Traveling in the USA is Pretty Darn Great.

We made a pitstop in Sedona. Hi, God!
We made a pitstop in Sedona. Hi, God!

It’s 6 am and I can’t sleep because I’m too excited! I spent all of yesterday traveling– a three hour flight, a four hour drive (with a two hour hike in the middle to break it up) and now…

I am finally at the Grand Canyon!

I’ve always wanted to see this big hole in the ground, and I’ve been so close a few times– as near as Four Corners, which was nothing to write home about. But somehow, the only time I’ve seen this bad body is with my face pressed against an airplane window (which is one of my favorite ways to sightsee).

So here I sit, at the Kachina Lodge, perched along the south rim, waiting for the sun to rise.

We shelled out the extra 10 bucks for a canyon view room.

I think it’ll be worth it.

In January, the husband and I spent two-and-a-half weeks in Australia and New Zealand. And yeah, it was a trip of a lifetime. But both Josh and I got to thinking that though these places are beautiful, who’s to say they’re any more beautiful or awesome than what’s in our own backyard? And by backyard, I mean the United States. We spent basically our entire life savings & four full travel days on visiting the land down under, and yet and I can’t say the trip made me happier than if we’d stayed closer to home.

So we decided that maybe it’s time we start exploring more here in America. Josh and I have traveled a ton, but neither of us has seen much of the National Parks. I’ve always wanted to visit Yosemite and Joshua Tree and Acadia… but I simply never it a priority.

It is now.

This weekend, I’m heading to a dear friend’s memorial service in Tucson. I decided to tack on two days at the Grand Canyon. Josh has already been here a few times, so I enlisted my father in the journey. He’s 65 and has never seen it either!

Traveling with a parent is pretty funny. My dad insists on asking for directions every five minutes and tips literally every person who ever does anything for us, like cashiers at parking ramps. But of course, what I’m really feeling is fortunate that I still have both of my parents and get to still have adventures with them. More on that later!

Today, we’re doing some hiking, taking a Jeep and Helicopter ride. It’s a jam-packed day, but I couldn’t be more excited. This never would’ve happened if I hadn’t made it a priority.

* * *

I gotta run, but in the meantime, what’s your favorite US travel destination/state park? Looking to add a few more to my list!

Not the first time I’ve written about traveling with parents– except last time, it was my husband’s. And here’s one of my favorite US destinations (I got to wear a muumuu!).

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Comments (20)

  • Ashley 5 years ago Reply

    I grew up about an hour south of the Adirondacks in NYS. We spent many many weekends camping at the state run camp sites, hiking mountain trails, bike riding, and swimming in cold lakes. It was a great way to economically spend summers as a family.

    molly mogren katt 5 years ago Reply

    Yes, I feel like that whole New England part of the country is something I know zero about. I want to check out Maine, too! And Vermont. And everywhere, basically.

    Ashley 5 years ago

    I do love this region. So many states are very close by to visit. Now that I live in Connecticut I forget that the coast is never really more than an hour away!

    Vermont was also close enough that it was a nice day trip destination growing up, and parts of Western Massachusetts. My favorite thing about driving to visit my parents now is passing through the Berkshires. We have friends with a property in Vermont that we at least spend a long weekend over the 4th of July. It’s just a whole bunch of us in and camping around this old farm house enjoying the scenery and eating and drinking. My dog Angel thinks it’s the best place on earth. I’d also love to head to Maine, have only been as an infant. So many places to visit! I’ve never been anywhere in the midwest.

    molly mogren katt 5 years ago

    THE MIDWEST IS AWESOME! Seriously, if you ever get the chance, go to Northern MN or Wisconsin. So absolutely stunning. My favorite place on earth.

    Ashley 5 years ago

    You and Andrew keep convincing me of this on the podcast! I need an airstream and months to make a cross country tour. Dreams!

  • Jen S. 5 years ago Reply

    My best US trip so far was spending the Fourth of July in Boston. Holy Cow! What an experience! They fired the canons from the old timey ships in the harbor, read the declaration of independence from the original balcony that it was read from, and the Boston pops played a free concert during the fireworks. surreal!

    molly mogren katt 5 years ago Reply

    That sounds amazing! Please tell me a bald eagle flew overhead at some point, too. Fun!

  • Kathryn 5 years ago Reply

    Yellowstone! And Colonial Williamsburg on 4th of July.

    molly mogren katt 5 years ago Reply

    I went to Yellowstone in college with a weird ex-boyfriend and I totally want to go back with my excellent, amazing husband. Hadn’t even considered Williamsburg! Good one!

  • melanie 5 years ago Reply

    The Blue Ridge Mountains are b-e-a-utiful– especially during the fall!

    molly mogren katt 5 years ago Reply

    Adding them to the list. And what about the Smokey Mountains? Isn’t Dolly from there? (obviously Dolly and I are on a first-name basis).

  • Whitney Smith-Kinnaman 5 years ago Reply

    My favorite place in the US is Gulf Shores, Alabama. It’s not known as a national treasure or anything of the sort. However, it’s where I spent every spring break during my entire childhood. Simple, beautiful beaches, and amazing food.
    I haven’t been back in almost TEN years…….time to plan!

    molly mogren katt 5 years ago Reply

    Is that the "Redneck Riviera"? I’ve literally heard nothing but good things. less expensive and busy than Florida, and just as beautiful! Who wants to go on a road trip?

    Whitney Smith-Kinnaman 5 years ago

    I’ve never heard it called that, but it fits! In a good way. 🙂
    I can hear the Royal Red shrimp calling my name!

  • Jordan Dockendorf 5 years ago Reply

    My list is filled with tons of distant 4-day travel destinations but I sometimes overlook US travel. Thanks for the great reminder that we really don’t need to go far to have an awesome adventure!

    I really loved Savannah, Georgia and Beaufort, South Carolina. Beaufort is a sleepy little town between Charleston and Savannah and it is so quintessentially "the South." It’s gorgeous! It’s not necessarily an adventure vacation (unless you consider a horse-drawn carriage ride adventurous but you’ve hang glided and skydived so I highly doubt it!) but would be great for a relaxing trip.

    Enjoy the rest of your time in Arizona!

    PS – I’ve said this before but your dad seriously seems like the greatest dad ever! (do I get a tip for saying that??)

    molly mogren katt 5 years ago Reply

    I know zilch about the southeast, with the exception of Florida, which is kind of it’s own weird world anyhow.

    My dad is pretty great! 🙂

  • Meghan 5 years ago Reply

    I absolutely love this! We (my husband and I), too, have traveled to some pretty far away places but I have to say our new favorite way to go is in the US.
    A few years ago we drove to Louisiana (hello, Tobasco Factory!) then through Alabama and Mississippi. This fall we are doing Savannah to the Keys. Yes my passport is gathering a ton of dust, but there is something so great about discovering all these hidden gems in the US. Can’t wait to hear where you go next!

    molly mogren katt 5 years ago Reply

    Savannah is definitely on my list! And I gotta get to Yosemite asap. 🙂

  • Sue 5 years ago Reply

    There are so many awesome National Parks! Acadia, Glacier, Yellowstone, Olympic, Yosemite, the Channel Islands. Never been to Bryce or Zion but hear they are beautiful. Getting below the rim at the Grand Canyon. A trip in your back yard is the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, if you haven’t been out to the islands that’s a fun trip!

  • Diana 5 years ago Reply

    Is there anything better than the North Shore of Lake Superior? (Slightly biased…am going there TODAY!)

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