Christmas Time in Washington D.C

Guest Post By: Maria Papadopoulou

One of my absolutely favorite travel destinations in the United States is Washington, DC. I visited a couple of years ago at Christmas Time.  To get there, I used the Megabus, an express bus line, famous for its high quality service. The seats are neat, clean and comfy and a nice pre-packed breakfast is offered. The prices are quite low too, as low as $1 for online booking.

 I stayed at the Americana Hotel close to the Metro area, which made transportation fast and easy for me.  While Washington DC is generally speaking an expensive city, the fact that I visited during the weekend and in winter, allowed me to pay considerably less than I would have if I had visited during summer and in the middle of the week.

Capitol building and Christmas tree in Washington D.C. during Christmas timeThere were so many things to see in Washington DC, I had real trouble making a choice!  The National Christmas Tree and the Pathway of Piece were such a delight! Musical groups from the city entertained visitors to the Ellipse every night.

   A true romantic, I also opted for some candlelight tours to enjoy the festive holiday decoration of several historic homes. What made those candlelight tours so special were the storytelling and the holiday treats. They managed to create a special noir atmosphere, making me feel as if I were a part of a fairytale.

Several house museums such as Mount Vernon, Historic Alexandria and Sotterley Plantation offer those candlelight tours, so it is easy for everyone to find something to his liking.  I chose Sotterley Plantation because it featured a special time-travelling experience from Civil War up to 1864, with the historical presentation taking place in the Plantation House, by the very skilled and talented Sotterley Players. With tours running every 10 minutes, there is no reason to stress out; if you miss one, you can definitely use another.

For ballet lovers like me, the Nutcracker Christmas Ballet was an absolute must.  Nutcracker performs in several theaters, so there is no reason to worry over missing them.  The Kennedy Center, the Warner Theater and the Momentum Dance Theater are all great options to choose from. I personally chose the Kennedy Center because I was in awe of its history, but any ofthe other theaters are equally good.

I couldn’t leave Washington without visiting the National Museum of Natural History. The first floor is filled with all kinds of natural wonders, the ground floor hosts the Atrium as well as the Fossile Café, while the second floor features an amazing collection of bones as well as a spectacular view into Space, with exhibits showing the Earth, the Moon and Meteorites.


For those looking a travel destination they will never forget, Washington DC is the right choice.

Maria Papadopoulou  is a freelance writer at as well as a translator and a proofreader.


A Christmas Time Visit to Temple Square in Salt Lake City


A highlight of our recent  Utah Christmas holidays was the time we went to visit Temple Square in Salt Lake City with some of our children and grandchildren. Each year the trees, buildings and almost every square inch are decorated with thousands of tiny colored lights. It is truly a winter wonder land with the majestic LDS Temple standing out in the midst of them.

We bundled up against the chill of the evening and headed for the trax. The trax are very convenient in Salt Lake City, and travel regularly to and from Temple Square, so you don’t have to worry about parking and walking long distances. Each adult held a tiny hand, and as we exited the trax, one of my little grandsons, age four, said he felt like we had gone to another dimension! So cute (where does he get that? I wondered).Bell Tower on Temple Square   Copyright Ruth Elayne Kongaika

There is no admission fee enter Temple Square, and although the weather is chilly, the glow and warmth of the lights are very welcoming. There are lights in Christmas colors, red, green, and even blues and yellows. They decorate the bell tower, some of the buildings, hedges, bushes, trees and walkways. There are pretty rock fountains and ponds. Lights on Temple Square Copyright Ruth Elayne Kongaika

Some of the buildings are over 100 years old, and have been well preserved. Most of them are still used today. The huge Tabernacle has been renovated recently.

The children loved seeing the many different nativity scenes. They would try to find Baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph in each display. There were displays from Asia, South America, Polynesia and many other parts of the world.

Japanese Nativity        Copyright Ruth Elayne Kongaika Maori Nativity (New Zealand)   Copyright Ruth Elayne Kongaika Mexican scene of Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus   Copyright Ruth Elayne Kongaika

My favorite of all is the display of Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus on the water near the temple. Several glass lighted balls float in the water around this enchanting display, with flood lights focused in just the right places.

