I decided to give you all options here. Either you can watch the video I made of my vacation so you can check out the scenery, or read about the specifics about the trip, or both! Isn’t this what liven’ in ‘Merica is all about? 🙂
Sunday, May 29th
First day in Vegas with Melanie from Dear Debt. I had a voucher for a two-night stay at the MGM Grand, thanks to my participation as an ASICS challenge team member at the World Series of Beach Volleyball last year. Although we kept it mostly frugal by not gambling or seeing any shows, we did have some expensive drinks by the pool, and ended our evening at a French restaurant in the Paris Hotel called Mon Ami Gabi. It was faboosh!
Monday, May 30th
I spent most of the day by the pool while Melanie did some work. In the evening we utilized lots of two for one drink and dinner specials, and walked around Vegas until our feet hurt. We also danced a lot in elevators and sang a lot of Britney Spears. We were in bed by 11. Par-tay!
Tuesday, May 31st
I caught the morning St. George Shuttle, which is an air-conditioned van costing $39 each way, and goes directly to St. George, UT. I met my friend Megan, who was staying with her cousin Austin who lives there. Megan had her brand new Honda CRV packed and ready to go, and we saved money by Austin graciously lending us all his camping gear.
Tuesday was our longest drive as we zig zagged our way in and out of Arizona/Utah, then headed north up to the 4 Corners area to Cortez, CO, where Kim from Eyes on the Dollar so graciously let us stay at her house for two days while her family was on vacation.
Wednesday, April 1st
Our first morning of hiking was in Mesa Verde National Park, which is only about 15 minutes from Kim’s place. Megan ended up buying a National Parks pass for $80 (since she had more travel plans this year). We did a couple hikes there and drove a scenic loop before heading to the cute town of Durango, where we enjoyed a delicious craft beer and burger at Carver Brewing Company. On the way back from Durango a giant rock hit Megan’s brand new car and left a huge crack. #frugalfailone. That night we bought groceries and enjoyed a salad and some wine Megan brought with her.
Thursday, April 2nd
We drove to Canyonlands National Park and hit both The Needles side of the park, as well as Island in the Sky. which is located near Moab. We got a campsite at Canyonlands Campground right in the heart of Moab for $40. We had a craft beer and a burger at Moab Brewery in the evening, and after my iPhone got killed. #frugalfailtwo
Friday, April 3rd
We stopped by Sweet Cravings Bakery & Bistro in Moab for breakfast and to pack sandwiches, then hit Arches National Park bright and early, which is only a couple minutes drive from downtown Moab (get there early!). We did the Double O Arch hike, which was really nice.
After we had a long drive, which led us through Capitol Reef National Park and up to a higher elevation on our way to Bryce Canyon National Park. We stayed at Ruby’s Inn, which has many different types of accommodations to fit everyone’s need. We stayed in a tiny cabin, which had heat and electricity, for $60.
Saturday, April 4th
We hiked Bryce Canyon the next day on a trail I highly recommend called the Fairyland Loop. It’s 8 miles of the most breathtaking scenery I’ve ever seen on a hike. By far my favorite hike of all time!
After Bryce we had about a two-hour drive to Zion National Park, which was incredibly busy for Easter weekend. We set up camp at the Quality Inn at Zion Park, which is in the cute town of Springdale, just outside of the park. We enjoyed a beer and some live music at the Zion Canyon Brew Pub, then had dinner at Oscar’s Cafe, which everyone raves about but frankly I was disappointed in the service and the long wait.
Sunday, April 5th
We got breakfast at Cafe Soleil, then took the Zion shuttle into the park, which is very easy and convenient to use, to our first hike, Angel’s Landing. The hike is very steep, and the last half mile is very dangerous. There is a sign saying six people have died there, and I didn’t want to be number seven, so we just enjoyed the view with the rest of the scared folks, which had amazing views anyway.
After the hike we took the shuttle around to various other parts of the park until we headed back about another 45 minute drive to St. George, where we stayed with Megan’s cousin Austin, who generously gave up his Air BnB space to let us stay there for the night. We cooked a big dinner and enjoyed some good conversation and laughs.
Monday, April 6th.
Megan dropped me off at the St. George shuttle which took me back to the Vegas airport, where I made my way back to Los Angeles!
The total cost of my trip was $674!
Have you ever visited any of the Mighty Five National Parks?
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