Bali Hidden Gems – 10 Secret Places in Bali Which Are Still Undiscovered

Bali is one of those places everyone dreams of visiting! However, the dream of secluded beaches, secret waterfalls in a lush forest, and quiet vacation time is not always met with reality. Rather, a Bali getaway might include sharing all of these amazing places with thousands of other tourists and travelers. Far away from a quiet and relaxing experience. Despite its popularity, there are still some Bali hidden gems and secret places where you can enjoy the beauty of the island in peace!

 

10 Bali hidden gems - Best secret places which are still undiscovered

 

This blog post reveals 10 Bali hidden gems which are still undiscovered, and which allow you to experience the true Bali without having to fight for the best views. And if you are spending more time in Indonesia, make sure to visit the not so secret but still fun chocolate factory and the Peluang Car Temple in Nusa Penida.

Disclaimer: This is a guest post and we had the privilege of working with other amazing bloggers to put this post together. Each contributor is mentioned at the end of their blurb so you can check out their blogs as well.

 

Map of 10 Bali Hidden Gems

 

These 10 Bali hidden gems are dispersed all over the island. Use the below map to plan your Bali itinerary and plan which of the secret places you would like to see on your next Bali vacation.

Since public transportation on the island is pretty sparse, your best way to travel between your favorite Bali hidden gems is renting a car or hiring a driver with a car. You can also explore the island with a scooter but make sure you buy additional insurance as scooter accidents are extremely common.

 

 

10 Bali Hidden Gems

 

If you are looking to explore the true beauty of the island and are excited to travel off the beaten path, you cannot miss these 10 Bali hidden gems. From waterfalls and secluded beaches, to rice fields and volcano views, we are sharing the best hidden gems and secret places in Bali to make your experience unforgettable.

 

Dusun Kuning Waterfall

 

With a number of awe-inspiring waterfalls dotted all around Bali, you’ll often find a few of them featured on the bucket lists of adventurers everywhere, and more often than not, a large number of other people exploring them on any given day. Dusun Kuning, however, remains relatively off the beaten track, steeped in stunning natural beauty and no less awe-inspiring than any of the more popular options!

Located roughly 12 miles (20 km) and 45 minutes outside of Ubud, it can be reached on scooter, or combined with a couple of the other waterfalls in the area such as Dedari, Tibumana or Tegenungan as part of a half or full-day tour.

Dusun Kuning Waterfall is one of the best waterfalls near Ubud and a hidden gem in Bali. The water supposedly flows all year round and falls 82 feet (25 meters) into a pool below that makes for great paddling and swimming to cool off from the tropical temperatures.

 

Dusun Kuning Waterfall Bali - 10 Bali Hidden Gems

 

The hike down to the waterfall through the lush, green jungle only takes about 15 minutes, but it does involve a lot of steep, slippery steps, so a level of care and appropriate footwear is required. Furthermore, you’ll need 20,000 IDR ($1.30 USD) for the entrance fee, some food and water as there are few facilities, and of course your camera!

Contributed by: bythecompass.com

 

Sumberkima Village

 

Tucked away in West Bali is one of the best places to stay in Bali: Sumberkima Village. West Bali is dominated by the West Bali National Park and as such is mostly uninhabited jungle. The area is so secluded that most tourists have never heard of it and not even locals venture this far west which is why it is one of the true Bali hidden gems and the perfect secret place to get away from mass tourism.

 

View from Sumberkima Hill Retreat Bali - 10 Bali Hidden Gems

 

Sumberkima is the remote, lush green, and serene paradise everyone thinks of when thinking of Bali. If you are looking to spend your time in Bali shopping and dining at Instagrammable restaurants and cafes, Sumberkima is not the place for you as you will find empty beaches, a lot of lush nature, and far fewer other travelers. After a few days of relaxation and exploring nature here, you won’t want to leave.

 

Sunset at Sumberkima Hill Retreat Bali

 

The best way to get to Sumberkima from Denpasar is by car. It is a 4-hour drive and you can either drive along the west coast or via Munduk. If you are not sure where to stay while in West Bali, the Sumberkima Hill Retreat will provide you with the most incredible views and the ultimate relaxation experience. Very much like the rest of the area, the retreat is all about providing a getaway from mass tourism. You will have your own villa with a private pool and can enjoy your own amenities without having to share them with others.

Contributed by: thenexttrip.xyz

 

Pemuteran Beach

 

Not far from Sumberkima is Pemuteran, a coastal village in North Bali. It is home to Pemuteran beach which is known for its calm water surface and a phenomenal underwater temple.

Pemuteran beach is an excellent choice for anyone who is looking to spend a relaxing day on the beach and is ideal for swimming and snorkeling. Pemuteran beach is also known for having the largest artificial Biorock reef in the world, a perfect getaway for anyone who likes a great holiday story and to explore life under water.

The easiest way to get to Pemuteran beach is by car. The drive from Denpasar is about 4 hours and leads through the gorgeous lush hills of Munduk.

Contributed by: theholidaystory.com

 

Leke Leke Waterfall

 

Bali is known for its incredible waterfalls and no trip to the island would be complete without visiting at least a few. Leke Leke waterfall is one of the most impressive waterfalls and due to its location, you will likely have the entire waterfall to yourself.

 

Leke Leke Waterfall in Bali - 10 Bali Hidden Gems

 

While you can choose to visit Leke Leke waterfall early in the day, this is probably the only place in Bali that doesn’t get crowded even in the peak of the afternoon, making it another of my favorite Bali hidden gems to add to your itinerary! The trail to the waterfall is open from 7am to 5pm daily and the best lighting to take photos at Leke Leke Waterfall is between 12pm - 1pm.

The walk down to the waterfall is an easy 10-15 minutes with a couple of bamboo bridges to cross. The path is very well marked, making Leke Leke one of the easiest waterfalls to reach around Bali. At the entrance, you will be given a walking “stick” to help you hike down to the waterfall through the muddy areas. The walking stick will really prove useful, especially after one of Bali's famous thunderstorms. Although it’s only a short hike, Leke Leke is located in the thick and humid jungle, so make sure to bring lots of water!

In addition to being an incredible sight, Leke Leke waterfall is also perfect for swimming and allows you to cool off after your hike in to the waterfall. Make sure you bring a bathing suit so you can enjoy a swim.

Leke Leke waterfall is approximately an hour away from Ubud/ Canggu. As is the case for most attractions around Bali — there are two main options to get here — either with a scooter or by private car. The entrance to this waterfall is easy to locate and has a fee of 50,000 IDR ($3.50 USD) per person that includes the parking fee. Although this is one of the more “expensive” waterfalls to visit in Bali, the site is incredibly well maintained and innumerable “selfie nests” are placed around for great photo opportunities at no extra cost.

Contributed by: Globetrottingsu

 

Sidemen

 

Sidemen is everything you dreamed rural Bali would be like. Expect a quiet town set in nature, surrounded by lush green rice fields with the massive Mt. Agung in the background. On top of that, Sidemen is home to some of the friendliest locals you can find on Bali. If you’re looking for the authentic side of Bali, Sidemen is the place to be.

 

Sidemen Ricefields in Bali - 10 Bali Hidden Gems

 

One of the best things to do in Sidemen is to walk along the edge of the rice fields. It’s recommended to take a guided tour around the area where you can learn about and taste the herbs, plants and fruits local to the island.

Sidemen is the kind of place where you are welcomed by the locals. It’s not unusual to get invited to a family dinner. The hospitality in Sidemen is incredible, and the scenery in the area is stunning. Make sure to put Sidemen on your next travel itinerary if you want to discover the real authentic Bali.

The best way to get to Sidemen is by car/taxi. A taxi from Denpasar Airport takes about 1-2 hours and costs between 500,000 – 800,000 IDR ($35 – 55 USD). You can ask your hotel to arrange transfer for you as they might have discounted transportation available.

Contributed by: wowiwalkers.com

 

Kanto Lampo Waterfall

 

While Bali has plenty of incredible waterfalls, most waterfalls are absolutely overrun by tourists, and the odds that you will get a great photo or be able to enjoy the waterfalls in peace and quiet are slim. Visiting these overcrowded waterfalls easily goes on the list of what not to do in Bali.

The Kanto Lampo Waterfall is an exceptional example of a waterfall that has remained natural and secluded from tourists. The Kanto Lampo Waterfall is massive in both width and height, yet very unique as the falls seem to cascade down the face of a cliff in two places, bouncing off rocks all the way down.

 

Kanto Lampo Waterfall Bali - 10 Bali Hidden Gems

 

You get to the waterfall by walking down a set of stairs which look like they lead to nowhere. Once the stairs begin to turn, they suddenly end at a small waterfall. You will need to climb down some rocks to reach a small river. Then you will have to swim down the shallow river to reach Kanto Lampo Waterfall, one of the top Bali hidden gems.

The surrounding area is equally as beautiful as the falls themselves. There is lush greenery all around the banks of the river, and there isn’t a single view of roads, cars, or buildings. Due to the significant elevation change from the roads to the river, you won’t be able to hear any road or city noise but can enjoy the sounds of nature to the fullest.

While you won’t come across many tourists here, there might be some locals who offer to take photos for you while you are enjoying the waterfall.

Contributed by: thebratpackergals.com

 

Aling Aling Waterfall

 

Another hidden gem in Bali is the group of Aling Aling waterfalls located in North Bali. The falls are actually a series of cascading waterfalls and the perfect getaway place for the adventurous traveler. The waterfalls are not only stunning to look at, but feature a 52 foot (16 meter) cliff one can jump off, as well as a natural rock slide to slide down.

 

Aling Aling Waterfall Bali - 10 Bali Hidden Gems

 

While there are tour providers organizing tours to Aling Aling and nearby waterfalls, it is still relatively secluded, and you will be able to thoroughly enjoy its beauty. Getting to the waterfall requires some hiking, climbing over rocks, and jumping in water. Make sure you bring water shoes and a towel to dry off afterwards.

The entrance fee to Aling Aling is 10,000 IDR ($0.70 USD) to view the falls only. If you are looking to jump off the cliff and swim through the falls, you are required to hire a private guide which costs between 125,000 IDR ($8.60 USD) for the short trek to 375,000 IDR ($25.70) for the long trek. You need to be at least a party of 2 to book a guided trekking tour.

Getting to Aling Aling waterfalls is relatively easy by car and a 10-minute drive from Susaji Village, or a 2-3 hour drive from Denpasar.

Contributed by: dreambigtravelfarblog.com

 

Nungnung Waterfall

 

As one of the tallest waterfalls in Bali, Nungnung waterfall is an impressive natural wonder, and another hidden gem in Bali. Nestled in the dense jungle of Bali, the Nungnung Waterfall is located 75 minutes away by car or motorbike from Ubud. There are rarely any tours to this waterfall which is why it is a great addition to add to your Bali hidden gems itinerary!

 

Nungnung Waterfall Bali - 10 Bali Hidden Gems

 

Getting to the entrance of the waterfall can be quite a struggle as there is a ~500-step descent to reach the bottom of the falls. The steps can be quite high at times and the path is often slippery due to the rain, making it dangerous, especially for older or less fit travelers and children.

Once you reach the bottom of the waterfall, you will truly understand the meaning of nature’s wrath. The gushing waterfall crashes relentlessly at the bottom, and visitors are engulfed with waves of mist. Combined with the lush surroundings, Nungnung Waterfall is a picture-perfect place and a must on any Indonesia trip!

Contributed by: livingoutlau.com

 

Pura Gunung Kawi

 

There are numerous temple sites situated all over this lush tropical vacation island. These religious monuments are not only great tourist attractions, but also offer a glimpse into Balinese culture like none of the other sites on the island do. The most famous temples are often the busiest too.

Pura Gunung Kawi temple, however, is away from the usual tourist trail and well worth the time and effort required to visit. Believed to have been built as far back as the 11th century, it serves the purpose as a memorial to members of the Balinese Royalty of the time, as a house of worship, as well as a social place for the locals to gather and meet.

 

 

Pura Gunung Kawi Temple in Bali - 10 Bali Hidden Gems

 

It is located in Tampaksiring and can be reached by motorbike, minibus, or taxi from Ubud or from anywhere on the island. The entrance fee for Pura Gunung Kawi is around 15,000 IDR per person ($1.01 USD).

