MY FAVORITE BEACHES IN KAUAI

IMG_0272.jpegThe beach is my happy place and the worries of life just seem to vanish once I am there. I could easily listen to the sound of the waves for a few hours and just soak up the sun. I fell in love with the beaches of Kauai through my screen and just had to make it there and I hope you can make it there too! Here are some of my personal favorite beaches in Kauai.

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Shhh it’s a secret but this was the best beach in the island! Located in the East side you’ll find this secret gem of a beach. There is about a 10 minute steep hike to get down to this beach but it’s worth it! You’ll find great waves to surf or boogie board in, beautiful views of the light house and no crowds

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This is a popular beach for its cliff jumping and surfing the waves! There are many shady trees you can hang hammocks in and there is also a beautiful hike along the coast to explore. This beach is located on the South side by the Grand Hyatt and parking can be difficult because of its popularity.

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This is the most famous beach in Kauai and you have probably seen this in many publications. I would recommend going for the experience and crossing this beautiful beach of your list. The great thing about this beach is that there are many amenities such as picnic tables, bathrooms, and shops. We brought our boogie boards and attempted to catch some waves.

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This beach is located between a residential community and parking can be very difficult. This beach is literally the backyard to some of these homes so you’ll find many locals at this beach. My favorite part of this beach is the swing I found along the beach! It was simply perfect.

DONKEY BEACH  (TOP PICTURE)

Nope there are no Donkeys here and hardly any crowds! It is about a 15 minute walk to get down to the beach from the parking lot. It’s a calmer beach that you can snorkel and catch some easy waves. There are bathrooms and showers located in the parking lot to freshen up.

Have you been to Kauai? What were your favorite beaches on the island? I need more recommendations for the future!

10 PHOTOS TO INSPIRE YOU TO VISIT QUEEN’S BATH, HI

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After doing some research I was positive that I wanted to visit this place, no matter what. Every picture that I saw made me fall in love with this location, it just looked so unreal. I will admit that I am not the best swimmer, so naturally, I was terrified especially with all the warnings about it. I decided to be brave and cross this off my bucket list!

Before you go make sure the conditions are just right and that the tide is not high! The trail is located in Princeville and parking is very limited that you might  have to wait a couple minutes to grab a spot (we waited 20 minutes). The trail is very muddy and slippery so make sure you have the proper footwear. No flip flops! It’s a short and steep hike that takes about 25 minutes. Before reaching the bottom you will pass a stream and a waterfall to freshen up in. When you finally arrive the view will be breathtaking! You can jump into the pool and swim for a couple minutes, at times there will be a few waves that come along just an FYI.

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CHASING WATERFALLS IN NORTHERN UTAH

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Let’s talk about northern Utah because it is breathtaking! I recently went on a couple of waterfall hikes in northern Utah including Donut Falls, Adam Falls, Stuart Falls, and all the falls…but really. Chasing waterfalls is my favorite type of hikes!

DONUT FALLS, BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON

Located about 9 miles up Big Cottonwood Canyon you will find the home to the popular Donut Falls. You have to be careful in looking for this hike because there is not a trail sign to guide you in. I had to ask a park ranger for directions because I thought I went too far up. I went on a Saturday morning and this hike was very busy, so I recommend doing it on a weekday where it isn’t too crowded. The hike is a 2 mile round trip and kid friendly! Just make sure to be careful climbing the rocks because they are slippery. The waterfall, which travels through a hole in the rocks makes it look like a donut. Oh, I almost forgot you have to bring donuts to Donut Falls!

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ADAM FALLS, ADAM’S CANYON

This dog friendly hike is a 3.5 mile round trip up Adams Canyon. At the beginning of the hike it is sandy and uphill (like the sand dunes), then you will get to the forest with several switchbacks. When on the trial you will encounter a couple of forks on the trail I recommend to just follow the water. There are a few spots on the trail with some steep climbs or where you are on rock walls, so use some discretion before taking very small children/dogs. This hike is full of smaller waterfalls along the way, but Adams Fall is the one at the end of the trail with the 40 foot waterfall.

