Ultimate Guide to Backpacking the Trans Catalina Trail

Backpacking the Trans Catalina Trail is a bucket list trail for many in Southern California. Located 22 miles off the coast of Southern California, Catalina Island offers diverse rugged scenery with opportunities for outdoor activities like diving, snorkeling, hiking and spotting wildlife. It is here that the Trans Catalina Trail resides – from sea to land and back to the sea, this 38.5 (or 40+) mile trail traverses the entire island with beachfront camping, beautiful views with a few creature comforts not often found in typical backcountry trails. Think restaurants, picnic benches and firewood deliveries!

One might think this trail would be easy since the highest elevation on the island is only around 2000 feet, but the constant ups and downs, lack of switchbacks with little shade make backpacking on Catalina Island challenging. The Trans Catalina Trail has been on my wishlist for years, but the expense and difficult rating continued to scare me away. However, as we learned during our trip, the beauty of this trail is that it is difficult, but doable and can be modified to fit all skill levels!

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Backpacking In California: 20 Amazing Spots You Must Visit

Our two favorite things to do in the outdoors in California is hike and camp. Why not combine the two with a backpack camping trip? We know camping in Southern California is very popular with families to couples and folks with their dogs, but for the more adventurous, finding cool spots for backpacking in California is even more exciting.

There are some amazing spots for backpacking in California, from the Bay Area of San Francisco to Southern California and everywhere in between. Some favorite places for backpack camping include Joshua Tree, the Lake Tahoe area, Yosemite National Park and the Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Park areas. Much of these wilderness areas are more ‘hard core backpacking’ for those with experience and the legs to carry themselves further than a couple of mile hike.

For those of you who are new to this outdoor adventure, we share relatively easy, doable backpacking trails here in California to consider for your first (or second or third!) backpacking camping trip with or without kids. As we explore more of the backcountry camping options throughout California, we will update this list.

Don’t miss our top tips and backpacking hacks for beginners!

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13 Epic Things to Do Near Zion National Park

Zion is one of my favorite parks in Utah, but during certain times of the year it is insanely crowded. However you are in luck, there are a multitude of amazing things to do near Zion National Park including river rafting, spectacular Instagram worthy hikes and even private photo sessions.

If you are planning a trip to Zion National Park or Bryce Canyon (or any other Utah National Parks), check out all the other options of things you can do near Zion to avoid the crowds, but still get an amazing vacation.

Of course when you are in the area, you must make time to visit Zion National Park as well for one of the best hikes in the world through the Narrows.

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Zion is one of my favorite parks in Utah, but during certain times of the year it is insanely crowded. However you are in luck, there are a multitude of amazing things to do near Zion National Park including river rafting, spectacular Instagram worthy hikes and even private photo sessions.

If you are planning a trip to Zion National Park or Bryce Canyon (or any other Utah National Parks), check out all the other options of things you can do near Zion to avoid the crowds, but still get an amazing vacation.

Of course when you are in the area, you must make time to visit Zion National Park as well for one of the best hikes in the world through the Narrows.

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7 Things to Know for Hiking Valley of Fire State Park

Hiking Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada is one of the best nature escapes you can do in the state. This small park is big on features offering a variety of notable Instagram photo spots, great hikes for all ages as well as stunning views no matter where you turn. The diversity on offer here is spectacular. From canyons, petroglyphs and beautifully striped rock formations, this small park provides incredible opportunities for exploring.

While there are a great number of parks outside of Las Vegas, this one should be the top of your list to visit. We previously visited this park years ago on a quick jaunt from Las Vegas, but seeing it again with fresh eyes and a 10 year old gave us a new love and appreciation for the park. 

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Ultimate Guide to the Best Hiking in Los Angeles

When we moved to Los Angeles more than 8 years ago, the first thing we got into was hiking. Hiking in Los Angeles is *the* thing to do and we dove head first right into it. My son was only 3 so we didn’t do a ton of difficult hikes at that time, focusing on the best hikes for toddlers, but as the years have progressed, we have added more and more to our arsenal.

In 2021, we started the year with a goal of hiking (and biking!) 100 miles for the month of January and 1000 for the year. For our own purposes to keep track of the hikes we have done and would recommend, we started this guide on all the hiking trails in Los Angeles that we have been on or have on our list!

We will cover the best hikes in LA (according to popular consensus), waterfall hikes in Los Angeles as well as some great hiking near Los Angeles. Read on for more information for each. Check back often for updates as well.

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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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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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Switzer Falls Hike with Kids

We have tried the Switzer Falls hike a few times with friends, but have never made it very far (due to those pesky kids playing in the creek!). We were jonesing for a hike and decided to give it another go.  I had forgotten to check online to see how long the hike was before we set … Read more

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park with Kids

One of the main reasons we chose the Big Island over the other Hawaiian Islands was to visit Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. My son had seen a brochure about the park at a friend’s house last summer and has wanted to go ever since. Turns out, this was the highlight for all of us. There is so much to … Read more

Travel Memories: Machu Picchu

Welcome to the A to Z Challenge, an initiative that invites bloggers to post an alphabet-themed post every day (excluding Sundays) during the month of April.  As part of this challenge, I’ll be sharing some of my travel memories to known and unknown places in the hope to inspire your travel dreams. M is for…Machu Picchu One day, … Read more

Travel Memories: Kashmir

Welcome to the A to Z Challenge, an initiative that invites bloggers to post an alphabet-themed post every day (excluding Sundays) during the month of April.  As part of this challenge, I’ll be sharing some of my travel memories to known and unknown places in the hope to inspire your travel dreams. K is for…Kashmir (India) The state … Read more

Travel Memories: Emeishan

Welcome to the A to Z Challenge, an initiative that invites bloggers to post an alphabet-themed post every day (excluding Sundays) during the month of April.  As part of this challenge, I’ll be sharing some of my travel memories to known and unknown places in the hope to inspire your travel dreams. E is for…Emeishan (China) My trek to … Read more

Vasquez Rocks with Kids

My son woke up saying he wanted to go on a hike and I knew immediately where we should go. Vasquez Rocks.  It has been on our to do list forever. All I knew about Vasquez Rocks was that it’s great for kids who like to climb rocks and that an episode or portion of Star Trek had been filmed there. … Read more

Family Fun: The National Park’s Junior Ranger Program

One of the coolest and maybe least known activities at many national and state parks is the Junior Ranger Program. I don’t know why the National Park Service doesn’t market this more, because it is an amazing program for children and families. It is a perfect way to get your kids interested in the world … Read more