Once at the entrance, it is quite the walk to reach the main temple site located in the valley below and despite being physically demanding, it should not deter you in any way. This unique archaeological site, carved into rocks and set within a lush forest, is one of the most ancient sites on the island almost guaranteed to make your temple hopping experience a memorable one, and another true Bali hidden gem.

Contributed by: araioflight.com

 

Lake Tamblingan

 

Lake Tamblingan is a caldera lake situated high in the mountains of North Bali, untouched by tourism and maintained by locals. It's a very pristine, serene place that is rich in beauty and has a very positive atmosphere. It is the perfect place to visit if you are thinking of exploring the Munduk Bali area as it is relatively close by. It is highly encouraged to visit this Bali hidden gem early in the morning away from Bali crowds to see its real beauty that reflects true Bali.

 

Sunrise at lake Tamblingan Bali - 10 Bali Hidden Gems

 

Depending on the time of the year, you will find the lake water at different levels which can lead to the temples being partially under water, offering some incredibly beautiful views. Depending on the rainfall received, the area can be swampy.

 

Temple at Lake Tamblingan Bali - 10 Bali Hidden Gems

 

 

The best way to enjoy lake Tamblingan is to take a canoe ride along the lake, preferably early morning. Since this place is maintained by locals, it is highly encouraged to put forward some donations.

Depending on whether you are already staying in North Bali or coming from another region, it is easy to get to Lake Tamblingan. You can choose to rent a motorbike if you wish to explore on your own, hire a driver or book a tour. The entrance to Lake Tamblingan leads through a forest and you will easily know when you arrive at the lake as the temple is large and not surrounded by any trees.

Contributed by: suvarnaarora.com

 

Bali Destinations which are not Hidden but Worth a Visit

 

There are many more incredible places to visit than these 10 Bali hidden gems while you're on the island! While they are not necessarily hidden gems, they are still relatively unknown and definitely worth a visit.

 

The Chocolate Factory in Karangasem: Charly’s Chocolate

 

If you are looking for more limitless secrets in Bali and love chocolate and swings, then you will love the Chocolate factory! While it is not one of the typical Bali hidden gems, it is far from touristy and certainly worth a visit. Charly’s Chocolate is located at the south of the right tip of the island of Bali, in the area of Karangasem.

As its name suggests, you can find chocolate at the chocolate factory! This place is composed of a few wooden huts with a funny shape that look like they are coming straight out of a fairy tale! It’s quite mystical!  They sell some chocolate products to go (chocolate spread, chocolate nibs) but you can also eat and drink here as they serve hot and cold chocolate, fresh coconuts, pancakes, and French fries.

 

Charly's Chocolate in Karangasem

 

The Chocolate Factory is located right close by the beach. It’s not the kind of beach where you can lie down, but the view is very nice! You will find another wooden hut built in a shape of a boat facing the sea which might be particularly appealing to kids.

 

Beach Swing at Chocolate Factory in Karangasem Bali

 

There are a few palm trees aligned in front of the beach and three swings are hanging from them, providing for the perfect photo opportunity with the beach in the background. As this place is not touristy, you won’t have to wait for the crowds to disperse to have this place all to yourself.

Contributed by: limitless-secrets.com

 

Paluang Car Temple, Nusa Penida

 

If you are planning to venture outside of Bali and visit Nusa Penida, the Paluang Car Temple is a must see. The name is exactly what is suggests: a temple where the main shrine features fancy and colorful sculptures of cars. Also known as Pura Paluang, the temple is located near Bunga Mekar in the Klungkung regency of Nusa Penida.

The temple is situated in the western area of Nusa Penida in Karang Dawa village, only 2,300 feet (700 meters) away from the popular Kelingking Beach. To get to this secret temple, you can take a ferry from Sanur or the picturesque Nusa Lembongan to Nusa Penida port. From there, it takes 40-minutes by car to reach the temple.

 

Paluang Car Temple Nusa Penida

 

Pura Paluang is a sacred Hindu temple where the main shrine is constructed in the form of a house between two cars - a Jeep and a Volkswagen Beetle. As the holy shrine involves sculpturing a mode of transport (in this case cars). The temple is also known as 'Pura Mobil' or the 'Car Temple'. It is the unique selling point of the temple that makes it worth-visiting.

You also get to enjoy stunning views of the Indian Ocean and green limestone cliffs from the temple. What makes the place especially interesting is that many locals say that the temple existed before there were any cars in Indonesia. Wearing a sarong is a must when entering the temple, as a mark of respect for Bali's Hindu tradition and culture.

Contributed by: thewanderingvegetable.com

 

What Are Your Favorite Hidden Gems in Bali?

 

Bali is a dream destination for many and there are so many great places to explore on the island. I hope this list of Bali hidden gems will help you plan your next trip!

I would love to hear about your experience! Have you ever been to Bali? Let me know what you think of this list in the comments and if I am missing your favorite hidden gems in Bali. I would love to go back and explore more secret places in Bali nobody has heard of.

 

Make sure you pin this post to your Bali hidden gems Pinterest board for when you plan your next trip to Indonesia!

The 10 best hidden gems in Bali and undiscovered places away from tourism! Here are 10 Bali hidden gems revealed which are still undiscovered. Discover the best secret places in Bali from remote waterfalls, secret temples, and lakes. | Bali travel guide | Bali hidden gems | Bali hidden places | Bali secret places | Bali hidden beach | Bali hidden waterfall | Bali travel tips | Bali guide
The 10 best hidden gems in Bali and undiscovered places away from tourism! Here are 10 Bali hidden gems revealed which are still undiscovered. Discover the best secret places in Bali from remote waterfalls, secret temples, and lakes. | Bali travel guide | Bali hidden gems | Bali hidden places | Bali secret places | Bali hidden beach | Bali hidden waterfall | Bali travel tips | Bali guide

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Month 3 on the Road – Best Hidden Places in Utah for your Bucket List

I think we are finally starting to get the hang of vanlife and living on the road. We have slowly fine-tuned our daily and weekly routines, and while we could always exercise more, eat healthier, and be more productive on the blog, those were all things that we struggled with before – some things never change!

Welcome to our third monthly update on our overlanding adventure! This month is filled with hidden places in Utah, Utah bucket list places we were finally able to check off, exploring Nevada, and an abrupt ending!

 

Sunset at Utah Badlands - Hidden Places in Utah

 

May brought excitement and anticipation related to COVID-19 as almost all Utah state parks opened up, restaurants re-opened, and many National Parks began opening as well. We would finally be able to visit all the hidden places in Utah we have been wanting to see since crossing into Utah in March!

 

Bettina Twirling at Cathedral Valley Capitol Reef State Park

 

On the other hand, Bettina was fast approaching the 90-day expiration of her tourist visa to stay in the United States, which brought back a lot of the stress and anxiety that we were trying to avoid!

 

Clucking Along the Chicken Corners Trail – Moab, Utah

 

Moab is one of the most famous Utah towns for adventure, though in our case restaurants weren’t quite open, the nearby Arches and Canyonlands National Parks were very much closed, and you couldn’t even camp anywhere in the county. Moab has been on our “must visit” list for so long that we decided to find a way around the COVID-19 restrictions.

We decided to camp on BLM land just outside the county, spend the day exploring, and make sure to leave the county again every night.

 

Camping during Supermoon at Chicken Corners Utah

 

Not wanting to miss out on all the hidden places in Utah and what Moab area has to offer, I decided that we should tackle one of the most famous off-road trails in the area, The Chicken Corners Trail. This trail is about 20 miles (32 km) one-way and has some spectacular views of the Colorado River. Across the river is Deadhorse State Park and Thelma & Louise Point, made famous from the ending scene of Thelma & Louise.

 

View from Chicken Corners Utah

 

The 20-mile road took us about 4 hours as we tackled the various rock obstacles and sections of deep sand along the way. I should probably add at this point that Bettina is not a huge fan of off-roading but I thoroughly enjoyed the excitement and thrill to explore uncharted territory and discover more hidden places in Utah. We were rewarded with an incredible view at the end and nobody else around us for miles – a perfect place to spend the night.

 

Super Moon at Chicken Corners Moab, Utah

 

The next morning, we woke up early to take in the sunrise, and then tackle the same 20 miles back to civilization. It was just as bumpy as the day before but luckily we were able to shave off a half hour this time through!

 

Driving Chicken Corners Off-Road Trail, Moab Utah

 

We weren’t done with Moab just yet though! While on the Chicken Corners Trail we could see the brilliant blue lakes on the other side of the Colorado River. Bettina was immediately intrigued, as these days any hidden place in Utah with blue is a photo shoot opportunity. We learned that they were the evaporation ponds of a nearby potash mine. We were able to get decently close to the ponds, and the blue colors were even more vivid up close!

 

Blue Pools Potash Mine Moab Utah

 

One of the places we wanted to explore around Moab was Arches National Park. Unfortunately, the national park was still closed and we had to search for hidden places in Utah with arches that we could visit.

 

Wilson Arch Moab, Utah

 

As luck would have it, Corona Arch, came to our rescue (ironic name in this case). Getting to Corona Arch was a relatively easy hike and well worth the incredible view of the arch.

 

Hike Across Railway Tracks to Corona Arch in Utah

 

View of Corona Arch in Utah at Sunset

 

Walking Amongst Goblins

 

We thought we had seen it all when it comes to unique rock formations in Utah, but we had yet to visit Goblin Valley State Park. This beautiful state park has a field of goblins, all waiting to be explored. We spent the day hiking amongst the goblins and even venturing deep into the goblin’s lair.

 

Goblin Valley State Park Utah

 

If it looks familiar, Goblin Valley State Park was featured heavily in the movie Galaxy Quest. The intriguing looking rocks, or goblins, are formed from sandstone that has existed for 165 million years. The rock has unevenly fractured and eroded over time to form what we can see today.

 

Sitting on Goblins at Goblin Valley State Park, Utah

 

Goblin Valley State Park, Utah

 

On of the Best Hidden Places in Utah - The Utah Badlands

 

After spending over a month in Utah, we have become very used to orange-colored rock. It has become our new normal, and the resulting orange dust has found its way into every crack and crevice in Swifty. This is why we were so excited to see some exotic grey rocks in the Utah Badlands. The Utah Badlands are definitely one of those hidden places in Utah that nobody would think of visiting but they are well worth seeing.

 

View over Utah Badlands

 

In fact, the Utah Badlands would not look out of place on another planet, and apparently NASA agrees because there is a Mars Desert Research Station nearby. However, for us – the sight was quite unique!

 

Kyle at Utah Badlands

 

The skyline of the Utah Badlands is dominated by Factory Butte, a massive flat-topped sandstone peak, surrounded by desert nothingness.

 

Factory Butte at Utah Badlands

 

We explored the Utah Badlands, coming across all sorts of rock formations and colors before finding another epic place to set up camp for the night at the edge of a very steep drop-off.

And if you are feeling adventurous, there is a lone spire of rock begging to be climbed for the perfect photo. It was actually quite safe to get there, and appeared incredibly strong and sturdy, though that did not stop Bettina from, understandably, freaking out a bit.

 

View of Utah Badlands

 

The Utah Badlands were an incredible place to see, and even better place to camp! It is a completely hidden place in Utah as we hardly saw anyone around. There is almost no light pollution which makes for a great opportunity for star gazing.

 

Finally, Open! Capitol Reef National Park

 

It seems like we have been dreaming of this day ever since we arrived in Utah. The day that we would finally be able to visit one of Utah’s Mighty Five National Parks: Capitol Reef National Park.

Only the remote backcountry of Capitol Reef National Park was open at this time, but that was okay with us. We set off on the remote backcountry byway, battling some of the dustiest and driest sand we had seen yet. If you have ever baked with large quantities of flour, then you can imagine how dusty this area was.

 

Back country drive through Capitol Reef National Park

 

We made it to the famous Temple of the Sun and Temple of the Moon in good time, but a storm was rolling in and our time there consisted of intense blowing sand and a bit of rain. We barely remembered to snap a picture before continuing on our way.

