If you’re headed to Zion National Park anytime soon and trying to decide which hike you should do Observation Point might just be the perfect one!
It’s pretty. I highly doubt there is an ugly hike in Zion because the whole park is pretty breathtaking, but this hike has some awesome views.
It’s not too difficult. Is it easy? No. Did we take a lot of breaks? Yes. I think this one is technically labeled as strenuous, but overall, it’s really not too bad. It took us about three hours to hike up, we hung out at the top for a good 30 minutes, and we were finished with the whole thing in about four and a half hours. It was just the right amount of difficult.
It’s not crowded. Yes, we passed (and were passed) by a decent number of people on the hike, but we never really had to stop and wait for oncoming traffic if you know what I mean. Other hikes in Zion can be SO crowded, so it was nice to be able to enjoy the trail without too many interruptions.
It’s fun! We were looking for a fun hike that was a good workout and Observation Point fit the bill. We got to see a little bit of everything on this hike and it had an awesome payout at the end.
-Bring lots of water*
*By lots of water, I mean bring more than you think. We ran out of water basically at the top (mind you it was 90+ degrees the day we hiked) and it was a LONG WAY DOWN. Let’s just say by the time I was able to fill up my bottle back at the visitor’s center, I was about to bite someone’s head off.? I’ve never been so thirsty in my life.
If you have hiked Observation Point, or plan on hiking it in the future, let us know in the comments!
Everyone knows one of the best parts of Disneyland is being able to eat all of the most delicious food.
Here is a breakdown of our favorite treats from our most recent Disneyland trips.
It’s NEVER too early for ice cream. We purchased this to get the day rolling around 10am. Soft serve from The Cozy Cone is always a must! Found inside Disney’s California Adventure in Cars Land.
We do not go to Disneyland without eating corn dogs for lunch. Some may think we’re crazy, but we sure do like them! They are found in Disneyland on Main Street. It always seems to be perfect timing because we spend the morning in California Adventure and are ready for some grub before we conquer Disneyland!
Graham Cracker and PB Sandwich
This was our first time trying these, but they were delicious! Picture a graham cracker filled with peanut butter, then covered in chocolate. Absolutely delicious. These are found at Pooh’s Corner in Disneyland.
Chocolate Covered Marshmallows
These are also found at Pooh’s Corner in Disneyland. We discovered these a couple trips ago and have continued to go back each time. Just a few marshmallows (homemade, might I add) on a stick, covered in chocolate. Phenomenal.
The Blue Bayou
If you’ve ever ridden the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, you might remember passing an area where people are sitting there eating. The restaurant is inside the ride! So cool! This place is often hard to get into and you will need a reservation, but we made ours the day of and were able to get in. This was a bucket list item for Lindsey, so since we were there on her birthday, we had to do it! They even brought her a free chocolate Mickey dessert with candles!
By the time we ate, they already had the dinner menu out. We ordered two servings of the ribeye steak to split between the four of us. DELICIOUS. We were surprised by how delicious it was exactly! It also came with some insanely good macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, veggies, and some delicious bread for the table. OH! I almost forgot to mention the AMAZING gumbo that came with our meal. So, so good.
We definitely recommend this place if you are wanting a nice sit down meal while at Disneyland! The food is great and the atmosphere is amazing!
Ice Cream on Main Street
An early dinner allows for more treats at night. That is fine by us! We NEVER leave Disneyland without hitting up the Ice Cream Parlor on Disneyland’s Main Street. They have insanely good waffle cones, with delicious ice cream. We highly recommend the cookies and cream. Plus, it’s pretty affordable for the amount of ice cream you get. Win win!
But sometimes the ice cream gets the best of you.
Mickey’s Cream Cheese Filled Pretzel
This was recommended to us by someone on our Instagram page, and we just want to say THANK YOU! We found this at the Refreshment Center on Main Street. It was gone in about 30 seconds. Imagine a nice warm pretzel filled with soft cream cheese…yum.
