They say everything is bigger in Texas! Combined with the gorgeous skies, rolling hills, and cowboy boots; you can add Adventures to that list too! Because they are no doubt as big and fun as they come! My recent trip to the lone star state was overflowing with adventurous amazing things to do in Austin, Texas! We usually make a trip to Austin at least once a year to visit relatives; but this time we added a bit more exciting activity to our trip. Our escapades include exploring a new trail in Colorado Bend State Park, hiking in Austin, and kayaking at Lady Bird Lake (Lake Austin), and much more! Here is my round up of amazing things to do in Austin that you might want to add to your next trip!

Things to do in Austin
Things to do in Austin

Gorman Trail at Colorado Bend State Park

We decide to head out to Hill Country and look to explore out in the Bend, Texas area. This imperfect trail is full of nature, flowers, and wildlife that any outdoor lover would appreciate. There are several loose rocks and cactus along this path so you must be careful.

Colorado Bend State Park entrance

Gorman Trail is a beautiful route that leads you down to amazing cascading waterfalls. These falls rise approximately 65 feet above the river and are a one of a kind geological formation that is alive and always changing.

The mineral rich spring water works to deposit layers of calcite which slowly then forms travertine. Meanwhile, it is also a very fragile Ecosystem and can be destroyed by simply walking on the soft rock, which is why these falls are blocked off to keep people from trampling over it.

Rated as moderate trail and is a 2.6 mile round trip distance. There is a significant steep drop to get to the falls area; a metal railing is connected to the rock steps as you descend to the lower part of the trail. 

Gorman Falls Trail leading down to the falls area

More Hiking Trails Near Austin

You will also find several other trails in the area that either intersect or lead to other enjoining trails. Go out and explore! These include the following:

  • Name                        Distance
  • Gorman Spring Trail    .5 mi
  • Tinaja Trail                   2.8 mi 
  • Tie Slide Trail               2.2 mi
  • Lively Loop                  4.9 mi
  • Windmill Trail               1.6 mi
  • Cedar Chopper Loop   2.3 mi
  • Dogleg Canyon Trail     1.3 mi
  • River Trail                    3.4 mi
  • Lemons Ridge Pass      4.9 mi
  • Spicewood Canyon Trail 3 mi

Camping and backpacking are also available in designated areas throughout the park. If you are looking to explore more of Texas parks, visit texasstateparks.org.

Hiking Trails Downtown Austin | Lake Austin (Lady Bird Lake)

It is not surprising that the trail at Lake Austin receives 4.4 million visits a year as hikers trek through its scenic green lush parks and peaceful shoreline. On the path you will also see an impressive city skyline, neighborhoods, ball fields, and cultural art.

Stevie Ray Vaughan Statue

This trail has it all. The choice to take a 2-mile stroll or a 10-mile excursion through urban Austin is all up to you!

Lake Austin Trail

Of course you may encounter a few turtles, squirrels, and bats along the way. Interestingly, Austin is home to a massive bat colony population. It is the largest urban Mexican free tail colony where the bats hide in the cracks and crevices under the Congress Avenue Bridge. They can emerge in massive groves during the spring and summer every night about 30 minutes after sundown. Check out more information at AustinBats.org.

Kayaking Lake Austin

Although I prefer a quiet, peaceful and serene setting with no people; we decided to get in the middle of it all and kayak at Lake Austin on a gorgeous late afternoon. The scene is exciting with so many kayaks, paddleboards, boats, and rough waves we crawled into our kayaks and joined in.

If you are looking for fun and amazing things to do in Austin, this is perfect! We rented our kayaks from the Texas Rowing Center located along the trail and the banks of the lake just south of the MoPac Expressway Bridge.

Covert Park at Mount Bonnell

My husband grew up in Austin and he tells me that Mount Bonnell was a place where kids in high school would go and hang out, make out, and enjoy the views. This historical park is one of Austin’s oldest tourist attractions and it is the highest point within Austin city limits. It played a significant role in the history of the military defense of Austin during 1839.

