Joshua Tree Weekend Guide

Joshua Tree Weekend Guide

Sheesh I love the desert. There’s something so out of this world about it so I decided to talk more about one of the National Parks that Will & I feel everyone just has to see! Here is your weekend guide to Joshua Tree!

3 days is all you need for Joshua Tree in my opinion and if you want to make this a week long trip I absolutely recommend looping in Palm Springs (that’s what we did) but for now just a weekend guide to Joshua Tree.

joshua-tree-weekend-guide

Day 1

Let’s cover getting there. From LAX, Joshua Tree National Park is about 2.5 hours or 195km east. The nice thing is you can make traveling it a loop that starts by going east through Yucca Valley, entering Joshua Tree from the north end and exiting through the south end and back west through Palm Springs.

Start your trip by obviously stopping for some In n Out. It’s the best fast food in the whole world. Once you get to Joshua Tree be sure your purchase your National Parks pass and you’re ready to get exploring. We spent our first day blasting the Joshua tree U2 album and pulling off at the obvious parking lots, walking around and taking in the sights which were SO cool to us. The incredible rock formations surrounded by nothing make you question how they are even real.

I chose to name this the Joshua Tree Weekend Guide because you can easily drive the entire park in a day (we actually drove through and back twice in one day).

Where to stay is kind of difficult in Joshua Tree. There are few options for budget hotels in the surrounding areas. We stayed at a motel in Twentynine Palms but you can definitely get better accommodations if you don’t book only a month in advance like we did. Budget options include camping inside the park or the various motels. By budget I mean under $150 per night. Other options for people NOT on a budget include retro airstreams and colourful casas all found on airbnb (CLICK HERE FOR FREE MONEY TO USE ON YOUR AIRBNB) but you MUST book these well in advance !! Here are some of the ones I was dreaming about but didn’t get the chance to stay at:

 Casa Christina

The Silver Cabin

The Land Yacht

The T House

The Cactus Hole

For dinner checkout the Joshua Tree Saloon! It got all the comfort food and really lights up at night with a diverse group of tourists that you’re bound to have fun with.

 

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Day 2

You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t want explore so day 2 is all about that. We got an early start and headed over to Crossroads Cafe, it’s a bit of a shack but we had the coolest server with the hippiest vibe. Then we chose three hikes that we would do. Here are our favourite ones!

Hall of Horrors

Hidden Valley

Skull Rock

Fortynine Palms Oasis

Cholla Cactus Gardens

Once you’ve exercised a bit you’ll need to head out of the park to grab lunch. Take a drive to La Copine if you’re looking to indulge or head to Pie for the People! Sunsets in the deserts are pretty cool but I’m from Canada and it was crazy how long it took for the sun to set here in May (like 9pm LOL)! We showed up so early and were waiting for hours for it to really go down but it was stunning and it definitely should be on your bucketlist. Then you’ll be ready for a night out at Pappy’s and Harriets for dancing, bbq and come drinks!

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Day 3 

It’s your last day so pack up, check out and I realize that not everyone is such an avid hiker so you’ll be able to choose a hike to do on the way out.

If you’re heading south through Palm Springs be sure to check out the Cholla Cactus Gardens! These gardens are wicked but mind the warning signs because I went off the path and got pricked bad. Those things will go right through your shoes!! 

Take a minute in Palm Springs if you’re interested. It’s a lot of fun if you have the time to walk the cute streets or take some pics under the hundreds of windmills.

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Hope you Enjoyed!

It’s hard to go wrong in Joshua Tree and I know you’ll have an amazing time. This is the perfect weekend trip for beginner adventurers (hikes aren’t too hard and the views are COOL AF)! If you liked this post I’d love if you would pin these images so you don’t forget about it!

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The Complete 4-Day Sedona, Arizona Itinerary

The Complete 4-Day Sedona, Arizona Itinerary

I think I left my heart in the red rocks! In November 2018 my cousin and I conspired to surprise our moms on their spiritual trip to Arizona the following March. I know what you’re thinking – that’s some risky business. Although we went without knowing where they were staying or what they were doing or how to know any of those things, we succeeded and had the most amazing four days in Sedona Arizona so here are my trip details.

Ready to feel some heat? Here is the complete 4-day itinerary for Sedona, Arizona

 

Don’t want to read? Subscribe to my Youtube Channel and watch the video here. 

 

Schuermann Mountain Trail in Sedona, AZ
Bell Rock Trail Sedona, AZ

Day 1-2 – Bell Rock Trail & Schuermann Mountain

From Toronto it’s about a 4 hour flight direct to AZ so depending on when you get in (we got in around 10pm) you should consider spending a night in Phoenix, AZ before making your 2 hour drive to Sedona. We stayed at a really cute, eclectic airbnb here.

The drive to Sedona is breathtaking so take the chances to pull off and check out the cacti that grow crazy there. You’ll drive through steep grades until you see the infamous red rocks pop up on either side of you.