 

Temple of the Sun Capitol Reef National Park

 

We saw a few other really unique sights, such as a massive sinkhole and a striking line of vertical stone that ran across the desert floor, up the mountain, and continued as far as we could see. We reached the nearby campground and had one of our roughest nights of the trip as Swifty was pummeled by rain and intense wind gusts throughout the night.

 

View of Cathedral Valley at Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

 

We needed a lot of coffee to get going the next morning, but rewarded with stunning views of Cathedral Valley, the highlight of the backcountry area of Capitol Reef National Park and another of our favorite hidden places in Utah.

 

Best Views at Bryce Canyon National Park

 

With parks now opening, we weren’t going to waste any time to see the next park on our list: Bryce Canyon. Again, after a month of staring at the various rock formations in Utah, you would think that we become a bit jaded and unimpressed by rocks. It’s true, we now have a higher standard of what we deem “impressive” but apparently, we weren’t yet “rocked out” as Bryce Canyon blew us away!

 

Sunset Point at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

 

The area is so unique and surprisingly large. As a point of comparison, Goblin Valley State Park also had a fairly large area of densely placed unique rock formations, but Bryce Canyon was easily ten times larger.

 

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

 

Even more incredible than the size and shape of the rock formations, is the intense orange color. Bryce Canyon has a large number of relatively easily accessible viewpoints along the main road. We started at Sunset Point for the most impressive view.

 

Inspiration Point at Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

 

We would have loved to complete the Navajo Loop hiking trail, however it was closed due to constructions, so we will have to wait to go back at some point! Another great nearby viewpoint is Inspiration Point with similar views but a slightly different perspective which will blow you away as well.

 

Bryce Canyon National Park

 

We followed the road to the very end at Rainbow Point, but were still most impressed by the Sunset Point view. Unfortunately, we couldn’t actually stay here until sunset, but had to hit the road, returning back to Cedar City.

 

 

Toquerville Falls - A Must Add to Your Utah Bucket List

 

While Bettina and I generally get along quite well, especially when we are traveling, there is an added level of difficulty when you have had no outside social interaction for the past three months.

When we were camping at Alstrom Point, which you can read about on our first monthly update, we met another couple camping who happened to be from Utah! Bettina kept in contact with them as we traveled around Utah, and as we were in the area where they lived, we decided to meet up for some appropriate social-distancing socializing. We were sure glad that we did!

We had never heard of Toquerville Falls but our Utah friends suggested we go there for a day trip. It is one of those stunning hidden places in Utah which is not known to tourists like us but very popular with the locals.

 

Twirling at Toquerville Falls, Utah

 

We all decided to make the trek out to the falls for some swimming, eating, and drinking. The road to the falls is very rough, and should only be attempted in high clearance four-wheel drive vehicle. The drive was totally worth it for us though as we were rewarded with these beautiful waterfalls.

What makes Toquerville Falls unique is that you can drive across the river just above the upper falls…

 

Driving Through Toquerville Falls, Utah

 

…and jump into the river below from the lower falls.

 

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The water was refreshing and clean, which made Toquerville Falls one of our favorite afternoons of our trip!

 

Midwest Detour

 

The start of our overlanding adventure was initially delayed a couple months due to my health, and while when we began our trip, I was in a pretty good spot, we were really looking forward to getting additional treatment at a specialty clinic in St. Louis. This treatment was originally scheduled for the end of March, but COVID-19 caused it to be rescheduled to the end of May.

Additionally, we initially planned and booked flights to fly from Salt Lake City to St. Louis, but with the elevated risk of flying (and the exorbitant cost) we decided to make the 24-hour, 1,500 mile (2,400 km) drive to St. Louis.

 

While our Toyota Tacoma with Swifty is pretty easy to drive, it is not by any stretch of the imagination, very speedy. We figured that we could drive at least 25% faster in a rental car compared to Swifty, and would save a lot in gas along the way. So we packed up Swifty and left her safely parked in St. George, Utah while we embarked on a few days of non-stop driving.

 

The drive was long, but uneventful, and our time in St. Louis was relaxing as we celebrated Bettina’s birthday and I completed a few days of treatment.

 

To spice things up on the return 24-hour journey we decided to take a more southerly route through southwest Missouri, across Oklahoma, a small portion of Texas, a very large portion of New Mexico, and all of Arizona. This contrasted nicely with our route on the way there through central Utah, all of Colorado, all of Kansas, and 99% of Missouri.

 

In the end we drove just shy of 3,300 miles (5,300 km) in the span of a week, which was, a lot.

 

Oppressive Heat in the Valley of Fire

 

We were very glad to get back to Swifty and our “home” after a week away. After hanging around St. George for a day or two we set out further south, leaving our favorite hidden places in Utah and ready to explore Nevada.

 

Greetings from Valley of Fire State Park Sign

 

Our goal was to visit Valley of Fire State Park in southern Nevada, but as usual I wanted to take a more indirect and adventurous route to get there. We drove the Bitter Springs Trail to position ourselves near Valley of Fire for a sunrise photoshoot the next morning. The road was rough, but we got a nice taste of the scenery in Nevada, and found a great place to camp in a wash close to the trail.

 

Driving Through Valley of Fire Nevada

 

The area was so beautiful and quiet, and we even saw some wild horses nearby.

 

We surprised ourselves and were able to get up early – hitting the road before sunrise on a mission to explore Valley of Fire State Park. Luckily, Valley of Fire State Park is not an overly large park, which makes seeing it all in one day very attainable.

 

Bettina Sitting on Street at Valley of Fire Nevada

 

Bettina’s heart was set on getting the iconic Valley of Fire shot from the main road, and as we were there so early, we had more than enough time with the road all to ourselves to take as many photos as we liked. The temperature at this point was quite comfortable, and so we also decided to go on a short hike to rainbow vista.

 

Bettina Sitting on Rainbow Rock at Valley of Fire Nevada

 

Temperatures that day were projected to climb over 100F / 40C, so we were on a time-sensitive mission to check off all our bucket list place before it would get to hot. The hike to rainbow vista was not very long, because we had a few more that we wanted to do before it go too hot. However, it was not even 8:00 AM yet and it was already 90F / 32C.

The north end of the park has two great short hikes, one is called the White Domes Loop, and the other is The Fire Wave. Both hikes are relatively short and the views are incredible, making it very much worth your effort.

 

Wave of Fire at Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

 

Fire Wave at Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

 

If it wasn’t for the heat we would have spent a lot longer out exploring. As lunchtime approached, the temperature was fast approaching the high for the day, 108F / 42C. That was a bit too warm for us, so we headed for some shade to make lunch before stopping by elephant rock on the way out.

 

Melting Away in Las Vegas

 

As we drove into Las Vegas, we were filled with mixed emotions. This was our first properly big city in a long time, but also where we were supposed to fly to Europe from over a month earlier. Not only that, we now knew that our original plan to continue our vanlife journey to Mexico was in imminent danger as the US-Mexico border closures had both been extended by an additional month.

 

Welcome to Las Vegas Sign

 

Our first day in Las Vegas was spent trying to avoid the heat. Normally, we could park close to a Starbucks or McDonald’s and work in Swifty while on wi-fi, but it was far too hot to do so, and indoor seating was still closed. As a result we walked into some stores to cool down, then back to Swifty to work, and then back inside to cool down. Not the best solution, but it worked temporarily.

 

For the evening we drove south to camp near one of Bettina’s most anticipated locations: The Seven Magic Mountains.

 

Bettina at Seven Magic Mountains in Las Vegas, Nevada

 

After a restless sleep in the heat, we dragged ourselves out of bed and were still able to make it to Seven Magic Mountains as the sun was rising. If you haven’t been there yourself, surely you are familiar with the brightly colored towers of stacked rocks in the middle of the desert.

An unusual sight, but very interesting and also very popular. We were not the only ones there and around 6am, there were already well over 20 people walking amongst the rock towers. If you want the perfect picture, make sure to arrive very early!

 

The Long Drive Home

 

At this point we had tried to extend Bettina’s ESTA visa in the United States, but learned that it was not possible. We had also called the Canadian Border and Canadian Embassy in the United States to see if I could bring her into Canada, but that was also not possible. With plan A, B, and C out the window, she would have to fly back to Switzerland, and I would drive back to Canada.

 

Bettina Leaning Out of a Car

 

We left Las Vegas late on a Friday night, aiming to reach Seattle on Sunday night before her early flight on Monday morning. It was another few long days of driving as we had 1,200 miles (1,900 km) to cover over the next two days. The journey was mostly uneventful, but we did get rather rudely woken up while camping at a highway rest stop in Idaho by a hailstorm.

 

Flower field in Washington State

 

Arriving in Seattle, we had quite literally come full circle from where we began our journey just three months before. When we started in early March, the thought of our adventure ending like this so soon was not even a possibility in our minds.

The Stats – Month Three

 

Miles driven: 2,574

Nights in Swifty: 19

US States crossed: Utah, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, Washington

Number of Wild Horses Spotted: 3

In-N-Out Burgers Consumed: 10 (there’s two of us but Kyle had more than half!)

Number of Sunrise Photoshoots: 5

Number of Nights Hailed On: 1

Days over 35C / 95F: 8

Favorite Meal: Burgers at In-N-Out in St. George, Utah

Favorite Campsite: Utah Badlands

 

In Summary

 

Just as we were really starting to get a hang of the whole #vanlife thing, we’ve been forced to cut our trip short. It is disappointing, and made harder by not only having to stop, but be separated halfway across the world. At this point it is hard to know what the future will hold. I am not able to enter Europe to visit Bettina in Swizterland, and Bettina is not able to enter Canada.

With COVID-19 impacting so many countries around the world, especially Latin America at the moment, the future does look uncertain. However, we are remaining optimistic that borders will re-open at some point this year and we can continue an amended version of our trip. We are fully aware that our situation is still far better than many people who have had their lives impacted by COVID-19.

 

Bettina Walking on Street in Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

 

As a result of having to put our #vanlife adventure on hold, this will also put a temporary hold on these monthly updates. At the moment, the hardest part is the uncertainty of when borders will re-open and it will be safe again to travel. Our travel adventures are not completely on hold as Bettina will be sharing much of her Switzerland stay on her Instagram. Make sure to stop by every once in a while to see the magic of Swiss summers.

 

Save this pin in our road trip Pinterest board for when your next road trip across the US!

Best Hidden Places in Utah to Explore on a Road Trip

 

Utah Badlands - Best Hidden Places in Utah to Explore on a Road Trip

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The Ultimate Oregon Roadtrip Itinerary For The 5 Best Waterfalls in Oregon

From its stunning coastline to its mountainous regions, the Pacific Northwest of the USA is home to many incredible natural wonders and some incredible waterfalls. Oregon has undoubtedly some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the country. The best thing is, they are relatively easy to explore on an Oregon roadtrip and only a short easy to moderate hike away from your car.

 

Oregon Roadtrip to See Best 5 Waterfalls in Oregon

 

This Ultimate Oregon Roadtrip itinerary takes you to the 5 best waterfalls in Oregon, including the three highest waterfalls in the state! Plus, if you have some extra time we’ve included a few bonus nearby waterfalls and hot springs to take in while you are in the area.

 

Your Ultimate Oregon Roadtrip Itinerary to See the Best 5 Waterfalls in Oregon

 

The best way to start your Oregon roadtrip is from Portland, the main city of Oregon. Portland is known for its independent breweries, great food, and its hip vibes and definitely worth a visit. Spend a few days there to explore its culinary specialties before starting your Oregon roadtrip to explore Oregon’s 5 best waterfalls.

 

Multnomah Falls in Oregon

 

Oregon Roadtrip Map

 

The below Oregon roadtrip map shows you the location of each waterfall and the driving distances included in this itinerary. The map closely follows our recommended itinerary but feel free to switch things up if you would like to explore other places along the way.

 

 

Day One of Oregon Roadtrip - Multnomah Falls and Abiqua Falls

 

The first day of this Oregon Waterfall Roadtrip Itinerary is a big day, knocking out arguably the most famous of Oregon’s waterfalls: Multnomah Falls, and also our personal favorite, Abiqua Falls. With so much packed into the first day, getting an early start is imperative, but getting up early should not at all a problem when you have the best waterfalls in Oregon to look forward to.

