Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is located in the northwest corner of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore encompasses 65 miles of sandy shoreline along Lake Michigan. The area also includes several lakes and streams, making this National Lakeshore a great summer destination.

This Sleeping Bear Dunes itinerary covers the best of what to do on the National Lakeshore, how to get there and where to stay. Add this hidden gem to your summer bucket list. | Her Life Adventures | #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #michigantravel #greatlakes #ustravel #summer #bucketlist #sleepingbear #lakemichigan #sanddunes
Can you see the hikers?

The fall will bring you bright vibrant orange, yellow, and red foliage making for a spectacular display of color. The winters can be brutally cold, but the snow provides great snowshoeing conditions through the dunes.


How To Get to Sleeping Bear Dunes

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Before booking your trip, make sure you protect yourself and your money and purchase travel insurance! You will need to rent a car to get to Sleeping Bear Dunes. It is a 4.5 hour drive from the Detroit Metro Airport (DTW) and a 3.5 hour drive from the Flint Bishop International airport.

This Sleeping Bear Dunes itinerary covers the best of what to do on the National Lakeshore, how to get there and where to stay. Add this hidden gem to your summer bucket list. | Her Life Adventures | #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #michigantravel #greatlakes #ustravel #summer #bucketlist #sleepingbear #lakemichigan #sanddunes

Where to Stay by Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

The sleeping bear dunes are 25 miles west of Traverse City, making this a great city for accommodations, night life, restaurants and wineries. Try an AirBnB and see how the locals live. If you’re looking for a closer city outside the park you can find hotels in Empire or Glen Arbor. There are several state parks, and private campgrounds in the area. Rent an RV and spend a weekend exploring. Bring a tent, or you can rent rustic cabins in some state parks as well.

“Tug on anything at all and you’ll find it connected to everything else in the universe.” 

John Muir


How are the dunes created?

The sand from the steep bluffs along the lakeshore fall or slide into Lake Michigan. This provides massive amounts of sand and gravel to the National Lakeshore. Some individual landslides have dumped a million cubic yards of sand into the great lake in just one single event.

This Sleeping Bear Dunes itinerary covers the best of what to do on the National Lakeshore, how to get there and where to stay. Add this hidden gem to your summer bucket list. | Her Life Adventures | #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #michigantravel #greatlakes #ustravel #summer #bucketlist #sleepingbear #lakemichigan #sanddune
Can you see the boat?

Waves cut away the bases of the bluffs, providing a continuous supply of sand and gravel to the winds blowing against them. The sand continues to get whisked up and deposited on top.

The Dune Climb in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a hike no one should miss. | herlifeadventures.blog | #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #michigantravel #greatlakes #ustravel #summer #bucketlist

More National Parks to Explore


 

What To Do In Sleeping Bear Dunes

The Lake Michigan coastline along Sleeping Bear Dunes and the offshore Islands are a very large component of the National Lakeshore environment. Small patches of ancient forests buried by sand eons ago continue to be exposed, as sand moves inland and attempts to bury the forests there today.

The Dune Climb in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Running down is the best part about climbing up. | herlifeadventures.blog | #camping #usdestinations #sleepingbeardunes #nationallakeshore #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #michigantravel #greatlakes #ustravel #summer #bucketlist

The Dune Climb

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Climb the dunes or enjoy the sand. The Dune Climb offers plenty of fresh, wind-blown sand for your climbing pleasure. While the climb can be strenuous, the run back down to the picnic area is a blast!

The Dune Climb in Sleeping Bear Dunes Lakeshore in Michigan. | herlifeadventures.blog | #camping #usdestinations #sleepingbeardunes #nationallakeshore #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #michigantravel #greatlakes #ustravel #summer #bucketlist #dunehike #hiking #hike

The climb up the dunes provides you a view of Glen Lake. The Dune Climb is located just about 5 miles north of Empire on M-109. You will need an annual National Park Pass or $25 for parking at this dune climb. For those who have extra time and a lot of energy, take a hike through the dunes all the way to Lake Michigan.

Lake Michigan Overlook Sleeping Bear Dunes | herlifeadventures.blog | #camping #usdestinations #sleepingbeardunes #nationallakeshore #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #michigantravel #greatlakes #ustravel #summer #bucketlist

Lake Michigan Overlook

Safety Tips: Take lots of water and remember you’ll be walking up and down the dunes of loose sand the entire way. Hiking through the dunes can be disorienting, so be sure to keep children within sight. If hiking with a group, agree on a time and place to meet up before leaving.

Avoid getting stuck at the bottom of the dune at the Lake Michigan Overlook!

This Sleeping Bear Dunes itinerary covers the best of what to do on the National Lakeshore, how to get there and where to stay. Add this hidden gem to your summer bucket list. | Her Life Adventures | #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #michigantravel #greatlakes #ustravel #summer #bucketlist #sleepingbear #lakemichigan #sanddunes

Michigan Lakeshore Beaches

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has miles of pristine beach! Cool off in the beautiful clear water of Lake Michigan with beach activities like sunbathing, reading, or making sand castles. The whole Lake Michigan lakeshore is open to swimming, but there are no lifeguards on duty, and be aware of possible Rip Currents.