A staircase of approximately 106 steps to climb an elevation of 775 feet above sea level will take you to a view of the city skyline and Lake Austin. Mount Bonnell I would say is more of a tourist spot versus a hiking trail. It is free to park and no fee to visit here. Mount Bonnell is a great place to watch the sunset too! Location: 3800 Mount Bonnell Road, Austin, Texas 78731  

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Baseball at Dell Diamond

The triple A-minor league baseball team affiliate for the Houston Astros; the Round Rock Express, is the perfect thing to do with the family in the Austin area. Round Rock is the location of Dell Diamond ball field and seeing games here are just about as thrilling as they come. We enjoyed seeing the fireworks the night we were visiting this stadium to watch some baseball.

University of Texas

University of Texas

As an alumnus of UT, my hubby couldn’t resist returning to the school for a trip down memory lane. He gave me a private tour to some of his former classrooms and study areas of which he spent numerous hours of hard work and study time. The library was his favorite place to study here. There are several pieces of street art located throughout the campus of which I found very interesting.

In the Business School, the NYSE (New York Stock Exchange) Post. 5 was purchased and preserved in the lower level of the building. The grounds surrounding parts of the campus are beautiful and inviting. I think visiting UT is a great way to spend the afternoon in Austin.

Dining Delights In Austin

You can’t visit Austin without tempting your taste buds at an enjoyable evening of delicious dining. Our days in Austin were full of fun adventure so we were hungry every day for something tasty and delectable. Here are a few eatery options of what Austin has to offer.

Matt’s El Rancho

Matt’s El Rancho Restaurant

Serving the area since 1952, Matt’s El Rancho has a parking lot plum full on a Monday evening as we arrive ready to indulge our palates. The Martinez family brings the highest quality of ingredients and top-notch service to the name. Matt Martinez is known as “The King of Mexican” The restaurant has had its share of politicians and celebrity visitors as well, including Dennis Quaid, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top and many more.

P. Terry’s

P. Terry’s

A dining experience like no other, P. Terry’s. offers a more quality rich ingredient menu with impeccable service with a flare for the original burger joints from the 50s and 60s. The décor is amazing and the milk shakes will have you coming back for more!

Hat Creek Burger Company

Hat Creek Restaurant

Opening its doors in 2008, this company was founded by Drew Gressett with a goal to bring a simple menu of fresh, never frozen beef and vegetables for families to enjoy. We make a stop at Hat Creek whenever we visit Austin and I am so happy to know they offer fresh clean options on the menu. The Paleo Burger is especially mouth watering and so delicious! I recommend this fresh hot spot eatery if you live in Austin or are visiting!

The Oasis

Lake Travis Austin

This is the ultimate place to be to enjoy dinner with a sunset view! The Oasis offers spectacular views overlooking Lake Travis while dining! The menu includes a variety of options from Mexican cuisine to burgers and fries. You can also schedule a special event here since it offers such a fabulous location for views and sunsets! We actually held an informal 50 year wedding anniversary celebration for the folks here about 10 years ago.

Finally

Flowers in Austin

The state of Texas is such a beautiful place that is rich in history and big in adventure! There are so many options to choose from to fulfill your day of fun! Our trips to Austin are usually quiet as we spend quality time with mom and dad or helping with chores and other various things around the house. It was a fantastic week to add a little bit of excitement this time. Making fond memories is what we desire to do. From hiking into the hills to see cascading waterfalls or fighting the rough waters in a kayak on Lake Austin, this is what life is all about. In fact, I am naming the subtitle of this post as Big Texas Big Memories!

As I sit here preparing to write about my incredible hiking experience to Half Dome, my mind is drawing a blank. I think I am still going through a hiking hangover. Yosemite National Park is so amazing I don’t even know where to begin. The pure magnificence of this place is astounding and anyone who has visited will know it can leave you speechless. So, I will do the best I can to take you along with me as I recall the moments of this extraordinary journey of hiking to Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.

Half Dome In Yosemite National Park
Half Dome In Yosemite National Park

Planning The Adventure

When planning your hiking adventure to Half Dome there are few things you need to know before you go. There is a permit required to hike the cables on Half Dome, which is the path to the very top. Only 300 hikers are allowed on this trail per day. They have what is called a lottery of which you sign up online at this website. The preseason sign up timeline for this year was March 1- 31, 2019; there is an application to complete as well as a $10 application fee for each person. You can sign up and include up to 5 people in your party. The results of the lottery are usually announced a few months prior to the installation of the cables, and they notify you by email. This year lottery results were announced on April 10, 2019; which is when I learned we would definitely be hiking to Half Dome in June.

