buses.  Also, be mindful that the parking lot at Savage River (Mile 15) is very small (less than 10 vehicles) and you may not be able to park here.  The parking lot at the entrance is very large and there are free buses to take you the first 15 miles. If you are camping or backpacking, you will need to park at the entrance. 

Why we didn’t do a bus tour

At the point in our trip when we visited Denali National Park, we did not feel the need to see more wildlife. We had already visited the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center (outside of Anchorage, see Anchorage, Alaska Quick Guide post), where we saw all of these animals up-close, and had been charged by a bear while hiking earlier in our trip (see post on What you can Learn from Being Charged by a Bear). 

Consequently, we opted not to do one of these bus tours as it would have involved a long day of riding on a bus (shortest bus tour offered is 4.5 hours and this one is not ideal for wildlife sighting but more for getting park history).  However, had we not already seen all of these animals up close or been charged by the bear, we would have wanted to do one of the half or full day bus tours in order to see some wildlife.  

Seeing the Denali Peak
Views of Mount Denali, south of Denali National Park gate

We were lucky that we were able to see the Denali peak on both our drives to and from the park as the peak is only visible on ⅓ of the days (due to cloud coverage a majority of the days). You can also see this peak from Talketeena on a clear day but you get better views as you approach the park.  

Tip: Make Denali National Park an overnight trip or several day trip if possible. If we would have had a day or two more, we would have camped in the park or stayed right outside of the park.  The park is large and mainly only accessed by bus or backpacking, making it difficult to experience the vastness of the park to with only a day trip.  We hope to go back to the park in the future to do a backpacking trip.  

Plan your visit Denali National Park


Explore downtown Talkeetna shops 

The vibe of this town–fun, eccentric and earthy–is well reflected in the shops.  We enjoyed visiting all the different little shops in town full of local art and unique items.  This was a relaxing way to spend several hours. 


Hike at Talkeetna Lakes Park

Talkeetna Lakes Park

This park is right outside of Talkeetna and has serene trails that make for an easy, relatively flat, hike.  We hiked the lake trail (3.2 mile loop) and had it completely to ourselves, making it very peaceful.


What/Where to Eat in Talkeetna

From Left to Right: Denali Brewing Company, Nagley’s General Store and Payo’s Kitchen

Denali Brewing Company

This restaurant has a stellar menu, full of fresh food options as well as a variety of different beers.  We enjoyed trying a flight of beers here and liked the food so much, we ate here twice.  

Denali Brewing


Payo’s Kitchen

This Thai restaurant was excellent.  The restaurant is run out of a trailer but do not let that fool you. The food is great.  The dining area attached to the trailer is simple but nice.  If you are lucky enough, you will have a chance to talk to the very kind, local owner.  This restaurant is several miles outside of town but was the perfect place to stop for dinner on the way back from Denali.  There are also some simple Cabins on the same property here that you could rent if you want to stay somewhere a little bit outside of Talkeetna (would be less expensive than staying right in-town).  

Payo’s Kitchen


Nagley’s General Store

This cute general store is the best (and most economical) place to get ice cream in-town.  We highly recommend the Caribou Caramel flavor! 


Talkeetna RoadHouse Bakery & Restaurant 

See below Talkeetna Roadhouse information 


Where to Stay in Talkeetna

Talkeetna RoadHouse

Talkeetna Roadhouse Dining Room

This eclectic hotel/hostel has a homey feel and is located right on main street in downtown Talkeetna. We stayed in a private room here but there are options for hostel style rooms all the way up to private cabins.  Breakfast is not included with your stay but there is a cute restaurant and bakery at the front of the roadhouse that you can easily get a very delicious, and filling, homestyle breakfast or pick up some baked goods.  There is also pid laundry on site if needed on your trip. We really enjoyed our stay here and would highly recommend it.

Talkeetna Roadhouse  


We hope this post helps you plan your trip to Talketeena and Denali National Park.  Anything else you’d add to our guide?  We’d love to hear your feedback or questions.  Please leave us a comment! For more Alaska information, please see Alaska Road Trip: The Perfect Guide.

And remember, Always Have A Trip Planned!