Tip & Tee: Nifty Neighbors in Waterton

Waterton Village in Alberta, Canada is a picturesque hamlet nestled in the Rocky Mountains. This quaint village is located on the shores of Waterton Lake within Waterton National Park.  Frequently highlighted as one of Canada’s best small towns, Waterton looks as though it was lifted out of the pages of a book. The streets of this walkable lakeside town are lined with small shops and quirky local restaurants.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Waterton Trip Tip

While I don’t typically include restaurant reviews, I do recommend that you grab a bite at one or both of these nifty neighbors. Two of Waterton’s restaurants, Wieners of Waterton and and nearby Waffleton offer unique and tasty treats that you’ll not want to miss! The names of these Waterton eateries are descriptive of their menus and both are an excellent choice at anytime of the day! This little corner of Waterton was a daily stop on our trip. Once you try these  culinary gems, you’ll likely find it hard to stay away!

Waterton, Alberta Trip Tee

When it comes to shopping on a trip, I am a total tourist! My favorite souvenirs are travel tee shirts! Over the years, I’ve amassed quite a collection. In Tip & Tee, I share some of my treasures and a Trip Tip for that destination!

Fun Fact: Glacier National Park Lakes

Glacier National Park is often referred to as the Crown of the Continent. The jewels in this crown must be the over 700 lakes which dot mountain landscape.  Fun Fact: Only 131 of those Glacier National Park lakes are named!

Glacier National Park Lakes - Grinnell Lake
Grinnell Lake

The largest Glacier National Park lake is Lake McDonald.  This 10 mile long body of water is located on the west side of the park along side the Going to the Sun Road. (Check out this Going to the Sun Road Trip Tip.) It is easy to access the shoreline of Lake McDonald.  It is a great place to get away from the park crowds!

Glacier National Park Lakes - Lake McDonald
Lake McDonald

Overlooking Lake McDonald is the historic Lake McDonald Lodge. As with the other lodges in Glacier, be prepared to book very early if you have your heart set on this prime location! We tried to book in November for the following summer and there was no availability.  Try to book as soon as they allow reservations for the next season.

Lake McDonald Lodge in Glacier National Park
Lake McDonald Lodge

Many Glacier National Park lakes are relatively clear.  The cold water temperature prevents  the growth of plankton which can lead to greater water clarity. This beautiful clear water, however, is not necessarily safe to drink.

Glacier National Park Lakes - Swiftcurrent Lake
Swiftcurrent Lake by Many Glacier Hotel

Located in glacial carved valleys flanked by majestic mountains, Glacier Park’s lakes are a spectacular sight. With so many lakes and hundreds of miles of hiking trails in Glacier National Park, you’ll never run out of places to explore!

Tip & Tee: Devils Tower

Devils Tower is a giant stone monolith soaring skyward from the plains of Wyoming. This natural wonder became America’s first National Monument in 1906. To say that Devils Tower is unique is an understatement!

Devils Tower National Monument

Trip Tip: Devils Tower National Monument Tower Trail

Due to its massive size and the surrounding landscape, Devils Tower is visible for miles. So, it may be tempting to just take a photo from afar or make a quick stop at the visitors center.  That’s not enough!

Devils Tower Trail

To fully appreciate the scale of this monolith, make time to hike the Devils Tower National Monument Tower Trail. This 1.3 mile trail is relatively flat and encircles the base of the rock formation.

Devils Tower National Monument-4 tripDevils Tower National Monument-5 trip

Viewing this tower from different perspectives on the Devils Tower National Monument Tower Trail will leave you with an even greater sense of awe at this extraordinary rock formation!

Devils Tower National MonumentWhen it comes to shopping on a trip, I am a total tourist! My favorite souvenirs are travel tee shirts! Over the years, I’ve amassed quite a collection. In Tip & Tee, I share some of my treasures and a Trip Tip for that destination!

Delicate Arch Hike: 6 Things to Know Before You Go

Arches National Park is home to over 2000 natural arches and boasts the largest concentration of arches in the world. Of all those 2000 arches, there is one that stands out – Delicate Arch. This arch gets more press than all the other arches combined. It is the star of both Utah’s license plate and state quarter! Visiting Arches National Park without seeing Delicate Arch seems like visiting Paris and skipping the Eiffle Tower. Who doesn’t want their picture made with this icon?

Delicate Arch hike in Arches National Park

Delicate Arch is not visible from the park’s main road. To see this rock star, you can either trek the 3 mile round trip Delicate Arch hike or visit the much easier to access Delicate Arch Viewpoints area to see the arch from about a mile away.

Delicate Arch hike in Arches National Park
The Delicate Arch Hike slickrock.