Views from Half Dome summit

Lodging and Dining

Depending upon which entrance to the park you plan on taking, you can reserve rooms at a nearby hotel or reserve a camping site. If you are coming from San Francisco area, Maricopa might be the best option to find lodging, however if you are driving from Southern California, Oakhurst is probably best choice. You can also stay at various Yosemite National Park lodging located within the park. We made reservations at a Comfort Inn in the small town of Oakhurst, California. Which is about a half hour drive from the south gate entrance. In the town of Oakhurst there are plenty of dining options. Restaurants include Denny’s, several fast food places, and specialty dining such as delicious authentic Mexican and other eateries.

Dining and Shopping in Oakhurst

Preparing and Training for Hike

By now, I realize that we are not just talking about hiking to Half Dome in Yosemite National Park; we are no doubt doing it! So, I immediately began setting goals of which one of them is to keep up with my group, not struggle while climbing on the inclines, and not fall too far behind. Therefore, I created an exercise routine that I think will best prepare me for this hiking challenge. Here is my training schedule that includes a three month plan of preparation:

Training Routine

Three Months Until Hike

  1. Treadmill:  Walking at 3.5 for 45 minutes 3.0 incline. 4-5 days / week.
  2. Nautilus Machine: Arm Pull / Extension 3 sets of 12 each arm
  3. Bicep Curls: 3 sets of 15 each arm

Two Months Until Hike

  1. Stair Master: 30 Minutes
  2. Treadmill: 30 minutes 7.0 Incline
  3. Abs and Arms Strengthening

One Month Until Hike

  1. Treadmill: Run 20-30 Minutes up 4.0 Incline then 30 Minutes walking 15.0 Incline
  2. Bicep Curls: 3 sets of 15 each arm 2 days a week
  3. Ab and Glute work and Yoga 2 days a week
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What To Pack | Hiking Half Dome

Hiking to Half Dome is considered a day hike so you will be on the trail for several hours. I sat down and made a list of all the items I might need. Here is what I had in my Osprey backpack.

View of Half Dome Osprey Backpack
  • Clothing; long sleeve shirt, light jacket and light rain jacket.
  • Full camelback with my Yeti tumbler full of water.
  • Energy protein bars
  • Nuts
  • Turkey and almond butter sandwiches- (2)
  • Beanie hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen-small
  • Lipbalm with sunscreen
  • Whistle
  • Small first-aid kit in a zip lock; band-aids, antiseptic cream, anti itch cream. Small roll of black utility tape.
  • Plastic bag- to use for any trash to take back with me.
  • Kleenix tissues and Toilet paper.

The Journey Begins To Half Dome

Road Trip To Oakhurst

We are ready to go! It’s a Thursday morning and we have all our supplies that include a cooler with food, water, backpacks, hiking shoes, clothes, jackets, cameras, and everything else we thought we needed. It was an awesome road trip going through Los Angeles, heading north through Bakersfield, and then taking Highway 140 towards Coarsegold and Oakhurst. One of the most enjoyable things to do while road tripping is going through very cool small towns, courtesy of my friends at RoarloudTravel.

Oakhurst mural painting on side of building

After cruising through several small towns, we finally arrived into Oakhurst. I have visited Oakhurst and Coursegold while living in Silicon Valley many years ago. I would spend a weekend or two visiting my former boss and his family in Coursegold, who owns a ranch. The annual local Rodeo is held on their property (it was back then anyway). So I was a bit nostalgic on this hiking adventure.

We check into our hotel and get settled, and then enjoy an early evening dinner so we can get to bed early. Our wake up call is set for 2:15 a.m. and a plan to begin the Half Dome hike is 4:30 a.m. We are in bed by 7:30 p.m. A friend of ours; Sam, will also be joining us on this exciting hiking journey.