Somehow, we seem to have zero pictures of Kelsey eating a churro, but you better believe that she eats at least one every time she is at a Disney Park. They can be found in both Disneyland and California Adventure from little vendor carts. We swear they have one about every 20 feet! HA!
If you like french fries, these are a must try! They are very delicious. Find them at Cafe Orleans in New Orleans Square.
They also sell the same gumbo that is sold at Blue Bayou. Try it. You won’t regret it.
You may have heard of this famous sandwich from Disneyland. It is also found at Cafe Orleans in New Orleans Square. This is a fried ham and cheese sandwich with powdered sugar on top and a side of jelly. It doesn’t get much more unhealthy than that.
Clearly we are fans of all things Southern. Disney beignets are just the cutest, because they are Mickey shaped! These can be found at Cafe Orleans or at Mint Julep Bar, which is also in New Orleans Square but just around the corner near The Haunted Mansion.
Plus, if it’s your birthday, they will even bring it to you with a candle!
Ok, so this one isn’t food, but Lindsey swears that the Diet Coke in Disneyland is better than most places. Kelsey is just mad they don’t sell Diet Dr. Pepper in the parks.
Clearly, we love the food at Disneyland just a little too much.
What are your favorite Disney treats?! Please tell us in the comments, we are always looking to try something new!
I told you in my Maui post that I would highlight a few of the places we ate throughout the week. We ate pretty darn well, I must say. Here are a few of our favorite places:
This was a real treat for us. This is definitely high end dining and I would not recommend Spago if you’re on a traveling tight budget. We had some friends who were also in Maui at the time and they wanted to take us out to their favorite restaurant on the island. Let’s just say that we were not disappointed!
Located inside the Four Seasons Resort, we had an amazing dinner with the sun setting on the ocean in the background. We aren’t the biggest fans of seafood, so Jordan and I had the pork chops and chicken breast. It was honestly so, so delicious, but in hindsight we regret not going out on a limb and opting for a seafood dish here, especially considering everything served in this restaurant is caught same day. We won’t make the same mistake next time!
This was recommended by several people. It is located in Paia and we stopped here on our way home from hiking. I am dumb and was imagining it as being actual flatbread (i.e. a piece of bread with toppings), but it was actually a pizza place. And pretty dang delicious!
We had a large party and they were able to seat us in an open area. We ordered several pizzas and shared each pizza between 2-3 people. We ordered the pepperoni and it was good, but the consensus was that the “Mopsy’s Kalua Pork” was the favorite.
You cannot visit Hawaii without grabbing some shaved ice. That would just be ludacris.
There didn’t seem to be as many options as there are on Oahu, but maybe that was just my observation from our side of the island. We stopped at a small place near The Shops at Lahaina called Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice. My family used to own a shave ice place when I was younger, so I feel like I’m a pretty good judge. This place was delicious. I went with pineapple, guava and coconut. Can’t do anything less tropical when in Hawaii!
If you don’t try out any of my other recommendations, please try this one. YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS OUT. This place was so dang delicious. The Gazebo is hidden right next to a hotel pool and along the beach. They are only open until 2pm and you’re most likely always going to find a line, but it moves fast and is worth it.
We split an order of banana pancakes with their special toppings (which included coconut syrup and whipped cream). HOLY COW. I’m now forever a fan of coconut syrup and I did not want the goodness to end. We also ordered fried rice. I know this sounds a little unconventional for breakfast, but trust me. It’s delicious and you will not be disappointed. The plates are large, so it was easy to split between 3 of us at our table.
Kimo’s was another great place with a great view of the ocean. We had quite a large party, so we were seated more inside. They had great starters with free bread and muffins. Jordan and I split the ribs which came with fries and veggies. The veggies weren’t great, and the food wasn’t the best thing we’ve ever had, but still good.
The dessert menu is where it’s at though! The hula pie is a must try here. It is a giant slice of ice cream pie covered in hot fudge and other deliciousness. We ordered one for the whole table, but if I’m being honest, I could have eaten much more than just a couple bites! We ordered the chef’s version, which includes mint chocolate chip ice cream instead of macadamia nut ice cream.
