How To Spend A Weekend in Kings Canyon National Park

So by now you have already seen all my posts about Kings Canyon, breaking down each part into pieces and offering up specific details. And if you haven’t, you should, cause they’re awesome ;-). You know which trails to do and where to camp, but how do you put it all together?

Of course there are hundreds of ways to see Kings Canyon, and tons more to do than we saw on our trip there. So go wild and create your perfect itinerary! But if you need some inspiration, here is a sample itinerary of what I believe to be the best things to do in Kings Canyon, fit into an extended weekend trip.

This is how we did it:

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Day 1:

  • Arrive in the Grant Grove section of the park just after lunch.
  • Check out the visitor center in Grant Grove to pick up maps, souvenirs, and ask the rangers any questions you may have. And definitely check out all the exhibits while you’re there.
  • Visit the General Grant Tree and walk the loop trail
  • Hike the North Grove Loop.
  • Head to wherever you are staying for the night and enjoy a relaxing evening.

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Day 2:


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Day 3:

  • Have a leisurely morning at camp – there is no need to rush today. Maybe brew some camp coffee using the GSI percolator.
  • Hike the Buena Vista Peak Trail.
  • Check out any scenic overlooks in the Grant Grove area that you haven’t seen yet.
  • Drive to Hume Lake in the Sequoia National Forest.
  • Enjoy the rest of your day hanging out at the lake! Rent boats or mountain bikes, check out some of the hiking trails, dip your feet in the water, lay out and read a book…Taking time to just relax on vacations is important too!
  • While you’re there, treat yourself to some ice cream!
  • Return to your lodgings and have a chill night around the campfire.

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Day 4:

  • This is your last morning in Kings Canyon…make an awesome breakfast and take advantage of those last few hours in the campground.
  • If you have any last things you wanted to see or do in Kings Canyon, now is the time.
  • Pack up camp and return to civilization.

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And there you have it- 4ish days of adventuring and relaxing. If you want more detailed descriptions of all the awesomeness in Kings Canyon, check out all my other posts! And if you want even more specifics, visit the official park website!

And as always, if you have any questions or want extra itinerary help, drop me a line! Info is on the Contact page.


 

 

 

Kings Canyon National Park: Tips and Packing List

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“In the vast Sierra wilderness, far to the southward of the famous Yosemite Valley, there is yet a grander valley of the same kind. It is situated on the south fork of the Kings River, above the most extensive groves and forests of the giant sequoia, and beneath the shadows of the highest mountains in the range, where canyons are the deepest and the snow-laden peaks are crowded most closely together.”

           – John Muir, 1891

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Kings Canyon is a national park that is often overlooked in favor of its more popular neighbor, Sequoia. Anyone who does that is really missing out though. Kings Canyon is a beautiful park full of amazing sights and natural wonders. Deep valleys with granite walls, towering sequoias, and a powerful roaring river running through it….there’s no doubt, Kings Canyon is an awe-inspiring park for sure.

The crowds can get intense though, and the weather can present some challenges. So here are my tips on what to do and what to pack in order to get the most out of your visit:

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Useful Tips

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  • Make sure to allow some time to explore the national forest area in between the two halves of Kings Canyon. There’s a lot of great hiking options there, plus a lake where you can rent boats!
  • The park is divided into two halves, Cedar Grove and Grant Grove. Make sure to visit both, and allow plenty of time to drive between the two (it’s a fairly long mountain road… roughly an hour or two).
  • Pack a swim suit! There are several points along the river that are safe for swimming, plus tons of surrounding lakes throughout the national forest.

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  • But stay out of the river in faster moving areas. The current is swift and deadly, and can be nearly impossible to get out of (seriously…people drown here every year). Enter the river only where it is mostly calm and shallow! Like in the above picture. Avoid areas like the picture below:

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Just kidding… obviously no one is dumb enough to swim in that. But for reals, don’t go in any of the rapids.

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  • Pack plenty of insect repellent and citronella candles (for back at camp). Where there is water, there are bugs. Lots and lots of bugs. Tiny little gnats that constantly swarm your face and get in your eyes. Repellent and candles won’t make them completely go away, but they sure help!
  • Dress in layers. The temperature can vary greatly depending on where you are in the park and the time of day. Jackets are a must! But so are tank tops.