Many families come together for family home evening to enjoy the holiday spirit in this lovely scenario. There is a visitor’s center that welcomes all to come in, get warm and see the Christus, a large sculpture of Jesus and other wonderful art. There is also the Joseph Smith Memorial Building nearby, where you can get some hot chocolate, and see gloriously decorated Christmas trees in deliciously ornate halls.The Nativity on the water near the Temple   Copyright Ruth Elayne Kongaika


Christmas music plays throughout Temple Square. It is truly a place to get into the Christmas Spirit and reflect on the reason for the season. I’m so glad we were able to spend this splendid time together. Even though our fingers and toes were a bit icy, our hearts were warm. If you are in the area, a visit to the Salt Lake City Temple Square will be an experience you won’t forget.

Ruth Elayne Kongaika was raised in the mainland, USA, but has been living in the South Pacific for the past forty years. She enjoys trying to capture the beauty of the Polynesian islands through her photography, painting and writing. She has a blog which shares some of her art and favorite subjects at:



Spend The Day At Tigertail Beach On Marco, Island, Florida


Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

I love going to Marco Island on Florida's southern Gulf Coast because it is so beautiful and completely relaxing. Located in Collier County, south of Naples, Marco Island is a popular travel destination and one of my favorite places. This 14 square mile island boasts six miles of beautiful beaches and over a hundred miles of waterways.

There are two beaches on Marco Island, one of which is public and the other is for local residents, requiring a permit for entry. The public access beach is Tigertail Beach, and is one of the most popular beaches along the Lee Island Coast. Besides the usual beach activities, Tigertail Beach also is known as one of the best sights for bird watching in southwest Florida. Collier County is in the process of rebuilding the boardwalks and as of this writing three have been completed. This should make it easier to have access from the parking lot to the beach.

Tigertail Beach entrance at Marco Island, FloridaFrom the parking area you do have to wade across a lagoon to reach the beach but once there, you will find great shelling opportunities, and depending on the time of the year, you may even find some sand dollar, always a delight for the kids.Tigertail Beach Marco Island  Florida

The $8 parking fee for non-residents provides tourists parking in its 210 spaces and beach access. The beach is perfect for everyone from singles to couples and families with kids, where you can swim, watch build a sand castle, or go parasailing. Here you also will find showers and rest rooms, barbecue areas with picnic tables, a playground, beach rentals, volleyball courts, and a butterfly garden.  The Tigertail Café snack bar provides food and drink items for breakfast and lunch and the beach is accessible for anyone with disabilities as well. The beach is located on Hernando Drive and opens at 8am and closes at sundown.Sunset at Marco Island, Florida


If you are staying on Marco Island in a beachfront hotel, of course you have your own private beach right behind your hotel. I have stayed at the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort   and totally enjoyed it and the next door Marco Island Hilton Beach Resort is equally as luxurious. If you are flexible and resourceful you can sometimes find great deals at these two properties and you will feel as though you are really living the good life in sunny Florida. You might even think you are in Paradise.


Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

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Visiting Yosemite National Park

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

Established in 1890 Yosemite National Park is one of the most visited of all the National parks, with over four million visitors in 2011. Covering 1169 square miles this UNESCO World Heritage site is the home of  waterfalls, giant sequoia trees, and elevations over 13,000 feet.

Yosemite Valley

Yosemite's peaks and valleys offer very different experiences and weather patterns; Yosemite Valley is one of the most popular and most crowded areas in the park. It is considered the heart of Yosemite even though it only covers seven square miles. To make things easier with traffic flow the park has free shuttle buses that you can take from the day use parking lot near Yosemite Village. The shuttle buses are great since they are the only way to access many areas which are closed to car traffic.

With the shuttle buses you can visit the Valley Visitor Center, Lower Yosemite Falls, Happy Isles, Mirror Lake, Tunnel View, and Bridalveil Fall.El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, California

High Country camping

In the higher elevations of Yosemite you can expect snow at any time, and some of the roads are closed due to weather so it is best to check ahead of time. One time on a whim we decided to drive from Las Vegas to Yosemite and camp. It is a seven hour drive and we arrived via the eastern entrance and Tioga Pass. It was late so we ended up camping in the high country. We pitched our tent and went to sleep, only to awaken in the middle of the night freezing. When we looked out it was snowing and we ended up sleeping in the car!

It was 110 degrees in Las Vegas and Death Valley and in less than 24 hours we were in freezing temperatures. Tioga Road and Glacier Road are usually closed due to snow until May or June and we were lucky the road was still open that morning. Yes the weather can change in a moment, and we were able to move to a lower elevation and enjoy the park.


