Top 5 Favorites for an Active Vacation (or Life)

I consider myself a master-level packer when it comes to vacation packing. I consider it a ‘win’ if I wear everything in my suitcase, so I spend time fully planning out everything I think I might need or wear when I have a trip coming up. Our latest Spring Break adventure was no exception and after our week of hiking, e-biking and lounging, I came away with 5 workhorses from my trip.

Favorite #1: REI Vented Trailsmith Hat (find it on the REI website here)

I really wanted a hat to wear while hiking and exploring that would protect me from the sun. This hat from REI is durable, breathable and has UPF 50+ sun protection. Not only is this important on our active vacations, but I’m also planning to use this all spring and summer when I’m out and about.

I tried on a bunch of hats and this one was my absolute favorite. I like that it has vents at the top and an adjustable chin strap for windy weather. I typically overheat in baseball caps, so it was a pleasant surprise that this one was so well ventilated. I also really like the Walrus Brown color, which to me looks like a clay orange.

Favorite #2:  Allbirds Women’s Wool Dasher Mizzles (find them here on the Allbirds website)

I purchased these sneakers a couple years ago and they are my ‘go to’ sneaker for hiking. They are super comfortable and the merino wool is super breathable. One of the main reasons I brought them on our hiking trip is that they are machine-washable, so when they get covered in dirt or that red clay from Arizona, I just throw them in the washing machine afterwards.

A hidden benefit that I didn’t even realize – the sock-like top of the shoe keeps sand out! Both Travis and Jack had to shake out their shoes when we hiked over a sandy wash, and I was good to go.

Favorite #3: Athleta Salutation Stash 7/8 Leggings (find them here on the Athleta website)

I brought a few pairs of leggings on our trip, including a pair of Salutation Stash 7/8’s and a pair of Salutation Stash capris. Yes, Athleta leggings are pricey ($109 for full length), but they are my absolute favorite because they hold up perfectly over repeated wearings, washings, shoving things in the pockets, and even sliding my butt over rocks on a hike. They are thick enough to smooth any lumps and bumps, but thin enough that I don’t overheat.

After a full day, I just throw them in the washing machine on cold and then hang them to dry. By the next day, they’re back on my body and looking as good as new.

Favorite #4: Athleta Sunrise V-Neck Sweatshirt (find it here on the Athleta website)

I actually own two of these lightweight sweatshirts – one in green and one in navy. I bought the first one on sale a year or two ago, so when I saw the green on clearance a few months ago I scooped it up. This is the PERFECT layer to add over pretty much anything – an exercise bra, a tank top, or a full t-shirt.

It is super lightweight and soft and has extra long sleeves with thumb-holes. It works great for a hike, with a pair of jeans for dinner, or tied around your waist when you get a little warm. I’m typically a true-to-size large, and I like this in a XL for a little extra comfy feeling.

Favorite #5: Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 (find it here on Amazon)

This is a year-round product, but definitely one you should not forget if you are out and about in the sun. I’ve been using Supergoop SPF since early 2022 and it is my absolute favorite because it goes on totally invisible with not even a hint of greasiness or white cast. It has no scent, doesn’t irritate my contact lenses and works great under makeup too. It is a 100% winner in my book and one tube lasts a surprising amount of time before you need to re-order.

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon and ShopStyle affiliate links. This means that clicking on a link may help me earn a small commission at no cost to you.

Like what you see? Share me with your friends!

Family Travel, Part 3: Belly of the Dragon, Cat Stair Canyon, Zion National Park, Vegas

If you missed the previous two posts, you can find them here:

This is the last post in the series, so let’s move on to day 6.

Day 6: Belly of the Dragon, Cat Stair Canyon

Day 6 was Easter, so I knew we wanted to do some of the smaller local hikes, rather than one of the bigger national parks. We purposely went to the grocery store the day before so that we had food on hand for breakfast, lunch and dinner in case the entire town closed down for the holiday.

Belly of the Dragon: The first local hike we did was Belly of the Dragon, which is only about 20 minutes from Kanab. You start the hike out by climbing into the cave, and then come out the other side to hike through a sandy wash until you finally get to a little waterfall and have to turn back around. It’s a pretty great hike for kids and the ‘dragon belly’ is super neat too. While we enjoyed the hike, it was crazy crowded with people and kids.

Cat Stair Canyon: On the whole other side of the spectrum was our hike to Cat Stair Canyon, which was completely deserted. We didn’t see another human until we were leaving, it was so quiet and beautiful and then you round the corner and there was a huge section of stacked, crushed cars!

Apparently back in the 1960’s they used cars to fill a gap in the highway and it is super cool to see. One thing to keep in mind, is only do this hike if it is dry, dry, dry. When we were there, the entire area was sandy but apparently just a few weeks earlier there was a river running through it.

Oh and my favorite “review” on the link above says “Meh, big rocks, water. And rusty old cars.” Travis and I could not stop laughing about it and throughout the rest of our trip whenever we saw something absolutely beautiful we’d say, “Meh. Big Mountains. Lots of Rocks.” or “Meh. Mountain Views. Not Enough Fast Food.”

Day 7: Zion National Park

Next stop was Zion National Park — we used our America the Beautiful annual pass here too. We had so much fun riding e-bikes in Austin (you can read about it here), that we decided it would be a great way to enjoy the sights of Zion. However, when we arrived by driving through the mountains, Travis said that even if he didn’t get out of the car the trip would have been worth it. THAT is how mind-blowing the sights are here!

We did a full-day e-bike rental through Zion Guru with one rad runner for me ($79) and one rad wagon for Travis and Jack ($99). They provide helmets and each bike has a basket for carrying your stuff. The basket was big enough on my bike to carry our backpack with waters and packed lunch.