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  • Bring everything you think you’ll need. There is a small general store at Grant Grove, but it is a long drive to the closest town. So if the general store is closed for the night or they don’t have what you need, you are shit out of luck.

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Weather

Historic Average Temperatures
Giant Forest, Lodgepole, and Grant Grove
Average high Average low Extreme high Extreme low
Jan 42°F
6°C
24°F
-4°C
68°F
20°C
-6°F
-21°C
Feb 44°F
7°C
25°F
-4°C
70°F
21°C
-4°F
-21°C
Mar 46°F
8°C
26°F
-3°C
76°F
24°C
0°F
18°C
Apr 51°F
11°C
30°F
-1°C
77°F
25°C
8°F
-13°C
May 58°F
14°C
36°F
2°C
83°F
28°C
13°F
-11°C
Jun 68°F
20°C
44°F
7°C
91°F
33°C
22°F
-6°C
Jul 76°F
24°C
51°F
11°C
92°F
33°C
34°F
1°C
Aug 76°F
24°C
50°F
10°C
94°F
34°C
28°F
-2°C
Sep 71°F
22°C
45°F
7°C
90°F
32°C
23°F
-5°C
Oct 61°F
16°C
38°F
3°C
82°F
28°C
11°F
-12°C
Nov 50°F
10°C
31°F
-1°C
96°F
36°C
4°F
-20°C
Dec 44°F
7°C
27°F
-3°C
73°F
23°C
-4°F
-20°C

*** Cedar Grove is closed in the winter due to frequent rock falls ***

(Info obtained from the NPS website)

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Packing List

  • GSI Percolator. No camp breakfast is complete without a fresh cup of coffee brewed over a campfire. This 12-cup percolator from GSI is one of my favorite things in the whole world. It’s tough enough to withstand direct heat from the fire, and it brews a great pot of coffee every time. It’s a camping must-have!

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GSI Percolator

  • Repel Lemon Eucalyptus Natural Insect Repellent. There are seriously more bugs in this park than I can handle, especially on the Mist Falls trail. This is a great natural insect repellent to help protect you from all those nasty diseases bugs carry, and also just to help keep them out of your face while you’re trying to hike. 

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Repel

  • Aleader Water Shoes. River rocks can get really slippery, plus there’s all sorts of gunk in the riverbeds. Water shoes are a great option to make playing in the river safer and easier! These ones dry fast, have good traction, and provide plenty of cushioning for your feets. Plus they are available in 15 different colors!

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Aleader

 
  • Roxy Beanie. The temperatures can vary quite a bit here, with cold nights and mornings and warm afternoons. I always like to pack a beanie to keep my head warm during those colder hours. I love this fleece-lined beanie from Roxy! Stylish and super warm. But if this one isn’t your jam, there are tons of other Roxy beanie options out there!

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ROXY

  • Coleman Cool Weather Sleeping Bag. Having a sleeping bag to keep you warm during those cold nights is an essential. You don’t need to buy one of those expensive ones from REI though in order to stay warm! This one from Coleman is made for temperatures as low as 30°F, and is only around $30. Who says outdoors gear has to be pricey? And if you’re in the market for a bag with different temperature ratings or different features, they have plenty more to choose from.

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Coleman

  • Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven. When it comes to cooking over a campfire, cast iron is the way to go! I love the 12″ oven, because it is so versatile. Soups, stews, cobblers, meats, veggies… you name it, it can be cooked in this oven. You can even flip the lid over to use as a griddle! Meaning less dishes for you to pack.

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Lodge Dutch Oven

  • Burt’s Bees cosmetics and personal care items.  Just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you have to let your beauty routines slide. Pack items that travel easily and multitask, such as these makeup removal wipes and BB cream with SPF from Burt’s Bees. Made with responsibly sourced, 99% natural ingredients and no animal testing, this is a company who’s products you can feel good about using out in nature!
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Burt’s Bees


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So there you have it! Really the only thing you need in order to enjoy your visit is a little bit of advance preparation. This is an easy park to visit, and you don’t need much to have a good time here and experience all the best things to see and do. So get out there and see Kings Canyon!

