Redwood National Park

Redwood National Park has so much to see and three days was not enough to see everything. Between the world’s tallest tree,  fern canyons, beaches, and wildlife, you can easily spend a week here and still haven’t seen it all. 


We decided to stay at two different campsites since we wanted to experience different parts of the park. At our second campground, Elk Prairie Creek, we had elks hanging out near our campground while we prepared and ate dinner.  In the evening and later that night, we had gray foxes playing right outside our trailer. Additional animals included deers and blue jays that were curious at what we were eating. It was an amazing and memorable experience for all of us.

Hiking in the Redwood is most amazing in the afternoon and early morning because of the fog and moisture in the air.  This creates beautiful sun rays through the trees and parries. Additionally, there are often less people on the trails and less noise which means more animals to see! 

If your’e not a hiker, well, Redwood has a drive that will take your breath away through giant redwoods called the Howland Hill Rd. The drive is narrow and only one car can go through at once squeezing between the TALL tress. It is so much fun for both kids and adults. Our son was amazed by the countless tall trees. Some of the trees, you can’t even see the top of it! 


Fern Canyon

We also did a hike to the fern canyons, a quick drive from Elk Prairie Creek campgrounds. The ferns are really something different and definitely worth going to but make sure to have an SUV because the roads are really bumpy and you have to drive through small creeks depending on the season. Smaller cars can get stuck or have to turn around. The canyon has a few inches of water flowing down the canyon so please bring rain boots or sandals so you can make it through the canyon without worrying about getting your shoes and socks wet. We wore waterproof hiking boots and it was a little challenging balancing on those rocks and tree trunks. 


When people think of Redwoods, they think of trees but part of the park extends to the beach area which we recommend stopping by for lunch to hand out watching surfers ride the waves or just play in the sand. 

Our recommend length of stay at Redwood National Park is at least 4-5 nights, to allow you to enjoy amazing hikes, drives around the park’s beautiful natural landscape and relax. 

For more photos, they can be found here.

Crater Lake National Park


This was our 2nd time at Crater Lake and it’s still amazing to us. The prestine crystal blue water is a sight to see when you hike down and from the rim, the dark blue color is breathtaking. 

The rim drive is a must do and something that took us around 2 hours to do even with a toddler stopping at almost all of the view points. We did the pinnacles trail and that was very short and sweet hike to see pinnacles emerging from the ground. A really good hike for kids.

We did not hike down to the waters this time around but we did do that last time we were here and I would recommend hiking down to see clear the blue water. Hiking down is very easy and gravity just pulls you down but hiking up is SUPER steep and will take you double the time to do. We went in the summer time and there were sooooo many bugs while hiking so be prepared to bring bug spray. In the fall, we did not see as many bugs this time around so I feel like colder weather is better to hike at Crater Lake. 

Crater Lake campgrounds closed after Oct 1st and since we came a few days after and so we booked the Crater Lake Lodge, the only available lodging option at Crater Lake. It is a very old hotel which is ran by the parks services and closes in the winter time due to weather and driving conditions and therefore, the prices are expensive for a 2-star quality hotel. I would recommend camping at Crater Lake instead of staying at the lodge so go before Oct 1st! 

Our recommend length of stay at Crater Lake is 3 nights which will allow you to relax and enjoy the rim, hike down, and go to hikes in the park but you can also take a day trip here from Portland as well if you move quickly. 

Beyond Crater Lake is a hidden gem that we highly recommend driving the extra hour to get to Umpqua Hotsprings. There are 8 pools with different temperature (hottest is the first pool and then gets colder as you go down since the hot water runs from the top). It is a very short 3/4 mile hike up to it and pretty easy going down during the non winter months. Winter months, it can take up to 2 hours because of how steep it is. Our 4 yrs old toddler had no problem walking on this trail and he loved the hot springs. For more photos, they can be found here.


Relax and soak in some perfect temperature water

Mount Rainier National Park


Fall colors at Mt. Rainier

Mt. Rainier was no where to be found

Mount Rainier was the first stop on our 7 months road trip. We were excited to start this adventure and everything would go smoothly as planned. On our first day at Mt. Rainier, she (“Mt. Rainier”) did not want to come out to say hi. We drove from one viewpoint to another in search for the best portrait of her and yet the clouds quickly covered her at every viewpoints we stopped. The park ranger said, “she has a mind of her own”. Luckily, the beautiful fall colors were there and we were able to see the fall season of Mt. Rainier, something we have never seen before. The colors were amazing and we couldn’t be happier to see them.


She came out

to say hi!!

That evening, it rained like cats and dogs, and setting up camp was tough because it was the first time we actually used the cricket and putting up the awning was not simple. Even though it rained and we weren’t able to get a fire started, we felt pretty warm and dry inside our Cricket camper trailer. Again, thanks Mother Nature for testing us.

The next day, as we were heading out of the park, we saw Mt. Rainier right above us. She came out and we said, “hello there!”. So, we took off on another short chase for the best portrait of her and made a fun game out of it with Harvey. During our chase, Harvey wondered why we were chasing a mountain, we responded with “because it’s fun”.

We will be back in the fall again to visit her because it’s a colorful time of the year to visit Mt. Rainier. I would highly suggest anyone coming to visit Seattle to put Mt. Rainier on their itinerary. It is a 3 hrs drive that is worth every minute! To see more photos, please go here.