20+ Magical Things To Do In Sequoia National Park & Kings Canyon

There are so many amazing things to do in Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon. If you are planning a trip there, we have everything you need to know to get you started from where to stay, what the best activities in Sequoia are and more. 

Often dwarfed by the magical and heavily touristed Yosemite National Park just a few hours up the road, Sequoia National Park is worth the extra effort as it’s almost always less crowded than Yosemite and is filled with an amazing tranquility.

The sprawling park, combined geographically with Kings Canyon National Park, is filled with opportunities to hike and camp among some of the world’s largest trees and explore in meadows, along rivers and through deep canyons. There are so many things to do in Sequoia National Park that you could easily spend a few days here. Sequoia also makes for an amazing magical winter wonderland for those of you seeking snow!

Regardless, any time spent among the big trees will leave lasting memories for your entire family. Read on for our top things to do in Sequoia National Park.

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17 Spectacular Things to Do in Death Valley

Looking for a spectacular place to visit that feels out of this world? Then, check out our favorite things to do in Death Valley to consider for an out of this planet trip.

What do you think of when you hear Death Valley? Hottest Place on Earth. Yep. Desolate and barren. Yep. Even though Death Valley is synonymous with these images, I think that like most people, I didn’t really have a clear image in my head of what it would look like. I’m not quite sure what I was expecting, but what I got definitely wasn’t it.

The following is our rundown with our thoughts on the best Death Valley things to do, where to stay and eat and one day itinerary suggestions for those just passing through Death Valley on a day trip.

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5 Things You Must Know for the Zion Narrows Hike

Zion National Park is known for one of it’s most beautiful and distinctive trails, the Zion Narrows hike. It brings visitors of all ages, shapes and forms. What is the Narrows? It is a “trail” through the middle of the Virgin River leading you through 10+ miles of dramatic cliffs, narrow slot canyons and gorgeous scenery. This hike lets you experience, rather than just view, what makes Zion so special.

For most visitors to Zion, the Narrows hike is a lasting favorite no matter how far up river they managed to go. It is one of the most unique hikes with breathtaking scenery and one that cools you down along the way. What more could you ask for on a hike?

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The Ultimate Guide to Exploring Zion National Park with Kids

Are you thinking of going to Zion National Park with kids? Zion National Park is one of the best kept secrets of the national park system. When visitors discover the beauty and magic of Zion Canyon, they will be hooked! It doesn’t have that one eye catching feature that sells postcards or pressed pennies, but what it does have is a spectacular cliff and canyon landscape, an abundance of wildlife and a gorgeous river running through it all beckoning you to get in and experience it for yourself.

Our recent visit to Zion National Park with kids was a bit of a surprise. After being wow’ed at the Grand Canyon and inspired at Antelope Canyon, we were taken aback by how beautiful and encompassing Zion was. Here we could all really be in nature, experience and feel it. It’s just what we needed.

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

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8 Awesome Joshua Tree Hikes at Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park in California has become one of our favorite go-to trips – either as a day trip or for a last minute weekend getaway. Through our many visits, we have found a few trails that we return to again and again. Below are the best Joshua Tree hikes for first timers with or without kids. These hikes can be completed by people of almost all fitness levels and are especially great for families as the interpretive trails provide great learning opportunities. Although the trails are family friendly, they are not stroller friendly. Much of the trails throughout Joshua Tree tend to be loose sand, which can be quite deep in areas making it difficult for a stroller to roll.

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An Overnight Adventure on the Pacaya Volcano Hike

Guatemala is a small country with a lot of volcanoes, at least 36 of them actually. At any time there is usually one that is active which makes hiking an active volcano the top of most people’s Guatemala wish list. When my son heard that there was an option to do a Pacaya volcano hike to roast marshmallows on steam vents, he was sold!  We set about town looking for someone who could take us to the volcano.