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STEWART FALLS, PROVO CANYON 

There are a couple of entry ways for this hike, I entered at Aspen Grove which is the recommended route. This trail is super easy to find and leads you directly to Stewart Falls which is a 200 feet tall. Stewart Falls is a 4 mile round trip that gives you a scenic view of the Wasatch Mountains. This hike was one of the easier ones that I have done, there only a few rough spots. Along the way I encountered many families with their kids and dogs!

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GROTTO FALLS, PAYSON CANYON

You drive up about 7 miles up Payson Canyon to start the Grotto Falls Trail. The hike begins from the parking area just off the Mount Nebo Loop Road. This was the easiest and shortest waterfall hike I’ve done. It’s only .6 miles round trip and can be done in about 45 minutes. You can see in my picture that I even wore jeans and flats! My family randomly decided to do this hike and it was so much fun! Highly recommend it for a short hot summer day adventure with the family/friends.

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Horse Tail Falls, Alpine

Wow this waterfall was huge! You can see it from a view point on the trail but keep going so you can see it up close. This hike is 4 miles round trip and pretty steep so make sure you have good shoes to make the climb! We did this last spring and there was still snow in some parts of the trail.

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I love Northern Utah because of its beautiful mountains with amazing waterfalls to explore! What are some of your favorite waterfall hikes in Utah? I’d love to hear your adventure!

WHAT NOT TO MISS IN SAN FRANCISCO

IMG_2062I’ve been to San Francisco a couple times and always discover something new and exciting. This city has so many attractions, yummy eats, and historic sites to escape to! If you have a couple days here or even just a layover, I’ve compiled a list for you of some of my favorite things that I have done to help you plan your SFO adventure!

THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE 

The classic Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco was built in 1933 and is 3 miles long. You will find many tourists at this popular attraction riding bikes, jogging, walking, and taking photographs. The view is breathtaking in every direction that you look at. It is very windy here so make sure you bring a sweater/light jacket for your adventure.IMG_4600

PAINTED LADIES

I’m a 90’s kid so I’m a huge fan of Full House and who can blame me! Of course, I had to go to this iconic location, not only because it was shown in Full House, but because of the beautiful architecture of these Victorian houses. The Painted Ladies are located on Steiner Street. You can have a picnic at the park across the street or just enjoy the view of the colorful homes.IMG_4601

MOSIAC STEPS

This is one of my favorite locations in San Francisco because of the hidden art gem that is known as the Mosaic Steps. Located on 16th Avenue and Morgan with a total of 163 decorative steps you will find a variety of art within each step. From moons, fish, flowers, and a sun you will have a great picture from all angles of the staircase.IMG_4602

FISHERMAN’S WHARF 

Oh my, these seals are so fun to watch they would lie around and nap, fight and swim with each other. Believe me, it is way better than people watching. I enjoyed a nice seafood dinner at one of the local restaurants that had an amazing view of the sunset. This place is fun to walk around and hang out at with other tourists. Fisherman’s Wharf is worth seeing at least once when visiting San Francisco.unnamed-6

BAKER BEACH 

Want a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge, well this is it! This beach is perfect to walk around, throw a Frisbee and if you are daring to go for a swim (water is freezing)! Attachment-1Have you ever been to San Francisco? If not, what are you waiting for? This is a must on your bucket list!

WHAT TO DO IN SAN DIEGO

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Okay, so we were sick and over the snow in Utah that we decided to take a weekend away and headed to San Diego with 75-degree weather! We booked our cute beach Airbnb and soaked up the sun. We had 3 days to enjoy what San Diego had to offer and it was perfect to do all that we wanted to do.

BEST BEACHES 

Being from Utah where there is no beach (and no the Great Salt Lake does not count), I love and appreciate my beach time! San Diego has a couple nice beaches to check out and to get your tan on, salt in your hair and relax to the sound of the waves. Some of my favorite beaches from the San Diego area include:

  • Mission Beach
  • Pacific Beach
  • La Jolla Cove
  • Coronado Beach

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The photo below I took in the best location to capture the San Diego skyline. Most locals are the only ones that know of this location, but I will share it with you! It is Bayview Park you can find the directions here. But, shhh I didn’t tell you!

