Road Tripping

As you already know, because I couldn’t shut up about it, I went on an epic road trip with my cousin and his girlfriend in September. They were here for a total of three weeks, but unfortunately – as I previously lamented –  I couldn’t take the complete time off due to limited vacation time.
So we pieced together an itinerary over the last few months that would make it possible for me to travel with them for at least part of their trip while not using up any of my precious accrued vacation time. I did work some overtime before (and will work another couple of extra days after, like today!) to make up these hours and we took advantage of my long weekends.

There is no way I can recap our road trip in one post, so I thought I’d give you an overview of the three weeks and our travel itinerary and then recap the different stops in separate posts as to a) not overwhelm you with (mostly) photos, and b) to make it easier for back-referencing later, as I am trying to include some tips on how to do this road trip on the cheap (my cousin and his girlfriend are both students, so they were on a budget).

The hardest part was deciding on what we could actually fit into three weeks. I mean, you want to see as much as possible, but also not make this a not-too-rushed trip. Luckily, my travel companions were young and flexible, so we were able to push it a little bit.

So here’s our itinerary. I skipped out for a couple of days here in there for work, but mostly, I was able to do all the fun parts with them.

9/14 | fly to Las Vegas and then drive to Zion National Park
9/15 | Zion National Park
9/16 | Bryce Canyon National Park – drive to Page, AZ
9/17 | Lower Antelope Canyon – Horseshoe Bend – Monument Valley – Goosenecks State Park – drive to Moab, UT
9/18 | Arches National Park
9/19 | Canyonlands National Park – drive back to Las Vegas – fly back to Sacramento

We stayed in Sacramento from 9/20 – 9/24. I had to work for a couple of days and it gave B + M the opportunity to explore my city.

9/23 | Napa Valley 
9/24 | Napa Half Marathon
9/25 | Yosemite National Park
9/26 | Yosemite National Park – drive to Lake Tahoe
9/27 | Lake Tahoe – drive back to Sacramento – B + M drove on to Monterey and Santa Cruz

I had to work 9/28 and 9/29.

9/30 and 1/10 |  SF for the weekend

I know, we packed A LOT into three weeks, but we wanted to maximize our time and see as much as possible as it was M’s first time in the States. I mean, we can always go back for more, am I right? (Not that I am plotting my next trip in my head already, or anything.)

Have you been to National Parks? Which one is a must-go?

  1. Wow, that IS an epic road trip! I really want to go to Napa Valley and SF. So far I’ve only visited San Diego and LA. I’ve never been to a national park either- which one was your favorite? Looking forward to seeing your post on how to budget for a road trip!

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by… we really had a great trip. My favorite NP? I can’t really answer this, they’re all awesome for different reasons!

  2. WOW! Such an epic road trip! I have been to Mount Rushmore but that is it as far as National Parks go. There are so many on my travel bucket list!

    1. Oh, Mount Rushmore! I’d like to see that!

  3. Oh wow this sounds like such a great time. I’m glad you were able to make it work and experience MOST of this trip wit h them. I have not been to a national park, but someday maybe!


    1. I hope you get to go someday! The NPs are simply stunning!

  4. Sounds like you did a lot!

    1. We did… but so worth it!

  5. Zion and Bryce National Park are ALWAYS tops on my list of places to visit! I LOVE that you got to see so many things! AND so many DIFFERENT things. What an incredible adventure. It’s been years since I’ve been in Nevada and Cali, and I’ve been meaning to go back. Next time to see the parks, especially :) I’m looking forward to any budget tips you may have!

    1. I know we packed a lot into the short time, but it was fantastic!

  6. Those are amazingly-beautiful places. We’d love to hear more about them. My national park trips have been limited to the east coast. Acadia in Maine is special and it’s next to my favorite tourist-town, Bar Harbour.

    1. I havent’ seen anything on the East Coast but imagine the NP’s to be beautiful as well. : )

  7. That sounds great! You guys really fit alot into a few weeks!

    1. We sure did… it was amazing!

  8. I’ve actually never been to a national park, can you believe that? The closest one to me in Florida is Everglades, which is a three-hour drive. I need to visit someday, though! It’s on my bucket list. But I’m going to visit the Smokey Mountains, I think, during my trip to Asheville next month, so I can knock one national park off my list.

    I can’t believe how much you guys packed into three weeks! I’m excited to hear all about it – and see all the beautiful photos!

    1. Oh, you’ve never been to a National Park? You have to go, lady! :)

  9. Dang, you guys covered a lot of ground while they were here but it’s awesome that they were able to see and do so much during their visit! I have not been to any of the places you went to but would love to see them all some day. I would just have to break them up into multiple trips… Hopefully we will be able to get back to traveling again after the baby is born – like months or a year+ later, realistically. When we went hiking in northern MN in August, we saw a guy hiking with his baby in a carrier so I know it can be done! We’ll just have to see what the temperament of our baby is. I think we would do a shorter trip w/out the baby but it’s hard to even guess how I will feel like that until after the baby is born. But of the places you went to, I think I’d like to go to Utah first! Or Yosemite.

    I have not been to a lot of National Parks. There just aren’t many around us unfortunately since we are in the middle of the country and a LONG drive from most national parks. A national park that stands out in my mind is the Blue Ridge Parkway in NC/VA. I have driven parts of it and done hikes in that area. It’s so gorgeous! We are going out to Asheville at the end of the month so will do some drives along it and hopefully do some hiking if my RA is behaving well enough!

    1. Yes, we did cover a lot of ground… young(er) people definitely don’t mind a lot of travel time ;)
      We definitely saw a lot of families with younger kids during our NP visits, so it’s doable as a family with young kids! I hope that you get to travel together once the baby arrived!

      I think you told me that the NPs in your area are still a long drive from where you live… that definitely makes it harder to just go on a whim to see them. But I heard beautiful things about the Asheville area, so I hope you enjoy the time there.

  10. Love it! That adventure from Vegas is something I’m considering attempting the next year or so. I can’t wait to explore the parks out there!

    1. Yes, yes, yes…. let me know when you’re getting into the planning stage :)

  11. Wow that sounds fun. I’ve been to Zion, Bryce and Yosemite on this list. And I think Zion was my favorite. We didn’t make it to Monument which I am really sad about so i look forward to you pics.
    Happy day to you

    1. I definitely underestimated Zion… it’s an amazing park! : )

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