And be sure to check out all my other posts on Kings Canyon for ideas on what to see and do during your visit!

For additional information on Kings Canyon National Park, visit the official park website.

Park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in Grant Grove, though many of the facilities have shorter hours during the winter season. Cedar Grove is closed for the winter.

Entrance fee is $30 per vehicle.


 

 

Freixenet Presents, Night of the Living Dead!

It’s no secret that I ADORE movie screenings at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Especially the Halloween screenings. I mean, horror movies in a cemetery? It’s perfect!! The only thing that makes it better? Free alcohol.

This year’s final showing of the season was sponsored by Freixenet, and all of the guests were given free bottles of bubbly!

“Night of the Living Dead” + a McDonald’s picnic + free bottles of cava (Spanish champagne) + a night with my awesome girl gang = pure happiness.

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Woooo free Freixenet!

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My picnic feast. So fancy.

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My awesome girl gang. Love these gals!!

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Freixenet photo booth!

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Awesome photo of the event that I stole from the Cinespia website, cause it’s waaaaaay better than any of the photos I took lol.

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ZOMBIEEEEEEEEESSS. Love the Cinespia photo booths!!

Though the screenings are over for this year, they will be back next summer with more great movies and fun events! Check out their website and sign up for their mailing list to stay posted about upcoming showings!


 

 

Where to Camp in Kings Canyon National Park (Sort of)

I don’t know how it works in national parks (or state parks for that matter) in other states, but here in California, good luck getting a campsite on a holiday weekend. You have to be waiting on your computer the very first day reservations become available for your desired dates, and then attempt to reserve your site the very moment the link goes live. Sorta like trying to register for classes back in college. And even then you still might not be successful.

On the one hand it’s awesome so many people want to visit and support our parks, but on the other, it sure makes life difficult.

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By the time we decided to make this Kings Canyon trip happen, that narrow window to book a site within the park had long since come and gone. Everything within the park was already booked, and all the sites in Sequoia were gone too. However, the park is surrounded by Sequoia National Forest, and it has tons of campgrounds of its own. We were lucky and found a spot at Big Meadow Campground, which is only a 20 minute drive from Grant Grove.

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The campground ended up being pretty cool. Lots and lots of space, plus less rules and regulations than the campgrounds inside the park. They actually allowed firewood gathering!

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It came with a picnic table and fire ring, plus a bear locker to store your scented stuff (this park is probably one of the most bear infested parks in the whole country). Tons of room for tents, easy access to bathrooms (pit toilets), and firewood sold onsite by the campground host.

There is no running water though, which isn’t a big deal to me, but is something to keep in mind.

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Gathering firewood, just because we can.

Despite its more primitive nature, this campground was really pleasant and I thoroughly enjoyed our stay there. I would definitely recommend this spot to others.

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To check out all of the available camping options in and around Kings Canyon, visit the park website.

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To check for available sites in any of the campgrounds and to make a reservation, click here.

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Two of the best scents in the world: coffee and bacon!

All the spots in Kings Canyon full? Click here to looks for availability in the national forest, near Hume Lake (which is what we did).

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And if you want to check out Big Meadow campground specifically cause it’s awesome, click here to make reservations.

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There is no shortage of campgrounds and lodging options near Kings Canyon, and even plenty of first come, first served sites available in case you couldn’t get a reservation. And the national forest area even allows people to set up camp outside of designated campgrounds (we saw tons of tents practically right next to the highway). So no matter what, you will be able to find a place to stay. But the longer you wait to get a spot, the worse your options become.

I mean, who wants to camp next to a highway? That just feels like tempting fate. Definitely not as fab as our spacious and secluded campground. So plan ahead and make those reservations folks!


 

 

Kings Canyon: Hiking in Cedar Grove

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In case this is my first Kings Canyon post you’re reading, I should start by saying that Kings Canyon is divided into two halves, Cedar Grove and Grant Grove, with a long scenic drive through Sequoia National Forest connecting them.

Cedar Grove is the much bigger half, but it’s also less developed and less accessible. But you have to go in order to have the complete Kings Canyon experience. Each half contains very different features of the park, and it is the combination of both that makes Kings Canyon such a unique park. Grant Grove is full of the enormous sequoias, and Cedar Grove has waterfalls, granite canyons, and rushing rivers.