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SAN DIEGO ZOO

The San Diego Zoo is one of the most popular ones in the states and it did not disappoint. We spent a whole day at the zoo because it is huge and you have so many things to see! We were lucky enough to have most of the animals be awake and active. You can easily purchase tickets that same day at their box office or online.

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BELMONT PARK

This little amusement park is located by Mission Beach and has free admissions! You can walk around and grab a Dole Whip (that’s what we did), or ride couple rides and play in their arcade. It’s a great place to take your family after a day at the beach!

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SAN DIEGO EATS

Great food is always on the list when traveling and San Diego’s foodie scene is delicious, so here is a couple of my favorite places:

  • Olive Cafe
  • Breakfast Republic
  • Dirty Birds
  • Common Theory Public House
  • Sicilia Bella
  • Baked Bear (ice cream sandwiches)

Best Transportation Method 

Bird is a recent company that provides easy and fast transportation with dockless bikes and scooters. I am not a bike person so this scooter saved me from many dreadful bike rides! This is a great transportation method for the boardwalk or close by destinations you don’t necessarily want to get an Uber or walk to. I LOVED my scooter and definitely recommend it!

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San Diego was the perfect destination and we will be coming back in the future! What are your favorite things to do? Any ice cream location I must check out? Tell me more!

MINI TRAVEL GUIDE TO PUERTO RICO

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Puerto Rico is a great getaway for a tropical destination with amazing views, delicious food and welcoming people. We went in January and the temperature was perfect! Puerto Rico is on the smaller size so you can explore the whole island easily by renting a car. I’ve put together a mini guide to help you on your travels to this island.

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What to know before visiting Puerto Rico 

  • The US Dollar is the local currency
  • Most locals speak English
  • Passport is not required if you’re a US Citizen
  • Uber is available

What to see & do

  • Explore Old San Juan by foot
  • Visit El Morro & Castillo San Cristobal
  • Shopping on Cristo Street
  • Visit El Yunque National Park
  • Cue Ventana (Window Cave)
  • Bioluminescent Bays (can’t be seen during a full moon)

Where to eat & drink

  • Raices
  • Mofongos
  • Antojitos del Callejon
  • Vaca Brava

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As many of you know last September Puerto Rico was hit with a category 4 hurricane, destroying most of the island. This was the worst storm that has ever hit Puerto Rico. As of now, Puerto Rico is doing much better and tourism is at its best! By going on vacation to Puerto Rico you are helping the island by supporting local businesses and helping them recover through tourism dollars. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and go on vacation for a good cause!

3 WINTER ACTIVITES TO DO IN JACKSON, WYOMING

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Jackson, Wyoming is a winter paradise. With all sorts of actives to enjoy with the family for a weekend getaway. If you are lucky enough you will get to see the Teton Mountain range during a moment of clarity and it’s truly breathtaking. Of course hitting the slopes with your skies is a great option, but there are also other winter activies to enjoy!

1. Wild Life Safari IMG_2015

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Wake up early, grab your coffee, dress warmly and go see some animals! We were able to see moose, elk, eagles, buffalo, foxes and big horn sheep! Your guide knows all the locations to catch a glimpse of the local wildlife.  You just have to be patient, I promise you’ll see something.

2. National Elk Refuge Sleigh Ride

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I unexpectedly found this little excursion when I was visiting the welcome center and just had to sign up. You are able to get close and personal to the elk in a safe way while admiring their beauty. Your guide will be full of fun facts about not only elk but other animals in the area. It’s fascinating to learn about the elks yearly migration to Jackson!

3. Dog Sledding

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Wow. That’s all I have to say for this adventure. It was my favorite and would highly recommend this to be added to your winter backlist! Check out the full details on my dog sledding post. But, seriously look at these doggie faces!

Jackson is a magical place year round but there is something very special about it in the winter. Have you been to Jackson? If so, what are some of the things you must do or see.

DOG SLEDING, JACKSON WY

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A year ago I came across this dog sledding company, Continental Divide Dogsled Adventures , in Jackson Wyoming but it was all booked out! So I had to wait a whole year to do this and the wait was worth it. We were not the only ones excited for this ride, the dogs were too. As soon as we got there they were jumping in excitement and hoping to be chosen to mush with us!

