18 Presidential Sites That Aren’t Just for Old People!

If you follow along on our adventures, then you might know that we love a good historical site! This honestly didn’t start with me, although I highly encouraged it. My boys became fascinated with the things they were learning about in school and therefore, their curiosity got the best of them, and they wanted to visit some of the places that they were studying in social studies class! And of course, I’m also an elementary teacher so I would never discourage their love of learning and I jumped right on board and started planning US history trips across the country! It’s worked out great because my kids are learning and I am bringing valuable knowledge back to my classroom at the same time.

We’ve had the opportunity to explore several different historical destinations in the country, but I’m mostly focusing on Presidential sites that we’ve visited in different states. This is a small list compared to every site that is open and available to visit. I have a lot of destinations on my list that we just haven’t gotten to yet, so remember that I’m only sharing those that we’ve actually ventured to today. Keep reading to learn about some wonderful places to visit that people of all ages can enjoy!

Historical Sites to Visit for President’s Day Weekend

Washington DC

Washington DC. – Obviously Washington DC is a great place to start if you’re interested in exploring historical sites. There are so many fascinating places in DC, it’s one of my favorite cities to visit in the entire US! You can also add in museums, a Capital Building tour, eat some amazing food, and more!

So cool being behind the White House gates!

The White House – You can’t visit DC without seeing the White House! It took us three different trips before we were able to get tickets to go inside for a self-guided tour! If you can, I highly recommend a visit inside. How cool is it to say you’ve been in the President’s house?

This is the view from inside the White House looking out at the Washington Monument!

Click here for my complete guide for getting tickets to the White House!

Washington Monument – The Washington Monument is easily one of the most recognizable monuments in DC. But did you know that you can go inside and ride an elevator to the top? Jett really wanted to do this while we were visiting, so we looked into getting tickets. They do offer some online to reserve, I believe the cost is $1.00. Otherwise, you can wait in line when the visitor center out front opens and grab free tickets for the number of people in your group! Jett and I woke up early one morning and waited in line for about an hour (maybe a little under) and got tickets for our family of four for later in the day. It’s really cool inside and the views from the top are great!

Posing with the Washington Monument behind us!

National Mall – The National Mall is also a must see destination in DC. It’s a wonderful area to walk around, take in the sights, and play or relax on the grassy area if the weather is nice! We really enjoyed taking a nighttime guided bike tour of the monuments along the National Mall! I highly recommend this activity! If you would rather do your own tour, there are plenty of maps online and in the area and you can explore all of those monuments and statues on your own! I suggest visiting the National Mall both during the day and at night!

The Lincoln Memorial, one of our DC favorites!

Ford’s Theatre/Petersen House – Abe Lincoln has always been a favorite of ours, so we just had to visit Ford’s Theatre and the Petersen House across the street. Ford’s Theatre is sadly where President Lincoln was shot and the Petersen House across the street is where he was taken and later died. Both are open for tours and even though it’s sad, it’s very informational. Ford’s Theatre has a small museum that you visit first before going inside the theatre. Lincoln’s seats have been memorialized, but you’re able to view them and then listen to a Park Ranger share the events that led to this fateful assassination. We were all so engaged in this Ranger led talk, even my five year old was completely interested in the story. Once the talk is over, you go across the street and can see the bed that he died in and more artifacts from that era.

These are the balcony seats Lincoln was sitting in when he was assassinated.

Click here for my complete Washington DC travel guide!


Mount Vernon – George Washington lived at Mount Vernon, which sits right on the Potomac River, about 13 miles from Washington DC in Alexandria, Virginia. This is an amazing day trip from DC if you’re in the area. We spent about half a day here, touring the house and the grounds. I loved the colors and décor inside the home and sitting outside on the back porch. I can only imagine how it really was back in those days so long ago. We learned a lot on the visit, good and bad. We also visited George and Martha Washington’s tombs on the property, as well as, the slave quarters and the slave cemetery. The best part was exploring the museum, which actually had a pair of George Washington’s false teeth on display!

Posing in front of George Washington’s home!

Monticello – Thomas Jefferson has such a unique home outside of Charlottesville, Virginia. It’s filled with treasures and artifacts mostly brought back from Lewis and Clark’s expedition. It was fascinating, his home was more like some kind of exotic museum! Pictures inside the home are not allowed, but trust me its super cool! We also got some insight on some of his own personal inventions that are in the home. Needless to say, we really enjoyed the guided tour and learning more about our 3rd President! The grounds are great to explore and also very educational. There is a special video inside of Sally Heming’s slave quarters, be sure to check that out if you’re able to visit. And don’t forget to stop by his gravesite on the property, too.

Posing in front of Thomas Jefferson’s home!

The Ruins of Presidents Park – This is such a unique place to visit! Long story short, there was a Presidents Park in Virginia that went out of business around 2010. The park included huge busts of all the presidents from George Washington to George W. Bush. These busts were moved to a new location outside of Williamsburg, Virginia and were basically ruined in the process. Now they sit in all their eerie glory and you can visit! We really enjoyed exploring the busts, it was such a fun and different experience than most of our travels! We also really loved the presidential trivia at the end.

The Ruins of Presidents Park!

Click here for my complete travel guide to the Ruins of Presidents Park!


Philadelphia – Not only is Philadelphia an amazing city to visit, there’s so many historical sites that you can see, as well! Around the city you might see people dressed up in time period clothing and you should definitely be on the lookout for tour guides dressed as Ben Franklin or George Washington! My kids really enjoyed this part.

I can’t believe we were inside of the room that the Declaration of Independence was signed in!

Independence Hall –Independence Hall is known as the birth place of our country. Y’all, the actual chair that George Washington sat in is still there! I might have a cried a little on our tour. I am just so fascinated with this part of our nation’s history and the Park Rangers there do a great job of sharing what they know! I left there with more knowledge and respect for some of our founding fathers. How cool is it to see the room that the Declaration of Independence was signed in?

We really enjoyed the people dressed in time-period clothing!

Congress Hall – Right next door to Independence Hall is Congress Hall, which is the building that housed the first two presidential inaugurations. The Ranger Led talk about the first inaugurations was very informative. I highly recommend checking this out if you plan to visit the area.

Click here for my complete travel guide to Philadelphia!

Washington Crossing Historic Park – This was such a random stop for us on the drive from Delaware to New York City, but we all had fun! I don’t recommend centering a trip around this destination, but if you happen to be in the area, then you should definitely make the stop! Basically, this site preserves the spot that George Washington crossed the Delaware River. This image is extremely iconic, so it’s really cool to say that we’ve been here! It was a nice stop to get out and stretch our legs and explore the preservation of the area!

Fun stop on our road trip!

Click here for my complete Delaware to NYC travel guide!


