Must see State Parks, United States

IMG_0159-1Letchworth State Park, NY

The Grand Canyon of the East, Letchworth offers all the views. With three main waterfalls, there’s an experience for everyone. Choose your own adventure along the 106 km trail, drive along the canyons’ edge or take in a sunset view from a hot air balloon.

Accommodations: Beautiful horse farm located on the edge of the park.

IMG_9368Watkins Glenn State Park, NY

Immerse yourself into nature, winding along the river over and under waterfalls, the breathtaking views of stone etched by the melting glaciers 10,000 years ago. The Gorge Trail offers 19 waterfalls and is home to the Finger Lakes.

Accommodations: Stay in a rustic cabin or venture into one of the Finger Lakes in your own Sailboat.

IMG_2523Slide Rock State Park, AZ

Approx 11 km north of Sedona, slip and slide down one of Arizona’s naturally sculpted water chutes. We visited in October, and early in the morning and while we managed to beat the crowds, the water was forceful and frigid.

Accommodations: Camp in Coconino National Forrest, or stay in town at one of Sedona’s many hotels.

IMG_0103Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

Every vantage point offers an overwhelmingly breathtaking view, but the hike is no easy feat. We hiked the South Kaibab Trail, starting at 7,260 feet and descending into the canyon. Our return trip was approx. 11 miles, fueled with lots of water, and snack breaks along the way. While the views are stunning, (despite this photo) the lack of shade made the sunshine very unforgiving.

Tip: This trail is only accessible by shuttle from the Grand Canyon visitor centre. Be sure to pack accordingly and start your trek early to avoid the crowds (and mules).

IMG_9627National Monument, CO

This will forever be a favourite ‘stumble-upon’. Twisting and turning around the 37 km Rim Rock Drive you’re immediately transported into a Flintstones movie. The overly dramatic red rock landscapes tempt you to stop and snap at every viewpoint along the way.

Tip: After taking in the views, be sure to treat yo self to one of the many wineries in Grand Junction.

IMG_2782Bonneville Salt Flats State Park, UT

The Bolivian Salt flats have always been on my ‘must-see’ list (still is). When I discovered Utah was home to something similar, I had to see it to believe it. Just West of the Salt Lake City, the Bonneville Salt Flats stretches 30,000 acres and is located along I-80 near the Utah-Nevada border.

Tip: You can drive your vehicle right onto the salt flats – doughnuts.

IMG_E0886Antelope Canyon National Park, AZ

Formed by flash floods (that still happen), you can almost picture the whirlpool of water painting through the sandstone. Every turn and curve offering a different reflection of light. Erosion at it’s finest. We took an early morning Sightseer’s tour.

Tip: This place is always busy. Not only is peak season in the summer, but it is also ‘the best time’ to see the rays of sunshine reflecting through each crevis (as the sun is higher). I am convinced any time of year is both stunning and overflowing with tourists.

IMG_1974Smith Rock State Park, OR

This is a quick reward hike! While there are lots of trails throughout, the first trail Summit trail leads you to the highest peak in less than 2 km. Or if you are feeling adventurous you can join one of the many rock climbers scaling the endless pre bolted routes.

IMG_0612Big Sur State Park, CA

Put the top down, listen to the waves crash and cruise through Big Sur on the coastal dream drive known as Hwy 1.  For more than 140 km the curves of the road hug the cliffs of Big Sur.

IMG_7562The Adirondacks State Parks, NY

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