 

Multnomah Falls

 

Starting off from Portland, it is an easy half hour drive East along the Columbia River until you reach Multnomah Falls. You can’t miss this one as there are a ton of signs, and the waterfall is easily seen from the highway. The parking lot is actually in the middle of the highway, and from there it is a short 5-minute walk up to the base of the falls.

 

Multnomah Falls in Oregon

 

Multnomah Falls is incredible to see in person. The size of the falls is immense, as water plunges over 600 feet (180 meters) from the top of the cliff. As you get closer and closer you will be craning your neck to see up to the top of the falls! There is an accessible bridge halfway to better take in the falls, though be sure to get the famous photograph from below, including the bridge, before venturing up onto it.

 

Cost to see Multnomah Falls: Free

Estimated time to see Multnomah Falls: 1 hour

Difficulty Level: Easy. The entire walkway to the bottom of the falls is paved.

We recommend you wear: Something waterproof as you might get a bit wet depending on the wind direction. If you are planning to take professional photos here, consider bringing rain protection for your camera.

 

Abiqua Falls

 

As Multnomah Falls is easily accessible on the highway, and with only a short walk to the falls, it is easy to see another one of the best waterfalls in Oregon on the same day. Abiqua Falls is an hour and a half to two hours drive south from Multnomah Falls. You will pass through some of the Southeastern Portland suburbs, which is a great time to fill up on gas, water, and snacks to make sure you are ready for this mini adventure.

 

Bettina twirling at Abiqua Falls, Oregon

 

Abiqua Falls is the most difficult of the best waterfalls in Oregon to access, requiring some driving on gravel roads, and a steep hike down to the falls, but it is all worth it!

 

Start by driving to the town of Scotts Mills and then take the Crooked Finger Road almost 11 miles until you reach an unnamed gravel road. Turn right, and follow the road downhill for the last 2 miles. The road will get rougher as you go and the last 1.5 miles of this requires a high clearance four wheel drive vehicle. You can either park at the top of the hill and hike the 2 miles down the road, or drive as far as they can, and then park on the side of the road.

 

Tree covered in moss at Abiqua Falls Oregon

 

You will know you have reached the trailhead, when you come across a large gate blocking the road. About 100 feet back from the gate is the beginning of the trail, heading down on a forest trail towards Abiqua Creek. The trail gets very steep as you near the creek, and there are a number of ropes to help aid in getting up and down the hill. Use these ropes as they are very helpful!

 

Abiqua Falls in Oregon - Photo taken with Neutral Density Filter

 

Once at the creek level, it is a relatively short hike upstream to Abiqua Falls. The falls are absolutely breathtaking, cascading over a cliff of basalt columns, and reminded us very much of Svartifoss in Iceland. If you are curious to know what we are talking about, check out our weekend in Iceland guide here.

Enjoy your time here, and take in the quietness and solitude at the falls, but don’t enjoy it for too long as you still have to hike back up the hill!

 

Cost to see Abiqua Falls: Free

Estimated time to see Abiqua Falls: 2 hours (add more if you have to hike on the road)

Difficulty Level: Moderate. The hike to the falls is definitely a bit more involved and pretty steep in the beginning.

We recommend you wear: Good shoes with traction and pants you don’t mind getting dirty as you will have to climb over tree trunks.

 

If you are hiking in the summer, there should still be a few hours of daylight left after you see both falls. We would recommend the 45 minute drive to Silver Falls State Park in the evening. The park has a great campground, or cabins to stay at, which puts you within walking distance of South Falls, which you’ll explore on day two. If you are new to camping and are worried about sleeping under the stars, make sure to read these Camping Tips for Beginners and you will be all set.

 

 

Day Two of Oregon Roadtrip – Hiking to the South Falls

 

Day two includes another great waterfall, South Falls, located within Silver Falls State Park. The best part about Silver Falls State Park is that there are over ten great waterfalls and you can walk behind 4 of them! We completed the Trail of Ten Falls hike to take them all in, and highly recommend spending the time to enjoy this park while you are here.

 

South Falls and Silver Falls State Park, Oregon

 

South Falls

 

South Falls is unique in that you can walk completely behind the falls! There is something so magical about walking behind a waterfall and seeing it from a completely different angle.

 

Walking Behind South Falls in Silver Falls State Park

 

If you have camped at Silver Falls State Park, South Falls is an easy 20 minute walk away from the campground. Alternatively, if you are driving into the park for the day, there is a very large parking lot near South Falls.

 

You will hear the thundering sound of the water plunging over the edge and see the mist rise into the air, well before you see the falls. The falls are impressive to see from any angle, but the best is surely from underneath the falls, on the narrow trail that circumnavigates the falls. You will likely get wet, but it is totally worth the experience!

 

South Falls at Silver Falls State Park, Oregon

 

While at Silver Falls State Park, we would highly recommend you to hike the Trail of Ten Falls hike which continues from South Falls, and meanders throughout the park, taking in (you guessed it) ten more waterfalls, including more that you can walk behind! The full hike should take about three hours, and is on an easy to follow 7 mile (11.5 km) trail. We really enjoyed hiking through the peaceful backcountry of the park, taking in the waterfalls and meandering river all to ourselves on a brisk March morning!

 

Oregon Waterfall in Silver Falls State Park

 

Cost to see South Falls: $5 park day-use permit

Estimated time to see South Falls: Thirty minutes to only see South Falls. Just over three hours for the Trail of Ten Falls

Difficulty Level: Easy to Moderate. The ground might be a bit slippery if it rained recently and some of the inclines can get your heart rate up.

We recommend you wear: Good shoes with good traction as the muddy trail can be slippery when wet. Also make sure you bring a rain jacket and a protective bag for your camera as you will likely get wet when walking behind the waterfalls.

 

After spending most of the day exploring Silver Falls State Park, you can either stay another night in the campground here, or drive an hour and a half south towards Eugene, Oregon where there are many accommodation options.

 

Day Three of Oregon Roadtrip – Exploring Salt Creek Falls and Watson Falls

 

The third day is the last day of your ultimate Oregon roadtrip to see the 5 best waterfalls in Oregon. Packing in two more powerful waterfalls, this day also requires the most driving. If you spent the night at Silver Falls State Park, it is a two and a half hour drive to Salt Creek Falls, or just over 1 hour from Eugene.

 

Salt Creek Falls

 

Once you reach the Salt Creek Falls they are super easy to access, as there is a parking lot right near the falls. Salt Creek Falls is known for it’s main drop of 286 vertical feet (87 meters), the third highest in Oregon! Third only to Multnomah Falls (check!), and Watson Falls (coming up next!).

 

Cost to see Salt Creek Falls: $5 park day-use fee

Estimated time to see Salt Creek Falls: Thirty minutes

Difficulty Level: Easy

We recommend you wear: Anything you would like.

 

Back on the road, it’s an hour and a half drive to Watson Falls which are in the Umpqua National Forest.

 

Watson Falls

 

Watson Falls involves a short but steep hike up a heavily trafficked path. The hike will take you past beautiful mossy rocks and trees, as well as some small rapids, before Watson Falls comes into view. Watson Falls are the second highest falls in Oregon and are just as impressive as you would imagine. There are multiple viewing platforms and a bridge that crosses the river below the falls, allowing you to get the perfect viewpoint.

 

Watson Falls, Oregon

 

After snapping a few photos, you can take an alternate path back down to the parking lot for some more variety in your hiking views.

 

Cost to see Watson Falls: Free

Estimated time to see Watson Falls: Less than 1 hour

Difficulty Level: Moderate but short. The hike is steep and can be a bit muddy.

We recommend you wear: Good shoes with traction.

 

Day Three Bonus - Toketee Falls and Umpqua Hot Springs

 

While you are visiting the Watson Falls in the Umpqua National Forest on your Oregon roadtrip, make sure you check out a few other highlights, only a few miles away – namely Toketee Falls and Umpqua Hot Springs.

 

Toketee Falls

 

The drive to Toketee Falls from Watson Falls is less than five minutes and the hike to Toketee Falls is relatively easy and less than one mile. The falls are viewed from a platform, high above the river below, and you can feel the power of the water as it cascades over the edge. Toketee Falls is very impressive as it is also surrounded by basalt columns, similar to Abiqua Falls.

 

Toketee Falls Oregon

 

Cost to see Toketee Falls: Free

Estimated time to see Toketee Falls: Less than 1 hour

Difficulty Level: Easy to moderate. It’s a relatively steep but short walk to the platform on forest ground.

We recommend you wear: Good shoes as you climb over some roots.

 

Umpqua Hot Springs

 

The road that the Toketee Falls parking lot is on, also happens to be the road to Umpqua Hot Springs, which is only a few miles further. If you haven’t heard of Umpqua Hot Springs before, they are a series of pools on a hillside overlooking the North Umpqua River which we visited on our first month of vanlife. The pools are filled with natural hot mineral water, pouring out of the hillside, filling the top pool and continuing to flowing into lower level pools. The way the hot springs are situated, you will experience the hottest water at the top. The water temperature cools down the further down the hill you go.

 

Bettina at Umpqua Hot Springs Oregon

 

If you enjoy cold water, you can walk downhill to the North Umpqua River for a short dip and warm back up in the hot springs.

To get to the Umpqua Hot Springs from the parking lot, you will do a short but steep hike. Note that the Umpqua Hot Springs can be extremely popular. We recommend you visit early in the morning or during the week and either in Spring or Fall.

 

Cost to see Umpqua Hot Springs: $5 day-use fee

Estimated time to see Umpqua Hot Springs: Less than 30 minutes hiking time; stay as long as you like in the hot springs pool!

Difficulty Level: Moderate. The hike to the Umpqua Hot Springs is steep on forest ground but short.

We recommend you wear: Good shoes with good traction. As the hot springs are completely natural, there are no changing rooms. If you would like some privacy to change into your swimwear, you would have to do so before starting the hike. The area is also popular with nudists so don’t be surprised if you end up seeing more than expected.

 

The drive back to Portland to complete your Oregon roadtrip is 4 hours and if you have spent all day exploring the Umpqua National Forest, you will likely want to camp in the area rather than driving through the night. As an alternative to visiting Umpqua Hot Springs on Day Three, you could also extend your Oregon roadtrip by one day and enjoy the hot springs the next day, first thing in the morning.

 

Kyle Standing at Abiqua Falls, Oregon

 

It will be hard to leave the state after completing the ultimate Oregon roadtrip to see the 5 best waterfalls in Oregon. We were simply amazed at the power of nature, and impressed by the natural beauty of Oregon! The state of Oregon has so much to offer, with these 5 waterfalls, being some of our favorite places to visit! If you are yearning to explore more of Oregon, check out our summary of the first month on the road of vanlife, where we also explored nearby Crater Lake in Oregon!

If you are looking for a road trip adventure in Colorado, make sure you check out these tips for the perfect 6 day Colorado road tip!

 

Bettina twirling at Crater Lake in Oregon

 

The Next Trip Top 5 Tips for Your Oregon Roadtrip

 

1) Prepare for Muddy Trails

Most hiking trails to these waterfalls on your Oregon roadtrip are on forest ground and can be quite muddy in spring after the snow melt or after rain. Make sure you have good shoes with good traction to facilitate the hike. Also prepare to have your clothes get dirty on some of these hikes.

 

2) Expect to Get Wet

Expect to get wet! You are at a waterfall after all and any wind gust can transport the waterfall mist and get you soaked. Especially if you are planning to walk behind waterfalls or get close to them, be prepared to get wet and bring a rain jacket. We also recommend bringing water protection for your camera if you are planning to take professional photos.

 

3) Let Someone Know Where You're Going

Many of these places on your Oregon roadtrip don't have any cell reception or only spotty reception. Before you leave, make sure you let someone know where you're going and when you expect to be back. That way, in case something happens, they know where to look for you.

 

4) Pack Some Snacks

Some of these waterfalls are remote and there aren't any restaurants or coffee shops nearby. Make sure you pack some snacks for your Oregon roadtrip so that you don't end up being hungry on your hike.

