The Perfect Weekend Camping in Michigan’s UP Central Region

The Perfect Weekend Camping in Michigan’s UP
(Central Region)

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The U.S. state of Michigan is made up of two major peninsulas. The Upper Peninsula (UP), is the northern of the two.

MI UP Map

Locals of the Lower Peninsula will often say I’m going “up north” for the weekend. Which could be anywhere north of their local county. Memorial Day weekend, my boyfriend and I took our fur babies camping up north to Michigan’s UP to welcome the beginning of the summer season. “Up North” for the weekend took us 6 hours north of Detroit straight up I-75 to the central region of The UP.

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 The summer months (Late May- August) are best for tent camping in The UP. Temperatures range from mid 70’s to low 90’s, depending on how close to the waters you go. Lake Superior touches the northern part of the region, while Lake Michigan/Huron (depending on what side of the Mackinac Bridge you’re on) border the southern region.

Where To Camp

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Indian Lake State Campground

We left right after work Friday to make the most of our three-day holiday weekend. Arriving to our campsite at night per usual (we’re getting SO GOOD at setting up camp in the dark). We camped at Indian Lake State campground for the weekend, it was centrally located for all the activities we had planned. Michigan has some INCREDIBLE state campgrounds, I would recommend booking early, as most fill up quickly during the summer. Our camp site for the weekend was right on the lake! Check out my packing guide for what gear I use. *Note* If the state parks are all full, there are private owned campgrounds in the area as well as cabin rentals.

Explore Kitch-iti-kipi

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Kitch-iti-kipi known as “The Big Spring” is another gem in The UP’s crown. The 40 ft. deep spring pumps over 10,000 gallons of water a minute! Be sure to ride the self-operated observation raft across the spring, it offers a unique perspective, providing striking views to the bottom.

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Big Spring is located inside Palms Book State Park, beautiful all year round… Big Spring doesn’t freeze! Visiting in the winter to see the crystal clear blue waters surrounded by a winter wonderland would be an epic adventure. (Mental note made)

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

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Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is 40 miles of breath taking lakeshore along Lake Superior. There are nearly 100 miles of hiking trails winding through dense forest that will take you to waterfalls, pristine beaches and other secluded beauty.

Take A Hike

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Deciding which hike to do will be tough, there are so many things to explore! I would recommend doing a couple hikes inside this bubble of national protected land to best see the beauty the UP has to offer. Michigan is so incredible! As we hiked along lakeshore north country trail the trail suddenly went from dirt to boardwalk as we crossed over some swamp lands. As we continued further, I looked around… we were completely surrounded 360 degrees by bright yellow flowers.

Relax at Chapel Beach

img_0134Explore the beach area and hike to the waterfall nearby!

Take A Dip

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At the end of the hike there was the opportunity to cool off in a bath of crystal clear ABSOLUTELY FREEZING Lake Superior water. I wouldn’t recommend swimming for too long, while the surface temperature of Lake Superior varies seasonally, the temperature below (660 ft; 200 m) is 39 °F (4 °C) I dipped my toes in and decided that was enough for me! 😊

For more on what to do in Michigan’s U.P check out my post on the Eastern Region!

MI UP Map

 

3 Day Itinerary for Olympic National Park

Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide

Olympic National Park is located in the state of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula in the United States. The national park is home to several different ecosystems, from mountain peaks to old-growth forests. This 3 day itinerary for Olympic National Park will tell all!

Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide

Let’s talk about this trips “sign picture”. For those that don’t know, it’s a tradition of mine to get a picture with my fellow campers by the national park sign when we visit. My travel crew knows the routine… they go stand in front of the sign while I set up the tripod.

From left to right we’ve got Kaytee, Logan, Grace, and half of me. Let me explain…Well this trip, I was setting up my tripod/timer all that jazz- guy drives by and yells out his window “you can’t park there! MOVE!” …whoops. I had no idea we couldn’t park there… better make this quick. So I hit the shutter button and ran backwards…hoping that maybe I’d make it in time to get this in one shot. Above is the result of that one shot.