We started our trip by checking into our airbnb at Sedona Summit off of highway 89A. It was about a 5-10min drive from all the shops and restaurants. Want $40 off your next airbnb stay? CLICK HERE. Sedona Summit was great, super clean, and had lost of amenities. Thinking you want a hot tub with a view? Sedona Summit might just be the place.

After dropping your stuff head out to enjoy a nice hike! I’m a Rocky Mountain kinda girl so the hikes in Sedona were very easy and mostly family-friendly with only length and view differentiating one from the other. That means you can’t go wrong with which you choose because the difficulty is relatively the same!

It might be worth it for you to book a guided hike with yoga and meditation in one of the vortexes since Sedona is famous for it’s healing and spiritual gifts.

Our favourite Sedona hikes were:

Bell Rock Path

Schuermann Mountain Trail

Cathedral Rock

Fay Canyon

Soldier’s Pass

Devil’s Bridge

End the day with a stop at the Airport Mesa for an awesome sunset view and Elote Cafe for tacos and margaritas. The line is always out the door and down the street for Elote so go early, put your name in and get comfy on their outdoor patio with a classic margarita!

Driving to the Grand Canyon from Sedona Arizona
Sedona Arizona Itinerary

Day 3 – The Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend & Antelope Canyon

Sedona isn’t very big so you can get through at least two hikes in a day. If you didn’t get your fix you can hit up the next hike on the list or head north towards Flagstaff and West towards the Grand Canyon. The drive will take about 2 hours so leave early!

The Grand Canyon is a must-see. Take a walk around the South rim and pray that you see some elk meandering around! Stay for a picnic and if you’re daring, venture out down on the rocks for an uninterrupted view of the canyon.

Head one hour east and one hour north to go for a quick hike at Horseshoe Bend, one of the most photographed and most unbelievable views in the world. The hike is only about half a mile and the drop off the edge is vertigo-inducing so be careful although if you can make it to the edge your mind will be blown.

Close by is Lower and Upper Antelope Canyon. You have to book a tour with a native guide in advance (walking or photography tours are available) and the last tour leaves at 4:15pm.

Follow the 89 back south for 2-3 hours to Sedona to conclude the day with a late dinner at Oak Creek Brewery and Grill.

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Day 4 – Devil’s Bridge

It’s probably your last day so head for a sunrise hike at Devil’s Bridge. This a very popular hike and parking is usually rammed throughout the day. Then head to Coffeepot restaurant for a big breakfast. They have over 100 omelets to choose from and have cute coffee mugs available for purchase in their gift shop.

If you have time go for a walk around the shopping strip. There’s lots of really interesting souvenir shops that aren’t tacky such as dip candles, balsamic vinegar and olive oils, and traditional western attire.  

That’s it for your 4-day Sedona, AZ itinerary. If you enjoyed it please go and follow me on Instagram: @marie.exploring

4 Day Sedona Arizona Itinerary

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The Best Sunset in Greece – A Mini Guide to Milos

The Best Sunset in Greece – A Mini Guide to Milos

Greece is home to some of the most iconic sunset spots in the world. I mean, have you seen Oia? Of course you have. This blog post isn’t about that location. It’s about one lesser known island. This is where you will find the best sunset in Greece.

Back in May, Will and I planned an impromptu trip to Greece. We were taken in by the photos of Santorini. The all-white backdrop with little blue domed churches on cliffs. Me, being the adventurer I am, wanted to explore the less frequented areas which meant that we’d have to get on some boats and island hop. Boy am I glad we did. The islands we hopped to were Santorini, Ios, and Milos.

 

Warning: May is the early season. Our hostel in Ios didn’t even have their pool filled yet and we walked the whole island without seeing a single person. We walked right into luxury resorts and sipped on complimentary cappuccinos because they didn’t have their tills ready. Surprisingly, Santorini was still insane. It was flooded with tourists and people were literally crawling on top of us to get to the prettiest spots of the island for sunset. Little did they know, the best sunset in Greece was elsewhere. There are tons of blogs written about Santorini and Ios so I won’t dive in. In a nutshell, Santorini is for sightseers, and Ios is for partiers.

 

But Milos was heaven.

 

We took a 1.5 hour Super Jet from Ios to Milos and it was the worst ferry ride I’d ever experienced. Superjets are fast boats that cannot handle waves and these are deep sea waves. We were basically on a rollercoaster for an hour. At one point the attendants were throwing barf bags into the seats of people to get them out fast enough. I’ll spare you the details.

Milos is a large island so generally, you’ll have to taxi to places or rent a car/ATV. Since we didn’t have international licenses we weren’t able to rent a car or an ATV so we befriended a taxi driver who agreed to pick up and drop off at all the locations we wanted to see. We got into our taxi and set off for our small resort.

We pulled up to the edge of a small cliff where we saw the pristine white oasis.