Here are my top picks for hikes in Cedar Grove:

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Roaring River Falls, <0.25 miles

“A very short, shady walk to a powerful waterfall rushing through a granite chute. 3 miles (4.8 km) east of the Village road. Paved, relatively accessible.” (NPS website)

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You can’t visit Cedar Grove without stopping at Roaring River Falls. The parking area for this “hike” is right next to the main road, and the trail is very short and easy. It’s so short, there isn’t even mileage listed for it on the park website. You can do it all in less than 10 minutes if you’re pressed for time, but you may find yourself mesmerized by the waterfall and lingering longer than that.

The waterfall itself is just ok. I mean it’s obviously cool, but nothing spectacular. The thing I found most interesting about this waterfall is how turbulent the water at the base is. It was actually a little scary. Definitely no swimming at this one!

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Zumwalt Meadow, 1.5 mile loop

“This 1.5-mile (2.4 km) trail passes high granite walls, lush meadows, and the Kings River. Trailhead parking is 4.5 miles (7.2 km) east of Cedar Grove Village road. Purchase a trail guide at the visitor center. Allow 1 hour. ” (NPS website)

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This hike was a lot of fun! It’s mostly flat, and the views change drastically throughout the short 1.5 miles. Zumwalt Meadow provides a good sampling of all the things that make the Cedar Grove half of the park cool, so if you only have half a day to spend there, this is the hike you should do. And if you have more time, then you should still do this hike. It is a very peaceful stroll through breathtaking meadows, forests, and canyons. Super cool.

At one point the trail forks and you have to choose which direction to do the loop. There is no wrong choice; they both circle back to the same place. But I think the progression of sights you see is more impressive when you start on the left fork, heading across the meadow on boardwalks first.

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Mist Falls, 9 miles round trip

“This sandy trail follows the glaciated South Fork Canyon through forest and chaparral, past an impressive show of rapids and cascades, to one of the largest waterfalls in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. The first part of this 8-mile round trip is relatively flat; during the last mile to the falls, the trail gains 600′. The average time for this trip is 4 to 5 hours.” (NPS website)

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This looked like a perfect spot to swim. The water was so calm and clear!

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Ok, the website says it’s 8-miles round trip, but every other map and sign in the park calls it 9. So I’m going with 9 too, cause I say it’s always better to prepare for a longer hike and be surprised if it’s shorter, than to plan for a shorter hike and be stuck out on the trail for longer than planned, for safety reasons.

Despite its length, it’s actually a pretty easy hike and it goes quickly. We finished it faster than the website estimates, and we never felt rushed and took several breaks. I wish we had started it earlier in the day though, cause there were a couple spots that would’ve been PERFECT for swimming, but we didn’t have time. So my recommendation? However long you think you’ll need to do the hike, add an extra hour and bring your swim stuff!

Also, there were more little gnats on this trail than I have ever seen in my whole life. Be prepared, and take whatever you need to repel insects- bug repellent, face shrouds… trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

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All of these trails can be done easily in one day. Get an early start though! I would suggest starting with Mist Falls, do some swimming on your way back from the falls, break for lunch, do Zumwalt Meadow, do Roaring River Falls, and of course, stop at all of the scenic viewpoints along the drive! That would be my perfect day in Cedar Grove.

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For a complete list of all the hiking trails in Cedar Grove, visit the official park website.


 

 

Kings Canyon: Hiking in Grant Grove

So as I mentioned in my Scenic Drive Through Kings Canyon post, the park is split into two sections, with a big stretch of national forest dividing them. Grant Grove is the considerably smaller of the two, and also the more easily accessible and more frequented. But don’t let its smaller size fool you; some of the coolest sights in the parks can be found here, like forests full of majestic sequoias, the largest trees in the world.