 

5) Plan Your Oregon Roadtrip for Between April and October

Due to the higher elevation in these locations, it can get quite cold and snowy during the winter months. The best time to go on your Oregon road trip to see the best waterfalls is between April and October. Any earlier or later in the year and you might still have snowy and icy trails.

 

Save this post on Pinterest to plan your Oregon roadtrip to chase waterfalls!

 

The Ultimate Oregon Roadtrip Itinerary to the 5 Best Waterfalls in Oregon

 

The Ultimate Oregon Roadtrip Itinerary to the 5 Best Waterfalls in Oregon

 

The Ultimate Oregon Roadtrip Itinerary to the 5 Best Waterfalls in Oregon
The Ultimate Oregon Roadtrip Itinerary to the 5 Best Waterfalls in Oregon
The Ultimate Oregon Roadtrip Itinerary to the 5 Best Waterfalls in Oregon
The Ultimate Oregon Roadtrip Itinerary to the 5 Best Waterfalls in Oregon

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10 Best Southwest USA Road Trip Ideas – For When We Can Travel Again

Road trips are by far my favorite way to explore the USA. There is so much vast and remote beauty which is impossible to fully explore without really getting into nature. Given the sheer size of the country, this often involves driving for a few hours. For me the drive is just as much the fun as the destination! With endless roads disappearing over the horizon, roadside diners and classic motels, a road trip will transport you to all these places and more.

 

best Southwest USA road trip destinations

 

One of the most iconic road trip destinations is the Southwest of the US. You can find some of the most beautiful scenery and Instagram-worthy views here. If you’re ready to get out there on your great American road trip, here are our favorite Southwest USA road trip destinations from Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico. For each location, we’re sharing the best time to visit, our tips for visiting the location, and the most useful resources.

 

Girl leaning agains canyon walls in Utah

 

Note: At the time of publishing this article, national parks in these states are closed and many of these destinations are not accessible. Make sure you save this post for when it is safe to travel again!

 

Why You Need to Visit the Southwest USA

 

The Southwest has all these natural wonders you usually only see in high gloss travel magazines. Think Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Arches National Park, Route 66, and more! You probably already know all of these from popular movies and TV shows but there is nothing better than experiencing these destinations first-hand doing a Southwest USA road trip!

 

Girl walking on rock formation at White Pocket Arizona

 

One note when driving through the Southwest, a lot of these places are very remote and require a fair amount of driving. You will get to see some incredible and untouched parts of nature but on the flipside, gas stations, restaurants, and hotels, are less frequent. It helps to bring a road trip planner with you so you are always prepared.

Make sure you fill up on gas before leaving a town if you don’t know where the next gas station will be. And the worst thing to happen on an iconic American road trip is to run out of gas!

 

Best Time to do your Southwest USA Road Trip

 

You will generally find the best weather in the Southwest between December and April. This area of the USA can get incredibly hot and dry and hiking to some of these places will become extremely strenuous in the heat.

Since some of the places in Utah are at relatively high elevation and could be covered in snow, I would recommend planning your Southwest USA road trip for March or April. During this time, temperatures are going to be around a comfortable 65 F (18 C) in the northern areas and 75 F (24 C) in the south.

 

Girl with sand running through hands at White Sands National Park

 

As most of the US Southwest road trip destinations are in the desert, it may get very hot during the day, but cool down substantially during the night. Make sure you bring a warm sweater or hoodie and a scarf for when the temperatures drop at night.

 

Map for an Iconic Southwest USA Road Trip

 

There are so many different attractions throughout Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico that it is hard to decide where to go. The below map shows all of our favorite attractions and the order in which we recommend seeing them in on your Southwest USA road trip. You can use this map to plan out and to figure out the best order these road trip destinations fit with your travel plans.

 

Utah Road Trip Destinations

 

Utah is one of those states that I had incredible expectations for, and you may too. It was the last state I visited out of all 50, and easily became one of my top favorites. You can read about our story on how we crossed into Utah and saw our last state here. These Utah destinations will make your Southwest USA road trip unforgettable.

 

Reflections at Bonneville Salt Flats

 

The Bonneville Salt Flats are exactly what the name suggests; an area with densely packed salt. They are located on Interstate 80 just outside of Salt Lake City, close to the Nevada border, and the perfect start for any Utah road trip.

Given the huge flat area, the salt flats make the perfect background to take photos and be creative. Get out there and have fun! Think about working with different perspectives, play with the reflection off the water, and just enjoy the view.

 

 

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Tips:

  • Given that the ground is covered in salt, don’t wear your favorite leather shoes or anything else that could be easily damaged by the salt. Salt can be extremely difficult to remove from clothing and fabrics afterwards. I recommend wearing rubber shoes or boots.
  • Keep in mind that the salt flats are covered in water which is also extremely salty, but more importantly there may be no dry place to set down a bag or anything you bring with you.
  • Temperatures on the salt flats vary greatly. In Summer, they often reach over 100 F (38 C) degrees and can drop below freezing in winter. Make sure you wear protective clothing and sun screen.

Hours: Open 24 hours a day. The Bonneville Salt Flats are managed by the Bureau of Land Management and open to the public most of the time. During events and/or filming projects, there might be restrictions. You can check out the event calendar here.

Facilities: There are no washrooms at the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Cost: Visiting the salt flats is free!

Location: Bonneville Salt Flats

 

Explore Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Canyon

 

Have you ever heard of two slot canyons called Peek-A-Boo and Spooky? Me neither until I went there. These canyons completely live up to their names, are a lot of fun to explore, and definitely worth adding to your Southwest USA road trip. The canyons are closest to Escalante, Utah and are a 3-hour hike round-trip from the parking lot. The hike starts off on a flat sandy trail and continues to a climb down into the dry canyon area. The steep climb down is over smooth slick rock.

 

View at the Trailhead of Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Canyon

 

The best way to hike these two slot canyons is in a one-way loop, starting with Peek-A-Boo, traveling cross-country to reach Spooky, and then exiting Spooky in the original canyon area near the Peek-A-Boo entrance.

 

Peek-A-Boo Canyon Loops Utah

 

Once you reach Peek-A-Boo Slot Canyon, you need to climb up about a 12-foot (3.7 meters) rock face to enter the canyon. I am 5’5” (1.7 meters) and managed to get up there on the first try. Once you start walking through, you quickly understand where the name Peek-A-Boo comes from.

The canyon has some fun rock loops you can climb through and each corner is hidden – providing the best peek-a-boo game! As the slot canyon is not overly deep, you can also play peek-a-boo with people in the canyon, while walking along up top.

 

Girl in Peek-A-Boo Canyon Utah

 

Man Standing at Tight Opening at Peek-A-Boo Canyon Utah

 

When you reach the end of Peek-A-Boo, there is an easy to follow trail that travels cross-country to the entrance of Spooky Slot Canyon. The canyon very much lives up to its name. It is incredibly narrow! In some places, we could only pass by taking off our backpacks, and shuffling sideways.

Spooky also has one technical section halfway through where you need to climb overtop some car-sized boulders, and then crawl back underneath them to continue through the slot canyon. These canyons will definitely make your Utah road trip more interesting!

 

Girl Leaning Against the Peek-A-Boo Canyon Utah

 

Tips:

  • Please don’t visit these canyons if you’re claustrophobic! Both canyons have some very narrow spots and are dark at times.
  • Bring enough water but carry a small backpack. A large backpack is much harder to squeeze through the tight corners of Spooky Slot Canyon.
  • There is weak to no cell reception on the hike with T-Mobile.

Hours: Open 24 hours a day

Cost: Visiting Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Canyon is free.

Facilities: There are two outhouses at the trailhead.

Location: Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyon. The slot canyons are located along Hole-In-The-Rock Road, and require driving about one hour on dusty gravel roads - the perfect adventure on your Southwest USA road trip. The roads are fine for a car when dry, but do not attempt to drive when the ground is wet as it instantly turns to slick mud.

 

Stunning Grosvenor Arch

 

If you love arches but don’t feel like battling the crowds at Arches National Park, Grosvenor Arch is your destination. It is a unique double arch about 150 feet (46 meters) tall and is located within the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah. The double arch is an easy 5-minute walk from the parking lot and is extremely impressive to look at! You can’t climb around or on top of the arch but the view you get from the bottom is definitely worth it!

 

Girl Standing in Front Of Grosvenor Arch

 

Tips:

  • Grosvenor Arch is easily reachable by car but you will mostly drive on a gravel road. Make sure you fuel up before hitting the road as there are no gas stations anywhere close.
  • There is weak to no cell reception at Grosvenor Arch with T-Mobile.

Hours: Open 24 hours a day

Cost: Visiting Grosvenor Arch is free.

Facilities: There are two outhouses at the trailhead.

Location: Grosvenor Arch

 

Running Around at Devil’s Garden Escalante

 

Devil’s Garden Escalante is very much like a playground for grownups and offers so many photo opportunities. It is a perfect addition to your Southwest USA road trip. It is located in the Staircase-Escalante National Monument and known for its countless hoodoos and two small arches. Its location provides for some amazing views and given that it’s possible to climb onto the base of the hoodoos, you can let your creativity run wild.

 

Girl Sitting in front of Hoodoo at Devil's Gargen Utah

 

Girl sitting between two Hoodoos at Devils Garden Utah

 

Tips:

  • Devil’s Garden is easily reachable when driving down the Hole in the Rock road. Make sure you fuel up before your trip and bring enough water and food for the day.
  • Cell reception at Devil’s Garden is spotty with T-Mobile. I had the best reception at higher points.

Hours: Open 24 hours a day

Cost: Visiting Devil’s Garden Escalante is free.

Facilities: There are two outhouses at the trailhead.

Location: Devil’s Garden This is located on the same road as Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons and is great to combine into the same day.

Arizona Road Trip Destinations

 

Similar to Utah, Arizona is home to some incredible natural wonders and trying to figure out where to go can be a daunting task. These are our favorite Arizona road trip destinations, some of which you may never have heard of and which you cannot miss out on your Southwest USA road trip!

 

Girl Sitting on Rock Formation Wave at White Pocket Arizona

 

Off the Beaten Path in White Pocket, Vermillion Cliffs National Monument

 

White Pocket is an area within the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona. It has some of the most amazing rock formations. Think orange lined rocks like the Wave, white pillow-like rock surfaces and sliver thin rock layers. You are free to walk around and explore as much as you like.

The area is a 10-minute walk on a sand trail from the parking lot. It is one of the best kept secrets but a great addition to your Southwest USA road trip.

 

Girl Standing on Rock Formation Wave in White Pocket Arizona

 

View From White Pocket Arizona

 

Getting to White Pocket is a bit more difficult.. It is a 3-4 hour drive from Kanab, UT or Page, AZ. The first hour of the drive is on a paved highway, followed by a maintained gravel road. The last 5 miles are in deeply rutted sand. A high clearance vehicle with four-wheel drive is highly recommended. That being said, most rugged SUVs and pick-up trucks with four-wheel drive should be able to make it without issue.

 

Rock Formations at White Pocket Arizona

 

Girl Jumping at White Pocket Arizona

 

Tips:

  • There are no facilities at White Pocket. It’s very remote so be sure to bring enough water, food, and sun protection.
  • Don’t leave anything behind, not even personal waste. We recommend bringing bags designed to hold human waste.
  • I had surprisingly good cell reception at White Pocket. I had 2 bars LTE with T-Mobile.

Hours: Open 24 hours a day

Cost: Visiting White Pocket is free.

Facilities: There are no facilities at White Pocket.

Location: White Pocket Vermillion Cliffs

 

Catching the Light at Antelope Canyon

 

There is nothing quite as magical as catching the sunrays as they shine through a slot canyon! Antelope Canyon is one of the most famous slot canyons in Arizona and a must see on your Southwest USA road trip. It is completely worth a visit. You will need to book a tour to access the canyon and I recommend booking far in advance as the slot canyon is incredibly busy, especially in Summer.

 

Sunrays in Slot Canyon at Lower Antelope Canyon

 

You may not know this but there is an Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. Lower Antelope Canyon is slightly less busy and tours are cheaper. We visited Lower Antelope Canyon and loved the tour and the canyon itself.

