15 Most Instagrammable Places in Santorini You Can’t Miss

Santorini is a Greek island in the middle of the Aegean Sea and it is infinitely famous for its beautiful white and blue towns perched on clifftops and for its incredible sunsets. The island is extremely popular amongst tourists from all over the world and as a result can become incredibly busy. However, once you go there, you understand why.

The charm of the typical white buildings, the blue dome churches, the steep car-free villages, and the backdrop of the Aegean Sea make Santorini an unforgettable destination. It’s no wonder that Santorini is on everyone’s European bucket list.

 

15 Most Instagrammable Places in Santorini

 

With a few villages on the island and consistently great weather, Santorini is the perfect Europe getaway location to take incredible photos and videos. The blue and white backdrop looks stunning in every photo and with the villages being small and walkable, creating content and visiting several different Santorini Instagram photo spots is very easily doable in a short amount of time.

This blog post reveals the 15 most instagrammable places in Santorini, how to get to each place, and what time of day is best to take photos there for optimal lighting and minimal crowds.

Disclaimer:  This blog post contains affiliate links.  Meaning that at no extra cost to you, we will earn a small commission should you click on our links and make a purchase. Thank you for supporting the businesses that support us!

 

How to Get Around Santorini

 

Santorini is a relatively small island and has 3 major and well-known villages: the capital Fira, the arguably most famous village Oia, and the smaller but just as cute Imerovigli. These typical Santorini villages are very compact and small which makes getting around by foot extremely easy. Some parts of are also car-free which means if you want to explore the typical old town, you will need to park your car and set off on foot.

There are a few different options to get around between the villages and between the most instagrammable places in Santorini.

 

Rental Car

 

Our favorite option is renting a car. It gives you the flexibility to go wherever you like and whenever you like and it makes your trip much easier if you are looking to carry several outfits with you for photoshoots around the island. We rented a car with Kronos Rent A Car which we picked up at the ferry port and were extremely happy with our rental. It allowed us to get around the island super quick and visit the most instagrammable places in Santorini in no time.

We recommend you reserve your car in advance as there are limited car rental options on the island, and once they are all spoken for, you are out of luck.

 

Bettina in red dress in blue rental car

 

Public Transport

 

Another way to get around the island to get to all of the Santorini Instagram spots is by bus. Santorini has a well connected and reliable public transport system which can get you to all the major villages. The longest bus routes are about 30 minutes and the buses run from around 7am to 10pm.

Bus tickets are between EUR 1.80 and EUR 2.50 depending on where you are going, and can be purchased from the driver. Make sure you bring enough cash as cards are not accepted.

Make sure you check the bus schedule in advance and note that public transport can get quite full during high season and you may have to wait a bus or two until there is enough space for you to get on. This would definitely be the cheapest option to travel between the most instagrammable places in Santorini but it might be quite time consuming.

 

Taxis

 

If you don’t feel like renting a car or taking public transport, you can also take a taxi to get around. There is no Uber of Lyft in Santorini and all taxis on the island are grey Mercedes. Fira is the taxi hub on the island and if you are looking to get one, you need to call +30 22860 22555. Taxis shouldn’t be more than EUR 25 and you should always ask and agree on the fare before you get in.

 

Where to Stay in Santorini

 

Santorini has an incredible number of gorgeous hotels with personal pools, stunning ocean views, and incredibly cute rooms. There are so many options which make it difficult to decide where to stay in Santorini. These typical Santorini hotels come at a price point, rates for a room in either of Oia, Imerovigli, or Fira start at $200 per night and can get very expensive very quickly.

We put together our favorite low to high range AirBnBs to help you find the right fit for your Santorini vacation and a base to visit the most instagrammable places in Santorini.

 

 

 

 

Map of Most Instagrammable Places in Santorini

 

Finding these most instagrammable places in Santorini is relatively easy once you’re in each village, but finding the right angle might be a bit trickier. You can use the below map to help you figure out where exactly each spot is and create your own photoshoot itinerary.

A little trick when using the map is to switch it to Satellite view. Because Oia, Fira, and Imerovigli have car-free city centers and are only accessible by foot, there are no roads showing on Google Maps. The best way to orient yourself is by switching the map to Satellite view so that you can see the tiny streets and stairs and easily navigate to the most instagrammable places in Santorini.

Photo Etiquette in Santorini

 

Santorini is one of the most popular photo locations in Europe because of its gorgeous cities and dramatic ocean backdrop. Walking around Oia or Imerovigli, almost every corner is instagrammable. It is important to remember to stay respectful when taking photos around town and hitting the most instagrammable places in Santorini. Many places have private property signs, specific “do not climb” warnings, or even fences to keep people out. Make sure you respect other people’s property when taking photos here.

Keep in mind that Santorini is an incredibly popular travel destination and there are likely going to be a lot of content creators at the same place at the same time, trying to get that perfect shot. Be mindful of other creators and be patient. It’s best to be at your favorite Santorini photo spots early to make sure you have enough time to get the photo you are envisioning.

 

Blue Dome Churches Oia, Santorini

 

Most Instagrammable Places in Santorini

 

There are so many great Santorini Instagram spots and many of them are located in Oia, Fira, and Imerovigli. We put together the 15 most instagrammable places in Santorini and are also sharing instagrammable places outside the cities which you may not have seen before.

 

Best Photo Spots and Sunset Spots in Oia

 

Many of the most instagrammable places in Santorini are actually situated in Oia. They are relatively close together and easily reachable by foot. If you are getting around the island by car, arriving earlier in the day should guarantee a free parking spot. But even if you arrive later, you should be able to find free parking on Monastiri or you can find a spot in the nearby parking lot.

It’s only a few minutes walk from the parking lot to the city center and you can start exploring the most instagrammable places in Santorini.

 

Classic Greek Church

 

Santorini is famous for its cute churches and the typical church bells. Finding a church top that is easy to photograph without climbing on any rooftops is relatively difficult though.

When walking through Oia, we stumbled upon a classical Greek church with typical church bells that is easy to access and even easier to photograph. It is located right next to a playground and you can easily walk right up to it and take a typical Santorini-style church photo.

The best time of the day to take photos here is really any time you are in the area. Since this church is free standing, you won’t have to think about shadows from surrounding buildings.