Yosemite has over 20 waterfalls and they are gorgeous, although not all have water flowing all year round. Yosemite Falls, the nation's highest waterfall has a drop of 2425 feet and stops flowing in late August since it is totally fed by melting snow of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Its peak flows are in late may, and the falls start flowing again sometime in October.

Most areas require advance reservations for camping since Yosemite is such a popular destination. Five months ahead is the suggested time to make a reservation to get the campground of your choice.

Giant Sequoias

The Mariposa Grove is home to the giant California sequoias of Yosemite and some of these trees are 3000 years old. Near the south entrance of Yosemite, this grove has over 500 of these giant trees. From the parking lot there is a tram tour you can take to see more of the trees, or you can hike the 0.8 mile uphill trail to view the Grizzly Giant and California Tunnel Tree. The tram tour lasts about an hour and fifteen minutes and costs roughly $25.

Rock Climbing

Two of the other highlights in Yosemite National Park are not only beautiful but attractive to rock climbers. El Capitan or "The Chief" is considered to be the largest granite monolith in the world, and extremely challenging to mountain climbers. This is a sheer vertical wall of granite, measuring 3593 feet from its base to its summit, attracting climbers from all over the world.

The other giant rock is Half Dome, which is so huge it is larger than the Rock of Gibraltar. At 8842 feet high, the summit is typically 15 to 20 degrees cooler than Yosemite Valley. This also is quite a challenging climb.

Yosemite has much to offer and really requires several days to truly enjoy the park. It has been awhile since I have been to there and would love to go again soon, although this time probably not with a small tent.

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

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Key West Attraction – Conch Train Tour

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

The Florida Keys are a beautiful and unique part of Florida and Key West is definitely its own experience. I have been to Key West a number of times and one of the best ways to see it especially for the first time is to take the Key West Conch Train Tour. So it's touristy but it's a great way to see the highlights and learn something at the same time.

Conch Train Tour, Key West FloridaStations and Stops

Since 1958 15 million passengers have taken this tour which does a loop through the Old Town, passing by the major landmarks and historic places in Key West. It is a 90 minute tour with three stops, the main one being the Station Depot at Front Street.  I would suggest boarding the train here to be sure to get a seat.  The train stops here for a ten minute refreshment, restroom, ice cream, and souvenir break. The second stop is at Truval Village, at the corner of Duval Street and Truman Avenue. This is the stop closest to the Hemingway Home, the Key West Lighthouse and the famous southernmost point. You can get off here and get back on after sightseeing if you like. The final stop is at Flagler Station where the tour ends at Mallory Square.Mallory Square Key West Florida

The tour was not always a Hop On Hop Off Tour, where passengers could ride it as much as they wished. Currently   the train ride is a Hop On Hop Off tour, and according to the latest information with the tour desk, this may be or may not be a permanent change. They may be trying this to compete with the Key West Trolley which is a bus size vehicle that tours Key West,  and it is a Hop On Hop Off tour. Prices are the same but there are more stops on the trolley and you can use the service for free if you ride it the second consecutive day.Hemingway House Key West Florida

Prices, tickets and hours

The Key West Conch Train tour is a good deal especially for families since kids 12 and under are free. An adult ticket costs $30.45, and an online ticket costs $24.57. Discounts for seniors 62 and older as well as military personnel are available also. The train operates daily from 9-4:30 but it is always closed the last Saturday in October due to the huge street celebration of Fantasy Fest. Tours leave every 30 minutes or more often if there is higher demand.


Hog's Breath Saloon Key West FloridaKey West is also an easily walkable town and be sure to see the highlights and experience the atmosphere here. Sloppy Joe's Bar  has been a Key West tradition and opens as early as 9am and closes late. If you want to have lunch and a Margarita at the Hog's Breath Saloon you can pose for the webcam and wave to all your friends back home.

The Key West Lighthouse Museum is open and if you are into climbing, there are 88 iron steps to get to the top for a great view. Built in 1825, this lighthouse is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Mallory Square is the best thing in the Key West in my opinion, and every night they celebrate the sunset there as crowds gather and enjoy the ambience. Street performers and food vendors seem to come out of the woodwork and it is a true Key West experience. Make sure to stay to be a part of this tradition.

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

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Las Vegas: Why is Now a Great Time to Go?


If you’ve never been to Vegas before, now is the perfect time for a holiday to Sin City, last minute or otherwise. Autumn has the perfect combination of welcoming weather, thinning crowds and great deals making Las Vegas a fabulous destination for last minute holidays.