Hiking Yosemite National Park

There is a slight chill in the air as we see our breath in the morning darkness while we gather our backpacks, headlamps, and gloves. We leave the hotel by 3:00 a.m. and make our way to the park. I am a bit nervous knowing that we are about to embark on this iconic hike which overpowers Yosemite Valley by nearly 5000 feet and 8800 above sea level. But I am ready and excited to begin!

Hiking Half Dome Yosemite

Mist Trail

Finally, we pull into the Half Dome Village parking lot and we begin our trek on the trail around 4:40 a.m. Armed with clothing layers, hiking sticks, and other essentials, we proceed to tackle this very diverse trail. Realizing that we will probably end up soak and wet. The rain season was plentiful this year throughout California so there is still snow in several higher elevations throughout the park.

The medley of this trail is amazing. It begins with paved walk paths leading you through the valley of dirt and trees, to then scrambling through forest to encounter the infamous Sub Dome area to climb rock stairs.

Forest areas hiking Half Dome In Yosemite National Park

Vernal Falls

I thought I had come prepared, I regret that I did not bring hiking sandals. Vernal Fall is incredible! The powerful force of the amount of water from the abundant rainy season this year made this climb quite a challenge.

Water was flowing everywhere, dripping from stair to stair to the misty wet vapor in the air blowing like a rainstorm. The scene is gloomy, dark, and eerie as we make our way towards the top inching closer to our destination. I am soaked from head to toe at this point.

Top of Vernal Fall

Nevada Falls

Approaching this part of the trail is not too bad. You can get a very close look at the edge of the falls, which is an extraordinary view watching these massive water flows in full force! I actually enjoy climbing clean rock steps and switchbacks while enjoying a massive waterfall!

Half Dome Trail

Prior to reaching Half Dome trail, there may be a park ranger sitting in the area to check your permit if you are planning to hike to the top of Half Dome using the cables. We arrived in this area at approximately 9:45 a.m. and there was not a park ranger present. However, on our way down, there was someone checking permits.

Hiking Half Dome Yosemite National Park

Rated as extremely strenuous with a 4,800-foot gain, reaching this part of the trail has been so rewarding. But prior to reaching the climb on the cables, you have to get through Sub Dome. Climbing here is not as difficult as it looks, because it can be intimidating.

My goals for this hiking adventure are to take one step at a time, and that is exactly what I did! We made it to the top of Half Dome around 10:45 a.m. The time it took me to climb the cables was about 30 minutes because I made stops to rest as well as let hikers pass by as they were coming down. The views at the top are absolutely incredible! These massive granite cliffs and rock formations challenge both the body and mind. Here’s a perfect description and visionary of the final stretch to Half Dome Summit.

John Muir Hiking Trail

Since we have now experienced the awesome Mist Trail, we decided to take another path down on our return. We take the John Muir Trail which is longer yet not as steep and has several switchbacks. Our hiking adventure would end up totaling approximate 16-17 miles for the day. It’s great to be able to see two different trails on one trip.

John Muir Trail views
JMT
JMT Path

We are completely exhausted upon our return but feeling a sense of accomplishment and still in a daze knowing that we just completed one of the most iconic hiking trails in the world. According to the information pamphlet, a note found in the 1868 Yosemite guidebook stated; “the summit of Half Dome will never be trodden by human foot.”

Me At The Summit of Half Dome

Glacier Point

A point of interest that you cannot miss! An overlook of a superior view of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, and Yosemite’s high country. This viewpoint is a must see spot to capture some of your most mind-blowing photos. However, if you arrive here in late morning the wait to get into the parking lot can be hours. We found that Washburn Point, just south of Glacier Point, offers spectacular view points especially those for Vernal and Nevada Falls.

Final Thoughts

There are several areas we have yet to explore in Yosemite. If you are looking for more hiking Yosemite National Park surrounding areas, then you might want to check out the Hetch Hetchy Trail. My gal pal from Where Gals Wander shares her journey through this interesting trail on one of her adventures in Yosemite. I can’t wait to go back! As I continue to return to reality after hiking Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, I am still in a bit of bewilderment. I can’t believe I hiked a trail and climbed to a place that only a set number of people have been. This is one extraordinary feeling and one I will never forget. 