Visitors are advised not to go down the dune at the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive Lake Michigan Overlook. Lake levels are high – the only way out is up. Keep yourself and rescuers out of danger.

Play in the waves, swim, or just take a stroll along the beach. Lake Michigan is beautiful, but it’s more refreshing than the inland lakes, so be prepared!

Safe popular access points to the Lake Michigan Lakeshore can be found here.

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This Sleeping Bear Dunes itinerary covers the best of what to do on the National Lakeshore, how to get there and where to stay. Add this hidden gem to your summer bucket list. | Her Life Adventures | #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #michigantravel #greatlakes #ustravel #summer #bucketlist #sleepingbear #lakemichigan #sanddunes

Hiking Trails

You can hike over 100 miles of designated trails along the Lakeshore. There are thirteen hiking trails on the mainland, most of which are maintained during the winter for cross country skiing, and snowshoeing. Each trailhead has a parking area, and the trails will be marked with blue tipped posts.

Tip: There is limited or no service throughout the park. To keep your phone fully charged and ready to catch those amazing shots, you’ll need an extra battery charger. I take my Mophie everywhere I travel, just in case!

Lake Michigan Overlook Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore hiking trail along the water through the dunes. | herlifeadventures.blog | #camping #usdestinations #sleepingbeardunes #nationallakeshore #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #michigantravel #greatlakes #ustravel #summer #bucketlist

Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive

Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is a must-do when visiting Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This 7.4 mile drive loops through the Beech-Maple forest and sand dunes. You’ll gain insight to the history of the area, learn about the different ecosystems found within the park and, best of all, spectacular overlooks along the way.

Pierce Stocking Historic Bridge in Sleeping Bear Dunes along the scenic drive. | herlifeadventures.blog | #camping #usdestinations #sleepingbeardunes #nationallakeshore #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #michigantravel #greatlakes #ustravel #summer #bucketlist

Do a Lazy River Float

Cool off with a relaxing float down the Platte River on a hot summer day. This is one of the most popular summer recreational activities in the area. The river is shallow and clear, moving at a good pace, with no rapids making it perfect for all ages. You can either bring your own tube, raft, air mattress, etc. or you can rent them from local outfitters. If you need to rent during the height of the summer season, you will want to plan ahead and get reservations.

Lake Michigan Overlook Sleeping Bear Dunes stretching farther than you can see. | herlifeadventures.blog | #camping #usdestinations #sleepingbeardunes #nationallakeshore #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #michigantravel #greatlakes #ustravel #summer #bucketlist

Lake Michigan Sunsets

Lake Michigan sunsets will take your breath away. Find a good dune to hike along the shoreline and watch the sun slowly set along the horizon. We were able to find our own private viewing area along one of the dune trails. Taking in the glow of the sunset in peace, with sounds of waves washing below. Glen Lake pictured below is another great sunset viewing spot.

Lake Michigan Sunset in Sleeping Bear Dunes | herlifeadventures.blog | #camping #usdestinations #sleepingbeardunes #nationallakeshore #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #michigantravel #greatlakes #ustravel #summer #bucketlist

This Sleeping Bear Dunes itinerary covers the best of what to do on the National Lakeshore, how to get there and where to stay. Add this hidden gem to your summer bucket list. | Her Life Adventures | #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #michigantravel #greatlakes #ustravel #summer #bucketlist #sleepingbear #lakemichigan #sanddunes
My Travel Crew aka Family 🙂

This Sleeping Bear Dunes itinerary covers the best of what to do on the National Lakeshore, how to get there and where to stay. Add this hidden gem to your summer bucket list. | Her Life Adventures | #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #michigantravel #greatlakes #ustravel #summer #bucketlist #sleepingbear #lakemichigan #sanddunes

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The Perfect Weekend in Colorado Springs

Located just over an hour south of Denver is Colorado Springs. This beautiful area offers sunny skies and crisp mountain air all year round. Filled with outdoor activities, beautiful landscapes, and adventure this area is perfect for a weekend trip. In January Logan and I visited Colorado Springs for a weekend and celebrated our anniversary.

Here are some of the highlights and must see spots we found during our Perfect Weekend in Colorado Springs!


Everything you need to know for the Perfect Weekend in Colorado Springs, USA. Look no further - I cover where to stay, hikes, hidden gems, and the best stops for your weekend in Colorado!

How to Get There

Fly into Denver (DEN) International Airport & drive a rental car 1.5 hours south to Colorado Springs. You can also fly into the Colorado Springs airport (COS), putting you right in the city. If you choose to do this you can either rent a car, or take public transportation.

 


Rent a Car

From Denver Airport drive 1.5 hours south down highway 25 towards Colorado Springs. During our weekend in Colorado Springs we rented a car to have the freedom and flexibility to move at our own pace.

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Garden of the Gods Park

Where to Stay in Colorado Springs

Downtown Colorado Springs: Downtown is buzzing with boutiques, parks, eateries, and a lively nightlife scene. Drink at the local breweries, and wine bars, then dance the night away at a club or concert! The area is a designated creative district. Walk around the city and you’ll find sculptures dotting its streets.

