A Summer Wanderlust Wishlist

Posted 25 June, 2015 by Trish in Road Trip, Travel / 20 Comments


Summer Wanderlust

Summer!!! Vacation! Trips! Roadtrips!

You guys–I have the worst case of wanderlust. We are heading on our big trip of the summer at the end of July and it feels like it might as well be in 2016 for how far away it feels. We will be camping in Durango, Colorado (this will be our third year as we love it so much!) and then heading to Bear Lake on the Utah/Idaho border for a family reunion. We’ve talked about maybe heading up to Pennsylvania again this summer, but I don’t know if it will happen. Last year we traveled quite a bit and I’m dying to add more to our agenda.

One of my favorite things about travel is just imagining the places that we could go. I love coming up with itineraries and seeking out the fun local things to do while we’re there. I’m guessing it’ll come to no surprise that many of the items on my list are national parks or outdoorsy type places. While I personally would love to lie on the beach, a beach isn’t a very relaxing vacation with kids and I was blessed with one of those husbands who doesn’t really know how to just sit and relax.

Where would we go? Oh, I’m so glad you asked. Here are 10 of my stateside dream trips.

Fall Creek Falls State Park

Fall Creek Falls, TNFlickr Creative Commons

I’m pushing heavily for a trip to Tennessee this fall–I’ve only quickly driven through the state and mostly at nighttime, but I’ve heard it’s absolutely gorgeous and I have a feeling that the girls would love Chattanooga. May as well add a State Park to the list. Have you explored Tennessee? I’ve got an open ear for recommendations!!


Lake of the Woods, Minnesota

Minnesota LakesFlickr Creative Commons

Minnesota is one of the few states that I have never visited at all. I’ve heard the flies and mosquitoes are vicious, but I would love to canoe or kayak on one of the many thousands of lakes way up north. And you know, if we just happen to venture into Canadian waters, that’s alright with me, eh.


Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon - UtahFlickr Creative Commons

I’m still bummed that we didn’t get a chance to make it to Bryce Canyon last summer on our roadtrip extravaganza, but in a way I’m glad we didn’t go as our trip would have been too rushed. I think our family could spend weeks exploring all that Utah has to offer!


Hwy 101, Oregon

Hwy 101 - OregonFlickr Creative Commons

In a dream world, Highway 101 is a trip I would love to take without kiddos so that I can ride on the back of a motorcycle. Obviously this won’t happen this summer…or possibly the next 15, but one day I’ll cross this trip off the bucket list!


Zion National Park, Utah

Zion NP - UtahFlickr Creative Commons

Again with the Utah parks, but look! And this is just across the riverbend (by a few hundred miles) from Bryce, which is just down the proverbial road from Moab. Utah truly is amazing. And if you need further convincing that these parks need to be on your list, check out Jillian’s posts (from Random Bookish Ramblings) of her recent trips to Zion and Bryce Canyon.


Yosemite National Park, California

Yosemite NP - CaliforniaFlickr Creative Commons

Scott and I drove through Yosemite once. It was pitch dark outside. True story. We were driving from Tahoe down to Las Vegas and messed up our timing. One day I’d love to take the girls and explore this natural wonderland!


Smoky Mountains National Park

Smokey Mountains, TennesseeFlickr Creative Commons

Perhaps a bit gentler than the Western mountain ranges, but still beautiful. I also really want to drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway through North Carolina and Virginia (preferably on the back of the bike, but I won’t be picky for this one). And while I’m at it, may as well hike a few miles or more on the Appalachian Trail…another bucket list item.


Havasu Falls, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

Havasu Falls - ArizonaFlickr Creative Commons

Every couple of years my uncle hikes to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and stays a few nights in Havasupai. I’ve heard this experience is amazing (yes, it’s on the bucket list), but the last time that they went I was due to have Evie the same weekend. One of these days!


Outer Banks, North Carolina

Outer Banks - North CarolinaFlickr Creative Commons

Oh I had to have something beachy on the list! Really you could substitute anything on the Atlantic coast for this one–where are the good beaches? LOL! I’ve heard the Outer Banks are fantastic and we all need some sand in our toes now and then, right?


Somewhere on the coast of Maine

Portland Maine Bug Light LighthouseFlickr Creative Commons

As youngsters living in Toronto, our parents used to take us to Maine to vacation in the summer. My dad tells me that the water was freezing cold but that didn’t stop us from getting in and swimming to our hearts’ content. I’ve only been to Maine once since those summer vacations–and it was in the chilly fall–but I look forward to going back again. Summer at a cottage seems like the epitome of Summer Vacation.