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Hiking with Kids: Tips to Keep Them Moving

Hiking with Kids: Tips to Keep them movingBefore moving to Los Angeles, hiking wasn’t on our regular rotation of things to do. However, we quickly learned that it was *the* thing to do in LA. With limited funds and a desire to explore as much of this massive city as we could, hiking turned into a regular family outing. Being total novices, we made our share of mistakes, but over time we learned some tricks to keep the little legs moving without the moaning! At 4.5 years old, my son completed his first 5 mile hike. The last 1/2 mile had a bit of moaning, but it wasn’t just coming from him, so I can’t fault him too much! Read on for more on how we keep our little one going while hiking.

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Guide to Channel Islands National Park (with Kids)

Guide to Channel Islands National ParkCalifornia is home to 28 national parks and sites scattered throughout the state. From the iconic Half Dome in Yosemite, to the desolate in Death Valley and the big trees in the North at the Redwoods, there is no shortage of vast beauty in California’s parks.

One of the last few remaining parks that we had yet to visit in Southern California was the Channel Islands National Park off the Ventura County Coast. Being so remote, accessible only by boat or small plane, it is one of the least visited national parks in the state and country. As such, it has been left largely undisturbed for much of it’s history, showcasing a pristine coastal Mediterranean ecosystem.

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Exploring the Mojave National Preserve

Exploring the Mojave National PreserveIf you are like most people, you have heard of the Mojave Desert, but your association might be limited to images of barren landscapes dotted with military bases. The Mojave definitely represents some of this, but it also has so much more. The Mojave Desert is a massive area encompassing large portions of California, southern areas of Nevada as well as small sections of Utah and Arizona. It’s expansive area includes Joshua Tree National Park, Death Valley National Park and the Mojave National Preserve.

All these years in California I have heard about the Mojave Desert but didn’t really know what or where it was. I had vague inklings that it was out in the middle of nowhere on the way to Las Vegas, and that it pushed its way into portions of Joshua Tree National Park, but that was the extent of my knowledge.

On our recent trip to Death Valley, passing the Mojave National Preserve on the way home, our interest in the park was kindled. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to stop, but I promised my son I would get us back there soon. Less than a month later and there we were, checking off another national park (preserve) as well as finally checking out the JUCY mini-RV

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The Essential Guide to Visiting Pismo Beach Sand Dunes

If you are heading up the Pacific Coast of California, you must make a stop at Pismo Beach Sand Dunes. Everyone knows about California’s array of famous national parks, but what some don’t realize is that there are also a ton of really great state parks that are well worth visiting. Pismo Beach Sand Dunes, also known as Oceano Sand Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, near Pismo Beach on the Central Coast of California is one of our favorites. 

This park is perfect for a weekend getaway for those living in Southern California as well as those in the central valley areas of California. It provides outdoor loving families an amazing opportunity to experience a park like few other places in the US.

Oceano Sand Dunes, Pismo Beach

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Exploring Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland

Exploring Giant's Causeway in Northern IrelandEver since I first visited Ireland in 2004 I have wanted to get to the north to see the Giant’s Causeway. Even though my husband was born and bred in Dublin he had never made the 3 hour journey to the north due to growing up during ‘The Troubles’. A visit to the north wasn’t super high on his list which meant it has taken me 12 years of visiting Ireland to finally get there.

Days before our departure friends began to tell us that we shouldn’t get our hopes up, it wasn’t that impressive. I started to worry that I’d been building it up all these years even before the popularity of Instagram photos luring people places. However, after visiting it, I have to say it was spectacular, and totally worth the wait to do it with my rock climbing obsessed 5 year old.

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Finding Adventure in Dinosaurland

Last summer we took a 10 day road trip through Arizona and Utah with our family friends from Texas. While researching that trip I came across Dinosaur National Monument in northern Utah and western Colorado. We weren’t planning to be anywhere near that area so I stored it away for any future trips in the … Read more

Family Day Trip to Muir Woods

Family Day Trip to Muir WoodsThe Bay Area is one of my favorite places on earth. Not just because I lived there for almost a decade, but because no matter where you turn you are surrounded by so much beauty. The abundance of beautiful scenery, picturesque streets and my favorite, the fog rolling in each day can’t be beat.