Location on Google Maps: Classic Greek Church

 

Bettina twirling at Blue Church with Bells in Oia Santorini

 

Santorini Church Bells with Ocean Views

 

Another location to capture the typical Santorini church bells with the ocean backdrop is further into the city center, close to the two blue dome churches. It is only a few steps down from the main shopping street in Oia and provides all the typical Santorini church vibes. This Santorini church doesn’t feature the famous blue dome but the original bells against the stunning ocean and volcanic backdrop makes for one of the most instagrammable places in Santorini.

This spot is very easily accessible and would be perfect to photograph after you have been to the Santorini blue dome church.

The best time of the day to take photos here is early in the morning. This spot will be completely lit by the sun and can cause harsh shadows if you go too late in the day. In the evening, the sun sets behind the hill, leaving this place completely in the shadows.

Location on Google Maps: Santorini Church Bells with Ocean Views

 

Bettina in Red Dress at Greek Church Bells with Ocean Views in Oia Santorini

 

Typical White Santorini House with Ocean Views

 

Right next to these typical church bells is another perfect Instagram spot which is going to sweep your followers off their feet. The typical white Santorini house paired with the endless ocean views is such a great way of sharing the Santorini vibes. Finding a free-standing house in Oia is quite a challenge, as most buildings are so close to each other. There is no better Santorini Instagram spot than this one to show off the unique architecture style on the island.

Similar to the Santorini Church Bells with Ocean Views Instagram spot, the best time to come here to take photos is in the morning to avoid harsh shadows. If you stop by later in the morning, you might have to take photos directly into the sun.

Location on Google Maps: Typical White Santorini House with Ocean Views

 

Bettina in Red Dress at typical Santorini House in Oia, Santorini

 

Bettina in Red Dress at Santorini House in Oia, Santorini

 

Santorini Pink Church

 

Possibly the most famous Instagram spot and one of the top most instagrammable places in Santorini is the view of the blue dome church next to the pink church against the backdrop of the deep blue ocean. It is not just quintessentially Santorini, it is also incredibly stunning in person. It is no wonder that this is one of the most instagrammable places in Santorini as the architecture of the churches is just breathtaking.

Getting to this spot is a bit controversial as this exact spot is on a private road. If you are staying at a hotel nearby, you will need to pass this road but for non-guests, it is technically private. That being said, when we were there, there were a few locals going about their day and nobody seemed to mind us taking a photo.

If you are planning to take a picture here, PLEASE be respectful! Know what pose and angle you want before walking down the stairs so you can snap your photo quickly. Also, and this should go without saying, do not climb onto the rooftop of the church! We see so many photos on Instagram with people climbing on the rooftop here even though it is explicitly forbidden.

The best time of day to take photos here is early in the morning. Once the sun rises, part of the church will be in the sun, whereas the stairs will be in the shade, making it more difficult to edit the photo. If you come here right at sunrise, you should be able to get even lighting and there will also be fewer people waiting in line to take a photo.

Location on Google Maps: Santorini Pink Church

 

Santorini Pink Church Instagram Spot in Oia, Santorini 

 

Santorini Blue Dome Church

 

Another incredibly famous spot and one of everyone's favorite most instagrammable places in Santorini is the Blue Dome Church. Having the two blue domes standing high in the middle of the white city center is a beautiful sight and so typical of Santorini, you can’t possibly pass it up.

Getting to this location can be a bit controversial depending on the direction you are coming from. If you walk west from the Santorini Pink Church and walk down the hill and then follow the road east and make your way up the hill on the other side of the blue dome church, you won’t pass any private road signs and are able to access this famous spot without issues.

 

Walk Way from Pink Church to Blue Dome Church in Oia Santorini

 

Only when walking further up to the main road, you’ll notice a sign saying the road you were previously on was private.

The best time in the day to take photos here is also in the morning as the sunlight will hit this part of Oia in the morning.

Location on Google Maps: Santorini Blue Dome Church

 

Bettina in Orange Dress at Blue Dome Church in Oia, Santorini

 

Pink Kastro Houses

 

Another one of the most instagrammable places in Santorini is the Pink Kastro Houses. This Instagram spot is known for the pink/orange houses in the middle of the otherwise completely white Oia, and it is just as beautiful as you see in all the photos.

Finding this spot is relatively easy, but getting your desired photo might take some patience, depending on what time of the day you are here. The most popular angle to take this photo is for the subject to walk down the stairs and for the photographer to stand on a street a bit higher up to capture the entire Pink Kastro houses.

Given the distance between the subject and the photographer, it might be a bit tricky to get a photo without other people in it and will require some patience.

As is true in most cases, taking a photo here without the crowds is best early in the morning, however, the Pink Kastro Houses will be in the shade at that time. We shot our photos here at 6pm, about an hour before sunset. The lighting was beautiful but the streets started to get very busy as people were starting to line up to see the sunset.

Location on Google Maps: Pink Kastro Houses (here is where Kyle was standing to take the photo)

 

Bettina Walking around Pink Kastro Houses in Oia, Santorini

 

Bettina in front of Turquoise Home at Pink Kastro Homes in Oia, Santorini

 

Santorini Sunset and Oia Windmills

 

Probably the one photo Oia is most famous for and easily one of the most instagrammable places in Santorini is the Santorini sunset behind the windmills. Oia is known for its incredible sunsets and the hype is very real. If you are trying to catch the sunset here and get a good Instagram spot, make sure you are here at least an hour prior to sunset. We got to our at around 6pm – more than an hour prior to the famous Santorini sunset - and we were not the first ones waiting here.

That being said, getting a Santorini sunset photo here with the windmills, the white buildings, and the orange glow from the sun is everything it is made out to be.

The best time of the day to take photos here is the golden hour in the evening which will create beautiful pink skies and the perfect image of the sun setting behind the city.

Location on Google Maps: Santorini Sunset and Oia Windmills

 

Sunset View with Windmill in Oia, Santorini

Most Instagrammable Places in Santorini you Can't Miss! From blue dome churches, sunset in Oia, typical Santorini-style houses, to the pink church, this post reveals the top 15 Instagram Spots in Santorini and includes tips on how to get there, how to avoid crowds, and the best time to take photos. | Santorini Instagram | Santorini Travel Guide | Best Locations and Photo Tips | Oia Instagram Spots | Imerovigli Instagram Spots | Oia Sunset | Santorini Greece Photography | Santorini house
Most Instagrammable Places in Santorini you Can't Miss! From blue dome churches, sunset in Oia, typical Santorini-style houses, to the pink church, this post reveals the top 15 Instagram Spots in Santorini and includes tips on how to get there, how to avoid crowds, and the best time to take photos. | Santorini Instagram | Santorini Travel Guide | Best Locations and Photo Tips | Oia Instagram Spots | Imerovigli Instagram Spots | Oia Sunset | Santorini Greece Photography | Santorini house

 

Best Photo Spots in Imerovigli

 

Imerovigli is a very charming little town between Oia and Fira. It’s not as famous as Oia but it is arguably even more beautiful and definitely less busy than Oia. We found some of the most instagrammable places in Santorini here. Kyle and I loved it here so much, we spent two days here taking photos and getting lost in the streets.