Fly into Seattle

Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide

Now that my best friend Grace lives in Seattle, I love the state of Washington even more. With the heavy traveling we did in the spring, we wanted to keep our July 4th trip as cheap as we could. Camping’s cheap!  So, this year we celebrated Independence Day while camping in Olympic National Park! With not nearly enough time in Seattle, we left for the park the day after we arrived. If you have time, explore the city! For what to do, check out my post on The Perfect Weekend in Seattle

3 Day Itinerary for Olympic National Park

Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide

Olympic National Park protects nearly one million acres of vast wilderness diversity. From glacier-capped mountains to old growth rain forests, and over 70 miles of ocean coastline, this park has so much to explore. It’s hard to capture all the beauty in just 3 days, we absolutely will be coming back to explore more one day!

DAY 1: Lake Crescent

We drove 3.5 hours from Seattle to Fairholme campground. Slightly worried we might not get a site this close to the holiday (most campgrounds inside the park are walk-in, and do not take reservations). The campground had flush toilets, but no shower facilities or electric. We were pleasantly surprised to arrive at an almost empty campground. We picked a stunning site with massive mossy trees towering around us, overlooking the incredible Lake Crescent. We set up camp and set out to explore the Lake Crescent area. For what to pack, check out my Packing Guide: Camping National Parks

Lake Crescent

Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide

Lake Crescent lies 18 miles west of Port Angeles in the northern hills of Olympic National Park. We could see right down to the bottom through the crystal clear waters. I would recommend kayaking on this beautiful lake if you have the time!

Stay at Fairholme Campground

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Marymere Falls

Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide

Next we hiked the moderate 1.7 mile trail to Marymere Falls. There are two viewpoints to see the falls. At the end of the hike you’ll reach the falls lower viewpoint at the bottom of the stairs. Continue up the stairs to reach the top viewpoint.

Barnes Creek Trail

Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide

A peaceful creekside hike with an option to check out Marymere Falls (enter at falls trailhead, continue forward at the junction or go right and check out the falls). This hike takes you through a Jurassic Park looking forest of old growth and lush vegetation. We hiked the barnes creek trail after Marymere Falls, and the solitude from the crowds gave the forest a much different feeling. The trail rolls mostly up and rarely down for 5.5 miles.

Mora Campground

Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide

DAY 2: Sul Duc

We woke up early to pack up our campsite and have breakfast before we hit the trails for the day. Our plan was to explore the Sol Duc area, and then head towards the coastline to set up camp in Mora, a campground just outside of La Push. You can visit the lush forest near Sol Duc for a day hike or an overnight.

Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide

Sul Duc Falls

Sol Duc Falls Nature Trail is a flat short 1.6 mile trail through old growth forest that leads to a beautiful three prong waterfall. The three falls rage under a wooden bridge with crystal blue waters on the other end. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see the waterfall capture rainbows in the spray! We continued past the falls and headed towards deer lake.

Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide
Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide
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Deer Lake

The trail to Deer Lake from Sul Duc Falls is a 6.3 mile hike with 3 backpacking campsites along the trail. This mostly up and rarely down hike is rated as moderate. The hike features a stunning lake at the end (pack food and picnic at the lake!) To get there, begin heading down the trail to Sol Duc Falls. Once you’re there, pass the entrance to the Lover’s Lane Trail, the route begins climbing up to Deer Lake.

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 DAY 3: La Push

Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide

Our last day in the park was spent relaxing on the coast, recovering from our hikes. The Mora Campground  we camped at was on the north side of the river, on the south side is  First Beach. First Beach is located within the Quileute Indian Reservation, and surrounded by Olympic National Park. The beach is sandy with a crescent shaped shoreline that’s popular with surfers. We stopped here first, and explored the rocks looking for sea creatures during the low tide.

First Beach

Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide
Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide

Starfish are naturally born as extremely fragile. A simple gentle poke might hurt them, not to mention a strong grab to get them out of water. NEVER FORCEFULLY REMOVE A STARFISH FROM THE WATER. These creatures have tiny structures that make up their bodies.