Lincoln’s Home – If you find yourself near Springfield, Illinois you should totally stop by Abe Lincoln’s home! This was our first president’s home to ever visit and my boys and I sure did love it! You can stroll along the streets surrounding the home and it feels like stepping back in time. A Park Ranger will give you a guided tour of the home if you have tickets. You can purchase these at the Visitor Center, which is right by the parking lot.

I just adore this home!

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library – Down the street is the Presidential Library and Museum, which is fantastic for kids! This museum was truly great for all ages, but I really marveled at how well done it was to keep kiddos engaged. Abe Lincoln has always been a favorite of mine, so it was really fun to explore the different artifacts in the museum and learn more about him! Springfield is just a really cool city with lots of different things to explore related to our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln!

This Presidential Museum was fascinating!

Click here for my full Springfield, Illinois travel guide!

Galena, Illinois – We traveled to Galena, IL this past August and I basically knew nothing about this place until we started planning our Midwest road trip. Let me tell you, this little town is so patriotic and rightfully so! It’s the former hometown of President Ulysses S. Grant. Here, you can explore Grant Park and even take a guided tour of his home! It was really interesting learning about him, I don’t feel like he was a president that I knew much about until touring his home. From all accounts he was a great general and a very interesting man.

Ulysses S. Grant’s home in Galena, IL


Lincoln’s Boyhood Cabin – Another fun stop for my family was Lincoln’s Boyhood’s National Monument in Lincoln City, IN. The actual cabin is not still standing, but there is a memorial in place where it would’ve been located. There are other cabins in the area that were built to recreate the Lincoln farmstead and the grounds are gorgeous. We did some easy walking along the Trail of Twelve Stones, just imagining what life would’ve been like for a young Abe Lincoln. This trail has different markers that review the major events in Abe Lincoln’s life. The Visitor’s Center looks very interesting, too. But unfortunately it was closed when we visited during the pandemic.

Can you believe how small the cabin was?


George W. Bush Presidential Center – We had the opportunity to visit this presidential library and museum in Dallas this past summer and had a wonderful time! I had forgotten how funny George W. could be until we visited and saw different videos of him in the museum. The artifacts were very interesting, my boys were really excited to see how much his family loves baseball! There wasn’t a lot here geared for kids, but we all still enjoyed the visit!

This was one of our favorite rooms in the museum!

Click here for complete Dallas, TX travel guide!

If you visit Dallas, be sure to check out The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. I can’t believe that we haven’t gone to this museum yet, but it’s definitely on my list! Here you will learn more about President JFK’s assassination and you can see the exact spot that he was shot. There’s also a memorial for JFK in the area.

South Dakota

Mount Rushmore – For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to see Mount Rushmore in person. We finally had the chance a few years ago and this trip is still one of my favorites! The entire park had way more than I was expecting! It was really fun to walk along the trails through the Black Hills and see the monument from different vantage points. We also enjoyed the informational plaques along the hiking trails that gave more insight on the monument, the construction, and facts about each of the represented presidents!

Amazing views!

Click here for my complete South Dakota travel guide!

As you can see, there are several different presidential sites across the US that are really interesting! If you love learning, if you love history, if you love this country, then I highly recommend checking some of these destinations off your list. President’s Day makes for a great, long weekend to explore some of these places and you might just learn something new at the same time! Happy travels, my friends!

10 Amazing State Parks to Explore This Year

Do you crave getting outside and exploring new places? Does your family enjoy activities like hiking, camping, or kayaking? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then I highly recommend visiting your nearest State Park!

It seems like National Parks are all the rave right now, but State Parks are just as amazing! Plus, there’s way more State Parks out there to explore than National Parks. Keep reading to learn about our favorites across the US and why we love them!

Dead Horse Point State Park – Utah

Hands down, one of the most beautiful views we’ve ever seen!

Did you know that the vista from Dead Horse Point State Park is one of the most photographed scenes in the world? Once you visit, you’ll totally understand why! In my honest opinion, I prefer this state park over the Grand Canyon. The views are breathtaking, the hiking was easier for the kiddos, and the location in relation to Moab and the National Parks in the area made for an amazing trip!

We visited in March over our spring break and felt like we had the whole entire place to ourselves! I loved the views and the pictures I was able to take of my family here. The boys loved exploring and climbing around on the rocks (not anywhere close to the edge, I promise). You’ll come across this park right before Canyonlands National Park, so we enjoyed the easiness of seeing both places in the same day!

Click here to for my complete Moab, UT travel guide!

Hunting Island State Park – South Carolina

I love visiting unique beaches!

If you have kids that love to run and climb, then take them to this beach! We visited this state park over spring break in March, so the weather was still quiet chilly and too cold to swim at the beach. That didn’t stop any of the fun, though! This is an awesome beach to visit to search for shells and shark teeth, too!

My boys loved climbing on all of the driftwood along the shore. And they also had a blast running through the trees and bushes farther away from the water. They made little forts under the trees and played together for hours while the grownups relaxed to the sounds of crashing waves! It was nice to see how much fun these brothers had playing together and we have the best memories of this day! I loved the Marsh Boardwalk, so be sure to check that out!

  • Website: Hunting Island State Park
  • Address: 2555 Sea Island Pkwy, Hunting Island, SC 29920
  • Phone Number: 843-838-7437
  • Entrance Fees: $5 per person, $3 for kids ages 5-16

Click here for my complete South Carolina travel guide!

Maquoketa Caves State Park – Iowa

So far, this state park is my most favorite!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, this state park is AMAZING! I only spent half a day here exploring the caves, but I could’ve stayed for days. Picture it, you’re deep in the forest walking along trails that you know lead to different caves. Limestone bluffs surround you. And then you spot the first cave opening and the true adventure begins!

This state park is considered to be Iowa’s most unique and I couldn’t agree more! There are about 13 caves to explore and inside the caves it stays about 55 degrees, even in the summer! Plan to wear hiking boots, bring a flashlight, and prepare to get dirty! It really is a memorable adventure. I’m not sure who enjoyed this place the most, my kids or myself!

  • Website: Maquoketa Caves State Park
  • Address: 9688 Caves Rd, Maquoketa, IA 52060
  • Phone Number: (563) 652-5833
  • Entrance Fees: We didn’t pay a fee when we visited!

Click here for more information about our trip to Maquoketa Caves State Park!

Emerald Bay State Park – California

Have you ever been to a lake that looked like a beach in the Caribbean?

This is another beautiful state park. We kept saying that it felt like we were at the beach and not at the lake! I really enjoyed the hiking trails, the trees are huge and the views along the way are stunning. The beach area at the lake is also great for relaxing, picnicking, swimming, and renting kayaks, canoes, and SUP boards.

