As an American, we’re finally able to go to Cuba again since the embargo during the 1960s. And now a lot more people are going to Cuba since it has become a lot easier for an American to travel to Cuba. Commercial airlines are flying direct from the US and it has become much accessible to book a trip. There are still restrictions in place; you must fall into one of the 12 categories for a general license for travel.
Wildflowers are out in Southern California and everyone is out to see the “super bloom” in a variety of different places. The winter rains came down heavily in the southland which brought out more flowers and lots of greenery. Hills that were once dry and barren are now lush and green which has left us with some beautiful scenery. So here I’ll share my Southern California wildflower guide so you can visit the blooms while they’re still out.
Anza-Borrego State Park
Borrego Springs, San Diego County
I recently took a trip to Anza-Borrego State Park in San Diego County to see the flowers before they’re gone again. Anza-Borrego doesn’t usually get this amount of wildflowers in the spring, this is something rare for the state park. In fact, this super bloom is so rare for the area that it’s brought people from all over the states and even across the world. If you visit the park on a weekend, be patient and prepare for traffic jams. I visited during the week and the crowds were still pretty heavy.
Be sure to stop at the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association for a free wildflower map. Also please support the ABDNHA if possible by purchasing an item (large or small) from the store. The people working the store are very helpful and recommended a loop for us to drive and see the flowers.
There’s plenty of trails for hiking and if you’re more about the hiking than the wildflowers check out the slots!
Sedona, Arizona isn’t exactly a hidden gem. I would say it’s pretty well known but not as heavily visited as say the Grand Canyon. However, Sedona is a magical wonderland that deserves a visit if you love desert landscapes and enjoy the outdoors. The backdrops of the mountains and rock formations are breathtaking. Just driving on the freeway and approaching Sedona is an experience in itself. There’s just something about the reddish-orange formations against the clear blue skies that will leave you in awe.
And if you enjoy the desert but love camping in a cooler climate then head over to Fossil Creek for the night and enjoy the activities and scenery that the area has to offer. More on Fossil Creek below.
Death Valley National Park is unlike any other California park. It’s very dry and is known for being the hottest and lowest place in the world. Its hottest recorded day was 134 degrees Fahrenheit. Yup, that wasn’t a typo! The lowest part of Death Valley is 282 feet below sea level, making it the lowest elevation in the United States. Each sight is very different from each other. From the sand dunes to the salt flats to the badlands of Zabriskie Point. It’s one of the places I would definitely keep visiting.
I went to Death Valley for the first time last year. It was during their “super bloom,” a rare bloom of wildflowers that doesn’t happen often in Death Valley, and I visited again recently. There, unfortunately, was not much of any kind of “bloom” this time around but I was able to make some stops I didn’t get to make during my first camping trip the year before which inspired me to put together my ultimate Death Valley road trip guide…
To make the most out of your visit I recommend camping. There are a few campgrounds at Death Valley; the larger ones are Furnace Creek and Stovepipe Wells. I stayed at Stovepipe Wells campground. It’s the third campground you’ll see if you’re coming in from Lone Pine. There are no advance reservations for the campground. You find your campsite, park and pay for your site and buy your pass (if you don’t have a national park pass) at the kiosk. There is a general store in the same lot and across the street is the Badwater Saloon and Toll Road Restaurant if you need somewhere to cool off and grab a bite of non-camping food. You can also utilize the pool and showers for an extra fee. You just pay at the Stovepipe Wells Village Hotel lobby. Oh yes, if you don’t like camping you can stay at the hotel or the Furnace Creek Resort.
Information on all Death Valley campgrounds can be found here.
New Orleans holds a special place in my heart. It was one of those places that if you brought it up I knew I wanted to go but it was never very high on my list. After coming across a flight deal I knew I wanted to book it. I asked a close friend of mine if she wanted to join and when she said “heck yeah” I knew we were going to have an amazing time.
In just the first 24 hours of our trip we got ready in our hotel lobby (because we got there at 6 am; way before our check-in time), had coffee and beignets at Cafe Du Monde, visited the St. Louis Cathedral, walked the French Quarter, rode bikes for 10+ miles around City Park and St. Charles street, took a steamboat down the Mississippi River, listened to local bands at the French Quarter Festival and had dinner.
I visited New Orleans in April of 2016 and the weather was great. There was a bit of rain one day but other than that we had mostly sunny skies which was great for walking around the city and enjoying outdoor activities. There are many things to see and do within the French Quarter but it’s great to mix it up and explore the other parts of New Orleans. You know, the parts that aren’t the hot mess known as Bourbon Street. Don’t get me wrong, I love a frozen daiquiri to cool me down on a humid day but there’s more to do than get wasted on a 50-ounce rum infused beverage. With Mardi Gras upon us, I thought I’d put together a list of my favorite things to do in NOLA.