How to See It All in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park in 2 Days

Earlier this summer my brothers and I had our second annual siblings trip and this time we tackled 2 National Parks! We flew into Jackson, WY and spent three full days exploring Jackson, Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone. I came into the trip having read several blogs and had list upon list of things to see, trails to hike and felt kind of overwhelmed, but I was pleasantly surprised just how much we could tackle in our short trip.  I also downloaded the REI app, which was really helpful with the map feature and the apps for each national park.

Day 1:

Arrive in Jackson, WY. Drive from airport through part of Grand Teton National Park to our hotel and get acclimated. Find food! We decided to adventure to downtown Jackson and enjoyed Lift Jackson Hole. There was a great view of the ski slope. My brother enjoyed a huckleberry mojito and I had some fruity cocktail too. Delicious chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich too. Once we were nourished we made a plan for our next days adventures.

Day 2:

All day in Grand Teton National Park. We woke up early and it was cloudy, but we were determined to get our sights in. We drove to:

  • Moulton’s Barn
  • Schwabacher’s Landing
  • Snake River Outlook
  • Lunch at Smith Mountain Lodge
  • Hiking around Jenny Lake
  • Drove along back towards the hotel, stopping at various overlooks

Ate dinner at Mangy Moose. The decor is a spectacle, so many old school movie posters, but the real showstopper is the peanut butter pie. You can thank me later.

Grand Teton and wildflowers

Day 3:

Tour of the Lower Loop of Yellowstone with Brushbuck Tours. Highly recommend! We drove through Grand Teton National Park, stopping along the way to see wildlife, then headed to Yellowstone, where we saw all the highlights:

  • Old Faithful
  • Old Faithful Inn (really cool history)
  • Geothermal pools at Black Sand
  • Grand Canyon of Yellowstone/Lookout point
  • Wide-open plain

 

We stayed close to our hotel that night and at a pizza place called Malakas.

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Day 4:

The weather was cold and rainy, so we decided to explore downtown Jackson, checking out the local shops and eating lunch at a place called Local. We went to the Museum of Wildlife Art, which was a pleasant surprise. They had a great exhibit from National Geographic with portraits of endangered animals and a collection of WWII-era posters for the national parks that we all really enjoyed.

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We found a cute coffee shop and bakery called Persephone’s to get some hot chocolate. Another cute store I would have loved to shop longer was called MADE with cute decor, candles, posters, cards and jewelry.

Day 5:

I dropped off my brothers at the airport extremely early, so I decided to explore Grand Tetons some more on my own and really just enjoy a 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Went back to Mormon Row, then drove to and hiked the Taggart Lake Trail. It was beautiful and very cool to walk through some of the burned area, plus had a view of a babbling brook before arriving at the lake with a  great view. I stopped for breakfast at Dornan’s Chuckwagon with a great view and hot pancakes. Beware — seating is outside, but they do have a plastic tent to shield you from the elements.

San Diego in 3 Days

My family spent 3 full days in San Diego for Christmas and although the weather wasn’t perfect, we saw and did a lot.

Day one:

Explore Seaport Village
Dinner at Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion – including signature molten cake

Day two:

Breakfast at Donut Bar –  this is only half our order! Including mexican hot chocolate, blueberry, chocolate peanut butter cup, sea salt carmel….

San Diego Zoo!


Dinner at Extraordinary Desserts

Day three:

Hike Torrey Pines


La Jolla Kayak adventure

Dinner at Mimmos in Little Italy — I recommend the tiramisu 🙂

Day four:

USS Midway

Hotel del Coronado 

Dinner at Donovan’s Steakhouse  – I recommend the chocolate mousse.

Paris, My Sweet

I just finished reading the biography, Paris My Sweet by Amy Thomas and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s about a woman working in advertising who takes the opportunity to live in Paris and enjoy the city of light and dark chocolate. What’s not to love about that?

Reading another woman’s journey of finding herself while living abroad made me really think about my journey in life. I have never been a “home-body” and always envisioned myself living abroad, but I obviously have not made that leap yet. in her novel, Thomas says that you have to live a place for a year to feel at home and rooted in your community. I fully agree.

After two years in the Queen City, I definitely have found my niche and feel comfortable in my space. I know my way around Charlotte, and really do love all the different neighborhoods it has to offer. It’s what I call a small-town, big city. It’s big enough to always have things happening, but small enough that once you know your circle of friends, you realize everyone knows the same people. 

Anyway, as much as I love Charlotte, I have been having the itch to travel and for adventure once again. With my 25th birthday looming (okay not exactly…it’s in January, but still!), I feel the need to do something big and celebrate!

So some places on my list to go within the U.S. include:

Chicago

New Orleans

Boston

Nashville

Miami

anywhere out west…..

Salt Lake City

Las Vegas

 

 

Finding My Passion

Now that I am in a job that I really enjoy for an organization that amazes me, I feel very content with where I am.  However, I met with a new friend yesterday for coffee and we discussed books we like, travels and just life. She asked me some great questions about what do I see myself doing in the future – what do I want do? Where did I want to travel to next?  I didn’t have a clear answer. Growing up I wanted to work for an international nonprofit doing communications work – bingo. I am. Now what? I have the job that I’ve always wanted and I can see myself staying with this company for many years to come, so what are my goals? My dreams? What is my passion?  I created this life bucket list in college and some things include seeing the rainforest, hiking a volcano, running a half marathon, riding a hot air balloon. I have already checked off the last two items. I have been blessed to travel extensively throughout Europe during my time at Elon – but the world is so big. There is still so much to see. I am constantly mesmerized about what I see on “Planet Earth” and just wonder – how can you see all this creation and not believe in the Creator?

So after my coffee date, I googled “how to find your passion.” 40,800,000 hits later and I still don’t have a precise answer yet, but I think I found some great questions to ask yourself.

What are you good at?
What excites you?
What do you read about?
What have you secretly dreamed about?
What are your goals?
If you could one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
What do you love to do?

Questions I came up myself is:
What do I pin most on pinterest?
Who do I admire and why?

I love volunteering, writing, photography, reading, traveling. I love scrapbooking, listening to music, watching movies and working out. Ask any one of my friends, I am obsessed with elite gymnastics (aka Olympics!). I want to travel to South America and Asia, Australia and I have places I want to go in Europe.  I admire Mother Teresa, Leigh Ann Tuohy, Gabby Douglas, Michelle Obama…..I could keep going on for a while so I’ll stop.

Although I don’t have a specific answer of what I want to do, what my goals are, what I consider my “passion,” I know that God is working on my heart to reveal his purpose for me and I look forward to growing in His plan.