We rented a kayak and explored on the water! It was so much fun. We paddled out to an island and got to hike around it and up to the ruins on top. The weather here is also amazing, not too hot at all and we visited in August. We enjoyed snorkeling here, too and just relaxing along the shore after a day on the water and hiking in the area. California is just so dreamy!

  • Website: Emerald Bay State Park
  • Address: 138 Emerald Bay Rd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
  • Phone Number: (530) 541-3030
  • Entrance Fees: $5 per vehicle to park

Click here for my complete South Lake Tahoe travel guide!

Custer State Park – South Dakota

The hiking in this state park is a must!

This is one of the most memorable state parks we’ve visited, probably because it was the first long hike we took our boys on! The Black Hills of South Dakota are already pretty fantastic, but add in this state park with lake access, wildlife galore, and rugged hiking trails and the experience is one you’ll remember for a lifetime!

If you’re able to visit, be sure to check out the Sunday Gulch Trail. It’s not the easiest trail, but it is so much fun! Who wouldn’t love hiking over streams and around waterfalls? Seriously, besides driving through the park and taking in the sights, the trail is my most favorite memory here!

  • Website: Custer State Park
  • Address: 13438 US Highway 16A, Custer, SD 57730
  • Phone Number: (605) 255-4515
  • Entrance Fees: $20 per vehicle

Click here for my complete South Dakota travel guide!

Dinosaur Valley State Park – Texas

Kids love hunting for dinosaur tracks here!

We come to this state park for the dinosaurs! Where else can you go hunt for dinosaurs tracks? Here, you can find them in different places along the riverbed of the Paluxy River and walk right in them if you choose to! After all, Glen Rose is known as the Dinosaur Capital of Texas!

We’ve always enjoyed bringing our boys here on warm summer days. The river is a great place to cool off and we all really enjoy hunting for those dinosaur tracks! You can also camp, hike, and look for wildlife here. Glen Rose has a lot of other options in the area, from a drive through wildlife park, to campgrounds, river floats, and more!

  • Website: Dinosaur Valley State Park
  • Address: 1629 Park Rd 59 Glen Rose, TX 76043
  • Phone Number: (254) 897-4588
  • Entrance Fees: $8 per adult, age 12 and under are free

Click here for my complete Glen Rose travel guide!

Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park

I have never seen trees so tall and forest trails so quiet and serene!

There’s not a lot of words that describe just how magical these groves of trees are. And the pictures I took definitely do not come close to showing the massive size of them. Truly an unforgettable day of hiking and exploring and a place that I personally feel everyone should visit if given the chance!

I’ve never seen my boys so happy out in nature. They were impressed with the views, but loved exploring the most. They ran, played, climbed on tree logs, crawled through downed trees, and just acted like kids. It made my mama heart so happy. The Redwoods are unforgettable and this park is a place that we all want to visit again!

Click here for my entire Pacific Coast travel guide!

Robbers Cave State Park – Oklahoma

We felt like outlaws on the run here at this park!

Nestled in the San Bois Mountains of Oklahoma sits Robbers Cave State Park. The landscape and hiking trails are just as legendary as the infamous outlaws that used to flee to the caves to hide.

We find ourselves going back time and again because it’s fairly close to us and it’s just such a fun and easy getaway. The kids love exploring the caves in the area and climbing all the rocks that dot the landscape behind the cabin rentals. We enjoy sitting around the fire pit roasting marshmallows and watching our kids doing all the things that kids like to do when out in nature!

  • Website: Robbers Cave State Park
  • Address: 2084 NW 146th Rd, Wilburton, OK 74578
  • Phone Number: (918) 465-2562
  • Entrance Fees: $3 per person

Click here to my complete Robbers Cave travel guide!

Smith Falls State Park – Nebraska

Short hike to an impressive waterfall, yes please!

This was a surprisingly wonderful stop on our road trip from Texas to South Dakota! We happened to see this state park sign off the road in Nebraska and decided it would be a great place to get out and move around after driving all day. It ended up being so much more than we had expected!

We were utterly shocked at the size of the waterfall we found at the end of a fairly easy walk. Even more surprising though, was that nobody else was there! This is a place that I hope to explore more of one day!

  • Website: Smith Falls State Park
  • Address: 90165 Smith Falls Rd Valentine, NE 69201
  • Phone Number: (402) 376-1306
  • Entrance Fees: $12 nonresidents, $6 residents

Monahans Sandhills State Park – Texas

Being a kid is so fun!

This is another state park that my boys give two thumbs up to! I don’t know your thoughts on sand, but my kids love it! So, can you imagine their delight when we pulled up to a park full of sand dunes for miles and miles? This is a great stop if you’re driving through Texas towards New Mexico. We stopped here along the route to Carlsbad Caverns!

If you visit, bring a sled or something to slide down the dunes on and let the kids run free! There are great facilities to shower off in after a day of playing in the sand. Trust me, it will be everywhere, but totally worth it!

  • Website: Monahans Sandhills State Park
  • Address: Exit 86, 2500 I-20, Monahans, TX 79756
  • Phone Number: (432) 943-2092
  • Entrance Fees: $4 per day for ages 13 and up

As you can see, there are so many amazing places out there to explore! If you find yourself on an adventure, look to see if there are any state parks in the area. I promise you won’t be disappointed! We love adding state parks to our itinerary. They are typically very inexpensive and offer a wide range of activities for all the different interest levels in our family.

Be sure to check back in on the blog to see just which state parks we add to our list this year! We have some fun plans in the works that I can’t wait to share with you all. If you have a favorite state park, I’d love for you to share. As always, happy travels!

Best Destinations for Every Month of the Year

If your New Year’s Resolution is to be more adventurous, but you’re not sure where to start, then you’ve come to the right place! In our family, we truly believe in experiences over things and travel ranks very high on my list of priorities. If I could, I would travel somewhere every month. Now that the boys are older and involved in little league sports, it’s harder and harder for us to get away as much as we used to. Nonetheless, I’ve compiled a list with our tried and true travel recommendations for every month of the year that I hope inspires you to get out there and explore a little more of this amazing country!

January: Winter Park, Colorado

We took family photos on our last trip to Winter Park!

What better way to ring in the New Year than a trip to the snowy mountains? This is usually our go to winter adventure destination and I am here to tell you that there is something in Winter Park for everyone! Maybe you’re an adventure seeker and snowboarding or skiing is the thing for you.

My youngest and me snowboarding together!

Maybe you want a more restful start to the New Year and would love to cozy up in a cabin and watch the snow fall out the window while sipping hot chocolate! Either way, Winter Park is one of my most favorite winter destinations in Colorado! If you get the chance to go, make sure to check out the tubing hill and you have to eat at Hernando’s Pizza Pub!

We love all the ski lodges in Winter Park!

Click here for more details and our full Winter Park itinerary!

February: San Antonio, Texas

Winter at The Alamo!

