Browsing Category

Road Trippin

North America Road Trippin

Which National Parks Should Be on Your Bucket List This Year?

When you think about your list of perfect destinations, are you considering traveling domestically this year? If this sounds like you, then it’s time to refresh your travel bucket list and think about what places you want to visit.

Given that city escapes are a little too overpopulated right now (and most of us have been stuck in a city metropolis for what feels like too long), then expansive and outdoorsy sounds exactly right this year. A visit to a National Park is certainly going to be high on the list of easy decisions for travel.

Here are four National Parks that shouldn’t escape your attention if you’ve never been to them before (or are up for a follow-up visit now).

Rocky Mountain National Park

The Rocky Mountain National Park is simply perfect if you’re looking for impressive landscapes, wildlife, and interesting trails to explore.

There are alpine overlooks to get the best views, trails that lead to lake destinations, and plenty of waterfalls to see. Anyone who loves forested areas will also particularly enjoy a visit to the Rocky Mountain National Park.

The park is just one of the featured places from the National Park Foundation that focuses on protecting the natural beauty of these national parks for centuries to come. Their guide to Rocky Mountain notes that this is the perfect place to camp, as they have 5 established campgrounds to choose from. Just make sure you book early as it fills up fast!

Biscayne National Park

When you want tropical heat and lush surroundings, it’s difficult to find somewhere better for it than Florida.

While the trails are minimal because of the landscape, this National Park is best explored by boat or using boat tour facilities to get around. Still, you can try your hand at one of the five hiking or walking trails in the park, but once you’ve done this, it’s sensible to get on the water for the best experience.

The trail that starts at the Dante Fascell Visitor Center is perhaps the easiest to walk because the walkway is paved along the coastline. It’s not much more than half a mile, so most reasonably fit people can make it, despite the warm Florida weather.

Whether you take a trip on the water or walk for a bit, we’d recommend wearing sun sunscreen and a hat to protect yourself from the Florida heat.

Zion National Park

The Zion National Park features epic landscapes dating back centuries.

The park is situated between the Mojave Desert, a Plateau, and the Great Basin. This provides for an incredible ecosystem with canyons, arches, monoliths, rivers, and mountains.

There’s plenty of hiking in nature here. Also, horse ranches are scattered about if you fancy getting on horseback and covering some distance that way.

It’s worth noting that some of the hiking lasts for several hours duration and will require a good degree of fitness. For instance, the Angels Landing hike covers considerable undulating ground over 4 hours. There are also some lifts in elevation along the way, which can cause shortness of breath for unfit people or those with asthma.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park

To escape some of the midday sun in the summertime, another national park worth looking at is the Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico.

The Carlsbad Caverns has become a National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its unique structure. The interior gets down to 56 degrees at times, which is a lovely respite from the outdoor summer heat. The caves are great for kids to explore and for parents to get the “Indiana Jones” feeling of exploration and adventure.

There are plenty of National Parks to visit and get away from it all. And even when those are all ticked off your bucket list, there are recommended State Parks that are interesting in their own right.

North America Road Trippin

Is California The Ultimate Place For A Road Trip? We Think Yes.

Is California The Ultimate Place For A Road Trip? We Think Yes.

There’s a certain mystique about hitting the open road. The charming notion of packing your bags and departing into the great unknown is a well-loved form of travel for many reasons. The spontaneity, the romance of freedom, the wind whipping through your hair, the ultimate optimistic desire to just explore. A road trip is just as romantic as it is classic.

California’s iconic sunshine, endless outdoor experiences and ever-changing landscapes is a dream come true. For the road tripping Dame Traveler, we’re here to declare that we believe The Golden State is the ultimate road trip destination.

So, pack your bags and sunglasses, roll the top down and let’s explore one of our favorite California road trip routes! Additionally, we love this collection of itineraries and photo diaries. Or for the most book loving traveler, check out this 50 Amazing Road Trips guide. It’s the perfect coffee table book to sift through!

Highway 1 From San Francisco To San Diego

The most classic of road trip routes – Highway 1 – is beloved for good reason. The iconic stops along this approximate 5 day, 583 mile stretch is the perfect itinerary for the California new-by or aficionado, alike. Think beach-y coastlines, surf culture, rugged mountains, wine country and some of the hippest West Coast cities all rolled up into one trip! Although you could probably squeeze this route into four days if you wanted, we’d suggest spreading it out a little more so you have more time to enjoy and explore outside of your car.

