Travel

Coral Pink Sand Dunes: Family Road Trip 2018

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Our family of five visited the Pink Coral Sand Dunes State Park in Kanab, UT on our 15-day Family Road Trip through Nevada, Utah, Arizona and California! It was pretty spectacular! We only spent a few hours here because this was only a stop on our way from Zion National Park to Grand Canyon; however, you could totally plan to stay longer! Immediately upon arrival, my kids took off running and screaming over the sand dunes! The sand really looks more orange than pink, but it is still remarkable. We had never seen anything like this before. It felt as though we were in an Arabian desert!

While we were there, others were driving dune buggies all over the sand. We wished so badly we had known to do this. You cannot rent the inside the park, but you can bring them in and drive them all over the dunes. Let me tell you, they were having a GOOD time and my kids were very envious! If we would have planned to do this, it would have definitely been one of the highlights of the trip. If you can’t rent a dune buggy, at least bring in a board for sand boarding down all the amazing hills!

The park is very easy to from Kanab. You just take a little detour off a main road. You travel down a desolate road for bit and come straight up on the park. There are very nice bathrooms in several locations at the park with water fountains located right outside the bathrooms.

You won’t regret visiting these sand dunes! When you drive into the park, your kids will be dying to jump out and run all over the dunes!

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TIPS: 

  1. Bring water and sunblock.
  2. Rent a dune buggy & trailer for a few hours to bring into the park with you.
  3. Bring a board for sand-boarding.
  4. Bring a dry towel to dust off all the sand after playing in the park.
Travel

Bryce Canyon National Park: Family Road Trip 2018

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Bryce Canyon is truly remarkable. It was the second destination on our 2018 family road trip. Bryce was one of the first places I’ve visited that was so incredibly unique that my eyes couldn’t believe what they were seeing. I heard so many “ooh” and “awes” as my family of five hiked along the trails!

One great thing about the park is that it is easy to get in and out. This is a huge plus considering we spent hours just trying to drive into some of the other parks we visited!

We had visited Zion National Park the day prior and stayed right outside Zion. We woke up early and had a 1 hour and 45minute drive to Bryce. We stopped while traveling to pick up some lunches to pack in the park with us.

I have three kids who were 12, 9 and 6 during the time of our hike. They had no problem hiking the trails at Bryce. Keep in mind that the entire first half of the hike is downhill. You know what that means? The entire hike out is uphill! My husband and I are in our 30s, in good shape, and we admit that it was quite tiring. We stopped several times along the path on the way out, but it is totally doable.

We hiked the Navajo Loop trail. However, the Wall Street portion of the trail is often closed. Therefore, it’s not really a loop. Basically, you hike down into the beautiful amphitheater and back out the same trail. You can combine this trail with the Queen Garden Loop to see more of the park. We had planned to do this but decided not to once we were there. By the time we got to the bottom of Navajo Loop, the kids were a little worn out and the sites begin to look the same. If my kids weren’t with us, we totally would have stayed longer to enjoy the park. But, with three kids, a half day felt appropriate. There is nothing quite like the hoodoos and natural bridges at Bryce Canyon!

We stayed right outside the park at Best Western Ruby’s Inn and I highly recommend this place! It is a very quaint little area which includes a general store and restaurant on site. There is also a little set of stores right across the street that resembles an old western town. We had a lot of fun walking around the area and enjoying all the amenities.

My family really enjoyed the “Bryce Day” of our 15-day trip. Because it is easy to get in and out of Bryce, it wasn’t a whole day’s event. We were able to spend half the day at the park, then go back and enjoy our hotel that evening.

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TIPS:

1. Bring something to cover your head and use sunscreen. It’s hot in the summer and there isn’t much shade anywhere in the park.

2. Bring something to shield your face. When the wind blows, the orange sand can blow up into your face. My daughter used a bandana to tie over her nose and mouth. Sunglasses would also be helpful to cover your eyes.

3. Bring in water and snacks. There isn’t anywhere in the park to eat. However, you can drive outside the park within 30 minutes to find food.