Park Information and Details

Yosemite National Park
PO Box 577 
Yosemite National Park, CA 95389
Phone: (209) 372-0200
http://www.nps.gov/yose
Highlights:

  • Yosemite Valley
  • Glacier Point / Wawona / Mariposa Grove
  • Yosemite Wild Places
  • Half Dome
  • Hetch Hetchy
  • El Capitan
  • Hiking Yosemite National Park
  • Camping: Reservations are required March through November for Yosemite National Park campgrounds. Some are first-come, first served. For campground reservations, visit recreation.gov or call 877-444-6777.
Yosemite Park Map
Yosemite National Park Map Click for more info

Living a healthy lifestyle as a travel blogger is not easy. There are several variables involved and sometimes it takes lots of work and planning. One of the key ingredients to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is getting a great night’s sleep. Sleep is essential to efficient body functions, wellness, and feeling in tip top shape. If you are like me, I have a desire to feel at my best all the time. I need to feel good and strong when I go out and take on challenging hiking trails and climb mountains. Which is why I am sharing with you how to sleep like a baby sleep with Ghostbed Luxury Sheets.

GhostBed Luxury Sheets
GhostBed Luxury Sheets

Amazingly Comfortable

One of the secrets on how to get the best night’s sleep is having a great set of bed sheets. I admit it; I am constantly struggling to find a sheet set that is comfortable, cool and durable. Recently, I have had the opportunity to try these new wonderful bed sheets called GhostBed Luxury Sheets. I have one word to describe them; Wow! These sheets are amazing! I love the Supmia cotton and Tencel fiber blend of the GhostBed sheets, as this is what makes them so breathable and lightweight!

Experiencing GhostBed sheets is like the feeling of slipping into bed at a five star luxurious hotel. They feel so good I wanted to do a little more research on Supima cotton.

Supima Cotton

This is superior type of cotton, actually one of the finest cotton grown in the USA. The Supima cotton is a special blend of cotton (superior + cotton) that is twice as strong. It is made with extra long staple fiber that results in a softer and more plush feel. Which makes Supima premium cotton more durable and with each wash, they only get more comfortable! (True story, I have washed mine several times and they get more luxurious every time I get into bed.)

Luxurious Supima Cotton

Overview:

Each GhostBed Luxury Sheet set includes:

  • A unique and luxurious blend of Supima Cotton + Tencel Fibers
  • GhostGrip, so your fitted sheet will stay on securely and never pop off!
  • Free Shipping
  • Industry Leading 3-year warranty.
GhostGrip Fitted Sheet

GhostBed Mattress

Are you someone who is a hot sleeper and sometimes wake up soaked? Well, GhostBed has a another solution for you. You can check out their mattress which GhostBed describes it, as best mattress for hot sleepers. The GhostBed Luxury Sheets is a product of GhostBed by Nature’s Sleep®, which also makes this mattress that Consumer Reports rate as very good or excellent in every category.

Summary

If you are looking to feel great and be at your best, then you need to be getting the best sleep of your life! And one of the best ways to accomplish this is with GhostBed Luxury Sheets. I love these sheets! For someone who is very active and always on an adventure as a travel blogger, I need the best sleep possible. Having cool and the most comfortable sheets is key! It’s a bonus that they are extremely durable too!

*Disclaimer: This is a sponsored review post and items were provided by sponsors.

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Are you looking for an amazing adventure that includes gorgeous weather, palm trees galore, education, and stunning views that will leave you speechless? Then welcome to Los Angeles in Southern California! The list of things to do in Los Angeles is vast and unique! Since choosing what to do can be difficult, I have compiled a list of spectacular activities to do, amazing places to see, and other special events that it may may just convince you to want to move to Los Angeles!  I call it California Dreaming. Either way, I hope to peek your interest by giving you a few fun suggestions. Here is my adventure guide to Los Angeles or L.A. as we call it.