Here is a list of what I consider to be the best things to see and do in Grant Grove:

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General Grant Tree Trail, 1 mile loop

“One of the world’s largest living trees. President Coolidge proclaimed it the Nation’s Christmas tree in 1926. Visit the historic Gamlin Cabin and the Fallen Monarch along this 1/3 mile (.5 km) paved trail. North and west of the Kings Canyon Visitor Center.” (NPS website)

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If you are looking for the most iconic or most popular sight in the park, this is it. This trail is unbelievably crowded, complete with giant tour buses and all, but the General Grant Tree itself does not disappoint. It is GIGANTIC, and beyond impressive to see. And incredibly difficult to photograph. There is no good way to capture the enormousness of these trees on camera… you just have to see it. It’s an easy loop, with lots of spur trail options to add on to your hike if you feel like doing more exploring. Despite the crowds, it’s definitely worth a stop.

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North Grove Loop, 1.5 mile loop

“This lightly traveled, 1 1/2 mile trail provides an opportunity for a close look at the big trees. Enjoy a quiet walk past meadows and creeks, through mixed conifer and sequoia forest. The trailhead is at the Grant Tree parking area.” (NPS website)

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The North Grove Loop starts in the same parking lot as the General Grant Tree Loop, so if you have an extra hour or so and want to see more trees, this is a good choice. It is much more secluded than the General Grant Loop and is a great place for a quiet walk through the forest. The views aren’t that spectacular though, so I wouldn’t go out of your way to do this one. This hike is perfect though if you have spare time and want to seek some peace and quiet. Maybe some woodland meditation or yoga?

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Buena Vista Peak, 2 miles round trip

“The 2 mile round-trip hike up this granite peak begins just south of the Kings Canyon Overlook on the Generals Highway, 6 miles southeast of Grant Grove. From the top of Buena Vista Peak, a 360-degree view looks out over the majestic sequoias in Redwood Canyon, Buck Rock Fire Tower, and beyond to a splendid panorama of the high Sierra.” (NPS website)

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Ok, this was easily the best hike in the Grant Grove area. I love hikes that pack a lot of bang for your buck, and this was definitely one of those hikes. Only 2-miles round trip, but look at those views!!! Pro tip: skip the King Canyon Overlook and just do this hike instead. The views are 100 million times better.

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And all of these hikes can be done in half a day, leaving plenty of time for other adventuring!

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For a full list of hikes in the Grant Grove area, visit the Kings Canyon official website!


 

 

A Scenic Drive Through Kings Canyon

I’m ashamed to admit that this was my first visit to Kings Canyon. I’ve lived in southern CA for 30 years (aka my whole life), just a few short hours from this extremely underrated national park. I mean, it doesn’t even get it’s own website or merch, being lumped together with Sequoia National Park.

Ok, in fairness, the two parks are literally right next to each other. If you think of the protected land as a giant “U”, Kings Canyon is the tip of each side of the “U” and Sequoia is the rounded bottom half, with the space in the middle being filled with national forest lands. It’s sorta a weird setup, so you can see why they all often get treated as one.

Anyways, to get from one half of Kings Canyon to the other you have to pass through Sequoia National Forest via a long, winding mountain road that takes an hour or so. Bummer for those prone to carsickness (like me, bleh), but awesome for the views along the way! There are several overlooks worth stopping at, and even an amazing waterfall right next to the road!

So here are my photos from the drive between Grant Grove and Cedar Grove, the two halves of Kings Canyon. These stops aren’t listed on the park maps or website, since they aren’t technically in the park, so just keep your eyes peeled as you drive!

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Leaving Grant Grove

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Grizzly Falls, basically right next to the road

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Sunset back at Grant Grove again

The national forest is full of awesome things to see and do and is easy to overlook when jumping around between the national parks. We didn’t even think to spend a day or so just in the national forest part, and I really regret that. But at least we were able to check out some of its awesome scenic viewpoints! And now I have a reason to go back someday.

Point Dume

Point Dume is located in LA County in the glamorous city of Malibu. This beach features headlands, cliffs, rocky beaches, and tidepools. And at the right time of year, it’s also a perfect beach for whale watching.

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To get to the beach, from the top of Point Dume at Cliffside Dr, follow a little path till you reach the stairs. Then take the stairs down, down, down…so far down…until you reach the water. At the bottom of the stairs it is mostly rocks, so if you are looking for a sandy beach, hug the side of the cliff and follow it to the left. You’ll see the sand and better water for swimming over there.