Similar to Oia, the city center of Imerovigli is a car-free zone and you will need to navigate the cute streets by foot. If you are getting to Imerovigli by car, you can park it in the parking lot here or on the street right in front of the parking lot here.

 

Imerovigli Blue Dome Church (Anastasi Church)

 

Possibly one of the most instagrammable places in Santorini is the blue dome church in Imerovigli. The way the city is laid out, you can get a beautiful close-up photo with this gorgeous church from the street above and you are also able to capture the flowering bougainvillea tree. Because Imerovigli is not as popular as Oia, you should be able to have this Instagram spot all to yourself regardless of the time of day you are here.

The best time to take photos really depends on what lighting you prefer. The church will be beautifully lit in the morning light as the sun will come over the mountain around 9/10am. If you are looking to capture the evening sun, note that you may be taking photos directly into the sun.

Location on Google Maps: Imerovigli Blue Dome Church (Anastasi Church)

 

Bettina in Red Dress at Blue Dome Church in Imerovigli, Santorini

 

Bettina in Orange Dress at Blue Dome Church in Imerovigli, Santorini

 

Flowering Bougainvillea Tree (Cute Pink Tree)

 

If you are looking to get a beautiful Instagram photo with a flowering bougainvillea tree, this is the perfect Santorini Instagram spot for you. The pink flowers are incredibly vibrant and are a great way of sharing the vacation in Santorini feeling.

The best time of the day to take photos here is in the early evening so that you have the sun behind the photographer, rather than behind the subject.

Location on Google Maps: Imerovigli Flowering Bougainvillea Tree

 

Bettina in Red Dress at Pink Tree (Bougainvillea Tree) in Imerovigli, Santorini

 

Santorini Church Bell Tower in Imerovigli

 

Another iconic Instagram spot in Santorini is the church bell tower in Imerovigli. It is one of the biggest bell towers we have seen on the island and incredibly easy to access which makes it a perfect photo spot. Being situated behind the blue dome church, you won’t be able to capture the bell tower from the top of the hill, but you can capture it nicely when standing right in front of the gates leading to the church.

The best time to take photos at the church bell tower is early in the afternoon when you have the sun behind the photographer’s back. You may also be able to capture some great photos in the morning but would be shooting directly into the sun.

Location on Google Maps: Santorini Church Bell Tower in Imerovigli

 

Bettina at Church Bell Tower in Imerovigli, Santorini

 

Bettina in Red Dress at Church Bell Tower in Imerovigli, Santorini

 

Santorini Rooftop in Imerovigli

 

There is no visiting Santorini without taking a photo standing on a curved white Santorini rooftop. These white rooftops are some of the most instagrammable places in Santorini. However, since these buildings are private property, finding a place where you can do so without breaking the rules is a bit difficult.

You probably wonder by now if there is a way to take a photo on one of the iconic Santorini rooftops and the good news is there is! Imerovigli is the best place on the island to get a photo with a Santorini rooftop, without spending the night at a hotel that allows rooftop photoshoots.

We were in Imerovigli with a local who was pointing out the best Santorini Instagram spots and accessible rooftops to us. We are excited to share this spot with you as it is one of our favorites. The rooftop is located right in front of a restaurant. There were no warning signs there when we were there with our local guide, and nobody seemed to mind us taking photos on the rooftop which makes it one of the most instagrammable places in Santorini!

The best time to take a photo on this rooftop is any time throughout the day. In the morning starting at 9am/10am, the rooftop will be in full sun with the sun being on the left side when you face the ocean. As the sun sets on the right, you can get some gorgeous sun flare photos later in the evening, depending on which direction the photographer takes the photo from.

Location on Google Maps: Santorini Rooftop in Imerovigli

 

Bettina in Flying Red Dress on Santorini Rooftop in Imerovigli

Most Instagrammable Places in Santorini you Can't Miss! From blue dome churches, sunset in Oia, typical Santorini-style houses, to the pink church, this post reveals the top 15 Instagram Spots in Santorini and includes tips on how to get there, how to avoid crowds, and the best time to take photos. | Santorini Instagram | Santorini Travel Guide | Best Locations and Photo Tips | Oia Instagram Spots | Imerovigli Instagram Spots | Oia Sunset | Santorini Greece Photography | Santorini house
Most Instagrammable Places in Santorini you Can't Miss! From blue dome churches, sunset in Oia, typical Santorini-style houses, to the pink church, this post reveals the top 15 Instagram Spots in Santorini and includes tips on how to get there, how to avoid crowds, and the best time to take photos. | Santorini Instagram | Santorini Travel Guide | Best Locations and Photo Tips | Oia Instagram Spots | Imerovigli Instagram Spots | Oia Sunset | Santorini Greece Photography | Santorini house

Sunset on Santorini Rooftop in Imerovigli

 

Best Photo Spots Around the Island

 

There is more to Santorini than the beautiful white towns and you can find some incredible Instagram spots all over the island. Some of the less photographed but just as breathtaking views are in the capital Fira, at the lighthouse, the red beach, or the monastery which is also the highest point on the island.

 

Catholic Monastery of Dominican Nuns in Fira / Thera

 

Fira or as it is spelled in Greek, Thera, is the capital of Santorini, the biggest city on Santorini, and by far the best city when it comes to shopping. While Fira is famous for its great shopping and dining opportunities, it is not as well known for having the most instagrammable places in Santorini. Part of the reason is because it can get very busy and taking photos here is generally a bit more difficult. However, the city is just as beautiful as Oia and Imerovigli and spending a few hours here taking pictures is a must.

Getting to Fira is relatively easy by car and by public transport. If you are driving with your rental car, you can park your car outside the city here which is only a short walk to the historic city center.