Day 1 – San Francisco​​​​​​​

Start your California road trip of a lifetime in San Francisco. Famous for its many rolling hills, delicious eateries, progressive, trendy neighborhoods, the City by the Bay is an ultimate must-see while exploring Cali.

Some of our must see stops? The Golden Gate Bridge (of course), Alcatraz Island, Presidio neighborhood, Mission Dolores Park district, and the Ferry Building Marketplace. You can read more of our San Francisco favorites here!​​​​​​​

Is California The Ultimate Place For A Road Trip? We Think Yes.

Day 2 – Big Sur & Moro Bay

California’s iconic coastline, Big Sur, awaits road trippers with open arms. After a long stretch of driving north, you’ll be ready to hit the trails for a little bit. Luckily, this 90 mile long waterfront area is stocked with magical red wood forests and fog-laden beaches. (Be sure to stop at Bixby Bridge for a serious photo op!)

Is California The Ultimate Place For A Road Trip? We Think Yes.
Is California The Ultimate Place For A Road Trip? We Think Yes.
Is California The Ultimate Place For A Road Trip? We Think Yes.
Is California The Ultimate Place For A Road Trip? We Think Yes.

After enjoying some of the state’s epic natural wonders, hop in the car just a big longer and explore Moro Bay. It’s the perfect place for whale watching, noshing on some fresh sea food and exploring the “Gibraltar of the Pacific.”

Is California The Ultimate Place For A Road Trip? We Think Yes.

Day 3 – Santa Barbara

Have a day to yourself in “The American Riviera” – simply because Santa Barbara’s architecture, temperate climate and big city treats can’t be overlooked. Santa Barbara is the quintessential dream come true for sun-lovers. So, if you’re a road tripper who needs some TL-Vitamin C therapy, this city is definitely a must stop destination on your trip.

Is California The Ultimate Place For A Road Trip? We Think Yes.

Day 4 – Los Angeles

Of course, no quintessential California road trip would miss out on a day trip to the glamorous and cinematic Los Angeles. Famous for its film industry, you might see a celebrity or two if you’re lucky. Visit the beloved Walk Of Fame, Rodeo Drive, and the Griffith Observatory. But LA’s differing neighborhoods are really where it’s at – hipster Silver Lake, beachy Santa Monica, quieter Manhattan Beach, green Los Feliz, and swanky Beverly Hills (to name a few). Pick a couple that suits your travel style and explore… just be sure to plan ahead for lots of traffic!

Is California The Ultimate Place For A Road Trip? We Think Yes.

P.S. If you’d like to extend your road trip a little longer, add a day in California’s wine country! And fear not. You don’t necessarily have to be a wine aficionado (although if you are, we have a list of destinations to add to your bucket list) to appreciate its beauty.

Day 5 – San Diego

End your journey in one of California’s waterfront charmer – San Diego! Enjoy the cities seemingly endless sunshine while you explore its charming neighborhoods like Little Italy, the East Village, North Park and Balboa Park (for a trip to see the beloved San Diego Zoo).

If you’d rather finish your road trip with a low key vibe, roll out a towel on the beach’s shoreline. Rent a paddle board or kayak, surf, or kick it with a fresh picnic. Ocean Beach, Mission Beach or Pacific Beach are great choices! Feeling a little more adventurous? Go check out La Jolla nearby or explore San Diego’s incredible shopping and sip on some of its up and coming craft breweries.

Is California The Ultimate Place For A Road Trip? We Think Yes.
Is California The Ultimate Place For A Road Trip? We Think Yes.
Is California The Ultimate Place For A Road Trip? We Think Yes.

A Road Trip For All Types Of Travelers

Highway 1 really offers a varied glimpse at California’s wonders, doesn’t it? It’s a beloved stretch for wanderers for a reason. One of the things that really makes California unique is that its history and varied environments offers something special for everyone. Desert oddities? Check. Star-gazing and ghost towns? Check. National parks? Check. The eclectic adventurer will be delighted by its variety of road trip stops and itineraries.


California dreaming yet? Hope to see you out there on the open road, Dame Travelers!

Post sponsored by Visit California

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. All opinions are my own.