** I only touched the starfish to transport him safely back to the sea **

Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide
Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide

Second Beach

With a shorter hike than Third Beach, we decided to do the 4 mile round trip hike to Second Beach after First Beach. The trail was interesting, after 0.3 miles, the descent becomes more defined, and the trail becomes a switchback crib staircase which leads down to the beach. We lounged lazily in the sun for hours on this beach. Exploring and climbing the rocks that jutted out from the ocean until it was time for the drive home.

Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide
Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide
Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide
Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide
Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide

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Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide
Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide
Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide
Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #olympic #nationalpark #usadestinations #washington #hikes #thingstodo #roadtrip #lodging #itinerary #guide

Spending some time in the city of Seattle? Check out my guide to The Perfect Weekend in Seattle!

Everything you must know before visiting Olympic National Park in Washington, USA. Hikes, campgrounds, and the best stops for your road trip. | Her Life Adventures | #usadestinations #washington #whattodo #thingstodo #seattle #lodging #itinerary #guide

The Perfect Weekend in Death Valley National Park

The Perfect Weekend in Death Valley National Park | The Adventurer's Guide to a weekend camping in Death Valley National Park. Located in the state of California, in the United States. My guide covers road trips, photography, best hikes, and what to do in Death Valley National Park. | Her Life Adventures | #deathvalley #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #travelpacking

Death Valley National Park is located on the California, Nevada state borders in the United States. Death Valley holds the title for driest, hottest, and lowest of all the U.S. National Parks. PLUS it’s the largest National Park outside of Alaska. In January, Logan and I spent the Perfect Weekend in Death Valley National Park. The plan was to see as much as we could in the time we had. The National Park was so amazing, we’re already planning our next trip back to explore more of this diverse landscape!

The park entrance fee is $25 usd per vehicle per day- I have an annual pass ($80 usd) we used to get in. With over 3 million acres of wilderness, sand dunes, slot canyons, rocky rainbow peaks, and miles of back country roads to explore- where do you begin?! We flew into Las Vegas after work the Friday of MLK weekend and rented a car to make the 2 hour drive through the desert into Death Valley.

Enjoy My Death Valley National Park Guide!


Scenic Drive in Death Valley National Park | The Adventurer's Guide to a weekend camping in Death Valley National Park. Located in the state of California, in the United States. My guide covers road trips, photography, best hikes, and what to do in Death Valley National Park. | Her Life Adventures | #deathvalley #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #travelpacking

How to Get to Death Valley National Park

PRO TIP: Make your rental car and camping reservations early. Spend the money on a 4×4 high clearance vehicle. You’ll need one if you plan to do the backcountry drives- that includes the famous racetrack. It’s 27 miles of HARD road to get there, and the ever logical Logan deemed our compact car  unfit for such conditions… preventing us from seeing the racetrack and other park sites (getting a flat or needing a tow truck in the middle of no where sounded not so fun).

Day 1: Death Valley National Park East Side


Stay the Night at Sunset Campground

We spent more time dicking around in Vegas than we anticipated, so we got to the park a little later than planned, meaning we got to drive around in the dark looking for an open site… the campground is first come first serve and there were plenty of spots (it seems we’ve made setting up camp in the dark an unintentional tradition). The campsite didn’t have a fire pit or picnic table but the campground had water and flush toilets (no showers). The sites weren’t very private and it felt like we were in a giant parking lot more than a campground. We set up our tent facing to the darkest side, and watched the sky light up with stars.  

sunset campground

Artists Scenic Drive Loop

This scenic loop drive is 9 miles of paved road that takes you through multi-hued colorful volcanic and sedimentary hills. We had the the one way road to ourselves so we took our time as we drove. As the famous Artist Palette came into view we got out at the pull off and explored further into the rock formations for a small hike. Our little compact car did fine on the paved road.