One of the most instagrammable places in Fira is the Catholic Monastery of Dominican Nuns. The monastery itself is incredibly beautiful and just out front is a cute walkway with an arch, making it a top edition to the 15 most instagrammable places in Santorini.

The best time of the day to take photos here depends on how you want to avoid the shadows. Given that this location is next to some high walls, you might have a lot of shadows in your photos. If you are looking to avoid them at all cost, I recommend going in the early morning. We took photos here in the early afternoon and were able to edit out the harshness of the shadows.

Location on Google Maps: Catholic Monastery of Dominican Nuns

 

Bettina at Catholic Monastery of Dominican Nuns in Fira, Santorini

 

Santorini Monastery of Profitis Ilias

 

Up on the highest point on Santorini 1,860 feet (567 meters) above sea level is the Monastery of Profitis Ilias. It is one of the oldest Monasteries on Santorini and was built in 1711. The Monastery itself is incredibly beautiful and features the typical Santorini curved rooftop, but what you also come up here for is the incredible view. The elevation allows you to see the entire Santorini caldera and the main cities on the island.

The best way to get here is by car as there is no public transportation, but you might be able to book a bus tour that will take you there. Parking is available almost anywhere on the street.

You can take photos here any time of the day as you are on the highest point on the island and won’t have anything blocking the sun. However, sunset photos from here would be phenomenal as you can see the sun set behind the entire caldera.

Location on Google Maps: Santorini Monastery of Profitis Ilias

 

Bettina at Santorini Monastery of Profitis Ilias

 

Bettina looking at the view from Santorini Monastery of Profitis Ilias

 

Walkway at Santorini Monastery of Profitis Ilias

 

Santorini Lighthouse (Akrotiri Lighthouse)

 

The Akrotiri Lighthouse is one of the oldest lighthouses on Santorini ad was built in 1892. Situated on the most western point of the island, the Lighthouse is a great place to see the caldera and get a view of Oia, Fira, and Imerovigli. The lighthouse itself is incredibly cute and the views from here are even more beautiful. However, taking photos can be a bit challenging as it is incredibly windy here. So windy, that I would recommend you wear tight fitting clothes as my skirt almost blew away!

Getting to the lighthouse is very easy by car. There is no public transportation to get here but you might be able to book a bus tour that stops at the Akrotiri Lighthouse.

Any time of the day is great to take photos here as there are no immediate surrounding hills that would cause shadows in your photos. Capturing the sunset from here would be stunning.

Location on Google Maps: Santorini Lighthouse (Akrotiri Lighthouse)

 

Bettina Looking at Cliffs at Santorini Lighthouse

 

Bettina Looking at Cliffs at Santorini Lighthouse

 

Santorini Red Beach

 

While Santorini is not famous for its beaches, you can still enjoy going for a swim in the Aegean Sea and snap some instagrammable beach photos here. One of the most unique beaches on the island is the Red Beach. Contrary to what you might think, it is not called red beach because of the sand but because of the surrounding red rocks.

The red beach might not be one of the most instagrammable places in Santorini that you had in mind but the red rocks and red and black sand against the deep blue ocean blue can make for incredible Instagram photos.

You can easily get to the red beach by car and park your car in the nearby parking lot. From there, it’s a 5-10 minute walk to get to the actual beach. Make sure you wear shoes you are comfortable walking over rocks with as the trail to the beach is pretty rocky.

The best time to take photos here is in the early morning. If you come here right around sunrise, the beach will be completely in the shadow and you will struggle to get the vibrant colors you are looking for. As the beach gets pretty busy, being here in the morning and taking photos right when the sun hits the beach is likely the best plan.

Location on Google Maps: Santorini Red Beach

 

Bettina Walking Along Red Beach in Santorini

 

Edit Your Santorini Instagram Photos with The Next Trip Santorini Mobile Lightroom Presets

 

Spending time in Santorini and taking photos here has been a dream and what I love even more is being able to share my favorite most instagrammable places in Santorini with you! If you have already been to Santorini, you probably have thousands of photos from here (just like we do) and would like to edit them to bring out the vibrant blues and turquoise, the sharp white, and the pink from the blooming bougainvillea trees.

I put together a collection of Santorini Mykonos mobile presets specifically to help you edit your beautiful Santorini mobile photos. These presets are specifically created for mobile photos taken in Santorini and will turn the blues into vibrant blue and turquoise hues, reduce the harsh shadows you might have from taking photos around lunch time, and bring out the magical sunset colors from Oia.

You can get the collection of 3 Lightroom Santorini Mykonos mobile presets here and create the perfect photos from your favorite most instagrammable places in Santorini!

 

Bettina twirling at Blue Dome Church in Imerovigli, Santorini

 

What are Your Favorite Most Instagrammable Places in Santorini?

 

Have you been to Santorini and are we missing anything on this list? If so what are the most instagrammable places in Santorini in your opinion? Let us know in the comments below. I loved Santorini and would be incredibly happy to go back and find some of your suggestions around the island.

 

Make sure you pin this post to your Most Instagrammable Places in Santorini Pinterest board for when you plan your next trip to Santorini!

Most Instagrammable Places in Santorini you Can't Miss! From blue dome churches, sunset in Oia, typical Santorini-style houses, to the pink church, this post reveals the top 15 Instagram Spots in Santorini and includes tips on how to get there, how to avoid crowds, and the best time to take photos. | Santorini Instagram | Santorini Travel Guide | Best Locations and Photo Tips | Oia Instagram Spots | Imerovigli Instagram Spots | Oia Sunset | Santorini Greece Photography | Santorini house
Most Instagrammable Places in Santorini you Can't Miss! From blue dome churches, sunset in Oia, typical Santorini-style houses, to the pink church, this post reveals the top 15 Instagram Spots in Santorini and includes tips on how to get there, how to avoid crowds, and the best time to take photos. | Santorini Instagram | Santorini Travel Guide | Best Locations and Photo Tips | Oia Instagram Spots | Imerovigli Instagram Spots | Oia Sunset | Santorini Greece Photography | Santorini house

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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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The Ultimate Instagram Guide to the Fire Wave and Valley of Fire State Park

The Valley of Fire is one of those places highly recommended as a day-trip from Las Vegas, but not everyone makes the drive. However, you have probably seen countless photos of the spectacular Fire Wave or strange-looking Elephant Rock and thought it would be great to explore the state park.

I'm here to convince you that Valley of Fire state park is a must-see when in Las Vegas or Nevada!

