Like most of us in the middle of this pandemic, my family and I were looking for a little getaway. We love being home together but we needed some fresh air.
After looking for places close to LA, I came across Utah! I had no idea it was so close to LA, only a 6-8 hour drive if you make several stops.
Our first stop in Utah was at Sand Hollow National Park, it was a perfect spot because their main attraction is a lake and water activities. I think this was one of our favorite spots because we went a second time on our way back home.
What to do:
Swimming and just hanging in the water was my favorite thing to do. The sand is like an orange color, the water was the perfect temperature, and it was a also very clear ( in case you are also freaked out by the fact that you can't see what's in the water.)
We also rented a canoe to go around the lake for an hour, and then rented a jet-ski for another hour; we did a bit more swimming and then we were on the road again to Zion.
If you are planning on visiting this park bring an umbrella or a tent, bring chairs or tables since there's no where to sit besides the sand and rocks, bring floaties, your own boat, Jet-Ski, paddle board, etc. Also if you have life vests bring those too, all these can save you some money!
My 4 year old son had been asking to go camping and he dreamt of making s'mores, so Utah sounded like a great plan! My husband and I are not cut out to do real camping, I don't think we would survive, so I looked into Glamping instead. I found Zion Ponderosa Resort and besides the amazing tent, they also offered a lot of activities for the whole family. We arrived at the resort at almost 11pm so we were ready to get some rest!
What to do at Zion Ponderosa Resort:
For a list of the activities they offer and ammenities visit their website
One thing we wished we would've known before getting to Zion was that the drive through the park it's crazy! lots of curves, it's scary if you are afraid of heights (like me) and it's pitch black. So try to make the drive before the sun is gone, and also you have little to no phone service, so if you are relying on your GPS to make it to your destination then it's a good thing to get there during the day in case you get lost or your GPS doesn't work!
We woke up a bit late and we wanted to do a hike, but by 10am the temperature was already in the 90s so we knew that wasn't a great idea! The one thing we wanted to do the most was the narrows hike, but we were told we'd have to be at the entrance by 5am and that wouldn't even guarantee us getting through, so we decided to drop that, with a 4 year old we didn't want to take any chances. So to make up for missing the narrows hike, we headed down to the Virgin River; the entrance is through scenic drive and we parked on the street and walked in. We took a 5 minute hike down to river, realized we had forgotten our swimsuits, but we still jumped in with clothes and shoes on! it was perfect because it was already 11am and the temperature was prob a 100 degrees by then, so it was a great way of cooling down. We hung out there for about 40 minutes, and had lunch by the river, then headed back up to our car!
What to do:
There's tons of hikes for all levels at Zion, but you gotta plan ahead and time it right because of the weather, you don't want to be out there when the temperatures are super high! Swimming at the river is fun for adults and kids and a great way to spend the day at Zion when everything else is either crowded or when it's too hot to be hiking!
Bring waterproof shoes, bring a hydration backpack and fill it with salty snacks and lunch if you wanna have lunch by the river like we did. Our lunch was homemade sandwiches.
Make sure to pack your swimsuits too, or just wear them under your clothes as there's nowhere to change.
Make sure to always have sunscreen on you and with you and tons of water!
We had a 10-15 minute walk uphill back to our car.
After the river, we drove through Zion and made a few stops along the way for photos and we were lucky enough to spot some wild goats!!
We then headed back to our tent to relax for a bit and figure out what to do with the rest of our days and we decided to head to Coral Pink Sand Dunes. From Zion Ponderosa it was a 45 minute drive, we arrived right before sunset and the drive was real nice, felt like we were the only ones on the road.
What To Do:
The main thing to do at the sand dunes is to do sand sledding. You can bring your own board or sled, or you can rent one at the park entrance for $25. The other thing you can do of course, it's take some badass pictures! it feels like you are in a dessert anywhere but in the US, the sand is so unique, I'm sure you'll spend a few minutes admiring it.
Wear some comfortable shoes! walking on sand is already hard enough, so wearing the proper shoes is a must! you are going to be doing some serious walking so bring enough water for the way there and the way back to your car! also, use the restroom before going on the sand because you don't want to walk back to the restroom!
After sunset we headed back to our tent! remember what I said about not driving at night time? well, the sand dunes are the opposite way so we didn't have to drive through Zion at all!
Once at the resort, we showered because we had sand everywhere, and then we sat by our fire pit and made some s'mores and looked at shooting stars!
We woke up late again! the heat and the driving really got to us and we felt tired! we had to check out by 11am so we showered first and got our stuff ready and in the car to head to our final stop.
We were on the road by 11am and got to Hatch, UT by noon to check into our wonderful Tipi!
So initially I had booked only 2 nights, but then we decided to stay an extra night! I had been wanting to stay at a tipi for a while now and looked through many, but most were out of our budget!! finally looking through airbnb.com I found this one and I was excited because it was available for that night and it was extremely affordable and just gorgeous! I couldn't pass up this deal!
As soon as I booked, Brant, the owner, messaged me with all the info regarding checking in and what I needed to bring and how to prepare. He was extremely nice and gave me tips about what to do nearby.
When we arrived we were in awe! we couldn't believe we had found such an amazing place and we were pretty bummed we couldn't stay longer!
The weather was pretty cool, it was also pretty windy and we got like 5 minutes of light rain which was nice.
About Canyon Base Camp:
There's 3 tipi tents and we stayed at Wild Horse which is good for 3 people. The tent has 3 cots and blankets as well as sleeping bags and pillows, but we brought our own blankets and pillows. Brant warned us that the temperatures drop at night and sure thing we had to use the sleeping bags.
There's no electricity but they provide you with flash lights and we also brought battery powered string lights. There's no running water, therefore no showers or regular restrooms but there's several porta potties around the tipis.
Brant also warned us about squirrels, so we decided to leave the food in the car the entire time. I spotted one squirrel during the day and one of the couples staying in the other tipi told us they left a donut in a paper bag and when they got back it was gone! so we are definitely blaming the squirrels!
What To Do:
The best thing do here is to relax and to enjoy the views and the amazing weather! it's quiet, you can hear the birds, and see cows grazing in the distance. We sat at our deck for a few minutes before heading to Bryce Canyon National Park.
My boy living his best life!
These two cute chairs are perfect for sitting out on the deck to relax!
Night time photos of the sky and our tipi!
-Like Brant suggested, it's best to get there the first time during the day as the main road its a highway and traffic goes pretty fast which makes it easy to miss the entrance! we missed it in broad daylight!
-Bring some batteries in case the flashlights have ran out, or bring your own! the string lights were pretty helpful to have!, we left them on at night!
-Also, leave whatever you don't need in your car! it gives you more space inside and outside the tipi! and definitely leave the food in your car to avoid unwanted critters stealing your food!
-As always, have plenty of drinking water available!
-The pillows, blankets and sleeping bags get washed once a month, so it's prob best to bring your own!
How To Book Your Tipi:
If you want to spend one or several nights at one of this tipis you can contact them through one this methods:
Day 3 Bryce Canyon
We headed to Bryce at around 2pm, we drove through the park and made several stops! we wanted to do the Navajo Loop Trail but my fear of heights got the best of me and I couldn't do it! we decided to enjoy the rest of the park by driving through it and making stops along the way!
If you wanna see videos of everything we did during our trip I will add a highlight on my instagram for you to see!
Thank you for reading and happy road trip planning!