West Colorado Springs: This residential area is quiet and laid back. You’ll be close to nature to enjoy outdoor activities, such as hiking, biking and rock climbing. West Colorado Springs is also home to both the Garden of the Gods and the Red Rock Canyon Open Space.

Manitou Springs: A great resort area to stay for the perfect weekend in Colorado Springs. Just outside of the city limits, the town is known for its incredible panoramic views of Pikes Peak. You’ll find The Manitou Cliff Dwellings, a group of reassembled ancient cliff structures and the entrance to Pike Peaks Highway here. Hike up a steep slope on the Manitou Incline Trail or shop on Manitou Avenue, home to art galleries and specialty boutiques.

Camping: Spend some quality time in the great outdoors at one of the many Colorado Springs campgrounds. You’ll find rustic walk on sites, fully equipped RV sites, and even cabins!


Pikes Peak

A new summit complex area began being built in late 2019. Construction of the summit will continue into 2020, with an estimated completion by later this year. Please be aware of your surroundings when you reach the top, as it is considered an active construction site. There are more details about the construction status here. Opening is scheduled for fall 2020.   

There are four main ways to explore Pikes Peak and reach the summit:

Drive Your Car

Experience the beauty of the mountain as you ascend up the scenic Pikes Peak Highway. There is a $15 per person entry fee to access the road that winds its way up the mountain. **Currently Pikes Peak Summit is considered an active construction zone**

Save 10% on a Weekend or Weekly Car Rental at Thrifty! >>Use code 101349

Private & Group Tours

If you’re short on time and want to make the most out of your weekend in Colorado Springs you can find private and group tours HERE that will take you to the summit of Pikes Peak as well.  

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For The Really Adventurous

For the really adventurous visitors, try biking or hiking to the peak. There are tour companies that will drive you to the top and provide a guided bike tour down the mountain.

Go hiking on one of the many trails in the Pikes Peak area. If you plan on hiking your way to the top – Barr Trail is the most popular route to reach the summit. No matter which method you choose you will not be disappointed with Pikes Peak – “America’s Mountain” is stunning.


Red Rock Canyon Open Space

Red Rock Canyon Open Space is a 1,474-acre city park in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Here, exposed layers of sedimentary rock have been turned upward at the base of Pikes Peak. Deep canyons filled with gorgeous colored rocks in gold, salmon and other colors.

Everything you need to know for the Perfect Weekend in Colorado Springs, USA. Look no further - I cover where to stay, hikes, hidden gems, and the best stops for your weekend in Colorado!

The Red Rock Canyon Open Space Park was privately owned until 2003, when it was bought by the City of Colorado Springs as open space. The land was divided into five separate tracts, and each track has specific restrictions as to how it can be utilized.

Location

Red Rock Canyon Open Space is located along Highway 24. 

3550 W High St, Colorado Springs, CO 80904

This striking park in Colorado Springs is DRONE and DOG FRIENDLY!! Other activities in the park include a campground, hiking trails, horse trails, a bike park, mountain bike trails, a large fenced in dog park, and more!

Trails

  • Download printable trail map
  • Contemplative Trail
  • Sand Canyon Trail
  • Mesa/Greenlee Trail loop
  • Roundup Trail
  • Upper and Lower dog loops (off-leash dog areas)
  • Quarry Trail
  • Hogback Trail/Lion Loop

Paint Mines Interpretive Park

Paint Mines Interpretive Park is Colorado’s BEST KEPT SECRET. Just under an hour drive east of Colorado Springs will take you to Colorado’s most unique open space. The Paint Mines are given their name for their beautiful, bright colorful clays. The clay was once collected by American Indians to make paint in various colors.

Paint Mines Interpretive Park, Colorado Springs, USA

The bright rainbow colored bands get their colors from oxidized iron compounds. The Paint Mines Interpretive Park contains evidence of human life from as far back as 9,000 years ago! The parks geological formations are spires and hoodoos, formed through various erosive actions. Creating gullies and layers of colored clay you see along the hike.

Everything you need to know for the Perfect Weekend in Colorado Springs, USA. Look no further - I cover where to stay, hikes, hidden gems, and the best stops for your weekend in Colorado!

Learn more with my post about the Paint Mines Park HERE!


Garden of the Gods

Garden of the Gods Park is a registered National Landmark of 1,300 acres of stunning red sandstone formations. The park is free to enter, making this a budget friendly activity! Make sure to bring your camera, you’re going to want pictures for this stunner of a park.

Garden of the Gods Park is a registered National Landmark in Colorado Springs, USA

You won’t want to miss this gem during your perfect weekend in Colorado Springs! There are 15 miles of hiking trails spread throughout the Garden of the Gods Park. The park is family friendly with difficulty levels that vary from easy, paved paths to scrambling. There are trails for all everybody. Stop at the Visitor Center and pick up a free trail map. While you’re there you can ask a volunteer what trails they suggest for your skill level.