Advice Road Trippin

Owning A New RV: How To Get Started

Buying an RV requires thorough research because it is not an easy decision to make. It is not just about buying an RV. You need to learn how to tow and drive it. Knowing how to maintain and when to take your vehicle to the shop are also essential. An RV is a long-term investment. This is why if you decide to own one, you need to take full responsibility in keeping it in great shape. It is also vital that you understand the picture that investing in RVs entails.

Factors to consider when purchasing an RV

Once you have decided to take the plunge, there are several factors that you need to consider:

  • The reason you are buying an RV
  • The person who will be responsible for the RV
  • The place where you will be taking the RV to
  • The type of RV
  • The features you need
  • The features you want

Many choices will make the selection process a bit overwhelming. You can narrow down your selection by knowing what you need and what you want. Having an RV offers plenty of benefits. You can add features or customize them based on your preference.

Types of RV

RVs come in different types. You have to know each of them, so you will understand their functions and give you an idea of the kind of RV you need. These types are towables and motorhomes. Towables will require a separate vehicle for it to be towed. The motorhomes, on the other hand, can be driven. The type of RV you choose will depend on your comfort level. When it comes to the cost, both types entail the same expenses. The only difference is the feature that comes with the vehicle.

If you prefer towables, then you also have to invest in a towing vehicle. Some of the towable vehicles you can buy are SUV and trucks. So when purchasing towables, you should also consider the towing vehicle as part of the expense. If you already have a towing vehicle, you will need to factor in comfort when searching for towables.

When easing yourself into the RVing lifestyle, truck campers, small travel trailers, and pop up campers are ideal for you. If you want more room, choose mid to larger travel trailers. More often than not, most towables have the same features and functionality, but they differ in size.

Should you finance an RV?

Once you have decided the type of RV you are going to buy, the next thing you need to work out is your budget. RV is a significant investment that requires a vast amount of money. This is why many RV dealers are also offering to finance through a variety of lending firms. You can finance your RV by taking out a car loan from your bank or a third party lender. However, you need to make sure that you have a good credit score. You also have to check how much you are willing to pay for the down payment.

Financing, without a doubt, is easier said than done. If you have the option to finance through your RV dealer, you will be able to get the closest interest rates as your bank so long as you have good credit. If you decide to finance your RV through a third party lending firm, expect to pay a higher interest rate.

Buying a new RV

A new RV takes a few weeks to assemble. There are some cases when you get the RV directly from the manufacturer. This means that the vehicle aside from being brand new is also packed with features. This can be the most expensive option to consider, but it comes with plenty of benefits.

Getting a full warranty from the manufacturers is one of the benefits of buying a new RV. There is no need to worry about wear and tear, damage or other issues because your vehicle is new. You can also customize the car based on the color or room layout of your choice.

Keep in mind though that when you are buying a new RV, you will also have higher insurance premiums. There is also a substantial likelihood of investing in a towing vehicle if you do not have one. You might also be required to shoulder additional expenses if the RV or trailer has not yet been customized.

If you prefer to buy a used RV, you can save money and get cheaper insurance. You can also repair, upgrade components and customize the vehicle. However, used RVs also have their own set of drawbacks. You will not know if there is damage as it is sometimes invisible. This will mean that you need to invest in repairing the RV before hitting the road. The upgrades can also make you spend a significant amount of money.

North America Road Trippin

5 Reasons San Mateo County Makes The Perfect Girls Getaway

5 Reasons San Mateo County Makes The Perfect Girls Getaway

Emma’s sister. Laura’s friend. We all know the feeling of being identified by association, don’t we? Even though our accolades may pale in comparison to that of our more famous companions, we all crave (and deserve) our own identity. And in California – I dare say – there’s a county that feels that same way. Of course San Francisco is well known, and if you book a flight there, you fly into San Francisco International. The airport itself is actually nestled in San Mateo County, which often gets lumped in with its more illustrious northern sister, but I guarantee that this “little sister” can provide fun in big ways for a spectacular girls getaway.

The Wineries

Gather the gals and make a weekend out of taking in wines. Imagine sampling spirits crafted with locally grown grapes, wandering among the vines, or savoring a full glass while overlooking the scenery. Or choose to do all of the above!

For unparalleled mountainside views be sure to put Thomas Fogarty Winery on your list. Grapes are grown on the property, and the vineyards add to the stunning landscape. The bay is visible from their lawn, which gives cause to sip the day away while soaking in the natural beauty of the area as you chat with friends.

