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[Channels Islands National Park – Anacapa Island, March 29, 2018]  The five islands that make up Channel Islands national park sit just off the coast of Ventura, CA. They had been on my list for a long time, but their proximity meant that I prioritized other national parks before them. With a four-day weekend for Easter looming with no solid travel plans, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to explore my… Read More

One of the most useful things I picked up from Rick Steve’s Italy guidebook was how valuable museum passes are. Museum passes are also sometimes known as “city cards”, e.g. the Firenze card for Florence. They give you either free or reduced-price entry at a pre-determined list of museums for a specified amount of time (usually two or three days). The list of museums is extensive and usually includes all the must-sees,… Read More

If you came here from my post on 3 reasons to use a guidebook, thanks for reading! And if you just got here and are wondering why you should even use a guidebook in the first place, read this first. I am somewhat of a guidebook novice myself, having started using them only in the past couple of years. I hope to expand this section with future trips. I’ll go over how… Read More

I just finished planning an 8-day national park excursion in Washington state in July. Planning trips is not everyone’s favorite activity, but I love it. I like learning about my destination and figuring out what I want to see and how to organize it. I guess it soothes my type A tendencies. You might be surprised to learn that in this information age, I find guidebooks an amazing resource. But I didn’t… Read More

[Biscayne National Park, FL, Dec 29, 2017] Although the Everglades get all the glory, Florida actually has two other national parks – Dry Tortugas, which I wrote about earlier, and Biscayne National Park. Visiting Biscayne can be a little difficult because 95% of the park is on water. This means that the best way to experience it is on a boat. Map courtesy of the National Park Service Biscayne National Park is just… Read More

[Miami, FL, Sat, Dec 30, 2017] No longer a hidden gem, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens is still a good place to go if you’d like escape the hustle and bustle (and seemingly endless construction zones) of Miami. Vizcaya is the former winter residence of industrialist James Deering. It was built between 1914 and 1922 and was inspired by 18th-century Italian villas. The garden on the south side is also European-inspired. Deering passed… Read More

[Miami, FL, Fri, Dec 29, 2017] For my Christmas present, B cooked up a major surprise. He had me completely confused – he said to not wear any jewelry, wear something comfortable and bring my big camera. I was trying to figure out where he could be taking me given those requirements, but it wasn’t until we were at the gate of the Zoological Wildlife Foundation in Miami that he told me… Read More

[Dry Tortugas National Park, Dec 27, 2017] Finally, the Dry Tortugas post! B and I worked really hard to not get excited about it lest some last-minute cancellation due to weather or whatever else foiled our plans again, but we actually made it! Dry Tortugas National Park is located 70 miles West off the coast of Key West, making it one of the most remote national parks and the endpoint of the… Read More

[Key West, FL, Dec 26, 2017] If you read the previous blog post, you already know that this was our second attempt at getting to Dry Tortugas National Park, one of the most remote ones in the US. Unlike last year though, we headed straight for the keys. Without a detour to Miami and the lack traffic this early in the morning (we left Boynton at 5:30 am), we hit the upper keys… Read More

[Key West, FL, Dec 27, 2016] Even though our trip to the Dry Tortugas in 2016 got cancelled, we still did a day trip to Key West. B knew how much I’d looked forward to the trip and he felt bad that it fell apart. He suggested that we get up early one day, explore Miami and its environs and, if we still felt like it, head to Key West and come back… Read More