Texas is a great state to visit in the winter months if you’re looking for something a little milder than cold, snowy mountains! The best times to visit San Antonio fall between November and April due to milder temps and less crowds. We enjoyed strolling along the River Walk, without needing bulky jackets, and touring The Alamo without the summer crowds!

The River Walk

The average daytime temperature in February is around 65 degrees and only 5 days of rain are expected this month. Even though it’s typically mild during the day, be sure to pack for chilly nighttime temperatures. You’ll never regret visiting this destination. The food is outstanding, the history and missions are incredible, and everyone is friendly down in Texas! Be sure to reserve your tickets in advance to visit The Alamo and add Natural Bridge Caverns to your itinerary!

Another view of the River Walk

Click here for more information on visiting San Antonio!

March: Moab, Utah

Dead Horse Point State Park in Moab, UT

Our first trip to Utah was in early March a few years ago. To date, this trip has been one of my all-time favorites and I really credit the two National Parks here for inspiring us to visit more throughout the years. We initially traveled to Moab to visit Arches National Park and ended up riding UTVs on some intense trails, seeing petroglyphs, canyons, wildlife, and even some snow!

An amazing excursion, we all highly recommend!

This is a fantastic spring break destination, the crowds are much smaller than those in the summer. It will still be chilly here in early March, but it is warming up. You can expect temps to range from 30-60 degrees, so bring layers. Like I mentioned before, it snowed on us one day during our visit so be prepared for unpredictable weather! Check out Wilson Arch on your way in to Moab! It’s a short walk to a stunning arch outside of the National Parks, right off the highway!

Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park!

Click here for our full Moab itinerary!

April: Orange Beach, Alabama

Orange Beach sunset

I have found that I prefer to visit the beach in the spring when it’s not so hot, humid, and crowded! Orange Beach was the perfect spring destination for us! It was still warm enough to play in the ocean and the restaurant waits were non-existent. We didn’t have many plans for this trip, besides relaxing on the beach and eating as much seafood as possible!

These boys were all smiles our whole visit!

The average April temps here fall between 60-70 degrees. But don’t let that fool you, we all got super sunburned! Be sure to grab dinner or lunch at The Hangout, kids will love the hourly foam party! If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway surrounded by emerald water and white sand beaches, then you’ve got to visit Orange Beach, AL!

Sunny and hot in April!

Click here for more information about visiting Orange Beach, AL!

May: Sedona, Arizona

Munds Wagon Trail to Bell Rock

Sedona has been on my bucket list forever and my boys finally decided to take me over Mother’s Day weekend last May. It was such a special trip! My main goal in visiting was to hike around those stunning red rock formations and my dream came true. Sedona is such a mystical place, it was truly an epic adventure.

Cathedral Rock trail

May is a very popular time to visit because the temps are ideal for getting outdoors. The average high this month is around 82 degrees and the lows are around 50 degrees. This makes for the best hiking conditions as it’s not too hot in this desert climate. The trails are also popping with wildflowers galore, adding to the picturesque scenery! I cannot recommend this destination enough!

We made it to Bell Rock!

Click here for more details and our Sedona, AZ itinerary!

June: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

We walked along the bridge from New Jersey to Philadelphia!

Our very first visit to Philadelphia was in June a couple of summers ago. The weather was absolutely perfect the entire time we were there, which was great since we walked everywhere! I always love walkable cities, especially since I live in a more rural area in Texas. And while we were savoring our week in Philly with 80 degree days, the temps were in the upper 90s at home!

The boys loved playing in this fountain right in the middle of Philly!

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and all of the early-American history this city proudly showcases. Even the boys really enjoyed all the history and seeing the places they’ve learned about in person! There is so much to do in Philadelphia, we weren’t able to do it all in one visit. I’d love to take another trip here and would likely visit again in early summer! Take the double decker bus tour when you first arrive to map out all of the places to explore on foot later!

Independence Hall behind the boys!

Click here for our full Philadelphia itinerary!

July: Rapid City, South Dakota

Mount Rushmore

Another wonderful summer vacation was spent in Rapid City, South Dakota. Who knew this entire area was so rugged and beautiful! We hiked, we caved, we explored, all the while enjoying the most pleasant summer weather! And I still remember how amazing this little town smelled, too!

Custer State Park

While we didn’t visit Mount Rushmore on July 4th, I think it would be a really cool experience to be there for the firework celebration! There truly is a lot to do in the area, the landscape is stunning, and it remains one of my favorite road trips to date! If you are in decent shape, hike the Sunday Gulch Trail in Custer State Park. It’s a challenge, but the trail is awesome!

Sunday Gulch Trail in Custer State Park

Click here for our full itinerary on visiting South Dakota!

August: South Lake Tahoe, California

Secret Cove Beach

If you’re looking for a dreamy destination, you should head to South Lake Tahoe! Most kids are headed back to school this month, so I am recommending this destination as an adult getaway! Jereme and I celebrated our anniversary here right before I went back to school last August. It was pretty hot, but the good thing is, there’s plenty of water to cool off in!

Emerald Lake

We spent our time here around the picturesque beaches and on the water as much as we could. It was a quick trip for us, but we really, really enjoyed this getaway. I have never seen lake water so clear in all my life! We felt like we were in Mexico looking at the Caribbean. There’s nothing better than some nice quality time with the one you love in a gorgeous location! If you’re craving something peaceful and serene, then head to Lake Tahoe! Rent kayaks at Emerald Lake State Park and take a leisurely trip out to the island to hike around ruins on top!

Trail to Secret Cove Beach

Click here for more details and information about our trip to South Lake Tahoe!

September: St. Louis, Missouri

Gateway Arch National Park

September to October is considered the best time to visit St. Louis, MO and I couldn’t agree more! Our trip to Missouri was taken in very early Oct. several years ago. We were originally scheduled to visit in mid-September, but unfortunately we all got Covid and felt awful and had to push our trip back about a month. The average daily temps are typically in the lower 80s and can be quiet chilly at night! I recommend packing layers!

We stayed at the Hyatt to the left in this photo.

St. Louis is a very dog friendly location, so we brought our pup with us! She enjoyed the outdoor sites, just like we all did. I had no idea how much Lewis & Clark history there is in St. Louis! We did a ghost tour, visited Gateway Arch National Park, and you have got to check out the City Museum. It is the coolest museum we’ve ever visited!

View from the hotel room!

Click here to see more about our trip to St. Louis, MO!

October: Saugatuck, Michigan

There is something truly special about those Michigan beaches!

Cool, crisp weather and ideal leaf peeping is what you’ll find if you travel to Saugatuck, Michigan in the fall! I had the opportunity to visit Michigan for the first time ever and I am ready to go back. I had no idea how stunning and picturesque these quaint waterfront towns could be.

I still cannot get over the colors!