Leoda’s was another recommendation. We heard that basically anything on the menu is good and I believe it.
We ordered the banana cream pie and it was bomb! We’re pretty sure most of their desserts would be delicious, but maybe steer clear of the chocolate haupia pie. We weren’t digging that one so much.
This was our last meal on Maui. It’s a fun environment and luckily they let us pick food off of the main menu even though we were seated in the dinner area. (I know that probably doesn’t make sense, but they had a special menu if you were seated in a certain area.)
We had to eat in a hurry before we headed to the airport, but we split a burger and fries and it was really delicious! Also, we wore Hawaiian shirts, so we felt pretty cool as you would expect. 😉
Honolua Store near the Ritz Carlton
We stopped here a few different times to grab food. One of which was an acai bowl for breakfast. It was good, but the acai was frozen. I am guessing that you can find some even better bowls somewhere else.
We had burgers here one night and they were actually pretty dang good. I highly recommend getting the sweet potato fries with that too.
Last but not least, pick up some banana bread here. There were some packaged homemade loaves that we spotted after Julia’s was a bust, and… they were delicious! After we stopped here for breakfast, we got a few more loaves to bring home with us and Jordan ran all the way home carrying them. Talk about dedication!
Of course on our way to the airport we stop and get gelato. This is because I have zero self control and I love gelato. We hit up Ono Gelato near Lahaina and it was DELICIOUS. Perfect way to cap off a vacation. Cookies and cream was out of this world!
Moral of the Story: Maui has some good eats! Let us know your favorite Maui restaurants in the comments!
Kelsey here! I took a trip to Maui with Jordan and his family for a week in January. Let me first say that I highly recommend tropical vacations in the dead of winter. It’s pretty great to go on morning runs along the ocean while your friends back home are shoveling the snow from their driveway. 😉
Our flight to Hawaii was a little rough, but the second we arrived and were able to take off our jackets and soak in the sun, all the hours of traveling were quickly forgotten. This trip, we stayed at a condo right near the Ritz Carlton where the rest of Jordan’s family was staying (we travel on a budget, ok?). It was in a perfect location and the views were amazing. We could sit at our kitchen table and watch the whales jumping out of the water. Amazing!
First things first, we stocked up on groceries for the week and got situated in our condo. Since we got enough groceries to last us the whole week, we typically only ate out about one meal per day. That’s not to say we didn’t have our fair share of fun treats and delicious food. Check out this post on our favorite places to eat!
As it got dark that first night, I was in awe of how dark it got and how clearly you could see the stars at night. Is there anything better than just sitting and listening to the waves of the ocean crash against the rocks? We sat on lawn chairs and stargazed for awhile. It’s not everyday you can see the stars so clearly!
One of the things Jordan and I loved about this trip were our morning workouts. When at home, I go to the gym every morning, and I really try to keep that up on vacation. Especially because I typically consume WAY more calories than normal. The first morning our run along the beach turned into a run up a trail, which turned into a hike. We kept walking through the jungle without any real idea of where we were going. Along the way we were continuously amazed by the jungle views and beautiful landscapes.
Our days often consisted of lounging by the pool at the Ritz Carlton or hitting up D.T Fleming Beach nearby. Jordan and his brothers did some boogie boarding there. It was right next to the resort so it was great to go from hotel pool to beach and back again. There were a few moments when it got really windy and rained a bit, so we took advantage of the hot tub in those moments!
A few highlights from the trip included:
Julia’s Banana Bread
Maybe I should just say, “making the drive to Julia’s banana bread” because when we arrived at the hut where Julia sells her banana bread, it was closed! We were super bummed, especially considering it was one scary drive to get there! It’s on the northwestern side of the island, and we just hopped on the road after leaving the Nakalele Blowhole. A good chunk of the drive consisted of a one lane road. We’re talking NO room for another car. If we came upon a car, one of us had to back up until there was enough room to pass. Pretty scary! Although we were bummed there was no banana bread at the end of the rainbow, the drive made for some good memories!