We spent the day zooming around on our e-bikes and stopped at the Zion Lodge to lock them up and eat our packed lunch. From there, we walked over to the Emerald Pools Trailhead for a hike to a waterfall and back. Once again, the hike was rather crowded so if you like a little less people when you’re exploring, you might want to stick to just e-biking around. By the end of the day, Travis’ allergies were killing him and we were all exhausted from biking and hiking so we headed home.

Day 8: Kanab to Vegas

We had to be out of our condo by 10am, so we woke up and packed up the house. From there, we grabbed some breakfast to go from Sunny Creek and hit the road for Vegas. Since our rental was through Turo, we filled it with gas and went through a car wash on our way into town.

It was only supposed to be in the mid-70’s, but we were surprised with a 93-degree day. So, we pretty much just grabbed some food and enjoyed the air conditioning of the miracle mile shops.

This time for our hotel we upgraded a bit and stayed at the Signature at MGM Grand ($213 for a night). This room was SO MUCH nicer and we even had a gigantic whirlpool jacuzzi. And yes, Jack had the very best time splashing around in there. We aren’t really big Vegas people, so honestly a cold hotel room was a pretty great end to an absolutely ridiculously beautiful vacation.

Day 9: Home

We woke up at the terrible hour of 3am to take an Uber back to the airport and head home.

Worth it though. 100% worth it.

Like what you see? Share me with your friends!

Family Travel, Part 2: Red Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Kanab, Glen Canyon Dam, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon X

If you missed yesterday’s post, you can find it here: Family Travel, Part 1: Vegas, Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, Valley of Fire State Park, Red Hollow Slot Canyon.

We’re up to day 4, so let’s get on with it!

Day 4: Red Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Kanab

Bryce Canyon is about 1.5 hours from Kanab, so we decided to go on a day trip. I had been warned that it would be colder there, but I wasn’t prepared to see so much snow on the ground in April! We first went through the Red Canyon area, which had this really cool natural bridge for cars.

Then we continued on to Bryce Canyon Park (we used our America the Beautiful annual pass here). This is where I learned about Hoodoos. Hoodoos are irregular columns of rock and Bryce Canyon has the largest concentration of Hoodoos found anywhere on earth. (You can totally nerd out like I did and learn more here.)

And yes, I bought a “hoodoo you love” sticker because it makes me giggle.

There is a free hop-on-hop-off shuttle at Bryce Canyon, but we decided to enjoy our car’s bum-warmers and drove around instead. We drove up to Inspiration Point and ate our packed lunch while overlooking the most amazing views. Unfortunately it was too snowy for us to hike without snowshoes, so we enjoyed the views from the overlooks.

On our ride back, we stopped at a couple little shops for souvenirs. We also drove back into Kanab and walked around the main shopping area, poking our head into pretty much every shop there. It’s all quite walkable and there are plenty of friendly people to talk to as well. My favorite shops were: Denny’s Wigwam & Curio and Nature’s Showcase Rock Shop.

That night we did eat in Kanab, but our dinner was kind of ‘meh’ so I’ll just skip over that…

Day 5: Glen Canyon Dam, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon X

The time change between Utah, Arizona and the areas of Arizona that don’t recognize daylights savings is super confusing! We had a tour planned for Canyon X, but I messed up when I did the math, so we were super early. It worked out great though, because it gave us plenty of time for a sit-down breakfast and to see some additional sights!

Glen Canyon Dam: We drove over the bridge and followed the directions to the overlook, only to be totally surprised by the amazing sight of the Glen Canyon Dam. It is the second highest concrete-arch dam in the US (second to the Hoover Dam) and produces power that goes to Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and Nebraska.

Besides being hard-working, it’s pretty nice to look at. There are a billion steps to get down to the viewing area, and once you’re down there are lots of rocks to climb around on. Just don’t get too close to the rim!

Horseshoe Bend: Horseshoe Bend is one of the most recognized and visited places in Glen Canyon and an “instagram hotspot.” To park in the parking lot, you’ll have to pay the $10 fee.

The hike to the overlook is an easy 1.5 miles round-trip over a hardened path (very accessible and I saw people with strollers having no difficulties). Keep in mind when you get up to the actual overlook, most of the rim is exposed so you need to be careful not to fall to your death. Just saying.

Antelope Canyon X: I did a bunch of research into Antelope Canyon to determine between an Upper Canyon or Lower Canyon tour (you can only go with a tour group). However, I found another option… Canyon X. It’s a little less popular, tours are less expensive, and it’s less crowded. WINNER!

I booked the Antelope Canyon X Hiking Tour by Taaddiin Tours, which was pretty reasonable at $39.62 per adult and $30.19 per child. The tour lasted 1.5 hours and our guide took us through the entire Canyon X, we turned around at the end and then came back through.

It. Was. Amazing. However, also lots and lots of stairs here — you need to go down a million stairs to get to the canyon, and then back up them at the end of your hike.

Between our three hikes (to the dam overlook, to Horseshoe Bend and to Antelope Canyon X) my iWatch said we climbed 30 flights of stairs. Which I fully believe because we were exhausted at the end of the day!

Food Stops on Day 5:

Ranch House Grille (Page, AZ): A great diner breakfast kind of spot with some delicious French toast, bacon and eggs. And that put-some-hair-on-your-chest diner coffee that I love too. A wonderful start to our day!

Fiesta Mexicana (Page, AZ): An authentic Mexican restaurant with huge portions and delicious food. Jack and I split a meal and there was plenty of food to go around.

I’ll stop here for now, but be sure to come back to the blog tomorrow for Family Travel, Part 3: Belly of the Dragon, Cat Stair Canyon, Zion National Park.

Like what you see? Share me with your friends!