There is so much to do in San Francisco itself, that many visitors find it difficult to even leave the city. However, there are some great day trips that are worth taking time to explore. One of our favorites is spending the day across the Golden Gate Bridge, checking out the view points and exploring the wilderness in the Golden Gate Recreation Area as well as Muir Woods in Mill Valley.

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Hiking the Kilauea Iki Trail with Kids

Hiking the Kilauea Iki Trail with KidsA visit to the Big Island of Hawaii isn’t complete without a trip to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Having the opportunity to see a real live active volcano in person was one of the main reasons in going to Hawaii for our family.

One of the highlights of our Big Island road trip was a 4 mile hike through the Kilauea volcano crater. It might sound like a long hike, but even our 4.5 year old rocked it, finishing still full of energy 2.5 hrs later (a record for us!). Ascending down into the blackened crater of Kilauea with steam vents lining the trail is an unforgettable experience.

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National Parks with Kids: A How To Guide

America’s national park system is one of the greatest assets we have in this country, and is often the most underutilized. Growing up I never stepped foot in a national park. I didn’t even know anything about them until I fell in love with Ansel Adam’s photography in high school. But even then it seemed … Read more

Places to Visit in Kerala with Kids

Places to Visit in Kerala with KidsIndia is one of those places that so many people dream of visiting. However, that dream often dies when children come on the scene. Everyone says “NO, you can’t go to India with kids!” Actually, you can.  I won’t lie, a trip to India will be challenging, but it will fill your heart and soul like no other place on earth. Kerala, in the South of India, is a wonderful mellow introduction to India for the whole family.

From lazing on beautiful beaches, hiking in mountainous tea plantations to exploring the jungle and cruising the backwaters, a trip to Kerala is a dream for outdoor families. Without massive highways or crowded cities to contend with, a visit to South India can be full of quiet serenity, which is usually not synonymous with travel in India! 

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Camping at Malibu Creek State Park

Malibu Creek State ParkMalibu Creek State Park is a favorite weekend destination for hikers and bicyclists throughout the Los Angeles area. It also happens to be the closest campground to downtown LA, which makes its a great camping destination for families looking for an adventure without the drive. Upon first glance, it looks a bit bland, especially if you arrive in the parched summer months. Granted, it’s not as glamorous as nearby Leo Carrillo, but it does offer some great trails, guaranteed animal sightings and outdoor adventure for families. There really is much more than meets the eye with camping at Malibu Creek State Park.

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Our Epic Utah and Arizona Grand Canyon Road Trip

Road tripping is the quintessential American summer vacation. We joined the masses this year with a 10 day road trip through Arizona and Utah.  Our epic journey took us to 4 national parks as well as some classic American gems –Route 66, the wonders of the Grand Canyon, rafting down the Colorado River and hiking through a … Read more

Exploring the Sunken City of San Pedro

Sunken City of San PedroExploring the ruins of San Pedro’s Sunken City has been on my to do list for a while. I was a bit nervous about doing it on my own with my son, so I had to find a time when the whole family could go. Today was the day!

Exploring Sunken City of San PedroIn 1929, this area of San Pedro began sliding into the ocean below. All that’s left now are ruins of roads and broken pipes covered in beautiful graffiti art. Artists (and visitors of all shapes and sizes) have been illegally entering this no man’s land for years.

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Eaton Canyon Falls Hike

Eaton canyon FallsEveryone woke up early, ready to “go go go” as my little one likes to say. It was a cool foggy morning, so we decided to head out to Eaton Canyon Falls for a hike. It had been on my to-do list for ages and it looked like a perfect morning to check it out. And right we were. Seeing only 3 other cars there, we knew we would have the trails to ourselves.

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