The Valley of Fire has some of the most incredible scenery I have ever seen, even after spending 3 month living Vanlife and exploring Utah. Seeing the Fire Wave alone is well worth a trip!

 

Ultimate Instagram Guide to Fire Wave and Valley of Fire State Park

 

If you are looking to go on a road trip to see the Valley of Fire in Nevada, I am sharing everything you need to know before you go. And if you would like to snap a few photos for Instagram, I'm also sharing the 7 most instagrammable places in Valley of Fire State Park, including the spectacular Fire Wave.

 

What is the Valley of Fire State Park Known For

 

The Valley of Fire State Park is a nature preservation area south of Overton, Nevada. The state park is known for its incredible rock formations created from red sandstone. These formations stem from shifting sand dunes and were formed 150 million years ago. One of the most iconic of these rock formations is the Fire Wave which is an impressive hill with red and white zebra-like stripes.

 

Road Driving Through Valley of Fire State Park

 

With it's 40,000 acres, Valley of Fire State Park is home to some incredible sights, ancient petroglyphs, and a dream come true for anyone interested in geology, human history, and photography.

 

How to Get to the Valley of Fire

 

The easiest way to get to the Valley of Fire State Park is by car. It is a 50-minute drive from Las Vegas, Nevada, on I-15N and a 1 hour, 30 minute drive from St. George, Utah, on I-15S.

There is also a possibility to get to the park with a tour bus company. However, since the trail heads within the park are dispersed, I highly recommend you go there by car so you can explore the park at your own pace and spend as much time as you like at the Fire Wave.

 

Toyota Driving Through Valley of Fire State Park

 

Best Time to Visit the Valley of Fire State Park

 

Being located at the southern tip of Nevada, the weather at Valley of Fire is extremely dry with an average of 1 day of rain per month. Temperatures can get extremely hot in summer, with highs of well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius). The best time to visit Valley of Fire is from October to April when the temperatures are cooler and you are able to explore the park all day long.

 

Rainbow Colored Rock Valley of Fire State Park

 

If you choose to visit during the summer months, make sure you are prepared for the heat by bringing a lot of water and having an air conditioned car. You can try to avoid the heat by entering the park right at sunrise and staying indoors between 11am and 3pm.

Many trails, such as the Fire Wave trail, are in direct sunlight with little to no shade. Hiking in the intense summer heat can be dangerous.

 

Valley of Fire State Park Details

 

Entrance Fee: $10 per vehicle for day-use, $20 per night if you like to camp plus $10 for camping sites with utility hook ups.

Hours: the park is open 365 days a year, from sunrise to sunset. These are the Valley of Fire sunset and sunrise times.

Cell Service and Wifi: You won't have cell coverage throughout most of the park but there are some spots such as at the visitor center or at the White Domes Trail parking lot which have cell reception. The park offers wifi access and a 24-hour access for 1 device is $8. You can find more details about the wifi access price plans here.

Visitor Center: The visitor center is located towards the entrance of the park and is open from 9am to 4:30pm.

Facilities: There are outhouses located throughout the park at Atlatl Rock, Seven Sisters, the Cabins, near Mouse's Tank Trailhead and White Domes parking lots.

Drone Usage: The usage of drones or any remote controlled aircrafts is not allowed in the park.

If you are looking for more information on the park and any fire restrictions which might be in place, visit the Valley of Fire State Park website.

 

Things To Do at Valley of Fire

 

With a landscape this beautiful, the Valley of Fire is more than just a compilation of rocks. The best thing to do in the park is to go on hikes and explore the different areas and rock formations. Most of the loop hikes are relatively short at only a mile or less, such as the Fire Wave Trail, the Rainbow Vista hike, and the White Domes Trail.

There are a few other hikes which are longer such as the Old Arrowhead Road, the Prospect Trail, and Charlie's Spring. For more information on the trails, you can find a full map of all Valley of Fire hiking trails here.

 

Fire Wave Trailhead Valley of Fire

 

In addition to hiking, Valley of Fire is also a great spot for rock climbing, camping with incredible views, wildlife viewing, and my personal favorite - taking photos of everything, especially the Fire Wave!

 

Wildlife at Valley of Fire State Park

 

Valley of Fire 7 Most Instagrammable Places

 

With a park this big and this beautiful, knowing the most picturesque places ahead of time will help you plan your trip as well as save time while you're in the park. I put together the 7 most Instagram-worthy locations in Valley of Fire State Park, including the Fire Wave, the best times to take photos there, and also added them to a map to help you plan your trip.

 

Fire Wave

 

The Fire Wave is by far the most impressive rock formation within the Valley of Fire State Park and it makes for an incredible Instagram photo. The combination of the red and white sandstone in zebra-like stripes across a wave-like hill is a sight like no other and also the reason why the Fire Wave is so popular.

 

Fire Wave at Valley of Fire State Park

 

How to Get There

 

From the Fire Wave parking lot, there is the Fire Wave hiking trail which will take you directly to the Fire Wave. The hike is less than 1 mile and relatively easy. Note that there is no shade along the way. Please make sure to bring lots of water and wear sun protective clothing.

 

Best Time to Take Photos at Fire Wave

 

Generally, the best times to take photos to have soft lighting are the first hour of sunlight in the morning and the last hour before sunset. However, if you want to capture the true vivid colors of the Fire Wave, taking photos later in the morning or early in the afternoon provides for some stunning shots as well.

Since there are no trees and is almost no shade at the Fire Wave, you won't need to worry as much about shadows in your photos.

 

Fire Wave at Valley of Fire State Park

 

Mouse’s Tank Road

 

Imagine a road which makes its way through the fire-colored sandstone rock at sunrise. You may not have heard of Mouse's Tank Road but chances are you have already seen a photo of this iconic road. The road itself is not anything out of the ordinary as it is part of the main road going through Valley of Fire State Park. However, it offers incredible views.

 

Instagram Photo at Mouse's Tank Road Valley of Fire

 

The best part about this instagrammable photo location is that you can create the illusion of a drone photo without actually using a drone thanks to the way the road is sloped. Make sure your photographer stands on the high point of the road and the model is further down the road. That way you can create the impression of an aerial view.

 

Girl Walking on Mouse's Tank Road in Valley of Fire

 

How to Get There

 

The perfect photo location is only a 12 minute drive from the entrance of the park and a 9 minute drive from the Fire Wave. It is right on the street and you can easily pull over with your car and snap photos as long as there is no traffic.