The Perfect Weekend in Death Valley National Park | The Adventurer's Guide to a weekend camping in Death Valley National Park. Located in the state of California, in the United States. My guide covers road trips, photography, best hikes, and what to do in Death Valley National Park. | Her Life Adventures | #deathvalley #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #travelpacking
The Perfect Weekend in Death Valley National Park | The Adventurer's Guide to a weekend camping in Death Valley National Park. Located in the state of California, in the United States. My guide covers road trips, photography, best hikes, and what to do in Death Valley National Park. | Her Life Adventures | #deathvalley #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #travelpacking
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The Perfect Weekend in Death Valley National Park | The Adventurer's Guide to a weekend camping in Death Valley National Park. Located in the state of California, in the United States. My guide covers road trips, photography, best hikes, and what to do in Death Valley National Park. | Her Life Adventures | #deathvalley #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #travelpacking

Natural Bridge Hiking Trail

We did a few hikes in our time at the park, but this by far was our favorite. The road to get here is rough and rocky, we didn’t think our car was going to make it- thank God it did. The out and back hike took us 1 mile round trip from the natural bridge formation- bbbbbut don’t stop there!

The Perfect Weekend in Death Valley National Park | The Adventurer's Guide to a weekend camping in Death Valley National Park. Located in the state of California, in the United States. My guide covers road trips, photography, best hikes, and what to do in Death Valley National Park. | Her Life Adventures | #deathvalley #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #travelpacking

We hiked back as far as we could get past the bridge (another mile or so) and the dramatic canyon turned to beautifully colored marble walls glistening around us. You could see the remains of a dried up waterfall, and how the powerful element carved it’s mark permanently into the earth. It was incredibly pretty, and the tall narrow canyon kept us shaded from the sun.

The Perfect Weekend in Death Valley National Park | The Adventurer's Guide to a weekend camping in Death Valley National Park. Located in the state of California, in the United States. My guide covers road trips, photography, best hikes, and what to do in Death Valley National Park. | Her Life Adventures | #deathvalley #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #travelpacking
The Perfect Weekend in Death Valley National Park | The Adventurer's Guide to a weekend camping in Death Valley National Park. Located in the state of California, in the United States. My guide covers road trips, photography, best hikes, and what to do in Death Valley National Park. | Her Life Adventures | #deathvalley #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #travelpacking
The Perfect Weekend in Death Valley National Park | The Adventurer's Guide to a weekend camping in Death Valley National Park. Located in the state of California, in the United States. My guide covers road trips, photography, best hikes, and what to do in Death Valley National Park. | Her Life Adventures | #deathvalley #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #travelpacking
The Perfect Weekend in Death Valley National Park | The Adventurer's Guide to a weekend camping in Death Valley National Park. Located in the state of California, in the United States. My guide covers road trips, photography, best hikes, and what to do in Death Valley National Park. | Her Life Adventures | #deathvalley #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #travelpacking
The Perfect Weekend in Death Valley National Park | The Adventurer's Guide to a weekend camping in Death Valley National Park. Located in the state of California, in the United States. My guide covers road trips, photography, best hikes, and what to do in Death Valley National Park. | Her Life Adventures | #deathvalley #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #travelpacking
The Perfect Weekend in Death Valley National Park | The Adventurer's Guide to a weekend camping in Death Valley National Park. Located in the state of California, in the United States. My guide covers road trips, photography, best hikes, and what to do in Death Valley National Park. | Her Life Adventures | #deathvalley #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #travelpacking
The Perfect Weekend in Death Valley National Park | The Adventurer's Guide to a weekend camping in Death Valley National Park. Located in the state of California, in the United States. My guide covers road trips, photography, best hikes, and what to do in Death Valley National Park. | Her Life Adventures | #deathvalley #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #travelpacking

Badwater Basin

It was 75 degrees and sunny when we walked a mile out to the salt flats 282 ft below sea level- the lowest point in North America. There was no shade, and in the dead of winter- we were hiking in Death Valley, and for the first time- we felt it. I’ve seen salt flats in Bolivia, and they were miles and miles long.

