We had been waiting for this day to come since I was ten and my sister was 7. It felt like eons, but the trip was finally here. After all of that planning, we were SO ready to get on the road.
(If you missed part one you can check it out here.)
So exactly two days after I graduated college, we hit the road.
I’m pretty sure you do not want to read a detailed account of every single place we went, so here is the short version:
States visited: 10
Highlights of the trip:
Sedona: This is a cute city surrounded by amazing desert on all sides. We loved it. Sedona was our first stop and provides a stark contrast to the flat and green lands of Florida.
Zion National Park: An absolute favorite of mine. This was my third visit to the park, I will probably be going back when I have time. The Canyon is just majestic and the views are breathtaking. I really just enjoy hiking everywhere in that park, but the Angels Landing trail may be my favorite. It’s a steep hike up a narrow path, but the top is just so worth it. If you ever get the chance to go here, please do I promise you won’t regret it.
Sawtooth Canyon in San Bernardino County, California: This one is off the beaten path, the landscape is rugged but soft at the same time. The rocks were jagged, but the vegetation looked very delicate. The only people there were the people we came with, so it was a very quiet spot that allowed us to appreciate nature without a ton of people on the trail.
The 17-mile drive in Monterey: Sometimes, unplanned adventures are the best. This was not written in the notebook of ideas, but out uncle recommended it so we gave it a shot. I am so glad we did! The stops along the drive are just so beautiful, it was the perfect way for us to see the Pacific Coast for the first time.
Greyhound Beach: The beach is just off the Pacific Coast Highway. We were there in the middle of the week so we had the beach all too ourselves. Definitely too cold for this Floridian girl, but still a beautiful beach to walk. What we think was a harbor seal climbed out of the water directly in front of us!
The Muir Woods: Just outside of San Francisco, but it felt like a different planet entirely. All of the old growth redwoods were regal and calm, the forest felt like something from out of a dream. Extremely quiet and extremely worth going.
Yosemite: Beautiful. That is the best and most cliché word to describe this park. We were able to go directly after the Californian drought was lifted and every single water body was absolutely bursting. With water comes life, so everything was just stunningly gorgeous.
Lake Tahoe: I did not expect to like this spot as much as I did. The contrast between the snow capped mountains and the blue lake were just breathtaking.
The Columbia River Gorge: Specifically Multnomah Falls. Okay, so in general I happen to love waterfalls, but this waterfall was the prettiest waterfall I have ever seen. I was not even planning on going here, but due to a bear incident in Yosemite, we came to the Portland area early. I am so glad we did, we ended up staying in the area for a couple of extra days. The waterfall itself is breathtaking at 611 feet and the woods around the area are just absolutely beautiful. 10 out of 10 would recommend going here if you ever get the chance.
The Lost Coast of Oregon: The mountains meet the sea here. What could be better? The ocean was the first part of the natural world that I loved, but mountains were the second. The combination of regal mountain forests meeting the tumultuous sea was just perfect.
Mount St. Helen’s: The volcano that caused so much destruction in 1980 is beautiful to look at. It is crazy how something so beautiful can be so destructive.
Tacoma: Unexpectedly, we spent a few days in Tacoma. I really liked the city and the surrounding area. Point Defiance Park was a great city park, with a decent view of Mount Rainer on a good day
Friday Harbor: If you want to see Canada without actually leaving the country, then go to Friday Harbor and look across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. You can see Canada from here, but that is not why this island is so amazing. The island is known for its whale watching, specifically, orcas pass through this area frequently. We went on an amazing kayak tour but unfortunately did not see any orcas. I’m okay with this though because it gives me an excuse to go back
Yellowstone National Park: Everyone should go see Old Faithful if they have the chance, but honestly Yellowstone was not my favorite place. The sheer number of other visitors made the whole experience a little bit lackluster, we spent most of the day driving around the park. Yes, it was beautiful, but if I went back I would try to go at a quieter time.
Canyonlands National Park: The name is pretty self-explanatory, the land of canyons. They are not kidding when they say that! If you like desert-y views and canyons, then this is the place for you. The park is literally a couple of miles from Arches National Park, but much be popular even though there are some pretty cool arches here too. I want to go back here and explore more one day, most of the park requires an off-road vehicle which is something I did not have available this time.
Rocky Mountain National Park: Just beautiful. It’s a bit crowded but worth fighting the traffic to do some hiking. Once you are on the trails, the crowd does not feel so constricting. If you are a fan of mountains, then you would love this park. We sure did.
Denver was the last stop. We reluctantly handed over the rental’s keys and flew back to reality on a Friday. Just in time for my sister and I to start new jobs on Monday.
I enjoyed every single minute of this trip. I worked really hard to be able to afford this trip and I spent a lot of time planning this trip, but it was all 100% worth it. I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
So many people told us that taking a month-long road trip would be impossible, but we did it. It was one of our dreams and we had to do it. Not to sound cliché, but I encourage you to follow your own dreams. If a road trip is on your list, then go do it! If we could do it, you can do it!
I learned a lot about myself and traveling on this trip. I will be sharing what I learned in the next part.