 

Best Time to Take Photos at Mouse's Tank Road

 

Since you are taking photos in the middle of the main road through the park, I suggest taking photos right at sunrise or sunset. That way, you will encounter the least amount of traffic and you will also have beautiful light without having to worry about harsh shadows.

 

Aerial View of Mouse's Tank Road in Valley of Fire

 

Elephant Rock

 

Elephant Rock is exactly what the name suggests: a rock which looks like an elephant. Now you might think that these rock formations might not really look like an elephant but trust me - they do! I didn't believe it either until I was there in person.

The entire rock and arch which forms the elephant trunk is extremely impressive to see in person and makes for the perfect photo opportunity.

 

Girl Jumping at Elephant Rock in Valley of Fire

 

How to Get There

 

Elephant Rock is a mere 3 minute drive from the park entrance and is on the right side of the road when driving in. Leave your car in the parking lot and take the super short hike to see the rock formation. The hike is pretty easy and is less than a mile.

 

Elephant Rock in the Sun at Valley of Fire

 

Best Time to Take Photos at Elephant Rock

 

Given the formation of the rock, the light is best at Elephant Rock later in the afternoon when the sun is low but has not yet disappeared behind the hills right next to Elephant Rock.

 

Welcome to Valley of Fire Sign

 

While this seems like an obvious place to take photos, there are so many unique locations within Valley of Fire that people forget to take a cute photo at the Welcome to Valley of Fire sign.

 

Greetings from Valley of Fire State Park Sign

 

How to Get There

 

The sign is located at the Elephant Rock parking lot, right where the Elephant Rock trail starts. You really can't miss it.

 

Best Time to Take Photos at the Valley of Fire Welcome Sign

 

Almost any time of the day would work well to take a photo here. Keep in mind though that the light might be softer and conditions generally better to take a photo early in the morning or later in the evening.

 

Rainbow Vista

 

If you are looking for rainbow-colored hills to take photos of, this is your spot! The entire rainbow vista hike provides beautiful rainbow rock views along the way and ends at the Fire Canyon Overlook. It is perfect for creating instagrammable content. There is even a mini arch on this trail which you can be creative with.

 

Arch at Rainbow Vista Valley of Fire State Park

 

Rainbow Vista Hike Valley of Fire State Park

 

How to Get There

 

The Rainbow Vista parking lot is only a 15 minute drive from the park entrance and a 6 minute drive from the Fire Wave. The hike to the rainbow vista is relatively easy and only a mile long.

 

Best Time to Take Photos at the Rainbow Vista

 

Given the hills surrounding this hike, taking photos right at sunset or sunrise might cause a lot of shadows to be in your photos so you will be better off taking photos later in the late morning and early in the afternoon.

 

White Domes Trail

 

White Domes Trail is another great place to take instagram-worthy photos as it is packed with colorful rocks and a slot canyon.

 

Rainbow Rock at White Domes Trail Valley of Fire State Park

 

Slot Canyon at White Domes Trail Valley of Fire

 

The beginning of the trail is marked with purple and yellow colored rocks whereas later in the trail you make your way through the slot canyon and stumble upon white and red striped rocks. It's a gorgeous spot to explore and has countless photo opportunities along the way.

 

White Domes Trailhead at Valley of Fire State Park

 

How to Get There

 

The White Domes Trail is the furthest trail from the park entrance but only a 23-minute drive from there, and a 3-minute drive from the Fire Wave. The drive itself is incredibly beautiful as you get to see the entire park and stop along the way to take photos.

The White Domes loop is only 1 mile and pretty easy to hike.

 

Best Time to Take Photos at the White Domes Trail

 

The best time to take photos along the White Domes trail is mid- to late-morning for the best light. If you are looking to take photos in the slot canyon, doing so later in the morning will provide for better light.

 

White Domes Trail Movie Set

 

While you're on the White Domes Trail, make sure you stop by the remnants of an old movie set to take a photo. It was used in 1965 to film the movie 'The Professionals'. You can watch the Professional trailer here. A small part of the movie set is still there and there is also a monument explaining the history of commercial filming in Valley of Fire State Park.

 

The Professionals Movie Set at White Domes Trail Valley of Fire State Park

 

How to Get There

 

The movie set is a few minutes into the White Domes Trail hike and impossible to miss.

 

Best Time to Take Photos at the White Domes Movie Set

 

Any time of day would work to take photos here, depending on what light you are looking for. However, if you are spending the morning hiking the White Dome Trail stopping by here makes perfect sense.

 

Map of Most Instagrammable Places in Valley of Fire

 

Valley of Fire is an incredible place to discover, take photos, and a perfect stop for any road trip in the Southwest US. Use this map to help you plan our your trip and include as many instagrammable places in Valley of Fire, such as the Fire Wave.

 

 

What are Your Favorite Instagrammable Places in Valley of Fire?

 

Now that I have shared my favorite instagrammable places in Valley of Fire - especially the Fire Wave -  I am curious to hear what your favorite spots are and if I missed any to include any in this post. Please let me know in the comments as I would love to go back and explore the park more!

 

Make sure you pin this post to your USA road trip Pinterest board or Instagram Pinterest board for when you plan your road trip to the Fire Wave!

 

The Ultimate Instagram to Valley of Fire and the Fire Wave

 

The Ultimate Instagram Guide to Valley of Fire and the Fire Wave

The Ultimate Instagram Guide to Valley of Fire and the Fire Wave

 

The Ultimate Instagram Guide to Valley of Fire and the Fire Wave

 

The Ultimate Instagram Guide to Valley of Fire and the Fire Wave

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How to Spend the Perfect Weekend in Reno and 4 Best Day Trips from Reno

Reno is one of those cities that most people have heard of, but haven’t necessarily been to, and we think that is a shame! Here is how to spend the perfect weekend in Reno. We are sharing our favorite places, where to stay during your getaway, and the best day trips from Reno.

 

Perfect Weekend in Reno and Best Day Trips from Reno

 

Reno has a lot to offer the curious traveler for a weekend. With its cute downtown area, the impressive amount of street art, and vibrant restaurant scene, Reno is the perfect getaway for anyone looking to explore the USA more. There are also some super fun day trips from Reno for you to explore nearby attractions that you could easily stretch your weekend in Reno trip much longer.

 

Reno Mural

 

Make sure you scroll to our Top 5 tips for spending a weekend in Reno at the end of the post to ensure you have a great time!