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This beach is a good beach to sit around and hang out. Get a tan, splash around in the water, check out the tide pools and Nature Preserve…but it’s not a very “active” beach. It’s a lot of work to get to the beach, and even just bringing our picnic was difficult. Because of it’s lack of accessibility, this isn’t a good beach for surfing or family fun (in my opinion). And on top of that, there are a lot of big rocks in the water. But it’s perfect for relaxing with a book and watching the waves.

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Though we were unable to visit it because it was under construction at the time, Point Dume has a Nature Preserve that is supposed to be pretty cool. So I can’t really offer up any opinions or advice on this part of the beach. But if you go and it is open, I would definitely check it out if I were you. Access to the Preserve begins at the cul-de-sac at the end of Westward Beach Rd, and a gradually ascending trail leads to a viewing platform offering views of the Santa Monica Bay, north Malibu, the Santa Monica Mountains, and even Catalina Island on a clear day. So it sounds like it would be pretty awesome to see if you get a chance. Please stay on the trail to help preserve the sand dune!!

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I’m just gonna come straight out and say it: parking is a bitch at Point Dume. There is an official parking lot on Cliffside Dr, but there are only about 10 parking spots. Which are basically always full, and have a 2hr parking limit anyways. There is also a pay lot at the end of Westward Beach Rd, but you should also assume it will most likely be full. Though it’s always worth a shot. Odds are you will end up having to park in the residential areas down the street. Be prepared for a long walk just to get to the stairs that lead to the beach. And as is the case everywhere in LA, CHECK THE SIGNS POSTED WITH PARKING RESTRICTIONS. And be respectful of the residents.

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MY THOUGHTS ON POINT DUME: It was definitely a very beautiful beach, but not very practical for a real beach day. Those stairs getting up and down the cliff are fierce, and way too challenging to navigate holding any sort of beach gear. Those stairs could also present a challenge for bringing small children. This is a good beach to just bring a blanket and relax for a couple hours, maybe do the Nature Preserve trail (though I can’t really comment on that part since it was closed for repairs when we were there).

I would recommend only bringing supplies you can easily sling over a shoulder. You’ll want at least one hand free to use the handrail on the stairs, and whatever you bring, you’ll have to carry for a loooooong time.

There is also little to no shade at this beach (so bring a hat and sunblock) and no restroom facilities (so go ahead of time, hold it, or use nature’s giant toilet).

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LOCATION/DIRECTIONS:

From Santa Monica: follow Pacific Coast Hwy 18-miles west to Westward Beach Road. Turn toward the ocean, go beyond the fee collection station to the very end of the road.

From the 101-Freeway: exit at Kanan Road, follow it south 12-miles to Pacific Coast Hwy, then turn right. Westward Beach Road is over the rise, at the foot of the hill.

To access Point Dume State Preserve: access begins from the cul-de-sac at the end of Westward Beach Road.


USEFUL INFO:

  • Beach is open sunrise to sunset.
  • Dogs are not allowed on trails in the Point Dume Natural Preserve or on the beach.

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For more information, visit the Point Dume State Beach website.


 

Bargain Hunting at the Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet

Now I don’t really know about the rest of the world, but here in southern CA, swap meets are kinda a big deal. Locals flock to them on the weekends to pick up toys, household goods, new pets, electronics, gifts, furniture… you name it, they probably sell it at the swap meet…at ridiculously low prices. It is a budget shopper’s paradise!

There are several of them throughout the area, but there is one that stands out among the rest: the Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet.

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By far the largest swap meet around, it also features live music, tons of food and beer choices, and hundreds of vendors. The Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet is more than just a place to find some great deals- it is a day (or night) of fun for the whole family! Or possibly a unique date night option.

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Back in 1948, 18 acres of land were purchased in an unincorporated part of LA County known as “Dairy Valley.” The land consisted of a dairy and an orange grove, but the new landowners had other plans for it. They began constructing a drive-in theater.

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Full House, a cool metal cover band, was playing when we arrived.

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Robbie showing off the banner featuring his band.

The “La Mirada Drive-In Theatre” opened in 1950 as one of the largest drive-in theaters in the country. It could hold over 1000 cars! The name “La Mirada” was used because the city of Santa Fe Springs didn’t exist yet, and La Mirada was the closet city.