The Balance Stone in Garden of the Gods park, Colorado Springs, USA

Park Information

Length: ½ mile – 4 miles depending on trail

Duration: 20 minutes – 4 hours depending on trail

Trail Difficulty: easy to moderate depending on trail

Scenery: gorgeous views of the unique rock formations found in Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain

Recommended for: Hikers, Dogs, Horses, Mountain Biking

Cost: Free

The park is open year round May 1 – Oct 31 5am – 11pm
Nov 1 – Apr 30 5am – 9pm

Join a small group tour that takes you to both the Garden of the Gods AND Pikes Peak. If you’re looking to sit back and relax, take a full day tour and enjoy those PLUS a city tour.

Garden of the Gods ; The Perfect Weekend in Colorado Springs

Be sure to check out the Seven Falls and Cave of the Winds Park if you have time!



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20 Extraordinary National Parks to Visit in 2020

20 National Parks to visit in 2020; add these parks to your bucket list! You're not going to want to miss them.

Visiting every National Park in the United States has been a huge bucket list item of mine for years. The National Park Service (NPS) works to protect and preserve these important eco systems around the country everyday, as a visitor we must do the same. To help preserve our extraordinary National Parks, it is VERY IMPORTANT to practice the ‘Leave No Trace Principles’.

Each of the National Parks provides visitors with a great opportunity to explore diverse landscapes, and learn about the plants and animals that call them home. When visiting these fragile eco systems, it is on each and every one of us to practice and follow these principles.

Here are 20 Extraordinary National Parks to Visit in 2020!

1. North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park

CLICK HERE to read more on North Cascades National Park!

20 National Parks to visit in 2020; add these parks to your bucket list! You're not going to want to miss them.

The organization accomplishes its mission by providing innovative education, skills and research to help people care for the outdoors. By working with the public and those managing public lands, the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics focuses on educating people—instead of costly restoration programs or access restrictions—as the most effective and least resource-intensive solution to land protection.

The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics

2. Yoho National Park

Emerald Lake at Yoho National Park is a must see when visiting this incredible park.

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Emerald Lake at Yoho National Park is a must see when visiting this incredible park.

CLICK HERE to read more on Yoho!

Emerald Lake at Yoho National Park is a must see when visiting this incredible park.

3. Banff National Park

The Ink Pots hike in Banff National Park will take you to 5 crystal clear, beautifully colored natural pools.
Lake Moraine in Banff National Park is busy and crowded, make sure you get there early in the day.

CLICK HERE to plan your Banff National Park trip now!

20 National Parks to visit in 2020; add these parks to your bucket list! You're not going to want to miss them.

4. Revelstoke National Park

Mount Revelstoke National Park is underrated, less crowded than other Rockies parks - and just as gorgeous.
Mount Revelstoke National Park is underrated, less crowded than other Rockies parks - and just as gorgeous.

Check Out My Canadian National Park Road Trip Guide!

5. Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain national park is great to visit all year round. From hiking, to snow shoeing, to water activities - this park has it all.

Read my post on Rocky Mountain National Park HERE!

6. Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park offers so much diversity and wildlife viewing opportunities, don't miss this amazing park!
Everglades National Park offers so much diversity and wildlife viewing opportunities, don't miss this amazing park!

Plan your Everglades Getaway with my Guide, CLICK HERE!

Plan Ahead and Prepare

20 National Parks to visit in 2020; add these parks to your bucket list! You're not going to want to miss them.

Leave No Trace Principle 1.

Adequate trip planning and preparation helps backcountry travelers accomplish trip goals safely and enjoyably, while simultaneously minimizing damage to the land. Poor planning often results in miserable campers and damage to natural and cultural resources. Rangers often tell stories of campers they have encountered who, because of poor planning and unexpected conditions, degrade backcountry resources and put themselves at risk.

Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics

7. Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park

20 National Parks to visit in 2020; add these parks to your bucket list! You're not going to want to miss them.

Why Is Trip Planning Important?

It helps ensure the safety of groups and individuals.

It prepares you to Leave No Trace and minimizes resource damage.

It contributes to accomplishing trip goals safely and enjoyably.

It increases self-confidence and opportunities for learning more about nature.

Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics
Sea urchines in Hawai'i's Pu'uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park

Travel & Camp on Durable Surfaces

Leave No Trace Principle 2

The goal of travel in the outdoors is to move through natural areas while avoiding damage to the land or waterways. Understanding how travel causes impacts is necessary to accomplish this goal. Travel damage occurs when surface vegetation or communities of organisms are trampled beyond recovery. The resulting barren area leads to soil erosion and the development of undesirable trails. Backcountry travel may involve travel over both trails and off-trail areas.

Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics

8. Pu’uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park

Watch the sea turtles at Pu'uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park on the Big Island of Hawai'i

Travel on Trails

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Land management agencies construct trails to provide identifiable routes that concentrate foot and stock traffic. Constructed trails are themselves an impact on the land; however, they are a necessary response to the fact that people travel through natural areas.

Concentrating travel on trails reduces the likelihood that multiple routes will develop and scar the landscape. It is better to have one well-designed route than many poorly chosen paths. Trail use is recommended whenever possible. Encourage travelers to stay within the width of the trail and not shortcut trail switchbacks (trail zigzags that climb hillsides).