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Bad Water Basin Death Valley National Park Salt Flats | The Adventurer's Guide to a weekend camping in Death Valley National Park. Located in the state of California, in the United States. My guide covers road trips, photography, best hikes, and what to do in Death Valley National Park. | Her Life Adventures | #deathvalley #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #travelpacking
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But these were the first salt flats with water I’d seen, and it was an incredible sight (and another reason I FREAKING LOVE MY TEVAS). I walked out into the salty water expecting the lake I saw before me to get deeper as  walked further out. The water never went above my ankle in depth- and from afar it looked to others as if I was walking on water. It was a magical experience.

The Perfect Weekend in Death Valley National Park | The Adventurer's Guide to a weekend camping in Death Valley National Park. Located in the state of California, in the United States. My guide covers road trips, photography, best hikes, and what to do in Death Valley National Park. | Her Life Adventures | #deathvalley #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #travelpacking
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The Perfect Weekend in Death Valley National Park | The Adventurer's Guide to a weekend camping in Death Valley National Park. Located in the state of California, in the United States. My guide covers road trips, photography, best hikes, and what to do in Death Valley National Park. | Her Life Adventures | #deathvalley #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #travelpacking
The Perfect Weekend in Death Valley National Park | The Adventurer's Guide to a weekend camping in Death Valley National Park. Located in the state of California, in the United States. My guide covers road trips, photography, best hikes, and what to do in Death Valley National Park. | Her Life Adventures | #deathvalley #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #travelpacking
The Perfect Weekend in Death Valley National Park | The Adventurer's Guide to a weekend camping in Death Valley National Park. Located in the state of California, in the United States. My guide covers road trips, photography, best hikes, and what to do in Death Valley National Park. | Her Life Adventures | #deathvalley #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #travelpacking
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Zabriskie Point

If you’re looking for the best spot to catch a sunrise or sunset- this is it. The golden colored badlands make for an amazing backdrop to natures free shows each day. Start your day or end your day here- you won’t be disappointed either way you do it. We missed the point coming into the park at night, so we made sure we caught it on our way back out!

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Day 2: Death Valley National Park North Side

Stone Pipe Wells Campground

We spent our 2nd night in this first come first serve campground that’s only open during the winter season; the campground has tent only sites everywhere, and a lot of private options; we had a beautiful view outside our tent of the mountains across the desert- there’s flush toilets and water, but no fire pits or picnic tables.

stone pipe wells campground

Ubehebe Crater

Hundreds of years ago, a massive volcanic explosion happened in Death Valley. Magma mixing with an underground spring caused the explosion that created this 600 ft deep crater. As we drove to the trail head you could see the landscape around us changing from light colored brown tones to dark volcanic black sand. You can hike the full rim of the crater (around 1.5 miles round trip) but we were short on time, so we hiked to see little ubehebe crater and enjoyed the views before heading back down.

The Perfect Weekend in Death Valley National Park | The Adventurer's Guide to a weekend camping in Death Valley National Park. Located in the state of California, in the United States. My guide covers road trips, photography, best hikes, and what to do in Death Valley National Park. | Her Life Adventures | #deathvalley #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #travelpacking
Ubehebe Crater Overlook in Death Valley National Park
Road in Death Valley National Park leading to Ubehebe Crater

Mosaic Canyon

This was the hike I was most excited about. The 4 mile hike took us through polished marble narrows, and required a bit of rock climbing (scrambling). It was beautiful walking through the labyrinth of smooth rock.. The colorful walls changed in color and texture along the hike, making for gorgeous photo opportunities.

mosaic 2
The Perfect Weekend in Death Valley National Park | The Adventurer's Guide to a weekend camping in Death Valley National Park. Located in the state of California, in the United States. My guide covers road trips, photography, best hikes, and what to do in Death Valley National Park. | Her Life Adventures | #deathvalley #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #travelpacking
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mosaic 7

Rainbow Canyon

We ended our day exploring the west side of the park. As soon as I saw their was a “rainbow canyon” I knew we couldn’t leave without seeing it. The drive takes a couple hours, so we stocked up on fuel and road trip snacks in Stovepipe Wells Village before heading towards the canyon. The drive to Father Crowley Vista was one of the most scenic drives I’ve ever done. A landscape of dark lava flows and volcanic cinders turns to rainbow canyon with an explosion of color. As you’re driving through the mountains you can see the colors start to pop the closer you get.