Welcoming Weather

The weather in autumn is ideal for travel. Las Vegas is scorching in the summer, with high temperatures regularly over 38 degrees Celsius. In the winter, temperatures often approach freezing at night and in the early morning. However, October highs average about 28 degreesCelsius, dropping to around 19 degreesCelsius in November.Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas Nevada

While the city’s world famous casinos are typically the main draw, the dry and warm autumn days are extremely agreeable for the surprising range of outdoor activities Las Vegas has to offer including golf, rock climbing, cycling and hiking. You can even take in agreat American pastime:  baseball. Las Vegas has a minor league team called the 51s and single tickets are only about seven to 13 pounds (ten to twenty USD).

Though the days are pleasant and sunny, do be sure to take along a light jumper or coat, as the evenings can be as low as around 8 degreesCelsius.

Smaller Crowds

While there really is no slow season in Las Vegas, things do tend to slow down in autumn (somewhat). After Labour Day (the first week in September), there are fewer families as children have gone back to school. However, there are times during the autumn season where Las Vegas does become especially crowded. Halloween is often a big seasonal event for adult travellers and locals alike. Hotels are usually booked far in advance and prices do go up so for the best deals, try to visit either before or after Oct. 31.

The American holiday, Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday in November – which falls on Nov. 22 this year), can also be fairly busy, as many restaurants and hotel buffets offer special menus on the day. Thanksgiving is a four-day weekend holiday, also making it a popular time for a short break.

Because crowds thin out, especially during the month of November, many popular stage shows “go black” or temporarily cease performances. If there is a particular show you want to see, check ahead of time to make sure there will be a performance during your scheduled stay.Las Vegas Strip, Nevada

Great Deals

Thinner crowds also spell great deals.Hotel room rates are especially reasonable, as there are more rooms available this time of year. Packages including flight and hotel can be a great way for savvy travellers to save money on holidays. In addition to booking packages during autumn, there are several other ways to save money while in Las Vegas including:


  • Stay at an older property. If you want to stay on The Strip but can’t afford a trendy resort, there are plenty of perfectly suitable, older hotel/casinos, such as Circus Circus or Excalibur.
  • Stay off Strip. Hotel prices are even lower away from The Strip. However, be careful not to spend your savings on taxis, which can potentially be expensive – even on short rides. Take advantage of the inexpensive bus, The Deuce, which has two-hour passes for fewer than four pounds, 24-hour passes for fewer than five pounds, and three-day passes for less than 13 pounds.
  • Drink for free. While drinks can be expensive in clubs, bars and restaurants, you can drink for free if you are gambling. Whether you’re at a table or a slot machine, cocktail waitresses come through the casino floor regularly offering free drinks – as long as you are gambling. For better service, be sure to tip a dollar per drink, even if you’re just drinking water. That dollar will go a long way toward ensuring you don’t go thirsty as long as you’re there.
  • Play the penny slots. Gambling is a major reason people visit Las Vegas. However, you don’t need to be a high roller to have fun. There are plenty of penny and nickel slots that allow you to play longer, while spending less.

With gorgeous weather, fewer people and lower prices, there’s no real reason to not visit Las Vegas this autumn.


About the Author: CindySpade is a contributing blogger who enjoys travel as well as finding great travel deals. Cindy makes a yearly trip to Las Vegas, since her sister moved to the city from their native Cork. The last time she was in the city, she made it a point to venture outside city limits and visit the Hoover Dam as well.


Take a Shell Island Cruise while in Panama City Beach

Guest Post By: Linda Hale

Anyone who has vacationed in Panama City Beach, Florida, knows it’s all about the hustle and bustle. There is always something going on in Panama City! You’ve got Spring Break, or July 4th, or Friday Fest, or, like we encountered this fall, Thunder Beach. Which, in case you don’t know, is a convention of motorcyclists (We did not do this on purpose!). Anyhow, did you ever just want some peace and quiet, and solitude while there? If so, I have a great suggestion. Treat your family to a Shell Island Cruise!

There are several cruises that you can choose from, if you want to go to Shell Island. Captain Anderson has one, and then there is the Ashley Gorman Shell Island Cruise. We chose this cruise while visiting Panama City Beach with two of our grandchildren this fall, and we all had a blast. It is a 3 l/2  hour excursion to the island, and during the 1 hour trip over, you are treated to a meal of hot dogs, chips, and a drink, a rummage through crab traps they’ve pulled up for you, dolphin antics, and just the plain old fun of riding on a double decker boat.Ashley Gorman Shell Island Cruise, Panama City Beach, Florida

As far as the dolphins go, the boat actually will stop whenever they spot any and give you a chance to watch and take pictures. They actually have another cruise, that is seasonal, that will allow you to get into the water with the dolphins. Scuba diving lessons are given on this cruise.  You can check thiswebsite for a phone number and information on the Ashley Gorman cruises.

