We returned almost six months ago, and I've been meaning to post some kind of report ever since I got back home. Our trip was quite long, five and a half months long in fact, so summarizing it all is almost impossible. I blogged about it, but it's all in Hebrew. If anyone wants to tackle Google Translation and take a look at the pictures, it's all here -- http://gosite.co.il/westcoast
I figured I'd at least share where we ended up going to. It's a bit of a "messed up" itinerary, but it worked for us. We had some stuff we needed to do in the Bay Area, so had to be there, in the beginning, middle and end of our trip. Still, we had an absolutely awesome time! The kids, aged 7 and 9, learned so much and we really enjoyed it all. This was a minivan + motels kind of trip (no RV).
Here's the list of the places we went to. You can see our route from this. We started in May 2011 and ended in late October 2011. We had fantastic weather through out, with a bit of snow at the beginning and end (which was very cool!)
I apologize for not adding more input on each place.
It's either this or not posting at all at this point... I'd be
happy to answer any questions.
** California **
San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park (Academy of Sciences and Botanical Gardens), Pier 39 and the wharves, China Town, Downtown, Yerba Buena Gardens, the Pampanito, the Cable Cars and lots more.
Yosemite: Bridalveil falls (in full glory!), Lower and Upper Yosemite Falls, Mirror Lake, Mariposa Grove. Just strolling in the valley was pretty amazing!
Monterey: The Aquarium, Point Lobos, Dennis the Menace Park.
Los Angeles: Universal Studios, Hollywood (including a movie at El Capitan which was pretty awesome), Natural History Museum.
** Arizona **
Route 66 between Kingman and Seligman.
Flagstaff: the Lowell Observatory, hiking in Coconinno Forest.
Sedona and Red Rock State Park.
The Grand Canyon
** Colorado **
Mesa Verde National Park.
Road 550 from Durango to Montrose: Box Canyon Falls in Ouray, Gold Mine tour in Silverton.
Black Canyon of the Gunnison.
Aspen: Ice caves and drive south through Independence Pass.
The Royal Gorge.
Colorado Springs: drive up Pike’s Peak, Garden of the Gods, Air & Space museum at Peterson Air Base.
Denver: Wildlife Sanctuary.
Rocky Mt National Park: Fern Lake & Cub Lake trails. Drive up Ridge Trail Road (right into a little snow storm - in mid-June!)
** South Dakota **
Wind Cave National Park: long hike above ground + one of the basic cave tours.
Rapid City: Bear Country Park.
Custer Park: Mt Rushmore, the Needles, the Wildlife Loop, hiking the Sunday Gulch Trail, Sylvan Lake + Kayaking.
Deadwood, Spearfish Canyon and Roughlock Falls.
** Wyoming **
Thermopolis: the Dinosaur Museum
Jackson: 4th of July Celebrations in town.
Grand Teton National Park: Lake Jenny Hidden Falls trail, Jackson Lake (various trails + kayaking).
Yellowstone National Park: West Thumb Geyser Basin, Mud Volcano, Haydn Valley, Old Faithful, Firehole River, Mystic Falls trail (all the way up to the top!), Artist’s Paint Pots, Norris Basin, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Uncle Tom’s trail, Tower Falls, Lamar Valley, Washburn Mt (one of two long hikes in Yellowstone that my husband did on his own), Mammoth Terraces.
** Montana **
Bozeman: Museum of the Rockies, Computer Museum
Great Falls: Lewis and Clark Center, Giant Springs State Park, the Great Falls
Glacier National Park: Manny Glacier area, Grinnel Glacier hike (only my husband though), Going on the trail to the Continental Divide, Going to the Sun Road.
**** Canada *****
** Alberta **
Canadian Rockies: Canmore, Kananaskis, Bow Valley Highway, Johnston Canyon, Spiral Tunnels, Field, Lake Emerald, Lake Louise, Hike up to Lake Agnes, Lake Pyeto, hiking on top of Athabsca Glacier, Athabsca Falls, Jasper, MT Edith Cavelle, Maligne Canyon, Maligne Lake, Medicine Lake, Mt Robson.
** British Columbia **
Vancouver: Sea-to-Sky, Shannon Falls, Lynn Canyon, Celebrations of Light, Stanley Park, the Aquarium, Museum of Anthroplogy.
Victoria: Royal British Columbia Museum (this day actually happened later in the trip - we took the ferry from Port Angeles for one day and were back the same evening).
***** USA *****
** Washington **
Seattle: Ballard Locks, the Space Needle (didn’t go up), the Science Museum, Underground City Tour, Fremont, the Boeing tour, Pike Place Market.
Olympic National Park: Dungeness, Port Angeles, Hurricane Ridge Road, Sol Duc, Forks, Rialto Beach, Hoh Forest, Spruce Trail, Hall of Mosses.
Mt St Helens
** Oregon **
Portland: OMSI, Rose Garden.
Oregon Coast: Astoria, Fort Stevens, Cannon Beach, Tillamook chees factory, Newport, Cape Perpetua, Seal Rock State Park, Florence. We spent almost a week on the coast and did lots of tidepooling & a whale watching tour.
Road 138: Tokeetee Falls
Crater Lake National Park
** California (again) **
Redding: Sundial Park and the visitors center there
Yosemite (this time with my in-laws): added Glacier Point and Tioga Pass
San Francisco (this time with my in-laws), the usual places we’ve seen before + the Hornet Aircraft Carrier, Big Basin Redwoods Park, Sausalito, Zeum
San Jose: Tech Museum
** Arizona (again) **
** New Mexico **
Albuquerque: Atomic Museum
** Missouri **
St Louis: City Museum, the Arch
** Kentucky **
Louisville: touring around the city
Mammoth Cave National Park
** Tennessee **
Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Clingman’s Dome, Cades Cove, Laurel Falls hike
Pigeon Forge: House of Wonders
** Louisiana **
Honey Island Swamp Tour
New Orleans: French Quarter, St Charles Avenue, Jazz Historic Park, River Crossing on the Ferry
Oak Alley Plantation
Lafayette: Vermilion Village
** Texas **
Houston: NASA space center, Children’s Museum, Health Museum
San Antonio: The Alamo, Witte Museum, river cruise
** New Mexico (again) **
Carlsbad Caverns National Park: Cave tour, Flight of the bats
Albuquerque: Balloon Fiesta, Explora Museum, Natural History Museum
Santa Fe: Loretto Chapel, Historic city center
Los Alamos: Bradbury Science Museum, Los Alamos historic museum
** Utah **
Canyonlands National Park - Islands in the Sky: Mesa Arch, Grand View Point, Whale Rock
Arches National Park: Windows section, Landscape Arch, Delicate Arch
Goblins Valley State park
Capitol Reef National Park: Fruita
Bryce Canyon National Park: various view points on the Rim Trail, Navajo / Queens Combo
Zion National Park: Riverwalk trail, Emerald Pools, husband went all the way up Angel’s Landing
** California (again!) **
Disney California Adventure Park
Road 1 between Los Angeles and San Francisco: Solvang, San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, Piedras Blancas
Napa Valley: Silverado Trail
Ukaiah: Pumpkin Festival and visit to a Pumpkin patch
Humboldt Redwoods State Park: Ave of the Giants, Founders Grove, Drury-Chaney trail
Redwood National Park: Prairie Creek Park, Lady Bird Johnson trail, Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway, Enderts Beach, Jedidiah Smith Redwoods State Park, Howland Hill Road, Boy Scout trail.
San Francisco (one last time!): Elcatraz and re-visiting favorite places in town