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 »

  • CUYAHOGA VALLEY: A Community Gem

    Within a day of arriving at Cuyahoga Valley National Park last week with four adventure days ahead of us, a few things were clear. The trees were alive with the colors of fall. We would not be lacking any LTE. And Cuyahoga Valley National Park really values its community. It didn’t take us long to… Read more »

  • VIDEO: Cuyahoga Valley National Park

    Coming from our first leg of red rocks and canyons of National Parks in the Southwest, I don’t think we could pull much more of a 180 than next visiting Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Don’t forget to use #switchbackstyle to share your fall adventures and you can win awesome prints from PurpleMooseBasics.com like the one… Read more »


    Both Elizabeth and I come from families of enthusiastic board gamers. At holidays, for a weekend in, in the car or on vacation, our favorite family times always seem to center around games. The first time I visited Elizabeth’s hometown when we were dating we went to a coffee shop (I might not have told… Read more »

  • RECAP: Leg 1 of Our Year-Long Adventure

    Well, we made it through the first of our trip’s six legs. It doesn’t actually seem that impressive when I think about only being a fraction finished with our trip. But it definitely feels impressive. Up until we left for our trip on August 18th, our minds were completely wrapped around this first chunk of… Read more »

  • BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON: The Hardest 5 Miles of my Life

    In 1901 there was an expedition to survey the unknown, unexplored 48-mile length of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. A 5-man crew set out in 2 wooden boats. On the first day one of the boats was smashed to pieces on the raging rapids that created by the Gunnison River dropping an incredible average… Read more »

  • VIDEO: Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

    Like a few other parks in the National Park Service system, I had never heard of Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park until diving into a little initial research. We bet a few of you have never heard of it either, so we hope you enjoy seeing a few of the sights from around… Read more »

  • Choose Your Own Adventure at Arches National Park

    We learned quickly that Arches National Park isn’t too wild. Sure, the retirees who file out of giant tour buses at each overlook may have been party animals in their day, but still… The vibe of Arches is quite touristy. Pull-outs and overlooks are everywhere, 3-mile trails are deemed “strenuous,” and the entrance gate lines… Read more »

  • VIDEO: Arches National Park

    Arches National Park is famous for having the largest concentration of natural rock arches of anywhere in the world with over 2,300. On the surface it is a pretty straightforward and comparatively small National Park. As Elizabeth will describe in her post on Friday, we were able to cover almost all of the advertised points of… Read more »


    Looking at the first leg of our trip, Canyonlands is one of the parks I would’ve said I had a pretty good handle on through my fair amount of research. Mainly I learned there are 3 distinct districts, the districts are divided by the converging Green and Colorado Rivers, it’s next door neighbors with Arches… Read more »

  • VIDEO: Canyonlands National Park

    A lot of our pre-trip dreaming and scheming, especially this Utah-rich first leg, revolved around the sights and experiences of Canyonlands National Park. We thought we knew a bit of what to expect, but our trip wasn’t exactly like we had planned. Read all about the unexpected Canyonlands in Monday’s post. For now, enjoy the views… Read more »