The double decker Ashley Gorman gives the kids the opportunity to walk around, climb the decks, and interact with the other passengers and crew. This also gives you lots of choices for views of the beautiful Gulf of Mexico, the dolphins, and the passing boats and Florida islands.White sands of Shell Island, Panama City Beach, Florida

However, the real treat is actually Shell Island itself. Here’s that solitude I was talking about. The Ashley Gorman carries over about 50 people, and I saw only two boat docks, so there are just not that many people there at one time. And the island is very long; so you can walk and just about be alone. The excursion gives you an hour on Shell Island, which is plenty of time to walk in the surf, or swim (if you bring your bathing suit), or just search for shells. Our grandkids had a great time shelling, and found some really good ones. Sandbars go out pretty far, so you can walk out and find sand dollars, and maybe a conch shell.Shelling on Shell Island, Panama City Beach, Florida


Panama City has some of the most gorgeous white beaches and aquamarine waters that I have seen on the Gulf, and on Shell Island this is just intensified. The beaches and water are just beautiful; and the sand dunes with the sea oats blowing in the wind are definitely picture perfect. All of this is something extra special that you just don’t expect at Panama City Beach, but something you should definitely experience.


At the boat’s warning horn, you have to rush back across the long boardwalk over the dunes to the Ashley Gorman for the return trip. But that’s OK, because they have a little snack bar where you can buy the kids some Cheetos and a Slushie, and they will go off happily to watch the dolphins;  while you buy yourself a treat from their mini bar, and sit back and enjoy the ride home.

Guest Post By: Linda Hale


Things to do in San Diego in the Fall and Winter


Guest Post By: Maria Papadopoulou

One of my favorite places to visit during the fall and winter months is San Diego, California.  The activities offered in that city are many, that I find it quite difficult to actually choose between them!  Some of what I consider to be the most interesting activities are listed below.

For beer lovers like me, the San Diego Beer Festival on September21th is a delight.  It offers sampling from over 60 different breweries, as well as a variety of food items and wines that can be purchased. Furthermore, the first 3000 guests receive a free tasting mug as a present to take home.San Diego Bay, San Diego , California

On October 1st, an interesting free event titled ‘’Fall For The Arts’’ takes place in the San Diego Bay Area, allowing people to interact with many different organizations through a number of workshops, exhibits and demonstrations.  It is an amazing opportunity for creative people to join forces and express themselves in many different ways

The Desert Festival running from October 26 to October 28 is on the top of my list, as it includes wonderful craft exhibitions, live music shows, dance parties and a beauty pageant.

The Apple Harvest that takes place at Julian, at the Cyamaca Mountains, officially starts on November 15th and is one of my absolute favorites.   Admission is free and visitors are given the chance to enjoy besides some of the most delicious homemade apple pies ever, also magnificentart and music shows.

 Also known as Jungle Bells, the Festival of Lights at the San Diego Zoo provides a variety of animal –themed displays, face painting andcraft making activities, even a meeting with belovedSanta, offering longhours of entertainment to both parents and kids.  That Festival usually runs from December 13 to December 23 and from December 26 to December 30.

Another great activity for the entire family is the Sea World’s Holiday Celebration running from November 27 to December 31.  What I love the most about this Celebration is the Polar Express 4D experience it offers, that is like no other, as well as the competitive ice-skating through the Holiday Tree of Lights.


The Balboa Park December Nights Festival is ideal to watch young actors from the San Diego Junior Theatre, as well as young dancers from the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet.  Delicious food from around the globe is also offered at the Festival.


Make it a habit to visit San Diego once every year during the fall or winter months. You certainly won’t be disappointed. 

Maria Papadopoulou  is a freelance writer at as well as a translator and a proofreader.


Spending the Day at Pier 39 in San Francisco


Guest Post By: Margie Miklas


One of my favorite places to visit in the heart of San Francisco is Pier 39. This family-oriented shopping and entertainment complex is huge, covering 45 acres and conveniently located just two blocks Fisherman's Wharf at Beach Street and the Embarcadero.