If you prefer an urban landscape, Domenico Winery is conveniently situated in San Carlos. With a warehouse vibe and on-site eateries (circa mid-2018), this location offers over 20 varietals and is steeped in family tradition and Italian heritage. At certain times of the year you can try your hand at experiencing the art of winemaking during one of their classes.

5 Reasons San Mateo County Makes The Perfect Girls Getaway 5 Reasons San Mateo County Makes The Perfect Girls Getaway

The Culture

One location that combines arts, theatre, history and restaurants in one area is enchanting Redwood City. Its streetscapes lend themselves to walking so that you can shop and experience culture at the same time. The area boasts live theatre productions put on by Fox Theatre, Broadway by the Bay and Dragon Productions. Love shopping? Whether you are searching for fashions or collectibles, there is a bit of something for everyone. Also, learn a bit at the stately San Mateo County History Museum, and be sure to stop into LV Mar for Latin inspired, tapas style dining.

5 Reasons San Mateo County Makes The Perfect Girls Getaway

The Nature

Looking to commune with Mother Nature? San Mateo County is filled with opportunities. Whether you are intrigued by historic homes and beautiful gardens or crave earthy accommodations, the area has several options to fit the bill.

A trip to Filoli is certainly a memorable experience. Featuring seasonal activities such as flower shows and festivals, this circa 1915 sprawling estate boasts a stately, art-filled home along with lush gardens. Offering classes in floral design, botanical art and horticulture, your squad can attempt a new skill together. While you are there, feel free to take in a bite at the on-site Quail’s Nest Café, peruse the Clock Tower Shop, or take a self-guided walk on the Estate Trail.

5 Reasons San Mateo County Makes The Perfect Girls Getaway

Want to try glamping? Costanoa Lodge is the perfect place to try it out. With an assortment of cabins and tents, the options for housing are plenteous. If you choose the tented bungalows, comfort stations (read bathrooms with a sauna and outdoor fireplace) are available. An added bonus is an outdoor hot tub and much needed Wi-Fi. While you are experiencing Costanoa, be sure to rent bikes, go horseback riding or take a jaunt to the beach for a day of fun in the sun with the girls. Their on-site restaurant, Cascade Bar & Grill, focuses on sustainability, and if you have time, their coastal spa offers massage and aromatherapy treatments. The nearby Pigeon Point Lighthouse also offers beautiful photo ops to fill your Instagram feed.

The Spas

There is nothing quite like the peaceful music and natural scents that spa treatments offer. If spending a weekend lounging around in robes and treating your body to self-care sounds luxurious, then considering a spa vacation with the ladies is just the ticket for the perfect getaway. Wile away the hours as you ease away tension and leave feeling refreshed and revived.

Known for luxury, beautiful views and fine cuisine, the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay not only offers upscale accommodations and fine dining, but guests can delight in a massage or facial while staying on-site. For extra activities, you can explore the nearby beach or experience the golf course. Another option is to head to Main Street, which offers shopping, restaurants and more for a day of fun on the town.

5 Reasons San Mateo County Makes The Perfect Girls Getaway 5 Reasons San Mateo County Makes The Perfect Girls Getaway

Oceano Hotel & Spa offers a variety of services including detoxifying baths, seaweed wraps and invigorating body scrubs. If you crave seafood while you’re there, Sam’s Chowder House is close by as are kayak rentals for those who enjoy a bit of adventure. The rooms at Oceano are both spacious and comfortable with views of the boats docked in Pillar Point Harbor.

If you head to San Mateo County, I hope you’ll agree that the area stands on its own with lots of things to do for girls on the go. Bonus: Need to spend some time near the airport prior to leaving? Be sure to check out Kincaid’s for a fabulous capstone dinner with friends, and consider the Westin or Aloft to wake up refreshed before you head out of town.

Food Insider Tips North America Road Trippin Travel Planning

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

As a resident of Seattle, I have been fortunate to experience the beautiful destinations scattered around the Pacific Northwest. What I love most about this part of the country, is that you can spend each season differently and somewhere completely new, which is why I’d like to share with you my favorite spots for each season! Here is our insider’s guide to the perfect weekend escapes in the PNW.

Winter: Lake Wenatchee

Why Lake Wenatchee?