The theater was set up in a way to reserve a good portion of the grounds for future possible projects, including ideas for walk-in theaters, restaurants, or even a heliport. That area (as well as the drive-in theater, eventually) is what became the swap meet.

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It was 15 years before the swap meet was open to the public. In 1965, the “La Mirada Swap Meet” opened for the first time. The dirt field in front of the property provided ample parking for the thousands of swap attendees. Nowadays, more than a million people visit the swap meet every year.

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In 1990, the drive-in theater ceased daily operations due to decreasing attendance and the rising popularity of the swap meet. They installed stadium lighting and began LA’s first outdoor night swap meet. A couple years later, they officially changed the name to “Santa Fe Springs Drive-In Theatre and Swap Meet.”

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The Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet now has over 500 vendors selling everything from collectibles to clothing, electronics to crafts. Pretty much anything you could want. Their slogan is, “Come for the bargains, stay for the fun!”.

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I recommend bringing your appetite to the swap meet, cause there are tons of tasty food options! A full snack bar, food trucks, and kiosk carts selling all sorts of fun food offerings, including their famous menudo available for breakfast, for those with stronger stomachs than me (I just can’t get on board with eating tripe).

To quench your thirst, there is a beer garden serving more than 20 beers on tap. But they are most famous for their micheladas (served all day long!).

My food picks: churros, michelaguas, and bacon-wrapped hot dogs.

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The swap meet has a large stage and covered seating area featuring live music every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This area also includes large HD TVs showing popular sporting events. To see the swap meet’s schedule of events and weekly band lineup, check out their calendar!

However what brought us here on this particular weekend was a special after hours event in which Robbie’s band was playing. KROQ (106.7, southern California’s alternative rock radio station) hosted a “Roq of the 90’s” show featuring four nineties-era tribute bands including Nirvanish, Green ToDay (Robbie’s band!), Lose Your Illusion, and Slaves Against the Machine. Totally an awesome lineup.

Here are lots of pics of Green ToDay! Believe me when I say this is only a small portion of what I actually took. I just can’t help it.

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My boyfriend “Rob Cool” and Kevin “The Other Guitar Player”

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And here’s a video Robbie filmed during their set. Check it out!

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Seriously THE BEST Green Day tribute band around.

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❤ ❤ ❤

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For a list of their upcoming shows and booking info, visit the Green ToDay website!

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That moment when you are trying to photograph the event and accidentally catch bae with a “deer in the headlights” look

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This event was tons of fun! I always love watching my man play, and the rest of the bands totally rocked too! Because of the nature of our particular visit, I wasn’t able to see very much of the swap meet itself or experience all of the foods and tasty treats I would’ve liked. All the more reason to go again!


LOCATION:

13963 Alondra Blvd‎.
Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670

(562)921-4359

Major cross streets: Alondra Blvd and Valley View Ave

FREE PARKING!


ADMISSION:

Tuesday – Thursday: Free
Friday Night: $2.50
Saturday: $1.00
Sunday: $1.50


Have any favorite vendors or favorite swap meet foods? Share them in the comments!

For additional information, visit the Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet website.


 

Road Trip Photo Diary: South Dakota to Los Angeles

Ok, so this is probably gonna be one of the least informative posts on this blog. Just a heads up. I didn’t plan on writing this post originally, but when I was looking through my photos from my trip to South Dakota, I decided I liked all these pics too much to leave out. So I had to find a way to include them on the blog.

It’s hard to put into words how awe-inspiring the heart of America is. I’ve road-tripped through the country dozens of times, but I still fall in love with the land again every single time.

So this post is a photo diary of sorts. Basically just some snapshots of my journey home from South Dakota back to California. Big skies, open land, small towns, and tourist stops. A drive done over three days, passing through South Dakota, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and finally home to California…

The childlike blue line marking our approximate journey (cause no, I didn’t actually look at the map closely and follow the specific freeways when I drew it)

START: South Dakota

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Wyoming…

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Utah…

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Nevada…

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California…

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END: California

So there it is. Will this post help prepare you for traveling to any of these states? Probably not. But the reason I ultimately decided to share this post with you is so it might serve as a reminder that the journey is just as worthwhile as the destination. Look out the windows as you drive. Stop at the weird sights along the way. Try local foods.

It’s all those small things that sometimes make the best travel memories. ❤