Hot Springs National Park – Worth A Quick Visit

Hot Springs National Park sits intertwined with the town of the same name. It’s a historic landmark that doesn’t really live up to the National Park reputation. It should really be a National Historic Park, like Harpers’ Ferry, so wanderers won’t be disappointed. We visited for one very mild day in February, saw most of the park, camped at Gulpha Gorge, and felt like we saw what there was to see, even without a visit to the spa.

The Park

Hot Springs National Park is one weird place. The horse-shoe shaped park is only 8.5 square miles, which makes it the smallest park in the US, but more unusually, the park is wrapped right around the town. The town is even officially named Hot Springs National Park.

The park was protected by Congress in 1832, leading some to say it’s the oldest national park, though it didn’t get the official designation until 1921. (Most would say Yosemite is the oldest National Park. It was officially formed in 1890.) Continue reading Hot Springs National Park – Worth A Quick Visit

The First Draft Plan

Hello! I’m Leslie and this is my first blog post ever. My husband Adam and I recently left our jobs, packed up our apartment in the city, and are leaving Chicago this Monday, March 30th. Naturally, many of our friends and family have asked where we are going. While we don’t have a true “plan” in place yet, I have a few ideas for our rough location over the next few months and it looks something like this:

US Map with Rough Draft Roadtrip Plan
US Map with Rough Draft Roadtrip Plan

Go ahead… judge the artwork. I will do my best to improve on that from here on out.

We are planning to hit up a bunch of national and state parks and visit some friends in San Diego, San Francisco, and Seattle. Not pictured above is our planned flight back to DC for a late June wedding and then a 3-day Amtrack ride back across the country.

I’m collecting recommendations for any of these areas and have already heard about a place for the best breakfast burritos in San Diego, hot springs just north of Yosemite, a whole spreadsheet of ideas for the Pacific Northwest, and a handful of great blogs from other travelers. I can’t wait to plan out a more detailed itinerary that hits as many of these spots as possible.

We’ll be back in Chicago by the middle of August for my sister-in-law-to-be’s wedding and then head out to the east coast at the end of August for a cousin’s wedding. After that… it’s really, really all up in the air! So, what should be sure to see? Let me know in the comments or via email. And check back soon for more updates from the road!