An epic national parks road trip
Your mentor, Meg, explains her unconventional honeymoon.
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This week’s mentor rented an RV for her honeymoon and visited 6 national parks over the course of three weeks. But before we get there, here’s a couple opportunities for some free travel.
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Your Travel Mentor: Meg Banki
Meg and her husband Greg have traveled all over the world. They met while studying abroad together in France. They’ve been on a 3-week road-trip across the western U.S. (more about that below!). And they watch the sunset on Florida beaches near their home every week. Their next trip is planned for September, when they will take their 1-year-old son Cade to Acadia for his first national park adventure.
Destination Spotlight: National Parks Road Trip
Some of our friends and family members were a little confused when we told them about our honeymoon plans. Instead of sitting on a beach at a resort, we rented an RV, drove 2,600 miles, visited 6 National Parks, and hiked 94 miles. Some nights we didn't have electric or water or anything other than the walls of the RV.
When Meg began planning her honeymoon, she took a beach trip off the table. She lives in Florida, and trips to the beach happen weekly with her family. She had already been to Europe a few times, and realized she had most of her own country left to explore. After growing up vacationing on the east coast, she planned to head into unfamiliar territory out west.
Read on for their honeymoon road trip itinerary and Meg’s favorite hikes at each stop.
Road Trip Itinerary
Here’s a link to the driving directions in case you want to head out on an epic road trip of your own!
Yosemite National Park
Yosemite is known for its granite cliffs, towering waterfalls, and the tunnel view into Yosemite Valley.
Favorite hike: Sentinel Dome
A fairly easy, 2 mile out-and-back hike. It ends with views of Yosemite Valley that look like this…
Read more about Yosemite on Meg’s blog.
Sequoia National Park
Sequoia is filled with giant trees. General Sherman, one of the largest living trees in the world, is over 2300 years old and one of the most popular sites in the park.
Driving distance from Yosemite: 2.5 hours
Favorite hike: Congress Trail
A 3 mile, fully paved, loop. One of the best for seeing tons of sequoias.
Read more about Sequoia on Meg’s blog.
Grand Canyon National Park
One of the most well-know geological wonders in the world, it's hard to comprehend the massive size of the Grand Canyon.
Driving distance from Sequoia: 10 hours
Favorite hike: Ooh Aah Point
Take the shuttle bus to the South Kaibab Trailhead and hike a steep mile into the canyon for the Ooh Aah Point panoramic view.
Read more about the Grand Canyon on Meg’s blog.
Zion National Park
To me, Zion is most breathtaking place on the planet. The huge canyon carved by such a tiny river, steep red rock cliffs all around you, and some of the most unique views and hikes of any national park make this place extra special.
Driving distance from Grand Canyon: 2 hours
Favorite hike: The Watchman
Often overlooked in favor of the more famous hikes in the park (i.e. Angel’s Landing, The Narrows), this 3.5 mile hike is one of the closest to the park entrance and offers great views of the canyon and the nearby town of Springdale.
Read more about Zion on Meg’s blog.
Bryce Canyon National Park
This canyon is filled with spire-shaped rock formations called “hoodoos” that were formed by erosion over millions of years. Spend the day visiting all the overlooks or take a hike down into the canyon among the hoodoos.
Driving distance from Zion: 1.5 hours
Favorite hike: Wall Street / Queen’s Garden Loop
This hike, a little over 3 miles, will take you down into the canyon, but also includes stops on the rim at a few overlooks.
Read more about Bryce Canyon on Meg’s blog.
Grand Teton National Park
The towering Teton mountain range watches over visitors to this park, which is only 10 miles south of Yellowstone National Park (a potential bonus stop on this road trip if you have the time!).
Driving distance from Bryce Canyon: 8.5 hours
Favorite hike: Taggart Lake
At almost 4 miles long, this loop trail passes by its namesake lake, which offers reflections of the surrounding mountains.
Read more about Grand Teton on Meg’s blog.
Some of Meg’s other road trip favorites:
Zion Canyon Campground for Meg’s favorite campsite
Zion Brewery for local beers and great desserts
Trapper Grill at Signal Mountain Lodge Restaurant inside Grand Teton National Park
Jenny the Trailhead for national park hiking inspiration and advice
The US Park Pass grants you access to more than 2000 federal recreation sites across the country (including all national parks). If you plan on visiting a few national parks within a year, buying the pass for $80 is usually worth it.
There’s so much of our country to see. Our honeymoon was amazing but we only saw 1% of it.
Follow Meg as she explores the other 99% of the U.S @traveling-in-our-shoes! You can also follow her personal account @meg_banki where she posts great family shots and other non-travel related content.
Her blog, Traveling in Our Shoes, goes into much more detail about her road trip.
Send this post to someone you would love to plan a national parks road trip with!
Jeff went island-hopping in Thailand and shared about it in last week’s post. Check it out here.
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