The weather in Saugatuck is in the 60s, the perfect temps for cute sweaters and booties! If you can, take a road trip along the Michigan coast and check out towns like St. Joseph and New Buffalo! We actually stayed in New Buffalo and I highly recommend lodging at The Marina Grand Resort!  Saugatuck is the most adorable waterfront town and the Wicks Park Bar & Grille serves delicious food and provides cozy flannel blankets for outdoor dining!

Wicks Bar & Grille

Click here for more information about my visit to Michigan!

November: Washington D.C.

The boys playing football in front of the Washington Monument.

I have had several trips added to my favorites list, but this one is hands down my most favorite family trip of all time! I wanted to visit DC with my boys and decided to look into this location for a possible trip during our Thanksgiving break. It was highly recommended as a great time to go, because everyone leaves the city that’s there for business. The weather was stunning, we dressed in layers and only needed our jackets early in the morning.

The view from the top of the Washington Monument.

We enjoyed the cooler weather as we ventured along the streets and sidewalks taking in all of the historical sights! It was so neat to watch the boys’ excitement as they got to see things from their textbooks in real life! The only downside is that the White House is closed for tours because it’s undergoing Christmas decorating this week. We ventured to George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon, we explored all of the monuments and memorials at both day and nighttime, we ice skated outdoors, we ate delicious food, and made memories to last a lifetime!

Lincoln Memorial

Click here to learn more about why DC is my favorite trip & to grab our full itinerary!

December: New York, New York

Christmas decorating in New York is next level!

I had to include the Big Apple, even though I technically visited the city the last week of November and not actually in December. But there is something truly magical about NYC at Christmastime. It’s cold, it’s crowded, it feels grimy, it smells bad BUT it is still so beautiful! I absolutely love New York, no matter what time of the year. I’ve been six times, still have tons of things on my list I haven’t seen or done, and I cannot wait to plan another visit! I just adore how festive NYC feels around the holidays. If you get the chance to travel in December, I cannot recommend a trip to New York enough!

Radio City Music Hall

It was pretty chilly the week were here and we needed coats and hats and gloves. But with the right attire, we had a wonderful time! I recommend doing all of the normal touristy things, while enjoying the holiday decorations. Watch the Saks Fifth Avenue storefront at night, the lightshow is amazing! Venture down by Radio City Music Hall for a show and to see the décor in the area. It will not disappoint. Christmastime in New York should be on everyone’s bucket list!

We loved visiting at Christmastime!

Click here to see how we spent our week in NYC!

I hope you found these travel recommendations helpful! Be sure to check back soon to see what we’re up to this year. Happy Travels!

Top 10 Hikes Across the US

It’s no secret that a lot of our road trip adventures have led to some pretty epic hiking destinations! I am sharing my top 10 favorite trails that we have hiked so far. These trails are all suitable for my boys that are under the age of 12!

10. South Kaibab Trail to Ooh-Aah Point at Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

We visited the Grand Canyon in November over Thanksgiving Break. I really wanted to hike down into the canyon, so we decided we would take the rim walk from Mather Point to the Kaibab Trail and hike down to Ooh-Aah Point. If I am being honest, I would have really liked to hiked rim to rim. But that just wasn’t an option with our boys. I also looked into mule rides to the bottom, but you have to be 9 and older and Jake was only 7 at the time. So, we did the hike and trail that we thought the boys would be able to handle the best. We ended up hiking 8 total miles because we went past Ooh-Aah Point. The views were truly stunning the father down into the canyon we hiked. The switchbacks on the start of the trail were really cool, until the hike back up! Just remember that however far you hike down, you must hike back up. And while we didn’t go that many miles down, it was very hard for me to get back up and I am in pretty decent shape. I am thankful that the weather was cooler, I cannot imagine doing that hike in the summer temps. The photos will never do it justice!

Click here for our Grand Canyon Trip Itinerary!

9. Hidden Falls Trail in Grand Teton National Park, WY

We were able to spend a couple days hiking in the Grand Tetons this past June on our Yellowstone Road Trip. I really enjoyed every hike, but this one was so peaceful and beautiful! This hike starts at the Jenny Lake area, so we decided to head that way and grab lunch at the store right at the trailhead. From here, we followed the trail around Jenny Lake. If you don’t want to hike, you can purchase tickets for a boat ride across the lake that drops you off about a mile from Hidden Falls. We decided to take the hike since we had been riding in the car so much on this trip! The views are fantastic around the lake and we even saw a deer along the trail. Before getting all the way to Hidden Falls you will eventually see a bridge with a raging river running under it. This is a great place to stop for photos! We stopped in this area and had a picnic snack on the rocks and just watched the river roar by underneath us. From this spot, it’s about a mile or less to the Hidden Falls. This waterfall is majestic and another great location for photos!

  • Hidden Falls Trail Information:
  • Distance: 4.9 mile out & back
  • Time: 2.5 hours
  • Location: Grand Teton NP, Jenny Lake area, Jackson, WY
  • Rating: Easy/Moderate
  • Grand Teton National Park website

Click here for our Grand Teton National Park Itinerary!

8. Lake Haiyaha Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park, CO

The hike to Lake Haiyaha was one of the toughest I have ever done. But I am beyond thankful that we persevered and made it to the lake because it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen! I visited Rocky Mountain National Park this past October for a long weekend of hiking. RMNP is one of my favorite places on earth, but this was the first time I have ever hiked to Lake Haiyaha. The majority of the hike is up a steep incline and there were several times I wanted to give up and turn around. When you finally even out on the incline, you are then faced with several yards of boulders that you must scramble over to get to the lake. Once you do, the sight is amazing! Especially right now since a rockslide over the summer turned the lake a unique shade of blue! This is one hike that you don’t want to miss! And this is one of two listed hikes that I didn’t take my boys on, but I know that they would have loved the rock scramble. Please keep in mind that you do need timed-entry reservations for Rocky Mountain National Park from early spring through the fall.

  • Lake Haiyaha Trail Information:
  • Distance: 4.0 miles out & back
  • Time: 2 hours+
  • Location: Rocky Mountain National Park, Bear Lake area, Estes Park, CO
  • Rating: Hard
  • Rocky Mountain National Park website

Click here for my Fall in Rocky Mountain National Park Itinerary!

7. Munds Wagon Trail to Merry Go Round Rock in Sedona, AZ

We traveled to Sedona over Mother’s Day weekend in May last year. Our first hike of the trip was on Munds Wagon Trail, which is about 8 miles out and back. AllTrails had the hike at 6.4 miles, but I clocked us at 8.1 miles with all of the extra exploring and climbing we did along the trail. I would rate this trail as moderate, especially if you’re hiking with kids. We needed to stop for food quite a bit. Luckily the majority of the hike is uphill on the way to Merry Go Round Rock, which makes the hike to the car mostly downhill. The views are stunning and the trail was very well marked. We really enjoyed all of the hikes we did in Sedona, but this one had those infamous Sedona red rock views the entire way and that’s why I picked this one as my favorite!