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The Perfect Weekend in Death Valley National Park | The Adventurer's Guide to a weekend camping in Death Valley National Park. Located in the state of California, in the United States. My guide covers road trips, photography, best hikes, and what to do in Death Valley National Park. | Her Life Adventures | #deathvalley #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #travelpacking
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Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

Hike to the largest dune field in the park for another great spot to catch a sunrise or sunset. You can walk as far out into the dunes as you want, the hike to summit the highest is about 2 miles roundtrip. We walked through the sand up and down the dunes until we found the perfect sunset viewing peak, all to ourselves.

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The Perfect Weekend in Death Valley National Park | The Adventurer's Guide to a weekend camping in Death Valley National Park. Located in the state of California, in the United States. My guide covers road trips, photography, best hikes, and what to do in Death Valley National Park. | Her Life Adventures | #deathvalley #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #travelpacking


Furnace Creek Campground

We spent our last night back on the east side of the park (where the only showers in the park were)- it was MLK Day, and the park entry and camping was free for the holiday! We were expecting a huge crowd but we had no issue finding a site on the first come first serve sites. It was our favorite campsite, we had a picnic table, a fire ring, and nobody around us. Of course the night we have furniture the clouds decided to be assholes- we didn’t see one star that night. Instead we were kept awake by the howling of the locals (aren’t they just adorable?!?).

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Know Before You Go

  • Showers are only available at the privately owned Furnace Creek Resort. It’s $5 per person for a pool pass that gives you access to their pool & showers/locker room. **These are the only showers in the entire park, and if you’re camping and hiking, you will want a shower.**
  • You can rent a 4×4 high clearance vehicle by the hour in the town of Furnace Creek from a privately owned company.
  • There is 1 restaurant (Stovepipe Wells Village) and a few small grocery stores inside the park (Stovepipe Wells Village & Furnace Creek).
  • It is a 2 hour drive to the park from Las Vegas and a 5 hour drive from Los Angeles. The park is located in both California & Nevada.
  • Check out my guide on what to pack for your national park camping trip!

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Packing Guide: Camping National Parks

Packing Guide for Camping

Being outside in nature, soaking up the sunshine and fresh air is one of my favorite things to do. Camping is one of the best ways to experience the outdoors in all it’s natural beauty. My budget travel enthusiasts will appreciate the cash they’ll save by instead of staying in hotels. My packing guide for camping is perfect for when visiting National Parks, or other backpack camping destinations.

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But what do we do for food?!? The best part about camping outdoors means cooking meals in cool places. After all, what’s better than dinner with a view? The Skys the limit on where you choose to eat your meals.

Camp Freeze Dried Food
Yosemite National Park

Last year I went on dozens of camping trips- forgetting something when you’re camping can be a huge pain in the ass (this one time we couldn’t find fuel, so our meal depended on if we could get the water boiling over a fire- not impossible, just time consuming, and after 5 days- that’s a lot of work) – most times we’re in the middle of nowhere, so you’re out of luck if you do.

I’ve brought friends with me on trips who have never camped before, and their first question is always- what do I pack? It was entertaining to watch them stumble through what they thought they might need (20 lbs of clothes, and no sleeping bag- maybe they were going to just wear lots of layers?)

Yoho National Park

I’ve created a packing guide to avoid that, broken up into camping essentials that you cant be without- down to what is nice to have if you have the packing space/weight. I usually try to fit my gear in a carry on so I don’t have to check a bag on the flight. Helping me save money!

Here’s your ultimate packing guide to camping in national parks!

Camping Essentials

necessities

 

Tent

My REI Half dome plus tent is the perfect size for me and my travel companion. With a door on each side it makes it easier to enter + exit without disturbing my sleeping partner.

The towel I bring is ideal for backpack camping. The light weight, compact towel comes in handy for showers, swimming, travel, or backpacking. It dries fast and is designed for multiple uses daily.

