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 »


    Even though it’s not the deepest, widest, or longest canyon in the world, the canyon in northwest Arizona is the one Grand Canyon. And for good reason. Seeing the Grand Canyon in the way we did during the first leg of our trip is a bit indescribable. But, as you might have guessed, we’re going… Read more »

  • VIDEO: Grand Canyon National Park

    There are several giant cliches I could say about Grand Canyon National Park, and one of those is that pictures and videos hardly do it justice. But we have a video for you all anyway. There is so much to do at the Grand Canyon, and so many people doing it. Wanting to find a… Read more »

  • PETRIFIED FOREST: The Ultimate Road Trip Stop

    The Great American Road Trip is a longstanding summer tradition. Many would say the advent of the road trip began when Route 66 opened up the wonders of the west to the common traveler – beginning in 1926 and hitting its heyday during the ‘50s. One of the many stops that fascinated the travelers of… Read more »

  • VIDEO: Petrified Forest National Park

    Of the three National Parks we have visited thus far on our year-long trip to see all 59, Petrified Forest initially had the most prominent feeling of a “drive-by” attraction. However, after scratching quite a bit beneath the surface, it is clear that Petrified Forest is a park for all visitors — regardless of length of visit…. Read more »


    When Cole and I first thought out this trip we’re on a year and a half ago, we soon realized we wanted to seek out companies and brands who supported the National Parks and the great outdoors. We sent dozens of emails to these such companies, large and small, all over the country. Amidst the flurry… Read more »

  • MESA VERDE IN THREE ACTS: A Guide to the Distinct Areas of Mesa Verde National Park

    We are not National Parks experts. We may try to make it look like we are (when we spew off a bunch of stats about the NPS, and we pretend to be good at planning our trips), but we didn’t start this journey much further ahead than any average traveler. So we had no idea… Read more »

  • VIDEO: Mesa Verde National Park

    Mesa Verde was one of the coolest surprises of our trip so far. We didn’t go into this huge trip with much more knowledge about the National Parks than the next guy, or than any of you for that matter. So Mesa Verde wasn’t high on our radar as far as National Parks excitement. But little did… Read more »


    We found Great Sand Dunes National Park is obviously, but very appropriately named. The size of the tallest dunes in North America and the vastness of the 30 square mile dunefield definitely steal the show. However, during our visit, we learned of so many eccentricities of Great Sand Dunes that really fascinated us and made… Read more »

  • FOUR DAYS IN THE DUNES: Our itinerary for maximum adventure on a minimum budget

    Cole and I intended two main things for this year-long trip: (1) to have big adventure (2) without breaking the bank. If every trip goes as smoothly as our first stop at the Great Sand Dunes near Alamosa, Colorado, we will be just fine. We hiked, sand sledded, climbed dunes, souvenir shopped, had a nice… Read more »

  • VIDEO: The Great Sand Dunes {& Contest Winners!}

    Well, we officially made it to ONE of 59 National Parks. Six days of traveling to and exploring Great Sand Dunes. 37 miles walked. 1100 miles driven. Zero showers. Until now! Right now, we are cozy and clean in a hotel right outside of Mesa Verde, the next park on our list. Rejuvenation is on… Read more »