 

View at Lower Antelope Canyon

 

Tips:

  • The tour moves quite fast and taking a lot of pictures can be difficult. If you’re planning to take photos, consider booking a tour first thing in the morning or late in the afternoon.
  • The light in the canyon is best around midday, which is also the busiest time to visit.
  • The descent into the canyon is a very steep staircase. Make sure you wear good shoes.
  • It was incredibly windy when we were there and we found orange sand in our pockets days after we walked through the canyon. Expect to have sand blown everywhere.

Hours: You cannot access Antelope Canyon without a tour. Tour hours are 7:30am – 5:45pm.

Cost: Costs for a tour at lower Antelope Canyon starts at $40 for a 1-1.5 hours tour plus $8 Navajo Parks fee. Cost for a tour at upper Antelope Canyon starts at $54 for 1.5 hour tour plus $8 Navajo Parks fee. If you decide to take a tour of both Upper and Lower, you only pay the Navajo Parks fee once!

Facilities: There is a visitor center at the Antelope Canyon with washrooms.

Location: Antelope Canyon

 

Enjoying the View at Horseshoe Bend

 

Horseshoe Bend is one of the most iconic places to visit in Arizona and on your Southwest USA road trip and definitely worth a stop! We visited the Horseshoe Bend in 2017 and also just recently in March 2020. The river formation is just as stunning the second time we saw it as the first time. The area around it has completely changed though.

You can easily drive up to the parking lot and walk 5-10 minutes on a gravel trail to get to the bend. There are two covered areas where you can get some shade along the trail as it gets extremely hot here in Summer.

 

Guy Sitting on Rock at Horseshoe Bend Arizona

 

Once you get to the very tip of the cliff, there are some areas which are fenced off for safety reasons. However, you are still free to roam around in other areas and the iconic “rock” is not fenced in and you can get one of the most Instagram-worthy photos from here.

 

Girl Sitting and Overlooking Horseshoe Bend Arizona

 

Tips:

  • Take a lot of water! Yes, the hike is short – only 5-10 minutes. However, it gets extremely hot and there is not a lot of shade. We visited in March and didn’t think we would need the extra water but we wish we had brought some.
  • Apply plenty of sunscreen! Even if you’re not planning to stay very long, the sun reflects of the rock surfaces and is very intense.
  • Horseshoe Bend is extremely popular and gets super busy. Consider visiting early in the morning or late in the evening for some amazing sunset photos.

Hours: Open daily from Dawn to Dusk according to the City of Page.

Cost: Entrance fee to Horseshoe Bend is $10 per car. You pay upon entering the parking lot.

Facilities: There are washrooms available at the parking lot.

Location: Horseshoe Bend

 

Grand Canyon Road Trip

 

Any Southwest USA road trip would not be complete without a stop at the Grand Canyon! I’m sure you have seen countless photos of the Grand Canyon and might be wondering if it’s worth going there given that you have already seen it in photos. It is absolutely worth it! Standing on the edge of the canyon and overlooking the entire area is an incredible feeling and very much worth a trip.

 

Sunset at Grand Canyon South Rim Arizona

 

The Grand Canyon has a North and a South Rim. The South Rim includes all of the popular viewpoints and it is what people usually think of when you mention Grand Canyon. It is much easier to get to and unlike the North Rim, it is open all year round.

Getting to the North Rim is for those who like to take the road less traveled. It is generally closed in Winter and lodging is only open from May to October due to the snow. Make sure you make a reservation at the North Rim lodge or campground if you’re planning to visit the North Rim, as lodging options are very limited.

 

View of Grand Canyon South Rim Arizona

 

A Grand Canyon road trip can be as long or short as you like. The South Rim is a 4.5-hour drive from Las Vegas and you can easily see some of it in a day. If you’re short on time and only have one day to spend here, I recommend visiting the South Rim as it is much easier to access. Start your day at Mather Point which is a great place to view the sunrise or sunset.

Continue to Yavapai Point which is very close and make your way West. You can easily drive to all the viewpoints and if you have time, doing the South Rim Trail is an easy way to take in all the epic views. The hike is relatively easy with minimal elevation gain.

 

Golden Light at Sunset at Grand Canyon South Rim in Arizona

 

Other viewpoints which are easy to get to by car and have an amazing view are Maricopa Point, Powell Point, Hopi Point, and Mohave Point where you can see the Colorado River. If you’re looking for wide views of the canyon, Lipan Point is another great viewpoint.

 

Sun Setting over the Grand Canyon South Rim in Arizona

 

If you have more than one day here and are planning a longer Southwest USA road trip, I highly recommend waking up early and enjoying a sunrise over the canyon and seeing the sun set behind this majestic landscape. It truly is an experience like no other.

Tips:

  • There is a lot to see at the Grand Canyon, make sure you plan out your time here and know what you want to see.
  • The South Rim viewpoints can get very busy. Being here early in the morning and later in the evening helps avoid the crowds.
  • If you want to make the most out of your Grand Canyon road trip, bring water and food with you so that you don’t have to stop in the village but can chase the amazing views instead.

Hours: The South Rim is open 24 hours daily. The North Rim is closed to all vehicles from December 1 to May 15.

Cost: Entrance to Grand Canyon National Park is $35 per vehicle. Your pass will be valid for 7 days and includes both the North and South Rim.

Facilities: The South Rim has multiple visitor centers and is fully outfitted with facilities, restaurants, and lodging. The North Rim has one visitor center which is open from May 15 to October 15 and limited lodging.

Location: Grand Canyon South Rim, Grand Canyon North Rim

 

Nevada and New Mexico Road Trip Destinations

 

You may not think of Nevada and New Mexico when planning your iconic American road trip. Trust me when I say that both states have some beautiful road trip destinations you absolutely need to add to your Southwest USA road trip!

 

Loneliest Road in America in Nevada

 

The Loneliest Road in America, also known as U.S. Route 50, goes straight across Nevada. It very much deserves the name of being the loneliest road as there is little to no civilization along the way, other than the odd ghost town. This is exactly why it’s the perfect Southwest USA road trip destination!

Fueled up and with plenty of water and food, you can hit the road and explore the vast countryside of Nevada which ranges from salty flat areas to mountains, and grass lands full of hidden hot springs. The road itself goes straight for a large portion and offers incredible photo opportunities, sharing the vastness of the state.

 

Sand Mountain on the Loneliest Road in America in Nevada

 

Stopping in a ghost town is a must if you like the idea of traveling back in time and seeing America as it used to be. I can particularly recommend Austin, Nevada which is full of old-school houses, store fronts, and signs.

 

Girl Walking along Ghost Town Store Front in Austin Nevada along Loneliest Road

 

Other fun activities along the way include enjoying a sunset on Sand Mountain, horseback riding through the wide grass lands, and searching for hot springs. Because of its remote location, the Loneliest Road in America offers the perfect opportunity for some stargazing.

 

Girl Sitting in Heart-Shaped Bartine Hot Springs in Nevada

 

Tips:

  • The Loneliest Road in America used to be only travelable by people with survival skills. While it’s definitely easier to drive these days, make sure you fuel up before you leave and get gas every opportunity you get. Gas stations are few and far in-between.
  • Make sure you bring plenty of water and food with you.
  • Nevada has an incredible amount of hot springs and no road trip across the Loneliest Road would be complete without taking a dip. Make sure to stop at the popular Spencer Hot Springs or smaller heart-shaped Bartine Hot Springs.
  • There is surprisingly good cell reception along the Loneliest Road in America. I had 2 bars LTE with T-Mobile.

Hours: Open 24 hours a day

Cost: Driving the Loneliest Road in America is free.

Facilities: There are only few facilities along the Loneliest Road in America, whenever you hit a ghost town.

Location: Loneliest Road in America

 

White Sands Monument in New Mexico

 

White Sands National Park is everything you think of when you hear the name. It’s in the Chihuahuan Desert in New Mexico and is covered in rare white sand. While you may have never heard of it, White Sands is extremely beautiful and definitely worth adding to your Southwest USA road trip.

The white gypsum sand is like nothing I have ever seen before. As you enter the park, you will notice how incredibly quiet it is. There is no sound other than the wind forming new sand dunes.

 

Girl in Dress at White Sands National Monument

 

Girl with Sand running through hands at White Sands National Park New Mexico

 

You can easily access the dunes on the Dunes Drive which is a looped road from the visitor center to the dune field. We were able to park almost anywhere we wanted and just get out of the car to explore the area. If you would like to spend more time in Mexico, you could visit the White Sand National Park in the morning and head to Albuquerque for a weekend.

 

Couple Kissing in White Sands National Park

 

Tips:

  • The White Sands National Park is a desert and as such extremely dry and hot. Make sure you bring plenty of water.
  • You can easily get lost wandering around the dunes as there is not a lot a variety in landscape. Make sure you don’t visit alone and follow trail posts.
  • The sun reflection off the white sand is very intense. Make sure you use sunscreen with high SPF and wear protective clothing. Visiting in the early morning is best to avoid the afternoon heat.
  • There is poor to no cell reception at White Sands National Park.

 

Hours: The White Sands National Park opens at 7am daily. Closing hours vary depending on the time of the year and are generally between 6pm -7pm in winter and 8pm-9m in summer. Make sure you check the current operation hours on the official website as there might be closures for missile testing.

Cost: Entrance fee to the park is $25 per vehicle and $15 per person if there is only one person in the vehicle.

Facilities: There is a visitor center at the entrance of the park with full washrooms.

Location: White Sands National Park

 

The Next Trip Top 5 Tips for Your Southwest USA Road Trip

 

1) Prepare for the Heat

The weather in the Southwest US is very dry and hot. Especially during the Summer months, temperatures often rise over 100 F (38 C) and spending time outside can be unbearable. Make sure you are prepared for the heat  during your Southwest USA road trip. Make sure your car has air conditioning and if you plan to visit in Summer, plan accommodation with air conditioning as well. I would recommend doing your Southwest USA road trip in March or April when temperatures are more pleasant.

 

2) Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is key during the heat for safety but also to stay energized. Many of these incredible destinations are very dry and windy and you will end up needing more water than you expect. Make sure you bring plenty of fluids. I add Hydralyte to my water for extra hydration on all of my hikes to make sure I don’t get de-hydrated.

 

3) Bring Good Hiking Shoes

A lot of these Utah and Arizona road trip destinations are in rocky and sandy terrain. Make sure you bring good hiking shoes with great grip on the sole to get around easier. I have done some hikes in normal sneakers which slowed me down a bit as I wasn’t able to climb down rocky sections as easily.

 

4) Bring a Good Camera

You will undoubtedly see some incredible landscapes on your Southwest USA road trip. Make sure you bring a good camera and have it fully charged. You will want to look back to this iconic road trip years down the road and will want photos to remember all the incredible places you have seen. On our trip, we took thousands of photos of the amazing rock formations and continue to enjoy looking back on them.

 

5) Plan Around Sunrises and Sunsets

Generally, the best time to explore these places is early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Temperatures are not as hot, there will be less people on the road, and the golden hour provides for amazing photos. Make sure you know your sunrise and sunset hours as traveling in the dark can quickly get very dangerous. I would especially recommend to not do any off-road driving or hiking in the dark.

 

Girl in Dress Behind a Plant at White Sands National Park

 

Have you ever taken a Southwest USA road trip? Let us know if we missed any places we should be adding to our list! We love to explore more and hear from you! What have been your favorite road trips to date?

 

Save this post on Pinterest to plan your future iconic Southwest USA road trip!

 

The 10 best Southwest USA road trip destinations you can't miss including Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and more!

 

The 10 best Southwest USA road trip destinations you can't miss including Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and more!

 

The 10 best Southwest USA road trip destinations you can't miss including Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and more!
The 10 best Southwest USA road trip destinations you can't miss including Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and more!
The 10 best Southwest USA road trip destinations you can't miss including Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and more!
The 10 best Southwest USA road trip destinations you can't miss including Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and more!

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The Perfect South Bali Itinerary for 3 Days

Welcome to South Bali! Whether you’re planning to stay on the island for only a few days or explore it for longer, South Bali is a must see! If you love staying at all inclusive resorts, the beach life, a few one-day excursions, South Bali is for you! This is your three day South Bali itinerary, including everything you can't miss!