Sleeping Bag/Pad

Sleeping on the ground isn’t always the most comfortable, a good pad can make a huge difference when it comes to a good night sleep- plus it keeps you warm when the temperatures drop. The sleeping pad I use is nice because it self inflates- and after a long day of hiking, I’m lazy and need all my air.  The marmot sleeping bag I use is awesome- it has a hood at the top that not only keeps your head warm- it keeps your pillow from sliding away at night.

 Tip: Pack a sleeping pad repair kit just in case!

Head Lamp

It’s always ideal to set up camp during the daylight hours- however somehow I always manage to end up at camp when the sun goes down. Holding a flashlight (or your cellphone) while trying to set up your tent for the night is difficult- get a head lamp. Yes it looks silly, yes you will be extremely grateful you brought one.

Tip: its handy to study the park maps and pick out what hikes you’re going to do the day before to see if there are any restrictions before you get to the trail head.

Backpack With Daypack

The backpack I take on my trips is better classified as a travel backpack than it is a backpacking backpack. What I love about it is it opens like a suitcase/duffel. PLUS the outer small daypack is the removable- great for carrying my water bladder or camera gear on my hikes.

Camp Stove/Cookware

Food is one of the largest expenses when traveling. Cooking your meals while camping will help cut down costs tremendously ($5 usd a meal vs $15 usd eating out). I bring my stove and cookware with me on longer hikes and cook my meal with a view at the summit- just don’t forget your spork (that’s happened to me several times). The cookware kit I have comes with bowls/pots/pans/spork and a stove. 

Tip: Conserve water and use the leftover water from cooking to clean your dishes. 

Footwear

I have two different types of hiking footwear. My Tevas are designed specifically for a woman’s foot in order to provide unmatched comfort and performance in the water. I’ll also wear them in hot climates or sand hiking.

For more aggressive terrain such as rocky trails, I’ll wear my Salomon Women’s X Ultra hiking boots. These shoes are specifically designed for a woman’s anatomy. It holds your foot in place even during technical descents, and prevents slippage so you can enjoy more stable and safer descents.

Still Have Space?

Other Stuff

 

If you are planning on backpacking and hiking to your campsite every oz of weight matters- you have to carry your bag for miles. These next items are SUPER NICE to have, but you can get by without them if you don’t have them or are trying to save space & weight.

Hammock & Slap Straps

There’s nothing better than kicking back in my hammock after a long day on the trails. I keep telling myself one night I’ll pull in my sleeping bag/pad and sleep under the stars (But then things like coyote’s howling at all hours of the night prevent that from happening- imagine that.) The slap straps I have are easy to use and make set up happen in seconds.

Pillow & Chair

I’m not gonna lie… camping without a pillow or camp chair can make for an uncomfortable night. I use my pillow on the airplanes (and sleep the entire flight 99% of the time). Sometimes I’ll forget the pillow, and I have to get creative for an alternative. Most times I make a ball out of clothes or the sweatshirt I’m wearing (I don’t recommend that). This lightweight camping chair takes up minimal space, and makes those nights around the campfire that much more enjoyable.

Tip: Some campsites don’t have picnic tables so when I get stuck sitting on the ground or finding a good “butt rock”. I always regret not bringing one.

Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are perhaps the most genius travel invention ever. If you don’t have a set- pay the $10 and get yourself some. They will change the way you travel forever. The cubes keep your clothes separated, keep your bag organized, and make packing things up fast and easy.

Tip: Roll your clothes instead of folding them, you’ll fit a lot more in.

Cocoon & Life Straw

I use my cocoon in the summer months- it’s perfect for warm nights and keeps my sleeping bag clean if it’s a dry shampoo type of day. The life straw is nice to have if you plan on doing longer hikes (6 + miles). My water bladder holds about 3 liters- and I get pretty close to running out on harder treks. I bring the lifeproof straw in case of emergency- it filters out 99.999999% of all the bad stuff, so you can drink from a fresh water source in a pinch.

What’s your favorite camping gear? Leave a comment!

Check out these extraordinary National Parks to inspire your next camping adventure!