You can choose between a full day of dog sledding or a half day. We chose the half day option. You can also save a few bucks if you drive yourself to their lodge (45 minutes outside of Jackson) rather than have them pick you up in town.

When we arrived for our trip our native Alaskan guide, who has been sledding since she was six moths old gave us some basic information on what to expect during our mush. Excitedly we threw on our winter gear and went out to meet the dogs.  On our way back we were taught how to drive the sled and we even had the opportunity to mush by ourselves! The whole trip was unbelievable! This was by far the highlight of my trip to Jackson.

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We were truly in a winter wonderland! It had recently snowed so we were worried the visibility was going to be low, but it was a perfect sunny day.  The tips of the Tetons made for the perfect background for our dog sled ride.  I would absolutely recommend adding this to your bucket list!

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We loved playing and meeting with all of our 11 Alaskan Huskies! They were so playful, rowdy, and friendly. These dogs are treated with care and trained to be endurance athletes. Billy (owner) makes sure that the well being of his dogs is a top priority. Billy even makes his own dog food brand to ensure they are getting the nutrients that they need.

To book your reservation make sure you book at least a couple weeks in advance. Billy and his team will take care of you and make sure you have a memorable time.

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SNOWSHOEING IN UTAH

MY FAVORITE LOCATIONS 

I LOVE locations with a view it makes my adventure worth my struggle! Here are some of my favorite locations that I have gone snowshoeing.

1. Adam Falls, Adams Canyon

Total Distance 5.2 Miles   Total Time 3-5 Hours

This is defiantly a steep trail that I would recommend taking microspikes during the winer instead of snowshoes! I did not bring my own but my friend let me borrow one of hers and that saved me from many falls. I can only imagine how much easier it would have been if I would have had both of them on. This is one of my favorite waterfalls because its pretty big and beautiful, even when frozen!

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2. Lake Mary, Big Cottonwood Canyon

Total Distance: 2 Miles       Total Time: 1-2 Hours

This was one of the trails that was hard to find because of the snow! Here is the specific directions on how to find Lake Mary. We added to our time because we got lost trying to find the trail and we were one of the first to find it. The view was amazing even though you couldn’t see the lake.

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3. Grandeur Peak, Millcreek Canyon

Total Distance: 5.26 Miles    Total Time: 3-5 Hours

This trail was one of the tough ones for me because of the elevation gain in such a short amount of time. I literally thought I was going to give up the last mile, but in the end the view was completely worth it. Also its dog friendly so bring your pal for an adventure.

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4. Lake Blanche, Big Cottonwood Canyon

Total Distance: 7.6 Miles     Total Time: 5 Hours

This hike is breathtaking from the start to finish! Be prepared to take frequent stops to catch your breath and take a drink of water. This is a popular location were you will encounter many other adventurous from all around the world. It was pretty cold that we only stayed a couple minutes at the top, but it was still worth it!

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5. Diamond Fork Hot Springs, Spanish Fork Canyon

Total Distance in the winter: 12-13 Miles Total Time: 5-7 Hours

We woke up at dawn and were not the only ones to be in this journey to these beautiful hot springs. In the winter the road to this trail head is closed so you need to hike a little extra, but it is worth it! The whole time we were like inside a snow globe with light snow falling from the sky. For this adventure remember to wear your swimsuit under your clothes so you can jump in once you get there. Also remember to bring a towel no one want to hike down wet, that would be miserable!

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WINTER ADVISE 

Hiking is one thing and snowshoeing is another. Make sure you estimate about an hour more to your time when you are snowshoeing because some trails may be more difficult with snow. Some of the trails are not always marked well during winter seasons so know your trail in advance this cuts time on finding the trail. Make sure your snowshoes are the right size because it makes a huge difference!

WHAT YOU WILL NEED TO WEAR

The essentials include: A coat, hiking boots, snowshoes, wool socks, gloves, hiking backpack, beanie, micro spikes and/or microspikes snacks and WATER. Other suggested items include: hand/feet warmers, ski poles, snacks,and a compass.