Podcast Episode #35: National Parks for History Buffs, ft. Mesa Verde & Hot Springs

When most people picture a national park, what comes to mind usually fits into the “natural beauty” category of what is protected within the National Park System: mountains, shores, canyons, and giant trees. But there is another half of the NPS’s mission that is often overlooked: The National Park Service preserves unimpaired the natural and cultural resources… Read more »

Podcast Episode #34: Our Top Ten National Parks that Aren’t “Parks”

In the United States, national monuments, preserves, scenic rivers, battlefields, and historic sites come together to create a wide overview of what we deem important in our country. We call these important places “national parks,” and we protect them with the National Park Service. When Cole and I started planning our big national parks trip,… Read more »

BONUS POST: Amazon Prime Day!

Affiliate links included in this post. It’s Amazon Prime Day! I know we don’t usually promote buying into the idea that you have to have stuff, like right now, but a good deal is a good deal, and I thought we’d pass some on to you today. One of the biggest ways we are able to acquire… Read more »

Podcast Episode #33: Interview with Mikah Meyer, epic National Parks traveler

Whooaaaaaa. I can’t believe it’s already Tuesday and time for another episode of Switchbacks! 4th of July last week super messed with my understanding of time. Hope you all had a great short holiday week and were able to spend some time celebrating our country! Even though it’s hard sometimes to be proud of where… Read more »

Podcast Episode #32: Gateway Cities of the National Parks, ft. Acadia and Olympic

Of all 32 podcasts we have recorded so far, this might be one of the biggest. Why? Well, today we’re talking about Acadia National Park and Olympic National Park. We are on the record as naming these two in our Top 5 of the national parks. We loved Acadia and Olympic for their natural beauty,… Read more »

Podcast Episode #31: Big City Getaways in the National Parks, ft. North Cascades and Channel Islands

Last weekend, we got away from the city. It was wonderful. Even though St. Louis isn’t the biggest metropolis in the country, we often find the desire to get totally away. We drove down just two hours into the Ozark mountains, to the Ozark National Scenic Riverway, one of the NPS sites in Missouri that… Read more »

Unique Travel Opportunities with Voluntourism

Travel is a win. Volunteering is a win. Travel+Volunteering is a win+win.   “Voluntourism” a simple equation, but one I feel like too few people take advantage of. So I’m aiming to share my experiences and maybe help you brainstorm the broader possibilities for your next trip.   Over the past 11 years, I’ve taken… Read more »

Podcast Episode #30: BONUS Episode: Our Three-Week Southeast Asia Adventure

If you aren’t following us on Instagram, you may or may not know that we just came home from a dream three-week trip in Southeast Asia. I say dream trip because we have been working on this one for awhile. Since as far back as I have been traveling, I have wanted to visit this area… Read more »

VIDEO: The Perfect Great Lakes National Parks Road Trip

We’ve mentioned before that our trip to all 59 National Parks only lengthened our list of must-see spots around the U.S. The only National Parks in the Great Lakes region are Voyageurs in MN, Isle Royale in MI and Cuyahoga Valley near Cleveland. So we missed a lot of great spots. We decided before our… Read more »

Podcast Episode #29: Luxury in the National Parks, ft. Virgin Islands and Kenai Fjords

Cole and I speaking to luxury in the national parks is almost laughable, but stick with us. In our year on the road visiting all 59 national parks, we averaged about 4.5 days per park, most of that time out of cell service range. We lived out of our car and small backpacking tent, cooking… Read more »

  • VIDEO: Virgin Islands National Park (plus underwater footage!)

    Our visit to Virgin Islands National Park was unique in a lot of ways. It was the first park we had to fly to. We left from Fort Lauderdale and Spirit airlines got the transportation honors. Despite (or maybe because of) its cut-rate reputation, I love Spirit and their philosophy of bare fares that allow… Read more »

  • 10 Endangered Species Success Stories of South Florida

    It recently occurred to me that “survival of the fittest” and “natural selection” doesn’t really work these days. It would be no contest. Humans would win. If we aren’t continually mindful of how our quickly growing civilization impacts Mother Nature, hundreds of species pay the price. Of course, human progress (especially during full throttle times… Read more »

  • GATORS, OSPREY & TREEE SNAILS OH MY!: Best places to see Everglades wildlife

    Retirees aren’t the only ones who flock to Florida. During the 2 weeks we spent exploring the southern Florida National Parks of Dry Tortugas, Biscayne and Everglades, we spotted way more wildlife than we’d seen in all the other parks combined. In Everglades alone we saw alligators, crocodiles, anoles (lizards), tree frogs, tree snails, turtles,… Read more »

  • VIDEO: Everglades National Park

    For a girl who’s afraid of unpredictable wild animals, exploring the depths of the Everglades National Park–with its thousands of alligators–was not too exciting a prospect. Especially when my husband thinks wading around and kayaking with them is a good idea.

  • BISCAYNE: Foiled by transportation, inspired by volunteering

    I had a tough time coming to terms with our visit to Biscayne National Park. Biscayne is classified as a marine park and 95% of its area is under water. All the best areas of interest are 7 miles off the coast on a slender chain of keys that are the start of the Florida Keys…. Read more »

  • VIDEO: Biscayne National Park

    If all our other videos have been too long and boring, stick around! This one’s pretty short 😉 Biscayne National Park was a bit of a challenge to us when we planned to visit. We put it off because we didn’t exactly know how to handle the logistics. You see, there are no official concession… Read more »

  • Thankful

    Hope everyone had a fantastic Turkey Day yesterday! We missed being with family yesterday, since we’re 1,300 miles away in South Florida, but we definitely have a heaping helping of stuff to be thankful for. So here’s our sappy Thanksgiving homage…   You know how many species of fish live in our most recent Biscayne… Read more »


    ‘Tis the season! We are taking it easy this week in southern Florida. In the last week, we’ve snorkeled at Dry Tortugas, hiked at Everglades, and kayaked at Biscayne, and now we’re getting ready to kick back to enjoy Thanksgiving from the comfort of a hotel and store-bought pumpkin pie. But don’t feel too sorry… Read more »

  • The Cost of Exclusivity at Dry Tortugas National Park

    We spent three days on the isolated, amazingly beautiful, historic Dry Tortugas National Park last week. Every aspect of our stay, from the beach camping to the water activities to (especially) our interaction with rangers was enjoyable. We snorkeled in clear blue waters, kayaked gentle harbor waves, and soaked up the interesting history of Fort… Read more »

  • VIDEO: Dry Tortugas, an isolated island paradise

    Dry Tortugas National Park is quite possibly the most unique park in the NPS system. For starters, it’s in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, 70 miles west of Key West (and 2.5 hours away by ferry). Then add the fact that it is 95% water with 6 small islands. These islands are nesting… Read more »