Travelers should provide space for other hikers if taking breaks along the trail. The principles of off-trail travel should be practiced if the decision is made to move off-trail for breaks. Hikers in the same group should periodically stop to rest and talk. Avoid shouting to communicate while hiking. Loud noises usually are not welcome in natural areas.

Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics

9. Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park is a beautifully diverse landscape that gives life to several different ecosystems. This park is a must see if you're visiting the Big Island of Hawai'i

Dispose of Waste Properly

Leave No Trace Principle 3

The Center encourages outdoor enthusiasts to consider the impacts that they leave behind, which will undoubtedly affect other people, water and wildlife.

Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics
Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park is a beautifully diverse landscape that gives life to several different ecosystems. This park is a must see if you're visiting the Big Island of Hawai'i

Human Waste

20 National Parks to visit in 2020; add these parks to your bucket list! You're not going to want to miss them.

Proper disposal of human waste is important to avoid pollution of water sources, avoid the negative implications of someone else finding it, minimize the possibility of spreading disease and maximize the rate of decomposition.

In most locations, burying human feces in the correct manner is the most effective method to meet these criteria. Solid human waste must be packed out from some places, such as narrow river canyons. Land management agencies can advise you of specific rules for the area you plan to visit.

There are several EPA-approved, commercially produced pack-out systems available that are easy to use and sanitary for backpacking/hiking use. Other systems (including reusable, washable toilet systems) are bulkier and may be better suited for paddling/rafting trips. As more and more people enjoy parks and protected areas every year, packing out human waste is likely to become a more common practice to ensure long-term sustainability of our shared lands. In some environments, particularly in fragile alpine settings, land managers may require that all solid human waste must be packed out.

Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics
Where the lava meets the see in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park is a beautifully diverse landscape that gives life to several different ecosystems. This park is a must see if you're visiting the Big Island of Hawai'i

10. Presidio National Park

11. National Mall, District of Colombia

National Mall in District of Colombia is one of the main attractions in DC, and for good reason. Find out more here.

Leave What You Find

Leave No Trace Principle 4

Allow others a sense of discovery by leaving rocks, plants, archaeological artifacts and other objects of interest as you find them.

Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics
National Mall in District of Colombia is one of the main attractions in DC, and for good reason. Find out more here.

Minimize Site Alterations

Leave areas as you found them. Do not dig trenches for tents or construct lean-tos, tables, chairs or other rudimentary improvements. If you clear an area of surface rocks, twigs or pine cones replace these items before leaving. For high-impact sites, it is appropriate to clean up the site and dismantle inappropriate user-built facilities, such as multiple fire rings and constructed seats or tables. Consider the idea that good campsites are found and not made.

In many locations, properly located and legally constructed facilities, such as a single fire ring, should be left in place. Dismantling them will cause additional impact because they will be rebuilt with new rocks and thus impact a new area. Learn to evaluate all situations you find.

Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics

12. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a large sand beach, with sand bluffs that tower 450’ above Lake Michigan, lush forests, clear inland lakes, unique flora and fauna. Don't miss this incredible view.

Minimize Campfire Impacts

Leave No Trace Principle 5

Fires vs. Stoves: The use of campfires, once a necessity for cooking and warmth, is steeped in history and tradition. Some people would not think of camping without a campfire. Campfire building is also an important skill for every camper. Yet, the natural appearance of many areas has been degraded by the overuse of fires and an increasing demand for firewood. The development of lightweight efficient camp stoves has encouraged a shift away from the traditional fire for cooking. Stoves have become essential equipment for minimum-impact camping. They are fast, flexible and eliminate firewood availability as a concern in campsite selection. Stoves operate in almost any weather condition—and they Leave No Trace.

Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a large sand beach, with sand bluffs that tower 450’ above Lake Michigan, lush forests, clear inland lakes, unique flora and fauna. Don't miss this incredible view.

CLICK HERE and discover the best of what Michigan has to offer, in my Michigan Collection of posts!

Should You Build a Fire?

20 Beautiful National Parks to Visit in 2020 add these to your bucket list, because you won't want to miss these must see parks!

The most important consideration when deciding to use a fire is the potential damage to the backcountry.

What is the fire danger for the time of year and the location you have selected?

Are there administrative restrictions from the agency that manages the area?

Is there sufficient wood so its removal will not be noticeable?

Does the harshness of alpine and desert growing conditions for trees and shrubs mean that the regeneration of wood sources cannot keep pace with the demand for firewood?

Do group members possess the skills to build a campfire that will Leave No Trace?

Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a large sand beach, with sand bluffs that tower 450’ above Lake Michigan, lush forests, clear inland lakes, unique flora and fauna. Don't miss this incredible view.
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Lessening Impacts When Campfires Are Used

Camp in areas where wood is abundant if building a fire. Choose not to have a fire in areas where there is little wood at higher elevations, in heavily used areas, or in desert settings. A true Leave No Trace fire shows no evidence of having been constructed.

Existing Fire Rings

The best place to build a fire is within an existing fire ring in a well-placed campsite. Keep the fire small and burning only for the time you are using it. Allow wood to burn completely to ash. Put out fires with water, not dirt. Dirt may not completely extinguish the fire. Avoid building fires next to rock outcrops where the black scars will remain for many years.

Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics

13. Custer Gallatin National Forest

Frozen waterfall hiking in Custer Gallatin National Forest Montana

Respect Wildlife

The Perfect Weekend adventure in Big Sky Montana Guide

Leave No Trace Principle 6

Learn about wildlife through quiet observation. Do not disturb wildlife or plants just for a “better look.” Observe wildlife from a distance so they are not scared or forced to flee. Large groups often cause more damage to the environment and can disturb wildlife so keep your group small. If you have a larger group, divide into smaller groups if possible to minimize your impacts.

Quick movements and loud noises are stressful to animals. Travel quietly and do not pursue, feed or force animals to flee. (One exception is in bear country where it is good to make a little noise so as not to startle the bears.) In hot or cold weather, disturbance can affect an animal’s ability to withstand the rigorous environment. Do not touch, get close to, feed or pick up wild animals. It is stressful to the animal, and it is possible that the animal may harbor rabies or other diseases.

Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics

14. Death Valley National Park

Hike through the incredible marble canyon while visiting Death Valley National Park.

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Salt flats across the extraordinary Death Valley National Park. The best time to visit is September - March before it starts to get too hot.

15. Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Trees

CLICK HERE for my Joshua Tree National Park Adventure

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Get your passport stamped at all the National Parks across the US!

16. Zion National Park

Hike angels landing in Zion National Park for an adrenaline pumping, extraordinary adventure
Hike angels landing in Zion National Park for an adrenaline pumping, extraordinary adventure
20 Beautiful National Parks to Visit in 2020 add these to your bucket list, because you won't want to miss these must see parks! Remember to practice LEAVE NO TRACE PRINCIPLES

17. Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park, an extraordinary national park that you should add to your bucket-list. Make a day trip here from Seattle!

18. Grand Teton National Park

Another extraordinary national park you must visit is the Grand Tetons National Park.

Be Considerate of Other Visitors

Leave No Trace Principle 7

One of the most important components of outdoor ethics is to maintain courtesy toward other visitors. It helps everyone enjoy their outdoor experience. Many people come to the outdoors to listen to nature. Excessive noise, uncontrolled pets and damaged surroundings take away from the natural appeal of the outdoors.

Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics
Mountain reflections of the Grand Tetons

The feeling of solitude, especially in open areas, is often enhanced when group size is small, contacts are infrequent and behavior is unobtrusive. To maximize your feeling of privacy, avoid trips on holidays and busy weekends or take a trip during the off season.

Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics

19. Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park
20 Beautiful National Parks to Visit in 2020 add these to your bucket list, because you won't want to miss these must see parks!

Technology continues to shape the outdoor experience. Personal preferences range from high-tech outdoor travelers, who might want to listen to music and collect images on their devices, to an anti-tech perspective that favors a minimal use of gadgets. Different strokes for different folks, but be sure to thoroughly consider how your experience is affecting the way someone else enjoys the outdoors. For example, earbuds may be a less obtrusive way to enjoy music than external speakers, but if you have the volume turned so high that you can’t hear someone behind you who wants to pass, your personal preference for music will negatively affect other people.

The general assumption on a narrow trail is that hikers headed downhill will step aside to allow an uphill foot traveler to easily pass. In many places, there’s an expectation that hikers will yield to equestrians, and that bicyclists will yield to both hikers and equestrians on trails. Stay in control when mountain biking. Before passing others, politely announce your presence and proceed with caution.

Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics

CLICK HERE to read more about Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park wildlife spotting, big horn sheep
20 Beautiful National Parks to Visit in 2020 add these to your bucket list, because you won't want to miss these must see parks!

Groups leading or riding pack stock have the right-of-way on trails. Hikers and bicyclists should move off the trail to the downhill side. Talk quietly to the riders as they pass, since horses are spooked easily.

Take rest breaks on durable surfaces well off the designated trail. Keep in mind that visitors to seldom used places require an extra commitment to travel quietly and lightly on the land. When selecting a campsite, choose a site where rocks or trees will screen it from others view. Keep noise down in camp so as not to disturb other campers or those passing by on the trail.

Bright clothing and equipment, such as tents, that can be seen for long distances are discouraged. Especially in open natural areas, colors such as day-glow yellow may contribute to a crowded feeling; consider earth-toned colors (ie. browns and greens) to lessen visual impacts. Keep pets under control at all times — Bowser is not in the wildlife category. Please pick up dog feces from camps and trails. Some areas prohibit dogs or require them to be on a leash at all times.

Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics

20. Boston National Historic Park

Boston National Historic Park, The Constitution Ship at port.

PIN THIS POST TO START YOUR LIST OF EXTRAORDINARY NATIONAL PARKS YOU MUST VISIT!

Don’t miss the 19 Extraordinary National Parks to Visit in 2019!

19 Extraordinary National Parks to Visit in 2019

Everglades National Park Guide

Everglades National Park Guide, where to hike, what to do + more! | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations

Everglades National Park

I have visited many National Parks around the world, and every once in awhile, my expectations get blown out of the water by some unexpectedly beautiful destination. The Everglades National Park is located in the state of Florida in the southern United States. This park is packed full of adventure, nature, and animals so unique, you can’t miss it during your visit to Florida.