We stayed at Salt Suites, Milos and it truly is the best sunset spot in Greece.

The staff were delightful and gave us complimentary raki which I happily denied after what I just experienced on the ferry. They showed us to our room, Mandrakia and my jaw hit the floor. White everything. Flowing transparent drapes separated the room from the entryway and the room from the balcony. The view was completely unobstructed and looked out to the opposing cliff which had no buildings or structures. You can see a walkthrough on my Instagram Highlights.

 

Milos is fairly quiet but since Salt Suites is located away from other resorts we’d see people hanging out having small apps and bevies every night we were there. Some of the rooms even had hot tubs on their balconies and the staff would go over and serve drinks right to the tub. Salt Suites is a walkable distance to the town where the seafood options were insane. Will ordered grilled calamari and they brought out an uncut grilled squid. The entire squid!

Every evening we wrote down what we wanted for breakfast in the morning and the staff delivered it to us in our room. Coffee and croissants on the balcony were HEAVENLY.

Every night we set up shop in the little day beds and couches on the cliffs of Salt Suites with a glass of vino and margarita pizzas to watch the best sunset in Greece. 

If you’re looking for other lovely places to check out in Milos here were our favourites:

Sarakiniko Beach. 

Sarakiniko is about a 20 min drive from Salt Suites and is composed of exposed white rock that looks out of this world. There are hoodoos everywhere you can climb on around a cove that the water seems to have carved out of the earth. 

Cliff jumping paradise.

Tsigrado.

Tsigrado is a small beach that you have to scale a series of cliffs and ladders to get to. It is very small so few people can hang out on it, which makes it perfect for people like Will and I. No tourists? Yes, please. The cliffs tower over the beach so sun exposure can be tricky.

Papafragus.

Next up is a cove called Papafragus. Any local should know where this is. From above the cove it’s ultra stunning. The water is completely clear and turquoise like you wouldn’t believe. There is a path all the way around it which makes a nice walk. There’s also a path down into the cove that’s pretty sketchy so running shoes are necessary. Once below, kick back and relax. Go for a swim all the way out and around the coves beside it. You will be able to see the bottom the entire way.

Warning: Since we went there it has been largely blocked off with signs so getting to the beach below has been made difficult. Use at your own risk.

 

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Finding the Cabins on Cypress Mountain

Finding the Cabins on Cypress Mountain

One November evening I received a message from a group of friends asking me to join them on an adventure to go hunt for cabins on Cypress Mountain. I had seen a cabin or two before in passing and so I gladly accepted. Our plan was to get there and spend maybe an hour walking leisurely to each hut but when we got there we realized we’d be spending hours here.

My boyfriend and I hopped on the train in New Westminster and went to meet our friends. The driver Chris had a trusty red Kia Soul which we all piled into and cruised through the city and up the mountain roads towards Cypress.

It’s kind of amazing, that drive. There is one instance where you immediately go from dry pavement to three feet of snow on either side of you. The trees hold so much snow that they look cartoonish. This is a great place to stop if you’re heading to Cypress Mountain to do some skiing. Also, Cypress Provincial Park is cheaper than Whistler to ski so I’d highly recommend heading there and taking a quick detour to the Cypress Mountain cabins.

cypress mountain cabins

HOW TO GET TO THE CYPRESS MOUNTAIN CABINS

It took us about 45 min from Vancouver to get up to the turnoff and we were stopped a few times due to traffic headed into the ski area. Your turnoff will be on your right. Look for signs for the cross country ski area. Head all the way to the end of the parking lot (there were no cars this far into the parking lot) and there is an obvious trail for skiiers and snowshoers.

Follow the trail and you’ll see the first two cabins which are the most photographed of the bunch about 250m in. The trail gets icy because of how many skiiers travel on it so wear grippy footwear!

You’ll come to a clearing where there are signs saying you shouldn’t go further without a ski pass. This is obviously for people who are actually skiing and you can continue to the right to get to the cabins less photographed. Go get lost in the trails and bring some seeds for the birds. They’ll fly right into your hands.


cypress mountain cabins

 

cypress mountain cabins

Cypress Mountain in the winter is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Think, Narnia but in real life.

 

QUICK FACTS ABOUT THE CABINS

The cabins are rentable and you’ll see a few signs that say Boy/Girl scout cabins.

We saw about 6 or 7 cabins but the snow made some extra difficult to get to especially because we went without snowshoes.

Please be respectful of the area and the cabins themselves. Some were obviously livable so there could be people in them who have paid to have their privacy. Give them that.

Since the trails are so slick they prove to be awesome tobogganing runs so bring a sled!

cypress mountain cabins

cypress mountain cabins

cypress mountain cabins

cypress mountain cabins

cypress mountain cabins

Have you explored the Cypress Mountain Cabins? Let me know in the comments!

Read More: How to Feel Adventurous Everyday

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cypress mountain cabins

 

 

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