Friday, November 30, 2012

Top State Parks we visited

Top 17 State Parks

1)     Petit Jean State Park, Arkansas

We stayed 4 days in this gem of a place. 

Amazing rocks, amazing hiking.

3)      Point Lobos, California

Fierce coastline, and amazing tide pools

4)      Antelope Island, Utah

Wading in the cold salt lake, and super peaceful camping.

5)      Lake Tahoe, California

Big Trees and a gorgeous lake.

6)      National Bridge, Kentucky

Beautiful countryside and good hiking

7)     Tallulah Gorge, Georgia

Natural waterslide

8)     Jordanelle, Utah

Fall colors and the place to ourselves.

9)      Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

The ocean!

10)   Catalina, Arizona

Beautiful Desert

11)    Oliver Lee Memorial, New Mexico

11 Mile Hike with 2000+ vertical feet gain.

12)    Pinnacle Mountain, Arkansas

A hiking triumph by our 4 yr old.

13)    Enchanted Rock, Texas

A big pink rock that begs to be climbed.

14)    Magazine Mountain, Arkansas

Butterfly capital of the world.

15)    Quechee Gorge, Vermont

Fun in the water.

16)   Three Island State Park, Idaho

A green oasis in the Idaho desert.
Mountains of sand.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Top National Parks

Top 10 “Natural” National Parks
1)  Yosemite, CA
2)  Glacier, MT
3)  Acadia, ME
4)  Shenandoah, VA
5)  Joshua Tree, CA
6)  Grand Tetons, WY
7)  Buffalo River, AR
8)  Pinnacles, CA
9)  Craters of the Moon, ID
10) Badlands, SD

Honorable Mention:   Yellowstone, Devils Tower, Smoky Mountains

Top 7 “Historical” National Parks
1)  Alcatraz, San Francisco, CA
2)  Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, Baker City, OR
3)  Minuteman Missile, Near Wall, SD
4)  Jamestown, VA
5)  LBJ Ranch, Fredericksburg, TX
6)  Wright Brothers, Kill Devil Hills, NC
7)  St Louis Arch, MO

Honorable Mention:  Yorktown, VA;  Mt Rushmore, SD

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


It's challenging to summarize a year/fourteen months of travels in just one short post, but with this phase of our adventure at an end, I'd like to point out some favorites:  You'll notice that there are hyperlinks for the national parks, state parks, and museums that will take you to a separate post with the top (as voted by those old enough to vote in our family) parks, etc. visited on our adventure.

1-Visiting Friends & Family -- Hands down, this has been the most fun of our adventure!  Relationships trump "stuff" every time.  We will never regret the time we spent with others, period.  Rekindling friendships, making new friends, and sharing life with family we don't live close to made priceless memories that we'll cherish for a lifetime.

2-National Parks & State Parks aka "The Great Outdoors" -- Visiting National Parks all over the US was awesome!  Learning history, geography, and science, all while experiencing God's creation firsthand was great for everyone.  We certainly didn't make it to all of them; we had to leave some for later vacations, you know!

The kids learned so much from various Junior Ranger programs, and we did, too!  Of course, just getting out there and experiencing God's amazing creativity and imagination, all for us to enjoy and explore, was fabulous.

3-Museums -- I have a confession to make...prior to this adventure, I had no great love for museums.  I did occasionally go to them, but I often found myself overwhelmed with the massive amount of information, as well as the crowds.  Certainly, I got stretched in this area, and I have to say that there are definitely some incredible museums out there that are very much worth your time and your money to visit!

4-Campgrounds -- We stayed at probably over 50 different places on our trip.   These highlight the best ones.

Ultimately, I think all of our family learned that, pretty much no matter where you go, there will be great things about that place, and perhaps some not-so-great things.  When you are visiting a place at just the right time, with perfect weather, perfect amount of people, etc., there is no place better in the world to be!  I'm happy to say that we managed some of those moments of pure perfection, and I'm also happy to say that there were moments that didn't seem so perfect on the surface that we embraced and made priceless memories just the same!  I definitely want to remember that as we go forward--whether on-the-road or not--embrace where you are!  You are not confined by circumstances!