Never had I imagined a wetlands landscape would be so mysterious, wild, and stunning. There are no other Everglades in the world– so I shouldn’t have been too surprised. My Everglades National Park Guide will take you through all the unique ecosystems of the everglades. With all you need to know, including hike suggestions to make the most of your time in the park. I hope you enjoy your time there as much as we did!

Here’s my Adventure Guide for Everglades National Park!



Everglades National Park Wetlands | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations

How to Get to Everglades National Park

Fly into Miami International Airport (MIA) and drive a rental car 45 minutes west into Everglades National park. We entered the park at the Ernest F. Coe East Visitor Center and spent the day driving the parks scenic road in our Camaro convertible. Driving down State Hwy 9336 (Main Park Rd) is a journey, so buckle your seat belts!

Convertible Driving HLA Everglades National Park Guide, where to hike, what to do + more! | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations

Go Bird Watching

Bird watching in Everglades National Park is just one way to see wildlife! This National Park Guide will tell you where to hike, what to do + more! | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations

Affiliate Disclosure

This blog post may contain affiliate links. If you click on one of my affiliate links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission for referring you. This comes at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products I have personally used + loved.

Bird watching in Everglades National Park is just one way to see wildlife! This National Park Guide will tell you where to hike, what to do + more! | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations
Loon bird in Everglades National Park wetlands. Bird watching in Everglades National Park is just one way to see wildlife! This National Park Guide will tell you where to hike, what to do + more! | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations
Colorful bird in Everglades National Park wetlands. Bird watching in Everglades National Park is just one way to see wildlife! This National Park Guide will tell you where to hike, what to do + more! | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations

Hiking Trails Guide

Elevation in the Everglades is typically measured in inches instead of feet. The highest elevation in the park doesn’t exceed 8 ft. so when I saw this elevation sign at 4 ft it made me laugh a little..

Dwarf Cypress Forest 4 ft elevation sign in Everglades National Park | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations

The elevation levels in the park define each habitat, from the lowest freshwater marsh to the higher tropical hardwood hammocks.

Flowers and plants are just one thing to see for wildlife! This National Park Guide will tell you where to hike, what to do + more! | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations

Anhinga Trail

This was our favorite trail we did during our day in the park. It was the first hike as you entered the park, so it was quite busy. The 0.8 mile hike was the best area to spot wildlife. We saw alligators, turtles, varies birds, and lots of unique fish.

Hiking Anhinga trail in Everglades National Park is the best way to see wildlife! This National Park Guide will tell you where to hike, what to do + more! | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations
Alligator Everglades National Park. This guide will tell you where to hike, what to do + more! | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations

A word of caution- at the trailhead parking lot there are vultures that are waiting to feast on your vehicle. They’re quite fond of the rubber window seals for some reason, and they WILL destroy your car if you do not cover it with a tarp. The tarps are provided with straps by the bathrooms and rest area.

Vultures at the trailhead in Everglades National Park parking area. This National Park Guide will tell you everything you need to know about your first visit | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations
Vultures at the trailhead in Everglades National Park parking area. This National Park Guide will tell you everything you need to know about your first visit | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations

Gumbo Limbo Trail

After we finished the Anhinga hike we made our way over to the Gumbo-Limbo trail. A short 0.4 mile hike takes you into a dense tropical hard-wood hammock.

Gumbo Limbo Trail in Everglades National Park. Located in the state of Florida, this National Park Guide will tell you everything you need to know about your first visit | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations

The trail was not crowded, and it was a nice break into the trees from the sunny Anhinga hike. Forests like this can survive only because of the tropical conditions. About 70% of the 700 native plant species of the park are of tropical origin.


Pinelands Trail

Take a short walk along this 0.4 mile trail through a sub-tropical pine forest. You’ll be walking through one of the most diverse habitats in south Florida.

Everglades National Park Pinelands trail. This National Park Guide will tell you everything you need to know about your first visit | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations

You’ll see the scenery changing as hardwoods are taken over by young pine. Higher areas in the Everglades eventually become large hammocks, unless they are destroyed by fire first. Fire preserves the natural diversity of the Everglades, and is crucial to the regrowth process of the various ecosystems.

Everglades National Park. This National Park Guide will tell you everything you need to know about your first visit | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations

Formerly, 52 color varieties of tree snails lived in the hammocks of South Florida. They came from the West Indies, dispersed, and settled in separate tree islands. After years of inbreeding, many multi-colored varieties came about. After gathering many of one variety, collectors sometimes would burn the hammock, destroying any left and making their collection more valuable. Thus putting at least four kinds of tree snail into extinction.

Everglades National Park. This National Park Guide will tell you everything you need to know about your first visit | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations

Pa-hay-okee Overlook

A short walk will guide you to a beautiful overlook known as Pa-hay-okee. This ecosystem of freshwater marsh is a wide, shallow, slow moving “river of grass”. It’s amazing how large this green river of grass really was. It seemed to expand forever into the horizon- with the occasional tree sprouting out.