Travel

Zion National Park : Family Road Trip 2018

 

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Zion National Park was the first stop on our 2018 road trip! Our family of five is from TN and this was our first trip out west. We flew into Vegas, picked up our rental and checked in to our hotel. We stayed on the strip to get a little glimpse of the city. However, if you stay there with children, I highly recommend staying in a known-to-be kid friendly hotel. We did have a couple bad experiences trying to guard the eyes of our little ones. However, we loved Excalibur and have also heard great things about Circus Circus.

We woke up early and got on the road the next morning to head straight to Zion. It was about a 2 1/2 drive from Vegas. We stopped midway to pick up a cooler and some lunches to pack into the park. We went during a very busy time but parking wasn’t too bad in the the city of Springdale. You are required to park outside the national park and take a bus in. If you are coming from Springdale, there are several clearly marked stops that will take you into the park and back to your vehicle from the visitor center. Just remember where you parked!

Once the Springdale shuttle drops you off at the visitor center, you must take the park shuttle to get around the park. (Trust me, this is a huge park. It’s the only way!) There are often long lines to get on the park shuttle even though several shuttles are running continuously. Once you are on, there are nine clearly marked stops along the road inside the park. The drive itself is incredible. The park shuttle is not air conditioned, but lots of air flows through as you drive. My biggest suggestion would be to study the map before you arrive to the park. Don’t wait until you get there to figure out what trails you want to do. There isn’t enough time for that! To be honest, the process of getting in and out of the park is quite lengthy. We felt like we were back at Disney World! Don’t be surprised by that. It is completely worth all the work!

You will want plenty of snacks, drinks and a meal if you plan to spend the day there. There are not many places to eat inside the park and it stays quite crowded. Being that we had only one day in the park, we just packed our food with us and had a picnic when we were ready to eat! There are fill stations for water bottles and bathrooms at many of the shuttle stops.

We chose two trails because we only had one day in the park. The first was the famous Narrows! (Make sure you check the weather before doing this one. Flash floods can be dangerous.) You head all the way to the last stop on the park shuttle, stop 9, and begin your hike there. You must get there by taking the easy one-mile Riverwalk trail. (It does not feel like a mile.) At the end of the Riverside Walk, you will dead end into the Narrows! At that point you must get in and begin walking along the river. It was so much fun! You are far down in a canyon with rock as far up as you can see on each side of you. There are several areas where water trickles down the road to form small waterfalls. Sometimes the path is wide and other times it narrows. There will be several areas along the side of the river where you can sit on rock and take a break. Every single turn is breathtaking! The Narrows run for miles and miles. With a family, we just walked as far as we felt like we could, about another mile, then turned around and walked it all back. My kids are 12, 9 and 6 and they all handled the water just fine. We needed to hold the 6-year-old’s hand many times throughout the hike. But, the older ones were dependent the whole time.

Next, we chose to walk the Canyon Overlook Trail. Wow! It was completely different than the Riverside Walk and the Narrows. Canyon Overlook gave us the first wide open views of the gigantic cliffs and canyons. For most of our shuttle ride, Riverwalk and Narrows, we were hidden inside the canyons, looking up to it surrounding us. But, the Canyon Overlook Trail is a completely different perspective! It was a very easy 1-mile trail. It shows you what Zion looks like when the space opens up and gives you a full view of its glory. We all were stunned with every view on this trail.

Once we got back to our vehicle, we choose an amazing Mexican place for dinner right there in the city of Springdale. It is a beautiful small city with many local food choices. Also, there is a glorious view of the Zion’s mountains from every angle in Springdale. Then, we drove about 30 minutes outside Springdale to La Verkin, UT and stayed at a very nice Best Western. My kids love a continental breakfast! You will save a little money on the cost of lodging if you drive outside the park a little ways, and free breakfast is always a plus!

One day in the park wasn’t enough for most people. I’m sure there were so many more beautiful things to uncover and someday we will return! However, having young children, the one day trip felt appropriate. The plan for this road trip was to keep things moving and travel to a new destination each day. The kids were always excited about what exciting adventure the next day would bring!

TIPS:

1. Look at a map and plan your route before you get there.

2. Park in Springdale and ride the shuttle to Zion’s visitor center.

3. Bring a backpack with a drink, snack and a meal.

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