The Nakalele Blowhole
The blowhole is just off of mile marker 38.5 and about 8 miles north of Kapalua. The drive to the blowhole is absolutely gorgeous as you see views of the ocean and greenery all around. We parked and made the small walk to catch a glimpse of the blowhole. I had some embarrassingly unfashionable sandals on for the jaunt, but you could probably do it in just about any type of shoe. It wasn’t too tricky. The views were gorgeous and made for great pictures. There was even a heart shaped rock. Adorable.
Snorkeling was one of my favorite things that we did while in Maui. We hit up several different beaches at different times of the day, but we had the best luck at Kapalua Bay Beach. Luckily, we were able to see some great stuff wherever we went, including: Ka’anapali Beach, Kahekili Beach, and Ka’anapali Beach by Black Rock. My favorite had to be when we were able to swim with sea turtles. So awesome!
I want to give a special shout out to Boss Frog’s Snorkel rental, because this was the best snorkel gear I have ever used. It was cheap ($27 for a week) and they gave some anti-fog liquid with every set so you could see clear as day. I didn’t have one leak the entire time! They have a ton of locations all over the island, so you can rent and return in different locations without an additional price. Praise.
Bamboo Forest Hike
I am doing an entire separate post on this because it was so much fun! This was one of the coolest hikes I have ever done. It CAN be dangerous, so proceed with caution, but we had an absolute blast hiking from waterfall to waterfall. We even had to swim to the last one! There was a rope swing and a few different places to cliff jump, so this one definitely needs to be on the list for those up for an adventure!
Like I said, we bought groceries to keep us from eating out a ton, but we had some really good grub while we were out and about. We ate at some really fancy places (Spago) and some totally normal hole in the wall places (Maui Tacos). I highlight a few of our faves in another post!
Sunsets and Rainbows
Cliché, I know. But I don’t think that a day passed without seeing a rainbow! And seeing the sunsets were a highlight every night. Our world is so beautiful!
Overall, Maui is a blast. This was my first trip to Maui and I definitely fell in love. I love most tropical places, so it wasn’t hard for me to do. When you have a great destination with an awesome crew, it makes for an excellent trip!
What are your favorite spots on Maui? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!
Lindsey here! Today I wanted to write and convince you ALL that you need to visit Australia. Get ready for word vomit and a million pictures from my phone and my camera! Recently my brother took a job there and selfishly (ok, maybe not THAT selfishly) took my sister-in-law and my 3 cute nephews with him. So OBVIOUSLY I needed to plan a visit. I don’t know if you’ve looked recently but tickets to Australia are typically super pricey, so I started watching flights like a hawk just hoping and praying I would find a good deal. Our friend Jordan, a fellow travel enthusiast, happened to come across a cheap flight option for me that flew out of L.A., so I called my mom, told her she was coming with me, and booked it right away! (Actually.. keep your eye’s peeled for a guest post from Jordan, when it comes to travel, there isn’t anyone I know that’s as educated as him!)
There are so many great resources these days to finding inexpensive flights! We will make sure to give you all the info we have on the blog soon!
Our flight left at the very end of November, which in Australia is the very beginning of summer. It was perfect! My brother lives in Sydney, but because of the flight deal we found, we ended up have a 20 layover on the way there in Brisbane! We were pretty tired from travel, but we got there at 8am so we decided to make the most of our time there and go out and explore! Because we were only there for a day, we didn’t get a rental car, so we decided to take a walk (my mom wouldn’t use that term) through the city. I think we ended up walking around 6.5 miles that day, which for jet-lagged travelers, wasn’t the easiest thing we’ve ever done!
We ended up walking along the river and walking through the cities Botanical gardens which were beautiful! The riverside City Botanic Gardens are Brisbane’s original botanic gardens. We saw so many beautiful trees and birds and came across some of the grossest spiders I’ve every seen!
Our main destination on our walk was visiting the Brisbane LDS temple. It was so beautiful. Right after that we shared a burger on Kangaroo Point (plot twist, there are no kangaroos here) at The Cliff’s Cafe. Let’s just say an Australian hamburger is NOT the same as an American burger. I think we will stick with In and Out!