 

Nusa Dua Beach Water Hammock in Bali - The Next Trip

 

South Bali is the most popular part of Bali. It is surrounded by incredibly beautiful beaches, luxurious beach resorts, and often a party destination. It is equally as beautiful as the rest of the island, but has distinct vegetation compared to north or west Bali.

If you're an adventurous traveler and want to visit the jungles of Bali, make sure you read our Guide to Munduk and the famous Bali Swing. For everyone trying to get away from tourism and wanting to relax, West Bali is the best place for you! We share how to get there and why we fell in love with West Bali here.

 

Where to Stay in South Bali - Bali Luxury Resorts

 

At the southern tip of Bali is an enclave called Nusa Dua which is resort heaven for all resort lovers! It includes over 20 resorts and has some of the best Bali luxury resorts. It has everything to offer that you could possibly think of.

 

Pool at Nusa Dua Beach Hotel and Spa - The Next Trip

 

Spa Pool at Nusa Dua Beach Resort and Spa Hotel - The Next Trip

 

We stayed at the Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa, Bali which is located right on the beach. The hotel is very distinct as it authentically represents the Balinese culture. When you drive up the hotel, the first thing you’ll notice is the huge Bali gate followed by a beautiful water garden with many fountains. It is by far the prettiest Bali gate I saw on the island.

 

Bali Gate Nusa Dua Beach Resort and Spa - The Next Trip

 

The resort is built with traditional Balinese style in mind and features a lot of detailed wood carvings. To bring the culture to you, the hotel showcases the Legong Dance during dinner on Wednesdays and a Beach BBQ and Fire Dance on Fridays.

 

Bali Gate Nusa Dua Beach Resort and Spa - The Next Trip

 

What to do in South Bali

 

Being right at the beach, you have the best part of South Bali steps from your hotel room! The water in South Bali is amazingly clear and surprisingly warm to swim in. That being said, there are a few attractions in South Bali you can’t miss out on. Since three days can go by in no time, we are summarizing the best places to see in South Bali, and put together a South Bali Itinerary below.

 

Nusa Dua Beach Resort and Spa Entrance Garden - The Next Trip

 

Admire the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Statue

 

The Garuda Wisnu Kencana Statue is almost in the center of South Kuta (the southern-most tip of the island), yet you can see it from almost everywhere in South Kuta. That's because it is 400 feet (122 meters) tall and thus almost 100 feet (30 meters) taller than the statue of Liberty!

 

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It is immensely impressive, and we’re disappointed we didn’t have the time to see it from up close. It is open from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm. Make sure you add it to your itinerary by combining a visit with the drive to Uluwatu Temple.

 

Watch the Sunset at Uluwatu Temple

 

On the opposite side of Nusa Dua is the Uluwatu Temple. The temple itself might not be the prettiest or the most intricate in all of Bali, but the temple setting will leave you speechless! Built on top of a 230 feet (70 meter) cliff, it provides the most spectacular views, especially around sunset.

 

Make sure you visit the temple 1 to 1.5 hours prior to sunset. That way you can avoid the crowds and still get the most incredible sunset views. The best viewpoints are from vantage points to the north and south of the temple. While watching the sunset, you can befriend the cute monkeys which are believed to guard the temple from bad influences. Keep your belongings stowed away or hold them close to you to make sure a monkey doesn’t mistake it as a gift.

 

Go for a Sunrise Stroll at Nusa Dua Beach

 

South Bali has some of the best beaches in Bali! Get up before sunrise and stroll along the beach while watching the sun rise. You will have the beach almost to yourself and may only see a few joggers and hotel staff setting up for the day.

 

Sunrise at Nusa Dua Beach Resort and Spa - The Next Trip

 

Nusa Dua beach is full of photo opportunities. If you enjoy taking photos this early in the morning without anyone interrupting you, make sure to bring your camera.

 

Morning Stroll at Nusa Dua Beach

 

Admire the Water Blow

 

Only a short walk away from Nusa Dua beach is the Water Blow. A water blow is basically a combination of high waves hitting steep cliffs, thereby creating a large water spray. This particular water blow can be extremely intense depending on the waves and with spectacular sprays. It’s another great location to take photos.

 

Treat Yourself to a Balinese Massage

 

There is nothing better than pampering yourself when you’re on vacation, especially after a full day of exploring. So why not go for a traditional Balinese massage? The Balinese massage combines acupressure techniques with skin rolling, flicking, firm and gentle stroking and the application of essential oils.

 

Balinese Massage at Nusa Dua Beach Resort and Spa - The Next Trip

 

We enjoyed a full Balinese massage at the Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa, Bali and it was such a blissful experience. The massage started out with a foot scrub, followed by a full body massage. As part of the tradition, the masseuses used essential oils which we got to pick beforehand. I chose a flowery jasmin oil which smelled heavenly.

 

Spa Pool at Nusa Dua Beach Resort and Spa - The Next Trip

 

South Bali Itinerary for 3 Days

 

We put together a South Bali itinerary for you to make it easier for to plan your stay in South Bali and make sure you get the most out of your 3 days there!

 

Day 1 in South Bali:

Morning:

Arrive in South Bali

Relax by the beach after a long trip

Afternoon:

Treat yourself to a Balinese massage

Evening:

Enjoy a dinner on one of the best beaches in Bali

 

Dinner at Nusa Dua Beach Hotel and Spa Bali - The Next Trip

 

Day 2 in South Bali:

Morning:

Get up early for a stroll along the Nusa Dua Beach

Walk to the water blow and enjoy the view

Afternoon:

Drive to the Garuda Wisnu Kencana Statue

Enjoy the sunset at Uluwatu Temple

Evening:

Have dinner in a bamboo house and enjoy live music at Pirates Bay Bali 

 

Day 3 in South Bali:

Reserve one day to stay at the beach to do watersports, bike rides along the beach, or just enjoy the beautiful water before leaving the area.

 

The Perfect South Bali Itinerary for 3 Days 31

@travelwithtalia and I enjoying local fruit at Nusa Dua Beach Hotel & Spa

 

Bali is an incredible island and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! If you are spending more time on the island and are looking to explore other areas, make sure you read our Guide on Munduk and the famous Bali Swing and our best kept secret travel tip: visiting West Bali!

 

The Next Trip Top 5 Travel Tips for Nusa Dua

 

1) Bring Snorkeling Gear!

South Bali has amazing snorkeling opportunities which you don't want to miss out on. Make sure to bring your own snorkeling gear if you own some. Otherwise, your hotel might rent out gear.

 

2) Bring Mosquito Repellent

Bali can have a lot of mosquitoes due to its tropical climate. Make sure to bring mosquito repellent to protect yourself.

 

3) Bring Sunscreen

Given that your South Bali Itinerary likely includes long hours in the sun, make sure you bring plenty of sunscreen. I was surprised to find that it is difficult to find high SPF sunscreens in Bali and was glad I had brought my own.

 

4) Book a Massage in Advance

Massage spots can fill up fast, so to ensure that you get a time that works with your schedule, book a time slot as soon as you arrive at your hotel, or even beforehand.

 

5) Schedule South Bali at the Beginning or End of Your Trip

As South Bali includes Denpasar International Airport, it is best to schedule your time here at the beginning or end of your time in Bali to minimize driving times, and relax either before or after your flight.

 

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3 Day Itinerary to Nusa Dua, South Bali! Here is everything you can't miss out on and how to plan your stay.

 

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Your Guide To Munduk Bali and the Famous Bali Swing

If your visions of a Bali vacation include chasing waterfalls, wandering through lush jungles, and sampling delicious coffee, you will want to visit Munduk, Bali! This is the place of incredible mountain views, the famous Bali swing, and the iconic infinity pool.

 

Bettina and Kyle at Munduk Moding Plantation Infinity Pool in Bali - The Next Trip

 

Munduk is located in the mountains of central Bali. Some people say this is where the true beauty of the island is hidden. Given its higher elevation, Munduk is a couple degrees cooler than the rest of the island and is incredibly green. It is known for its lush forests, hills, culture, temples, lakes and waterfalls. Munduk, Bali is highly distinct from South Bali and is perfect to get away from the sun, learn more about the Balinese culture, and explore the outdoors. If you're looking to get away from tourists completely, you would love spending time in the tranquil West Bali!

 

Bettina at Munduk Moding Plantation in Bali - The Next Trip

Revolve Dress

 

How to get to Munduk, Bali

 

The most common way to get to Bali is by flying into Denpasar Airport. If you're looking for tips on how to book cheap flights to Bali, check out our 5-step guide here. Once you get to the airport, the easiest way to get to Munduk, Bali is by car. You can either rent a car or rent a car with driver. Estimate at least 2 hours get from Denpasar to Munduk without traffic. We left right during the evening traffic and it took us almost double the amount of time. The roads in central Bali are winding and narrow, but incredibly scenic. If you're driving during the day, you're in luck! Every corner you turn is a new incredible viewpoint.

 

View of Munduk Bali - The Next Trip

 

If you decide to drive by yourself, make sure your travel insurance covers you in case of accidents. We have heard about quite a few people getting into scooter accidents because of the way the roads are designed and how bad traffic is. Accidents are never fun but without the proper coverage, things can get worse quickly.

 

Where to stay in Munduk, Bali

 

The ultimate Munduk experience is not complete without staying at a hotel in the middle of the jungle with the most iconic infinity pool! We stayed at the Munduk Moding Plantation which is a gorgeous hotel consisting of private villas, situated in its very own coffee plantation. The hotel is known for its incredible infinity pool views blending in with the surrounding hills.

 

Bettina at Munduk Moding Plantation Infinity Pool in Bali - The Next Trip

ModaPosa Dress / ModaPosa Scarf

 

View of Infinity Pool at Munduk Moding Plantation Bali - The Next Trip

 

Infinity Pool at Munduk Moding Plantation Bali - The Next Trip

 

The villas feature indoor and outdoor showers, as well as private relaxing areas. Depending on which villa you’re staying at, you will also have your very own pool.

 

Villa at Munduk Moding Plantation Bali - The Next Trip

 

Outdoor Shower at Munduk Moding Plantation - The Next Trip

 

Outdoor Relaxing Area at Munduk Moding Plantation Bali - The Next Trip

 

The main hotel area includes two infinity pools with incredible views as well as a Jacuzzi. Even though the hotel was relatively booked, we had plenty of alone time at the pool and were able to fully relax and take in the views.

 

Jacuzzi at Munduk Moding Plantation Bali - The Next Trip

@travelwithtalia and I relaxing at the Munduk Moding Plantation Jacuzzi. / Swimsuit

 

Pool and Breakfast area at Munduk Moding Plantation Bali - The Next Trip

 

Pool Area at Munduk Moding Plantation Bali - The Next Trip

 

Munduk Moding Plantation also offers a variety of daily activities on the property such as a coffee plantation tour, where you learn everything about growing coffee to making coffee, trekking tours, as well as mountain biking tours.

 

Coffee Plant at Munduk Moding Plantation Bali - The Next Trip

 

They even have four Bali ponies which can be booked for horse back riding trips.

 

Horse Back Riding at Munduk Moding Plantation Bali - The Next Trip

Talia's dress / Bettina's dress

Disclaimer:  We were hosted by Munduk Moding Plantation and had a wonderful time! We are excited to share our trip with you here. As always, all of the opinions are our own. Thank you for supporting the businesses that support us!

 

What to see around Munduk, Bali

 

Munduk and Central Bali is the culturally richest area in Bali and if you like visiting temples, you can easily fill 3-4 days. However, a visit would not be complete without seeing some of the most impressive waterfalls on the island and taking a picture with the famous Bali Swing!

 

Banyumala Twin Waterfalls Bali - The Next Trip

 

Banyumala Twin Waterfalls (Wanagiri)

 

The Banyumala Twin Waterfalls are located at the north end of central Bali and are relatively lesser known than other waterfalls. They are only a 30 min drive from Munduk itself. The waterfalls are absolutely worth a visit! The falls can be accessed by car, followed by a relatively steep decline. Make sure you wear good footwear, especially if it has been raining, as the path might be slippery.