  • Munds Wagon Trail Information:
  • Distance: 6.4 miles out & back
  • Time: 3 hours+
  • Location: Coconino National Forest, Sedona, AZ
  • Rating: Moderate

Click here to for our Sedona Itinerary!

6. Delicate Arch Trail in Arches National Park, UT

We visited Moab over our Spring Break in March. On our first day in Moab we decided to spend the day hiking at Arches National Park. I had to see Delicate Arch, so that was our first hike for the day. I kept a close watch on the live webcam at the ticket area, and never saw long lines to get into the park. We arrived around 10 am. I am sure it’s much busier during the summer. This was our first visit to Utah, so I didn’t really know what to expect at the Park. But it ended up being super easy! Take the map that is offered to you at the ticket area. The park has signs along the way and we were able to find the Delicate Arch hike fairly easy and we enjoyed the sights along the drive. What I love about this Park is that even people that can’t hike can enjoy almost everything! There are places to pull over and view the famous landmarks or you can park and hike to them. We knew that the hike to Delicate Arch would be the longest and hardest of the trip so we started there first. I am not going to lie, it was pretty hard in one part that is a very steep incline. The rest is fairly easy and the walk back down was no trouble at all. The kids did great and we saw people of all ages and ability levels able to do this one. And I promise that the view at the end is amazing! I also loved that everyone waited turns to take photos under the arch and we all offered to take photos of each other. Please keep in mind that you need timed-entry reservations for Arches National Park starting in early spring through the fall.

  • Delicate Arch Trail Information:
  • Distance: 3.2 miles out & back
  • Time: 1.5 hrs
  • Location: Arches NP in Moab, UT
  • Rating: Moderate
  • Arches National Park website

Click here for our entire Moab, UT Itinerary!

5. Stout Memorial Grove Trail in Redwood National & State Parks, CA

There are several different parks that make up the Redwood National and State Parks, so I had a hard time deciding which area to visit. We settled on Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park and the Stout Memorial Grove Trail to hike. I am so happy with this decision, we had the most amazing day in the Redwoods and ended our hike with a beach walk that was absolutely stunning! We encountered maybe 4 people on this day, at both the Redwoods and the beach! So, I highly recommend a visit if you want to experience a National Park with no crowds. The road to this trail does turn into a packed dirt road, but our 2 wheel drive rental car had no issues making the trip! Our boys loved climbing all the fallen trees, especially after being in the car for so long the day before. The pictures don’t really do it any justice, I have NEVER seen trees so big and tall in my life.

  • Stout Memorial Grove Trail Information:
  • Distance: 0.7 mile loop
  • Time: 30 min+
  • Location: Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park in Crescent City, CA
  • Rating: Easy
  • Redwood National & State Parks website

Click here for our entire Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip Itinerary!

4. Sunday Gulch Trail in Custer State Park, SD

My favorite day in South Dakota was hiking in Custer State Park! I can’t even begin to describe the trail we hiked. I came across images of the Sunday Gulch Trail and knew we had to do it. I am not going to lie, there were tears shed around the 2.5 mile mark from my oldest kiddo. (We didn’t know he was actually getting sick with a fever/cold at the time). This hike is 3.9 miles long, it’s labeled as a HARD trail with a lot of uphill and downhill hiking, trekking through water, over rapids and streams using rocks or tree logs to get across. It was so much fun, but so much work. I can’t even describe how beautiful the sights were and my pictures just don’t do it justice. We could’ve explored this park for 3-4 days! I didn’t get many shots of us on the crazier parts of the trail because I had to help pass our little one off to Jereme and didn’t want to drop my phone in the water. But trust me, it was so cool! We packed a picnic lunch and found a nice, shady area to eat and then took off. It cost us $20 to get into the park, but that includes a 5 day pass to return. There are bathrooms, a store/souvenir shop, canoe rentals, and probably more than I even saw. After the hike, the kiddos and Jereme jumped into the lake for a freezing cold swim!

Sunday Gulch Trail Information:

Click here for our Texas to South Dakota Road Trip Itinerary!

3. Secret Cove Beach Trail in South Lake Tahoe, CA

Secret Cove Beach was one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever visited. The hike is not very long, roughly a mile from the parking lot. There are not a lot of signs marking the trail, but we still had no trouble finding the secret cove. It is a clothing optional beach, I would never go nude, but didn’t mind if others did. However, we didn’t see anyone else without swimsuits on. We were there pretty early and it felt like we had the entire cove to ourselves. We explored the trails above the cove and just took in the sights, then hiked down to the beach and relaxed on the shore and took a few swims.

  • Secret Cove Beach Trail Information:
  • Distance: 0.9  mile loop
  • Time: 30 minutes+
  • Location: Carson City, NV
  • Rating: Easy

Click here for our South Lake Tahoe Itinerary!

2. Emerald Lake Trail in Rocky Mountain National Park, CO

We visited Rocky Mountain National Park in July a couple of summers ago. On our first day here, we were so excited and decide to head to the Park right before 4:00 pm, and didn’t wait in line for more than 5 minutes to enter. We drove right to the Bear Lake parking lot, used the restrooms at the trailhead, and began the hike to Emerald Lake. It was AMAZING!!!! The signs along the trail were easy to follow and take you around two other lakes, Nymph Lake and Dream Lake, before getting to Emerald Lake. Our boys, ages 10 and 7 at the time, did great on this one. I absolutely love this hike and this National Park! Please keep in mind that you need timed-entry reservations to Rocky Mountain National Park from early spring through the fall.

  • Emerald Lake Trail Information:
  • Distance: 3.2 mile out & back
  • Time: 2 hrs
  • Location: Rocky Mountain National Park, Bear Lake area, Estes Park, CO
  • Rating: Easy/Moderate
  • Rocky Mountain National Park website

Click here for our entire Rocky Mountain National Park & Beyond Itinerary!

1. Lower Caves Trail in Maquoketa Caves State Park, IA

If you are craving a unique travel adventure, then look no further! What makes this State Park so incredible is that it has 6 miles of hiking trails and 13 caves to explore, completely on your own. My family loves visiting caves, but usually that comes with a guided tour and a time limit on your caving experience. Not this place! You park your car and your adventure begins! There are no guides, no time limits, just a nicely marked trail system to venture at your own pace. My boys loved this adventure just as much as I did! We started with the lower caves, so that involved walking down wooden stairs to get inside the caves. There were different places for the boys to climb and explore, and if you have kids, you know that they love to climb and explore! I could not get over all of the geological features and was just in awe the whole time! We will definitely venture back to Iowa just to hike these caves again!