If you are physically able, I recommend making the Delicate Arch hike which begins at Wolf Ranch. It is a much more rewarding experience. Should you decide to hike this trail, here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. It’s uphill. Delicate Arch hike has an elevation gain of 480 feet.  Once you pass the first flat section of the trail, the elevation gain is primarily up open slickrock. The trail is marked with carins.Delicate Arch hike in Arches National ParkDelicate Arch hike open slickrock
  2. There is no shade. Most of the trail traverses slickrock. So, there is basically no shade. The sun can be quite intense during the most challenging part of this hike. Consider wearing a hat and don’t forget your sunscreen! Also, don’t expect respite from the sun once you reach the arch. There is no real shade up there either.Delicate Arch hike open slickrock
  3. Water is a must. I know this is obvious but still worth mentioning. It would be really easy to get dehydrated on the Delicate Arch hike. Arches National Park is a high desert environment, so I suggest bringing plenty of water since you’ll be exerting quite a bit of effort.Delicate Arch hike in Arches National Park
  4. You won’t be alone. The Delicate Arch hike is popular. If you are seeking solitude in Arches National Park, look elsewhere. During busy times of the year, getting a photo of Delicate Arch without people in it can be challenging. Be patient and you’ll likely have an opportunity, albeit brief.Delicate Arch Trail in Arches National Park
  5. Mind the drop off. In general, this is not a trail where you have to worry about taking a tumble off a cliff. However, there is a short section right before you reach the arch where you might want to keep the kiddos close.

    Delicate Arch hike narrow portion of the trail
    Narrow Section of the Delicate Arch Hike
  6. You may not want to leave. The stonework here is mesmerizing. Gazing on this giant spectacle from different perspectives never gets old. It is a bit of work to get up to the arch, so allow yourself extra time to sit and stare.View of Delicate Arch Thru Rock Opening

The Delicate Arch hike is not easy. But, the payoff is worth every uphill step! With the La Sal Mountains as a backdrop, this natural wonder poses perfectly on the rock face. No wonder this Delicate Arch steals so much of the spotlight!

Delicate Arch Hike Closeup View of Delicate Arch
We made it! The Delicate Arch hike is worth every step!

For more information on Arches National Park hikes, check out Turret ArchPark AvenueBalanced Rock, and Family Fun in Moab.

Fun Fact: The Custer State Park Buffalo Herd

The bison, commonly referred to the as the American buffalo, was officially designated the National Mammal of the United States in 2016. Custer State Park in the Black Hills of South Dakota is one of the best places to see these magnificent mammals.

Custer State Park Buffalo

Buffalo were introduced to Custer State Park in 1936. The small herd originally included 36 animals.  Today, Custer State Park buffalo herd includes approximately 1300 bison.  Each September, the park holds the Buffalo Roundup where animals are examined, branded, and culled to maintain the health of the population. Whether you’re fortunate enough to visit during the roundup or at another time of the year, observing this American icon is sure to be a highlight of your visit to Custer State Park.

Custer State Park Buffalo

Planning a trip to South Dakota?  Check out The Needles Eye TunnelThe Corn Palace, and The Badlands Notch Trail

La Jolla Sea Kayaking: Caves, Sea Lions, and Sharks

La Jolla is a coastal community about 12 miles north of downtown San Diego. One of La Jolla’s big draws is, of course, the beach. This family friendly 1 mile stretch of sand is adjacent to sea cliffs that house a series of caves. These caves are easy to access by sea kayak.Sea Caves in La Jolla

A sea cave adventure in La Jolla sounded too good to pass up! We decided to use a guide service rather than going it alone. Several local companies offer this service. We selected La Jolla Sea Cave Kayaks. In retrospect, I’m really glad we went with a guide! We saw and learned so much more from our guide, Luke, than we could have experienced on our own!

La Jolla Sea Kayaking

Our sea cave kayak tour was in the morning. We started  with a lesson on the beach in maneuvering the kayak. Fortunately, the water was like glass at launch time, so we had no trouble getting past the breakers.

Sea Kayaking in La Jolla

When we arrived at the cave, safety was the primary focus.  Our guide carefully explained the process of entering and exiting the cave. We were led in the cave 2 kayaks at a time. Instruction included how far into the cave to paddle and when to paddle out.  I was glad to be with a guide who knew the pattern of the waves as well as the location of the obstacles. I would not have felt comfortable doing this solo!

Sea Cave Kayaking in La Jolla

Mission accomplished – we kayaked in a sea cave! But, the fun was far from over! A colony of sea lions was lounging  on rocks near the cave. These marine mammals were entertaining and quite vocal! We had plenty of time to just sit and watch the sea lion soap opera unfold. Watching bulls jockey for position among the females was a hoot!

Sea Lions in La Jolla

On the return paddle along the cliffs, we stopped to watch sharks swimming below the surface. No need to sing the Jaws’ theme song – these were leopard sharks which are harmless to humans. It was such a treat to see these amazing predators in their natural habitat!

Leopard Shark in La Jolla

Kayaking in the sea cave and along the rocky La Jolla coastline was really fun! It wasn’t difficult or scary. A sea kayaking experience was an amazing way to spend a morning in La Jolla.  It far exceeded my expectations and was a highlight of our trip!

Tip & Tee: San Diego Bay

San Diego is home to a natural deep water harbor with a rich military and commercial history. San Diego Bay is at the heart of this coastal city. It is lined with hotels, shops, and restaurants, and there is no shortage of opportunities to stroll alongside this body of water.

Sailboat in San Diego Bay

San Diego Bay Trip Tip

There is so much to do in this Top Gun town that no trip is long enough to do it all! However, there is no better way to see San Diego than to get out on the bay. Whether you take a bay cruise or rent a boat and explore on your own, admiring San Diego from this incredible perspective is an experience you won’t soon forget.

San Diego TeeWhen it comes to shopping on a trip, I am a total tourist! My favorite souvenirs are travel tee shirts! Over the years, I’ve amassed quite a collection. In Tip & Tee, I share some of my treasures and a Trip Tip for that destination!