On our walk home we attempted to get some ice cream, but it was so hot outside that we ended up drinking it and getting it all over ourselves. It was hilarious. We had a really early flight the next morning so we decided to eat an early dinner of room service, which after the burger, was phenomenal, and turn in early. We were exhausted.
Also, in all of my years of travel I had never gotten on a plane outside, and I was way too excited about it. I couldn’t wait to see Sydney as we were flying in that morning!
When we got to Sydney, we went straight to exploring. My brother had so much to show us and was an excellent tour guide. I was so excited.We started off by going to Bronte Beach and we walked to Tamarama Beach on our way to Bondi Beach. The famous Bronte to Bondi walk. We saw the the lap pools that were on the ocean and I had never seen anything like that! They were incredible. The towns around the beaches reminded me of San Francisco.
For lunch we went to the cutest lunch place ever. If you end up in Sydney, you have to stop here! The place was called The Grounds of Alexandria. My brother said that everything in Australia is over the top. They love to make everything extra fancy, this place was beautiful.
I kept taking photos of signs that I thought were funny. I love how they spell curb there!
The next morning we woke up early and got going! We had a lot planned but started at the Featherdale Wildlife Park. At Featherdale Wildlife Park we saw kangaroos, wombats, Blake breasted buzzards, storks, echidnas, dingos, and over 1,700 mammals, birds and reptiles, just like our own comprehensive collection of Australian species. My favorite was the Koala we got to hold! Turns out zoos in Australia are a lot more interactive!
After the zoo we headed to the Blue Mountains, Australia’s own Grand Canyon. While we were there we hiked the Honeymoon Bridge. It was gorgeous and my nephews loved exploring there! I had no idea parts of Australia looked like this! Also, we pretty much lived on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on this trip because of our adventuring. My 12 year old dreams came true.
The next day we headed to Morisset Mental Hospital on the way to the beach. Sounds odd, I know, but they have a field of Wild Kangaroos right next to the hospital. It was Incredible. They will walk right up to you and eat out of your hands! I only screamed a couple of times, which is surprising, one of the times was getting bit by a giant fire ant. Not the most comfortable thing, but 100% worth it!
After our kangaroo adventure we headed to the beach to spend some time there! I was so excited to spend some time on the white Australian sand. I thought it was beautiful, but my brother said there are even more beautiful beaches if we had more time to travel through Australia. Although, I can’t imagine it being more beautiful!
Then we went to North Head Lighthouse where we explored and saw the most beautiful views and even found some Jelly Fish!
Then we finished off our day at Terrigal Beach, the tide was low and we walked out on the rocks and found hundreds of star fish and an octopus! My little nephews had such a good time here.
That night we went and visited the Sydney LDS temple. It was all decorated for Christmas and I loved being able to see it in person.
The next day was our final day in Australia and we had a lot planned. We took a double decker bus into the city to see downtown and all it has to offer! My favorite building to see was the Queen Victoria Building! The architecture was fantastic downtown and they have the most incredible malls!
After our walk downtown we took a ferry from Circular Quay to Manly Beach. You have to go to Manly beach if you’re in Australia, it has such a fun atmosphere, so many restaurants, and it’s beautiful! On the ferry we really got to be up close and personal with the Sydney Opera House on the water. It was so surreal. I never thought I would be able to see it in person. We were able to walk around the gardens by the Sydney Opera House as well!
Manly Beach was SO crowded. Probably because a lot of kids were out of school for Christmas break.
There is so much to see and do around the Sydney Opera House and it’s so fun to see from all different angles.
Overall, I would definitely recommend going to Australia. They have so much to offer and I feel like I just skimmed the surface. If I were to go back, I would love to drive up to the Gold Coast, fly to see the Great Barrier Reef, and then make a trip to New Zealand! For now those will stay nice and cozy on my bucket list!
Have you been to Australia? What was your favorite part? Share your recommendations in the comments below!