 

Banyumala Twin Waterfalls Bali - The Next Trip

 

Banyumala Twin Waterdalls Bali - The Next Trip

 

Once you get to the falls, you are rewarded with the most amazing views of multiple waterfalls ending in the same basin. The basin itself is not overly deep but great to swim in.

 

Banyumala Twin Waterfall Tips

 

Location: North/Central Bali

When to go: mornings are least busy, but it’s not overly touristy so you can also go in the afternoon.

Cost: IDR 50,000 (roughly 3.50 USD)

What to pack: Make sure you bring good shoes to walk to the falls and bring a swimsuit if you can brave the cold water.

 

Banyumala Twin Waterfalls Bali - The Next Trip

 

We also recommend seeing Munduk Waterfall and Leke Leke Waterfall as we have heard great things about them. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to see them ourselves, given our tight schedule.

 

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple

 

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple is a major Hindu Shaivite water temple on Bali. It’s actually a temple complex and consists of five compounds of temples. During rainy season or at the end of the rainy season, you will understand why it is called a water temple as the main temple appears to be “floating.”

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/B3wf0E2Bu9n/

 

During dry season, the temples are not floating but the complex is just as beautiful.

 

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple Bali - The Next Trip

Dress from Red Dress / Sandals

 

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple Bali - The Next Trip

 

The temple is very popular among tourists and can get quite busy. We were there early in the afternoon and it was very busy. We’d recommend going earlier in the day, preferably in the morning to avoid the crowds.

 

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple Bali - The Next Trip

 

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple Tips

 

Location: Central Bali at the Beratan lake

When to go: the earlier in the day the better. Opening hours are 7am – 7pm.

Cost: tickets to enter the temple grounds are IDR 100,000 (roughly 7 USD).

What to pack: Make sure you bring water. It can be very hot there and as with every tourist destination, buying water there is more expensive than bringing it.

 

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple Bali - The Next Trip

 

Lake Tamblingan and Pura Ulun Danu Tamblingan

 

Lake Tamblingan is a quiet lake at the foot of Mount Lesung in central Bali. It’s relatively unknown and the perfect getaway if you’re looking to escape the tourists. The lake is home to the Pura Ulun Danu Tamblingan, a spectacular floating temple. You may have seen some incredible photos on Instagram showing the temple and the lake during the rainy season. During the dry season, the water levels at Lake Tamblingan are low which makes is perfect to walk around the temple grounds but takes away the “floating” temple views.

 

Pura Ulun Danu Tamblingan Floating Temple Bali - The Next Trip

 

Pura Ulun Danu Tamblingan Floating Temple Bali - The Next Trip

The dress is forever old but you can find a similar one here / Earrings

 

If you visit during, or at the end of the rainy season, you can rent a canoe to get all the way to the temple and snap some beautiful photos.

 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BvxVO09F8hP/

 

Pura Ulun Danu Tamblingan Tips

 

Location: Central Bali at Tamblingan Lake

When to go: The lake is very quiet and the perfect escape from mass tourism. Any time of the day would be great to visit.

Cost: Park entrance is IDR 10,000 (roughly 0.7 USD). You can rent canoes starting at IDR 200,000 (roughly USD 14).

What to pack: Since you’re right at the lake, make sure you pack insect repellent and sun screen. Even though the temperatures are mild compared to other places in Bali, the sun is just as intense.

 

Pura Ulun Danu Tamblingan Floating Temple Bali - The Next Trip

 

The Famous Bali Swing & Hidden Hills Wanagiri

 

While this is not a Bali-native attraction but mostly created for Instagram, it has become a very popular attraction and is just as stunning as other sights. If you don’t believe in taking a photo with the Bali Swing and feeding the hype, no hard feelings. Feel free to skip this paragraph and jump to our 5 travel tips for Munduk, Bali.

 

Bali Swing Hidden Hills Wanagiri Bali - The Next Trip

Swimsuit / Chicwish Skirt

 

Wanagiri Hidden Hills & the Bali Swing have gained huge traction with tourism around the globe in the recent years. It’s a photo area in central Bali, set up to take staged photos with an incredible backdrop of Lake Buyan and surrounding mountains. There are several different places along Jl. Raya Pancasari road to take these types of photos and each of them has a slightly different set-up. Every stand is equipped with some dress rentals, a changing room, and the locals are super friendly and help you take the perfect photo. They even have a reflector to create the perfect lighting for you.

 

Wanagiri Hidden Hills Bali - The Next Trip

Revolve Dress

 

Hidden Hills Wanagiri Bali - The Next Trip

Revolve Dress

 

It’s a very popular destination to stop at and if you don’t like to be rushed, we recommend going early in the morning. We paid IDR 100,000 (roughly 7 USD) as entrance fee but heard that the price is going up over the years.

 

Bali Swing and Hidden Hills Wanagiri Tips

 

Location: Jl. Raya Wanagiri in Central Bali, if you're going there with a driver, show them a photo and they will know exactly where you want to go. If you're driving yourself, look for little huts/stands on the lake side of the street. Upon getting closer, you will notice the photo ops set-up.

When to go: The Hidden Hills Wanagiri are extremely popular so expect to wait in line to take your photo. The earlier in the morning you arrive, the less people will be there. We were there around 10am and once we left, it got very busy.

Cost: We paid IDR 100,000 (roughly 7 USD) to access the park area but heard that prices are on the upswing. Also, getting access to the big Bali swing costs extra.

What to pack: There are quite a few different photo spots. If you want additional variety in your pictures, make sure you bring some clothes to change into. They have a changing room so you can easily switch between outfits. If you don't have any outfits you like, the operators provide long and flowy dresses there which you can borrow/rent.

 

Wanagiri Hidden Hills Bali - The Next Trip

 

Note that the famous Bali gate is very close to the Wanagiri Hidden Hills. We wanted to take some photos there also. However, as we drove past, we saw that the wait was already at least 1 hour. Bali has so much to offer that we didn’t think it would worth waiting in line.

 

Pool View at Munduk Moding Plantation Bali - The Next Trip

 

Overall, Munduk is a beautiful area to explore and you can easily fill 3-4 days visiting temples and waterfalls. It is not as busy as South Bali and a few degrees cooler, making it a great getaway! If you have more time on the island, make sure to also visit Ubud and check out some of these best hotels in Bali.

 

The Next Trip Top 5 Travel Tips for Munduk

 

1) Rent a car or have a driver.

Getting to and from Munduk, and getting around Munduk is difficult without a vehicle. We recommend renting a car or hiring a driver for the days when you're exploring. Talk to your hotel if they can recommend a driver for you.

2) Make sure you bring cash!

Bali is very cash-centric and doesn’t accept cards everywhere. Most of the sights/attractions in Munduk are paid attractions and require you to pay cash. There are some ATMs around Munduk but they generally don't let you withdraw more than 1,000,000 IDR (about 74 USD). We found this maximum to be the case in South Bali also. We paid our driver 680,000 IDR (about 50 USD) for the drive from Denpasar Airport to Munduk. For a day driving around Munduk, we paid our driver around 400,000 IDR (around 30 USD).

3) Bring Mosquito Repellent

Being located in the jungle with regular rain fall, there can be a lot of mosquitoes in Munduk. Make sure to bring mosquito repellent to protect yourself.

4) Bring Sunscreen

This is true for almost every outdoor destination. Even though it's a few degrees cooler than on the beach, the sun is just as intense in Munduk. Usually, higher elevation destinations require more sun protection.

5) Eat all the Fresh Fruit

There are a ton of fruit stands in Munduk on the side of the road. I am usually not a fruit person, but we sampled almost everything and had the best fruit I have ever tasted! I can highly recommend the passion fruit which are just picked from the trees.

 

Save this post to your Bali travel Pinterest board for when you plan your next vacation!

 

Your Guide To Munduk Bali and the Famous Bali Swing 40

 

Your guide to Munduk and the famous Bali Swing! We cover stunning waterfalls, temples, where to stay, how to get around, and how much cash to bring.
Your guide to Munduk and the famous Bali Swing! We cover stunning waterfalls, temples, where to stay, how to get around, and how much cash to bring.
Your guide to Munduk and the famous Bali Swing! We cover stunning waterfalls, temples, where to stay, how to get around, and how much cash to bring.
Your guide to Munduk and the famous Bali Swing! We cover stunning waterfalls, temples, where to stay, how to get around, and how much cash to bring.
Your guide to Munduk and the famous Bali Swing! We cover stunning waterfalls, temples, where to stay, how to get around, and how much cash to bring.
Your guide to Munduk and the famous Bali Swing! We cover stunning waterfalls, temples, where to stay, how to get around, and how much cash to bring.
Your guide to Munduk and the famous Bali Swing! We cover stunning waterfalls, temples, where to stay, how to get around, and how much cash to bring.

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West Bali: One of the Best Places to Stay in Bali

What is your idea of heaven on earth? Welcome to our personal heaven! There are a lot of great places to stay in Bali and picking where exactly you want to go can be difficult. Each geographic area has its own appeal and unique history.

 

View of West Bali from Sumberkima Hill, Bali - The Next Trip

 

Why West Bali is One of the Best Places to Stay in Bali

 

West Bali is the least known, unspoiled, and uncrowded area of Bali, which makes it one of the best places to stay in Bali! It is the perfect place to get away from your busy every-day life. The days you will spend here are utter bliss and there is no better place to just disconnect.

 

Sunset View of West Bali at Sumberkima Hill, Bali - The Next Trip

 

West Bali is dominated by the West Bali National Park, a mostly uninhabited jungle. It is home to quiet and deserted beaches, great places to surf, and shallow waters perfect for snorkeling and diving. Most tourists don’t know much about West Bali and don't venture this far west on their Bali trip. Not even the locals visit the “wild west.” This provides for a very quiet surrounding and the perfect base for a retreat and exploring nature.

 

How to Get There

 

West Bali is relatively secluded but still accessible via car or scooter. There are two ways to get to West Bali, taking the road along the south shore or along the north shore, via Munduk. Either route will take around 4 hours, depending on traffic. Since the roads are quite narrow and windy, this makes for a long drive but trust me, it is completely worth it!

 

What is the best month to go to West Bali?

 

West Bali has relatively constant temperatures throughout the year, due to its proximity to the equator. However, there are two main seasons: the wet and the dry season. October – April is usually the wet season. During this season, the weather can be quite unpredictable and as the name suggests – wet. April through September is called the dry season and will have relatively little rain. This might sound great, but the lack of rain also affects the vegetation and might leave forests and hills looking more dried up than expected.

 

Pool View at Sumberkima Hill, Bali - The Next Trip

 

In our opinion, the best months to go to Bali are April – June. It’s right at the end of the rainy season / the beginning of the dry season. This means humidity levels are slightly lower than during the wet season and the vegetation is lush and green. Further, if you travel outside the peak season, flight prices are likely cheaper. If you would like to learn more about saving money on cheap flights, check out our 5-step guide to booking cheap flights.

 

Where to Stay in West Bali

 

West Bali is truly a place where you can fully relax. With the weather being perfect almost every single day, it is one of the best places to stay in Bali and the perfect place for a retreat.

 

Pool and Bali Villa at Sumberkima Hill, Bali - The Next Trip

Koy Resort Beach Cover Up

 

Pool View at Sumberkima Hill, Bali - The Next Trip

Chicwish Dress / Earrings

 

We stayed at Sumberkima Hill in North West Bali. The hotel consists of private Bali villas with a main area for yoga classes and spa treatments. You stay in your very own villa, which includes a personal pool, a kitchen, living room, dining room, bedrooms, and bathrooms. It is basically your new luxurious home away from home. Sumberkima Hill has 2 main restaurants on site to either dine in or order from so that you can dine in your own villa.

 

Living Room at Sumberkima Hill Bali Villa - The Next Trip

 

Living Room at Sumberkima Hill Bali Villa - The Next Trip

 

If you like spending time in the pool, you will love the opportunity of having a floating breakfast. You can let the staff know a day in advance when you place your breakfast order and they will serve it on a floating tray. There is really nothing quite like having a smoothie bowl and a coffee with these pool views.