 

What is Reno Known For?

 

Reno is most widely known as “The Biggest Little City in the World.” The slogan was chosen as a winner of a contest in 1929, and only a few years later became more widespread when the city began significant growth due to Nevada’s legalization of gambling and liberal divorce laws.

 

Gambling Chips in Front of Reno Arch

 

Reno is known for its casinos which are the biggest draws to the city. However, over the years, Reno has also developed an amazing art scene and is the home of the world-class art museum Nevada Museum of Art, the National Automobile Museum, and countless of incredible street art. Not to mention Reno is the closest city to Burning Man.

 

Playa Art Park Reno

 

There is no mentioning the city’s name without thinking of the festival which melds art, activities, and events in the Black Rock desert. The biggest little city in the world has a beautiful Riverwalk District which is incredibly vibrant and by far our favorite part of town.

 

Whales Art Sculptures in Riverwalk District Reno

 

We are not big gamblers ourselves, so luckily there is so much to do during a weekend in Reno besides gambling.

 

Casinos in Downtown Reno

 

There is something so exciting and thrilling about going to a casino. The thought of ending your night with double the money in your pocket makes for a great evening in itself. Paired with great company, good food, and music, you will have the night of a lifetime.

 

Bright City Lights Reflected in Window, Reno

 

With casinos being the main draw for most visitors to the city, we of course had to check out some of the main casinos in downtown Reno. Downtown Reno has some of the same famous casino brands as Las Vegas, such as Circus Circus, and Harrah’s, as well as the Eldorado, and the Club Cal-Neva.

 

Circus Circus Casino in Reno

 

Outside of downtown, you can easily see other famous Reno casinos such as the Atlantis, the Grand Sierra, and the Peppermill.

Make sure you stop by to play the slot machines or sit down for a round of poker during your weekend in Reno. (Please play responsibly and know that there is always a financial risk involved.)

 

What is There to Do in Reno Besides Gamble?

 

If gambling is not your thing, or you have already won big time, there are lots of other activities to explore during your weekend in Reno.

 

Walk Virginia Street in Reno

 

Downtown Reno is quite compact, which makes it very easy to walk to all of the nearby sights, bars, and restaurants. The Reno Arch is without a doubt one of the most famous attractions and is a must-see for your weekend in Reno itinerary. This iconic symbol of Reno was originally installed in 1926, however the current arch hails from 1987.

We recommend taking the time to see the arch by day as well as by night. At nighttime the Reno Arch is lit-up with neon lights, as are many of the nearby casinos.

 

Reno Arch Virginia Street.

 

As Virginia Street is the main street through downtown Reno, most of the downtown casinos are right here on the north side of the Truckee River, and many of the trendiest bars and restaurants are close-by on the south side of the Truckee River.

 

Believe Sign Reno

 

More famous signs are close at hand, as the ‘BELIEVE’ sculpture is located at the City Plaza, also overlooking the Truckee River. The sign was originally created for the Burning Man Festival in 2013, and the city later purchased the sign and placed it permanently at the City Plaza for everyone to enjoy.

 

Bettina Twirling in B of Believe Sign Reno

 

Reno Street Art

 

Speaking of the Burning Man Festival, as Reno is the closest major city to the festival, Reno has a number of the famous art sculptures from the festival over the years. Playa Art Park is the main attraction, with a rotating display of art sculptures. Unfortunately for us, when were in Reno the park had been closed, so we could only snap pictures from a distance!

 

Playa Art Park Reno

 

Make sure you visit the art park during your weekend in Reno though as it has some incredibly sculptures to admire and take pictures of.

 

Frida Kahlo Mural Reno

 

Elsewhere in Reno you will find all sorts of murals painted on buildings small and large. This really gives the city a positive and creative vibe, and we loved walking up and down the downtown streets looking at the art.

 

Mural in Reno

 

Snow Covered Tree Mural in Reno

 

Other Fun Things to Do in Reno

 

If the sun is shining during your stay (which it certainly should be as Reno has over 250 days of sun per year) there is no better way to unwind than a bike ride along the Truckee River Walk and explore the Riverwalk District during your weekend in Reno.

 

Bettina Biking under the Biggest Little City in the World Sign in Reno

 

This two-mile loop spans downtown Reno, and offers a great way to start your bike ride. The area around California Avenue is also well-known for trendy shops and restaurants.

 

Truckee River in Reno

 

For a city the size of Reno, there are also a number of popular museums to explore, including the Nevada Museum of Art and the National Automobile Museum.

 

Best Place to Stay in Reno

 

We stayed at the Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel, which is located in a prime location smack dab in the middle of the city, on the banks of the Truckee River and overlooking the vibrant Riverwalk District. It is the perfect place to stay for a weekend in Reno.

 

Lobby at Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel

 

The hotel has an expansive lobby, with gorgeous details throughout, as well as all the entertainment, food, and drinks you need without even leaving the property! Onsite, The Shore Room restaurant has amazing indoor and outdoor views of the city and river.

 

Outdoor Bar at Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel

 

And of course if you are looking for great evening plans, the Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel has a bocce ball court right in the lobby. The Bundox Bocce’s indoor and outdoor bocce ball courts are perfect for a fun evening during your weekend in Reno. In tune with the expansive art scene in Reno, the hotel even has a small gallery in the lobby where you can admire local artists.

 

Bike Rental at Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel

 

One of our favorite amenities are the bike rentals! The hotel offers bike rentals so that you can better explore the city and enjoy a ride along the river! You can pick up a cute old-school bike any time and ride away.

 

Hotel Room at Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel

 

Hotel Room at Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel

 

Our room at the Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel was huge, and had a sophisticated, modern design. We loved the views of the Truckee River and surrounding mountains, especially as they were still covered in snow!

 

View from Hotel Room at Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel

 

We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel. With its central location, stunning views, and beautiful modern design, it is the perfect place to stay during your weekend in Reno!

 

Hotel Room at Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel

 

Disclaimer: Our hotel stay was provided by the Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel and we loved it. As always, all of our opinions on our experience and how much you should gamble are our own. Thank you for supporting the businesses that support us!

 

4 Best Day Trips from Reno

 

If you are spending a weekend in Reno and are looking to extend your stay for a few days, there are a ton of great places to visit just a short drive away in any direction.