  • Maquoketa Caves Trail Information:
  • Distance: 1.7 mile loop
  • Time: 1 hour+
  • Location: Maquoketa Caves State Park in Maquoketa, IA
  • Rating: Easy
  • Maquoketa Caves State Park website

Click here for more information and photos of Maquoketa Caves State Park!

Helpful Hiking Tips: Bring plenty of food and water for the day, wear sunscreen and reapply often, use bug repellent, bring a first aid kit, take a swimsuit or change of clothes/shoes, expect to get wet, and have a blast!

Budget Friendly Hiking Gear Recommendations

This post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission if you purchase any items using the links provided at no extra charge to you.

I would love to hear what your favorite trails are! If you have a favorite trail or a recommendation, leave me a comment. And as always, thanks for following along on our adventures!

Texas to South Dakota Road Trip Itinerary

The Fosters in front of Mount Rushmore!

Hey y’all! Well, I’m writing from Cody, WY today as we wait for our Yukon to be worked on. We were not expecting that the whole computer system would go out on our drive back home. But, we’re at a nice little Inn that’s in a great location and Cody is a beautiful little town. So, I decided I might as well blog about this trip while it’s fresh on my mind. Plus, I’ve had several friends reach out to me asking how I planned this trip to begin with, so I thought I’d list out our itinerary for others to use. We definitely didn’t see or do it all, but we had the best time!

Honestly, South Dakota wasn’t even my original destination. I wanted to visit the Redwood Forests in California but didn’t think that Jereme would want to drive that far. He hates road tripping haha! And when looking for plane tickets and rental cars, I got a little overwhelmed. It just so happens that my 2nd grade son’s class was learning about the presidents and monuments around the USA. He quickly became fascinated with Mount Rushmore and when I looked at the distance, I realized that a 15 hour drive would be totally do-able. I mean we drove to South Carolina over spring break and that was a 16 hour trip! We decided to book our trip from June 23-29th and we would be able to celebrate our 15 year anniversary and Jake’s 5th birthday while we were there. Once I had dates in mind, I went to Pinterest and read other travel blogs for inspiration. I had no idea there was SOOOOOO much to do in South Dakota!

I discovered that Rapid City, SD is a nice size town with a lot of lodging and dinner options. I’ve mentioned before that I use Expedia.com to book most of our hotels using the book now/pay later option. I found a fun Best Western with a water slide and was sold! We booked it that day and I had a few months to plan out our week. We decided that on the drive up to South Dakota, we would just go straight there the quickest way. Below is the route we took. We stopped in Grand Island, Nebraska for the night after driving most of the day.

Screenshot of our route to Rapid City, SD

Day 1: We left around 10:00 am on Sunday, June 22nd. The drive to Nebraska was about 8 hours. It was so beautiful. On the drive, I started googling fun places to visit and used some of the billboards along the route and found that we were really close to Smith Falls, which happens to be the largest waterfall in Nebraska. Of course, we had to stop there! That took us a little ways off of the route and added about 2 additional hours total with the extra driving and exploring the area. It was totally worth it!

Scenic overlook on the drive to Smith Falls State Park

My sweet Jake at the scenic overlook!

Smith Falls

Family photo in front of Smith Falls

Jereme and the boys!

The trail leading to the waterfall!

As you can see, it was a really neat stop after driving all day. The entire path was labeled and most of it was on a boardwalk through the forest. My boys loved it! From here, we drove to Grand Island, Nebraska and stayed at the Ramada by Wyndham for the night. And let me just say, this hotel had the best free breakfast buffet that we’ve ever had by far!

Day 2: After a restful night, we got up and finished the drive to Rapid City, SD. The drive from Nebraska to South Dakota was gorgeous.

Murdo, SD

We got caught in a small storm during the drive

We booked our week at the Best Western Ramkota Hotel in Rapid City. It was great! The best part was the water park inside the hotel and the crazy slides that the kids LOVED! We went to the water park every single night! I highly recommend this hotel too, especially if you have children with you!

How cool is this place!?

My boys going down the slides!

Day 3: Now to the fun stuff! We decided to head to Mount Rushmore first! The kids were so excited to see it and I really wanted to visit this place on our anniversary! I had no idea that it would be so neat. I honestly thought we’d just look at the monument and be on our way. I was totally wrong! The drive from Rapid City to Mount Rushmore took about 30 minutes and it was a really scenic drive. Most attractions are between Rapid City and Mount Rushmore, so that was really convenient for us! And I loved that the roads were very easy to navigate and there are signs everywhere, too that are helpful.

Tunnel on the highway right before Keystone, SD

When we came around a corner up in the mountains near Mount Rushmore, it suddenly came into view, and it literally brought tears to my eyes. I’ve been wanting to visit this monument since I was about 20, which is when Jereme and I really started traveling together. It was just pure excitement in the car!

First glimpse of Mount Rushmore

I could probably post a thousand pictures of this monument, but I won’t haha! Even though is was crowded, we really had a good time. I had no idea that there are different trails and areas to view this monument from different angles. One of my favorite parts is that there are different stops along the trail throughout the park with informational plaques about each of the 4 presidents represented (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln). These are strategically placed and when you look up, you get the best view of the president mentioned. The cost to enter the park is a $10 parking fee. There’s also a gift shop, places to grab food/drinks, some of the old tools used to build the monument, and the original plans for the carvings. Here are some of my favorite pictures from Mount Rushmore National Park!

Happy 15th Anniversary to us!

My favorite picture!

The only problem we had the whole day was that a pine cone fell out of a tree, hit Jake on the forehead, and cut it! Hahaha! He was so mad!

After exploring Mount Rushmore we decided to head to Crazy Horse Memorial. It’s about a 30 minute drive from Mt. Rushmore. I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned that Jereme is Native American, so this was special for him. The cost to get into this memorial is $30. It also has a place to eat, which we took advantage of. I love buffets, and it did not disappoint. There’s also different artifacts to look at from the Sioux Indian tribes in the area. We did not take the bus closer to the memorial, but we still enjoyed our visit. I recommend taking binoculars if you aren’t going to take the bus to get a closer look!

Crazy Horse behind Jereme

This is what the memorial will look like when it’s complete! It will be bigger than the pyramids in Egypt!

The drive from Mount Rushmore to Crazy Horse was another scenic drive. We stopped at a lake and explored a little before meeting back up with the Morgans.

We decided to end our day at the National Presidential Wax Museum in Keystone, SD, which is on the way back to Rapid City. It cost around $32 for my family to enter. We all had a great time! Here are just a few of the pictures from inside.



Check out their shirts! Thanks Miss Carrie!

The teacher in me loved this part!

After spending a few hours at Bear Country USA, we decided to head to Keystone to explore the downtown area. It’s a quaint little area with lots of food, drinks, and souvenir shopping! We ate at a Mexican food place called, Guadalajara’s. It was yummy!