With 110 California specialty shops and 14 restaurants, Pier 39 is a great place to spend part of the day when visiting San Francisco. It is touristy and there is plenty to do for the whole family. Kids and adults alike will love watching the sea lions as they laze about on a nearby barge built just for them. 

Pier 39 crowds San Francisco, CaliforniaYoung children will enjoy the two-story carousel near the end of the pier, and at all hours of the day and evening there is live entertainment on the pier in the way of street performers. They regularly perform outside to enthusiastic crowds and depending on the schedule, there are magicians, jugglers, mimes, comedians, and other surprises.Pier 39 Carousel San Francisco, California

Pier 39 also features live music throughout the day and evening, featuring boogie-woogie piano, guitar, dulcimer, saxophone, and singing. There is never an admission fee although the performers are happy to accept donations.

I love going to Pier 39 because there is so much outside activity there, and I also love browsing through the shops. Here I always find something unique to San Francisco that can't be bought anywhere else.  The shopping complex consists of two levels so you can spend a whole day shopping here if that's what you like.Alcatraz , San Francisco Bay, California

Where else can you find The Alcatraz Gift Shop with black and white striped aprons, or Le Beastro, a gift shop that specializes in doggy gifts? There is also a shop called Lefty's for anyone who is left-handed.View of Marina and San Francisco, California


Most of the full-service restaurants offer a large selection of freshly prepared seafood entrees. If you dine at one of these restaurants, they will validate your parking voucher for the Pier 39 parking garage across the street, and credit you the first  two hours of parking for free, after 6pm. If you are there before 6, it is worth one hour of free parking. The parking can be expensive at $8 an hour and $40 for the day.


The cool thing about the parking garage is the view. From the top deck you can have awesome views of some of San Francisco's most well-known landmarks, like Alcatraz, the Coit Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge and the city landscape.

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

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Enjoying California’s Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas


California is home to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. These are two separate parks but are managed as one and named accordingly.  Sequoia National Park is the second oldest national park, created in 1890 by an Act of Congress. The only national park that is older is Yellowstone. Kings Canyon National Park was originally created the same year and was called General Grant National Park. Today these two parks are managed as one entity.


Much less crowded than Yosemite National Park, Sequoia and Kings Canyon are known for giant sequoia trees, narrow winding curvy roads with plenty of S-bends, spectacular views of the Sierra Mountains and Mt Whitney, and scenic waterfalls.

Tree Trunk Cut Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park, CaliforniaGiant Forest

General Sherman Tree Kings Canyon Sequoia National Park, CaliforniaRanked as the top attraction in these parks is the Giant Forest, located in Sequoia National Park. The Giant Forest   contains many of the largest sequoias in the world, all in the space of approximately three square miles. This is the home to one of the most popular attractions in the park, the General Sherman tree, which is the largest tree in the world. Its height is 275 feet and the tree has a circumference which measures over 100 feet.

Moro Rock

Another popular feature in this park is Moro Rock, a large granite dome not too far away from the Giant Forest. Rock climbing enthusiasts love to climb this rock and other visitors can reach the pinnacle the easier way by climbing the 350 winding steps from the parking lot. This one-third mile ascent will definitely challenge most tourists, but the panorama views from the top are breathtaking.Grizzly Falls Kings Canyon National Park, California

Trail of 100 Giants

In Long Meadow Grove there is a one mile loop trail, which you can walk and see 125 giant sequoias that exceed ten feet in diameter. There are 700 giant sequoia trees here that have smaller diameters but nevertheless are huge trees. This grove contains a tree which is 20 feet in diameter and 220 feet tall. The oldest trees in this grove are considered to be 1500 years old.  I recall it being a very humbling experience to be under these giant sequoias and looking up and all around.


Kings Canyon Scenic Byway


This 50 miles stretch of road is the only way to drive through Kings Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in America. It requires nerves of steel for all the switchbacks and winding sections of road but the views along the way are totally worth it. It begins at the Hume Lake Ranger Station in Sequoia National Forest on Hwy 180, and ends at Cedar Grove in Kings Canyon. One of the waterfalls close to the road is Grizzly Falls, and there are also awesome limestone caverns near the Kings River.  Boyden Cavern tours are available as well as rappelling opportunities.Sequoia Kings Canyon National Park, California

The natural beauty of our national parks is all around us and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are among my favorites. I will always remember the winding drive and the awesome scenery there.

Guest Post By: Margie Miklas

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