For Lisa’s sake, I’ll add in Strugis, South Dakota to the list because we love riding in the Black Hills, but as I’m pregnant I won’t be getting on a bike anytime this year. Plus she said the little town’s population will swell to over 1 million this year for the 70th anniversary. But if you’re looking for somewhere to put on your travel bucket list, Black Hills is a must! And since it’s “close” I’d throw in Yellowstone, too.

What is on your Summer Wanderlust Wishlist? I’d love to hear where you dream of going.


20 Responses to “A Summer Wanderlust Wishlist”

  1. I haven’t been to any of those places except for a beach in Maine (Old Orchard Beach)! Great list! I’m trying to decide whether to go along to New Orleans with hubby on a business trip over Labor Day, but our summer travel is just day trips this year!

  2. We went to the Shenandoah Valley last fall to drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, and it was so foggy that we saw absolutely nothing! But the hiking was wonderful, and we will definitely go back. It also didn’t take all that long to get there from where we live, so I’ve been dreaming about road trips even further south. I would gladly travel to every single destination you list here, except maybe Sturgis.

    • LOL! Admittedly, Sturgis itself isn’t really worth the trip…but all the surrounding areas are! The Black Hills are really gorgeous, it’s just too bad that South Dakota is so in the middle of nowhere (Sorry Lisa if you’re reading this). That’s too bad about the trip to Shenandoah Valley…but a great excuse to go back! ;)

  3. Kim

    Morning! Great list! We leave next Friday for 17 days with the truck/camper, dragging the motorcycle. This years EPIC ROAD TRIP as I like to call them is Home to Crater Lake, OR, on to Lassen Volcanic National Park, Shasta, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, then to the CA coast up thru the Redwoods, and then to Cave Junction, OR, and home. Home is up near Seattle on the opposite side of Puget Sound. I think at last count we were hitting 7 National Parks and several state parks! We also collect squished pennies so my itinerary lays out all sorts of stops along the way each day plus penny stops almost every day. We travel with friends with and their two daughters (8, 12) so its fun to find interesting things! Last year we did Glacier National Park, Lewis & Clark Caverns, Yellowstone, Craters of the Moon, and several things in between. Same 17 days on the road only last year we didn’t take the motorcycle along. It was amazing!!

    • Oh Kim!!! That sounds absolutely amazing and I hope that when our girls are as old as your friends’ daughters that they’ll still be interested in driving around and camping. Of your trip this year, we’ve only been to Tahoe and Sequoia National Forest (can’t count Yosemite as it was dark!), but the Sequoias are absolutely fantastic. Enjoy!

  4. Camping in Utah is on my list too, put that off a couple years and lets plan to meet!
    I follow someone on IG who takes beautiful trips to Michigan. I had no idea Michigan was beautiful. Of course I had no idea SD was until I moved here.
    ANY beach is top of my list, and my kids are nearly old enough to be ok(ish). I’m pretty comfy with the boys on a lake/slow river. Makes such a difference.

  5. That is a very cool list! I love camping but we have not been in ages. Hope you have a great time but I know you will ❤️

    Just want to take the the time to tell you your blog is one of my happy sites. A place I know I can be cheered up so thank you for always being a positive writer. We had a hard week & I am now surfing my fun spots.

    • Oh Tina–thank you for such a sweet comment. Some days I don’t always feel quite so positive, so I’m glad that I still come across that way on the blog. I hope a wonderful day today–that some sunshine comes your way. xo

  6. Those all look amazing! I think the only one I’ve been to is Yosemite and that’s a huge ‘I think.’ It would’ve been when I was really, really little. And I’m so intrigued by Maine … don’t a lot of Stephen King’s books take place there? It looks beautiful!

  7. Utah’s national parks are all amazingly beautiful. I’m not much of a hiker/camper, but I do enjoy the scenery there. Hwy 101/Oregon Coast — also gorgeous. I grew up vacationing at Seaside. I really would love to see Havasu Falls. My husband and oldest son have both been there and say it’s amazing. The hike in is supposed to be a killer, but worth it.

    Happy summer!

  8. I think I’d go anywhere on your list – I’ve been to two (the Grand Canyon and Outer Banks) but that’s it. As will probably be spending the time I have off in August moving am especially jealous.

  9. I vote for Oregon, Outer Banks and Maine. Oregon coast I know is beautiful as I visited it this past spring. I’m planning on a Portland to Portland trip via Amtrak this November when I leave Alaska so I’m anxious to see what Maine looks like. :)