Keystone, SD

We had to take a picture in front of this Bigfoot, in Bigfoot shirts!

While we were eating we decided to go check out Rushmore Cave. I think it cost my family around $42 for the cave tour. It’s an entire adventure park, but we just chose to do the cave tour. We had a great tour guide, Kaden and he did an excellent job of telling us the history of the cave. I don’t think I’ve ever been inside a cave with so many tight squeezes! I absolutely loved it!

As you can tell, these kiddos loved the cave tour!

From the cave, we went to… you guessed it! Back to the hotel water park!

Day 5: Day 5 was probably my favorite day in South Dakota! I can’t even begin to describe the trail we hiked around Custer State Park. I came across images of the Sunday Gulch Trail and knew we had to do it. I am not going to lie, there were tears shed around the 2.5 mile mark from my oldest kiddo. (We didn’t know he was actually getting sick with a fever/cold at the time). This hike is 3.9 miles long, it’s labeled as a HARD trail with a lot of uphill and downhill hiking, trekking through water, over rapids and streams using rocks or tree logs to get across. It was so much fun, but so much work. I can’t even describe how beautiful the sights were and my pictures just don’t do it justice. We could’ve explored this park for 3-4 days! I didn’t get many shots of us on the crazier parts of the trail because I had to help pass our little one off to Jereme and didn’t want to drop my phone in the water. But trust me, it was so cool! We packed a picnic lunch and found a nice, shady area to eat and then took off. It cost us $20 to get into the park, but that includes a 5 day pass to return. There are bathrooms, a store/souvenir shop, canoe rentals, and probably more than I even saw. After the hike, the kiddos and Jereme jumped into the lake for a freezing cold swim! Helpful Tips: Bring plenty of food and water for the day, wear sunscreen and reapply often, use bug repellent, bring a first aid kit, take a swimsuit or change of clothes/shoes, expect to get wet, and have a blast!

Screenshot of the Sunday Gulch Trail from Jeremy Morgan’s phone


Jett at the end of the hike!

We took the iconic Needles Highway back to Keystone after we left Custer State Park, which is an adventure in itself. It’s over 30 miles long with over 300 curves and switchbacks, pigtails, and tunnels. I had to do the driving because I get so carsick, but the speeds are so slow that I was honestly fine the entire drive. Jereme was the photographer for us this time! Next to our hotel was an Olive Garden and we headed there and I ate pasta for days!

Me driving inside a tunnel

The Morgans ahead of us

After dinner the kids suddenly felt better and had enough energy to close the water park down at the hotel!

Day 6: Today was Friday, June 28th and our little guy’s 5th Birthday! Jake wanted to go on another hike before we had a small pool party/cake for his birthday that night. We decided to explore The Badlands National Park and wow, what a sight! It’s another gorgeous place with land forms that are hard to describe. The only bad part about this day, is that it was so HOT! The temps had been mild, in the 70’s all the other days of our trip, but on this day it felt like we were back in TX! We didn’t stay as long as we wanted to because of the heat. It cost $25 to get into this park and there are several marked trails to take as soon as you park your car. We hiked the Notch Trail which was 1.5 miles round-trip and had a log ladder that we had to climb for great views! Since it was hot, we took a scenic drive through the park back to Wall, SD.

The Birthday Boy!

When we left The Badlands, we visited Wall Drug which was recommended on every blog I came across. To be honest, I could’ve skipped out on this one. It was a neat place, we had great ice cream and bought some cute souvenirs. But it wasn’t a must for my family. For some reason, I didn’t take a single picture at this stop! We then headed back to our hotel and had some birthday cake for Jake’s birthday and spent the rest of the evening at the hotel water park, of course!

I can’t believe we have a 5-year-old!

Day 7: Sadly, we had to check out of our hotel today and start the journey home. We had a really great plan to explore a few different states on the way back to TX. Our plan was to drive to Sturgis and Spearfish Canyon, SD, venture into Wyoming, cut up to Montana to Devils Canyon Overlook, then head down to Casper, WY for the night. Then the following day, we planned to drive down to Denver for lunch, explore Garden of the Gods and Pike’s Peak in Colorado Springs, before heading to Pueblo, CO for the night. From there we would have a 10 hour drive to our house. We had hotels booked, but God had another plan for us and I’m choosing to look at this situation as a divine intervention. We did get to drive through Wyoming and up to Montana, but right when we got to Lovell, WY our Yukon basically lost all power. We were stranded, luckily right outside of a restaurant full of helpful people, while we had to wait 4 hours for a tow truck to come get us. I quickly canceled all of our hotels and found one in Cody, WY and that’s where we still are, 2 days later. The mechanic said the Yukon should be fixed by noon tomorrow, so we’re hopeful that we’ll be home by Wednesday (July 3rd).

Here is our original plan for the drive home, feel free to use if you’re road tripping from SD – TX!

Rapid City to Devils Canyon Overlook

Devils Canyon Overlook to Casper, WY

Casper, WY to Pueblo, CO

We took the scenic bypass through Spearfish Canyon and I am so glad we did! We stumbled across Bridal Veil Falls by accident and had a quick hike up to see the waterfall up close! Below are just a few of our favorite pictures. Helpful Tips: You have to cross over a large stream to get to the falls. Bring extra shoes, I did great crossing over the rocks on the way to see the waterfall. Then I fell into the stream in tennis shoes on the way back across!

From here we crossed over into Wyoming, not knowing we’d still be here days later haha! This is such a beautiful state, I guess there are way worse places to the stranded.

Here are some of my favorite pictures of our drive through Wyoming! As you can tell, we stopped at most of the scenic overlooks throughout this trip.

Once you get close to Lovell, WY, you take a quick right off of highway 37 and drive about 10 minutes and cross into Montana to Devils Canyon Overlook. It was totally worth the drive, this place was fascinating. Some describe it like Wyoming/Montana’s Grand Canyon!

From here our plans changed and that is ok! I have learned a few things during this trying situation. First, my family is pretty great. We all handled this dilemma exceptionally well and nobody panicked. I only cried once and that was when waitresses at the restaurant we were at heard about our situation and paid for our food. I was just overwhelmed with all of the kindness from complete strangers! Second, you can have some of the best thought-out plans, but they can change really quick and you just have to roll with it and stay positive. Third, I have never in my life been more thankful that I live in a small town close to my family and friends! Fourth, I will never take owning a car for granted again. It has not been fun being without one for the past two days!

So there it is, our Texas-South Dakota (and more) itinerary! One day, Carrie may decide to start blogging from her perspective, too! They had a great trip, and made it back to Texas on Saturday night! You’ll want to stay tuned for her trip because they visited Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota before meeting us in Rapid City! And y’all say a prayer for us, hopefully we make it home soon!