Pa hay okee Overlook Everglades National Park. This National Park Guide will tell you everything you need to know about your first visit | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations

Water is the lifeblood of Everglades National Park, this river of grass is dependent on the seasonal rise and fall of fresh water. It is also dependent on people. For over 100 years we dredged, dammed, and drained the landscape. Controlling the ebb and flow of this life-giving force. In doing so, we endangered the Everglades and the life dependent on it.


Mahogany Hammock Trail

This 0.4 mi walk takes you through a jungle-like island forest. Tropical Hardwood Hammocks as seen above grow in Everglades National Park The hammocks create dense island forests that grow out of the freshwater marshes.

Mahogany Hammock Trail Everglades National Park. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about your first visit | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations
Mahogany Hammock Trail Everglades National Park. This National Park Guide will tell you everything you need to know about your first visit | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations
Mahogany Hammock Trail Everglades National Park. This National Park Guide will tell you everything you need to know about your first visit | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations

Everglade Mangroves

Mangroves ecosystem in Everglades National Park. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about your first visit | herlifeadventures.blog | #everglades #nationalpark #florida #travel #destinations

If you liked my Guide on Everglades National Park, PIN IT!! 🙂




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2018 Year Review

Happy New Years Friends! 

WOW! Was 2018 a life changing year or what!?

One of the Many Michigan Lighthouses

For me 2018 was filled with curveballs being thrown at me constantly. By life, my career, and my family. Reflecting back over the year, and going through my photos from 2018 brings forward a lot of different emotions. My apologies for the delay in this post… at this rate I’ll be lucky to get this out before the end of 2019.

January

JThe year started with Logan and the fur babies moving in 🏡 I went from living single in my one bedroom apartment to a household of 4 with a 2:2 human:fur baby ratio. Quite the change! On top of consolidating homes, I kicked the year off ✈️ visiting my first National Park of 2018- Death Valley 🏜 camping under the desert stars with the love of my life celebrating our 1 year anniversary. Not a bad month!

Check out my post HERE on Death Valley, this park is out of this world gorgeous!

February

Not our favorite month this year! Our fur babies both had very expensive, debilitating surgeries. Putting our whole family out of commission, with no time to travel as Logan and I spent the next couple months home nursing our babies back to recovery.

March

April

April brought warmer weather and hope that winter was nearing it’s end. The fur babies were doing much better and the recovery was getting easier on everyone. I took my first trip since the girls surgery- and flew to California for business. Logan hadn’t been to California since childhood- he flew out for the weekend to explore the Los Angeles area and visit Harry Potter’s castle at Universal Studios.

May

May was a giant whirlwind! I made up for the lack of traveling the past few months. As I spent most of the month traveling. It started with Grace and I packing up her life in Chicago and heading west to Seattle. Along the way we made a few stops…

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Check out my post HERE on Badlands National Park, the park you never knew you had to visit.

Mount Rushmore National Monument, South Dakota
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

May was an extra special month this year. Because I turned 30!!! And almost instantly grew at least 50 grey hairs. I celebrated my birthday surrounded by my favorite travel crew.

Check out my post HERE on how to spend 8 Days Driving Iceland’s Ring Road!

Palms Book State Park; Big Spring

Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer in the midwest. Logan and I still had our suitcases from Iceland packed as we headed north for the weekend. After 10 days away from our fur babies we were looking forward to a weekend away with them to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for the holiday weekend.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Check out my post HERE on The Perfect Weekend in Michigan’s UP!

June

June my little sister tied the knot 💍 and made the most beautiful bride. Logan and I spent the summer weekends camping around Michigan ⛺️ and chasing lighthouses.

Lake Michigan

July

Olympic National Park

July started by exploring Seattle with Logan for the first time. We spent a couple days camping and hiking in the Olympic Peninsula. Another quick trip to Los Angelas for work, and ended with a baby shower to celebrate the future princess 👑 Charlotte Long. 

Ice Cream Taco in North Hollywood California

Check out my post HERE to read about my 3 Days Exploring the Olympic Peninsula of Washington!

August

August was 4 new Michigan State parks along the west coast of Michigan with all the family!

Check out my post HERE for the Perfect Weekend Camping Michigan’s West Coast!

September

Tulum National Park, Mexico

September I explored the Mexico for the first time! I spent a week in the state of Quintana Roo exploring cenotes and celebrating Logan & Grace’s birthdays!

Check out my posts HERE for the Perfect Weekend Camping Michigan’s West Coast!

My third trip to Los Angeles for work ✈️

Los Angeles Street Art

With little time to breathe- ✈️ a weekend in Boston visiting family and exploring the historic city

Freedom Trail, Boston

October

October Logan and I bought a 1965 Cree! Our Michigan made camper joined us for just 1 of our 3 Michigan U.P. Trips this year (Rest assured it will be on 100% of 2019 camping adventures 👏🏻). October is my favorite month in Michigan- all the leaves begin to turn colors. The green leaves turning into bright yellows, or bursting orange and reds. The whole state transforms into a magical place.

Porcupine Mountain State Park