Tucked away in the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains is a glacier and snow-fed lake, known as Lake Wenatchee. If you love everything that comes with winter, then this is the perfect winter escape for you. Lake Wenatchee will give you the outdoor access most suited for snow shoeing, back country skiing and cross country skiing. The closest ski resort, Steven’s Pass is also about 20 miles away.

The Lake Wenatchee area has many options for lodging but I most often book through Airbnb. In fact, the best Airbnb I ever stayed at was at The Duncan Cabin.

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

It’s a rustic log cabin that was originally built in 1890 by Norwegian immigrants and was renovated in 2014. My favorite part about this dreamy cabin was making breakfast on the wood-burning stove; I felt like I was transported back in time!

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

Spring: Smith Rock State Park and Vantage, WA aka The Frenchman’s Coulee

When it comes to rock climbing, I couldn’t pick one place. Both Smith Rock and Vantage are equally as beautiful and both are worth checking out, but it really depends on the amount of time you have. Smith Rock is better if you have a long weekend 3+ days, and Vantage is best for a quick weekend trip. The Smith Rock road trip from Seattle is also stunning with beautiful views of Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge.

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

Why Smith Rock?

I mean, first of all look at this place…

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

Found in central Oregon, Smith Rock is not only breathtaking but has routes for all levels of climbers. Here there are more than a thousand routes that are bolted and waiting to be clipped into as well as miles of hiking and mountain biking trails.  

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

Why Vantage?

Similar to Smith Rock, Vantage is a popular destination for rock climbers with incredible rock formations along the Columbia River Gorge. It’s perfect for those looking to practice their belaying skills as well as those who are advanced climbers. Nearby you will find hikes with views of the columnar basalt and a seasonal spring waterfall surrounded by blossoms.

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

Note: If you’re a climber it’s best to come here in the spring before the high desert temperatures take affect. It’s also a great escape from the cool spring temps of Seattle. In the spring it reaches 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit and in the summer the temperatures can reach up to 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit.

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

Summer: Shi Shi Beach

Why Shi Shi Beach?

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

Located on the rugged Olympic Coast, Shi Shi Beach is the dreamiest beach in Washington. You can get here by car after you take the ferry from Seattle, but once you arrive at the trailhead it’s 8 miles round trip. Make sure you are prepared to hike in and out with your food, water (or water filter, there is a stream close by) and camping gear. 

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

Once your camp is setup, it’s time to explore! The sandy beaches are covered with white bleached logs and go on for miles. There are stunning rock formations, also known as Point of Arches at each end perfect for the eager photographer to capture during sunset. At low tide, you can search tidal pools where you’ll discover crab, fish and starfish hidden between the crags of the arches. At night, if you’re able to gather dried driftwood you can make a cozy fire and fall asleep to the waves crashing into the shore.

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

Fall: Leavenworth, WA

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

Two hours east of Seattle is the Bavarian themed town of Leavenworth. This little town is charismatic with twinkling lights strung through the whole town! With Oktoberfest, breweries, Bavarian cuisine, live music, shopping and more it’s definitely worth checking off your list this Fall!

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

Whenever I visit Leavenworth I stop at Icicle Brewery where I usually treat myself to their raspberry Hefeweizen or Chocolate Stout (warning: it tastes just like a milkshake). For dinner, I like to go to restaurants with live music and schnitzel, because when in Leavenworth, you must eat schnitzel! I’ve most often stopped at the Bavarian Bistro and Bar because there is no cover and they serve the best hot buttered rum in town that warms you up on a chilly fall night! It’s the perfect weekend escape in the PNW.

Bonus Location For All Of You Hiking Fans: Snow Lake

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

Snow Lake is a gorgeous hike 60 miles east of Seattle in Snoqualmie Pass. It is 6.6 miles round trip making it good for all ages and fitness levels. The trail goes up above the South Fork Snoqualmie River through forests and over a pass to a gorgeous alpine lake. In early fall, I like to pack up lunch, head up to the lake and spend the day with friends surrounded by the striking foliage.  

An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW An Insider’s Guide to the Perfect Weekend Escapes in the PNW

Limiting my favorite places to only a few was hard because there are countless places around the Pacific Northwest to be explored! However, I can say with certainty, that these have been the most memorable getaways for me and I cannot wait to discover more this spring! 

 

SaveSave

Top