 

Home Means Nevada Floor in Elevator at Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel

 

Lake Tahoe

 

Situated in the Sierra Nevada mountains, Lake Tahoe is a freshwater lake which is known for its beaches and stunning vibrant blues during summer. In winter, the Lake Tahoe area turns into a buzzing ski resort with stunning views of the lake while you’re on the snow-covered slope.

 

Bettina Holding Lake Tahoe Magazine

 

Lake Tahoe is only a short 45 minute drive from Reno and the perfect day trip from Reno if you’re looking for some beach time in summer or snow sports during the winter.

 

Pyramid Lake

 

If you follow the Truckee River to the north, you will get to Pyramid Lake which is famous for its unique rock formations which look like pyramids. Pyramid Lake beckons with water sports and is a great place to cool down on a hot summer day.

The drive from Reno to the Pyramid lake takes about 45 minutes and is well worth it!

 

Carson City and Historic Virginia City

 

Also a short 30 minute drive from Reno is Carson City. The city is close to Lake Tahoe and the historic Virginia City. The Nevada state capital is bursting with old-fashioned charm and combines shopping, dining, culture, as well as a happening nightlife scene.

Being so close to the Sierra Nevada mountain range, Carson City offers a lot of outdoor activities and will be a great extension of your Reno getaway. You can find everything in Carson such as golfing, fishing, boating, and hiking.

If you would like to travel back in time, make sure to visit historic Virginia City. The city was growing during the a 19th century mining boom and is home to countless Victorian buildings which make it look like a movie set. It is definitely worth a visit during your weekend in Reno.

 

Loneliest Road in America

 

To the east is the famous “Loneliest Road in America” which we completed after our stay in Reno. The Loneliest Road is exactly what the name would suggest – lonely! The loneliest road in America is also known as the Nevada portion of the transcontinental Highway 50, starting in Carson City and going all the way across Nevada to the Utah border.

While the road lacks civilization, it makes for an incredible drive and road trip as you will get to see some beautiful sights along the way.

 

Sand Dune Recreational Area on Loneliest Road in America

 

Make sure you fuel up and bring enough food before starting your drive as there are only a few towns on the way. If you like camping, you’re in luck as there are campgrounds and BLM land along the road, making it a great place to relax and enjoy some star gazing.

The first stop on your drive is Sand Mountain Recreation Area which is a beautiful sand dune in the middle of nowhere and a great stop for anyone who loves ATVing or wandering around sand dunes.

 

Austin Nevada Ghost Town

 

Further along the Loneliest Road in America, you will come across the cute ghost town Austin, Nevada, which could be from a movie set and Nevada’s best kept secret: hot springs.

You may not know this but Nevada has more hot springs than any other state and it would be a shame to not take advantage of them. Spencer Hot Springs is right on the Loneliest Road in America and a great spot to relax and enjoy the view of the mountains.

 

Hot Springs Pool at Spencer Hot Springs Nevada

 

The loneliest road continues all the way to the Utah border, and can be completed easily over two days or as long as a week, depending on what timeline best meets your schedule. If you are only interested in completing a small portion of the drive as a day trip for your perfect weekend in Reno, it is still worth the drive!

 

Make sure you also check out more road trip ideas in the Southwest USA if you are keen on exploring more of the USA by car after your weekend in Reno.

 

The Next Trip Top 5 Tips for The Perfect Weekend in Reno

 

Whether you're spending a fun weekend in Reno or are staying longer, here are our top 5 tips for an unforgettable time in the biggest little city in the world.

 

1) Rent a Bike

 

Reno has a beautiful downtown area and a great Riverwalk District which is great to explore by foot, but even more fun to bike along in summer. Rent a bike from the Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel and enjoy riding along the river during your weekend in Reno.

 

2) Take A Picture with Street Art

 

There is no mentioning of Reno without thinking of its incredible art scene. If you don't feel like visiting museums, make sure you take some photos with the vibrant street art. You will find everything from fun geometric prints, landscape murals, and graffiti, to portraits of Frida Kahlo. Your weekend in Reno would not be complete without admiring some of the astonishing local art.

 

3) Explore the Riverwalk District

 

The Riverwalk District is very much the heart of the city and it is by far the most vibrant and fun place to be on a sunny summer day. Bike along the river and stop by some local restaurants and shops to enjoy everything the Riverwalk District has to offer during your weekend in Reno.

 

4) Prepare for Dry and Hot Summers

 

Summers in Reno can get very hot and dry. Make sure you are prepared and always bring water with you and wear sunscreen. A bad sunburn is not what you want as your lasting memory of your weekend in Reno!

 

5) Play a Game or Two at a Casino

 

After all, Reno is most famous for its casinos. Stop by a casino and play a game to get the complete weekend in Reno experience. There is nothing quite like the thrill of placing a bet with the hope to end your night with twice as much money in your pocket. (Please play responsibly and know that there is always a financial risk involved.)

Save this post to your USA travel Pinterest board for when you plan your next weekend in Reno and getaway in the USA.

 

The perfect weekend in Reno, Nevada and 4 best day trips from Reno

 

The perfect weekend in Reno, Nevada and 4 best day trips from Reno

 

The perfect weekend in Reno, Nevada and 4 best day trips from Reno
The perfect weekend in Reno, Nevada and 4 best day trips from Reno
The perfect weekend in Reno, Nevada and 4 best day trips from Reno

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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.

 

@thenexttripWant to get away from it all? ##tiktokutah ##tiktokusa ##travel ##roadtrip ##waterfall ##vanlife ##travellife♬ Say So - Doja Cat

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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Month 2 on the Road – Best Slot Canyons of Utah and Self-Isolating

How have we been on the road for two months already? On the one hand vanlife feels like our normal life now, as we explore the best slot canyons of Utah and watch as many sunrises and sunsets as we can. On the other this is still all crazy and new. Welcome to our second monthly update on our overlanding adventure!

 

Toyota Tacoma and Four Wheel Camper Swift Model at Sunset

 

April was a difficult month on the COVID-19 front. Many states were (and are still) in complete lock-down. Even in Utah, many National and State Parks closed due to COVID-19 which made vanlife incredibly difficult. Our daily tasks involved checking the news and doing a lot of research on where we were going to camp and what we were going to see and do.

Luckily for us, there is one thing Utah has plenty of and it’s called BLM Lands. BLM stands for the Bureau of Land Management, which manages the public lands where it is free for anyone to camp and explore. So that is exactly what we did!

 

Couple Walking Towards Monument Valley at Forest Gump Hill Utah