Adventure Guide To Los Angeles
Adventure Guide To Los Angeles

The Coast

No one can argue about the weather in Southern California! The weather in L.A. is amazing with its picture perfect blue skies together with comfortable temperatures year round averaging 75 degrees, there are no bad days here! You can stroll, bike, or walk along some of the most beautiful beaches. From Manhattan Beach to Redondo Beach, this is the perfect way to spend the outdoors, have lunch, and enjoy the coastal views.

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier

A must see attraction and one of the most spectacular places to visit! With its rich history and contributions to the community, Santa Monica Pier has become a national icon.

Venice Beach (Muscle Beach)

One of the busiest recreational areas in the area, this iconic beach is full of interesting fun and amazement. Ocean Front Walk (the main drag) is the second most visited destinations in Southern California. Here you will find street vendors and performers as well as numerous activities such as basketball, handball tournaments and bodybuilding at the infamous ‘Muscle Beach’ Venice Gym.

Museums

Getty Center

The Getty Center is the ultimate collection of historical items and architecture like no other. You will see art collections such as Neolithic clay figurines, and other ancient Greek and Roman art. Admission to the museum is free, and taking the tram to the museum is free also. It is closed on Mondays, and you can enjoy lunch with amazing views of the Santa Monica Mountains at The Restaurant. You can enjoy an occasional free outdoor concert as well here.

Getty Center

Griffith Observatory

Griffith Observatory is a wonderful place to learn and discover. This is a great way to spend the day with the family enjoying the planetarium, exhibits, telescope, café and bookstore.

Griffith Observatory

Hiking

Bronson Canyon * Griffith Park

On this trail, you will find several amazing viewpoints of the Hollywood Sign. You will also have the opportunity to check out the tunnel entrance of the infamous 60’s era classic Bat Cave.

Fern Dell Hiking Trail * Griffith Park

This trail offers a vast array of diversity. From the plush vegetation to the wood footbridges it is considered an urban oasis.

Golf

Whether you are playing or watching a round of golf, there is no shortage of birdies! And I don’t mean the chirping kind. This past year I had the opportunity to go to the Genesis PGA Golf Tournament at Riviera Country Club.

Genesis Open PGA Golf Tournament

It was a day of crazy weather starting out warm then ending with a chill. And the golf had the same results with big excitement for Tiger in the beginning, but then he did not make the cut in the end. This is a magnificent course with a clubhouse that offers a museum-like feel. Have you ever experienced watching a PGA Golf Tournament?

Framed Photos of current and past professional golfers

Here is a list of public golf courses recommended by a scratch golfer; my husband, who has played them numerous times and gives them all thumbs up.

Public Golf Courses

Los Verdes Golf Club

This is a beautiful golf course offering the best views in California, in particular views of Catalina Island. Highly regarded by scratch golfers and offers the best golf value anywhere. Los Verdes Golf Club is located at 7000 Los Verdes Dr, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275. 

Rancho Park Golf Course

Another course my husband recommends is this championship golf course that has hosted several Los Angeles Opens, in fact 18 of them. The course presents challenge and will bring out the best skills in any player here. You can find Rancho Park golf course at 10460 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064

Pacific Palms Resort

Known as L.A.’s hilltop hideaway, enjoy the views of the San Gabriel Valley Mountains as you take in a round of golf. Pacific Palms Resort is a full service luxury golf and conference resort located at One Industry Hills Parkway, City of Industry, CA 91744. 

Unique Attractions and Activities

Hollywood Walk Of Fame

Experience a walk along the most famous sidewalk in the world and learn about all of its honorees. You never know who you might see! Be ready for the chance to see a star or two!

Hollywood Walk of Fame Star

TCL Chinese Theater

The historical Hollywood theater is a movie palace located on the infamous Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was formerly named Mann’s’ Chinese Theater in 1973 until 2001. Then in 2013, naming rights were purchased by TCL Corporation, which now is its official name today. With its recent renovation, it has an IMAX theater, which has seating that can hold up to 932 people and is the largest theater in North America (Sourced from Wikipedia).

Los Angeles Zoo

Another wonderful option to consider taking the family for an afternoon full of fun is the Los Angeles Zoo. Take in a day of learning about various animals and conservation. Make sure to stop by and see Hubert the lion. So, when you are finished exploring Griffith Park, you can head over to the zoo since it’s located at the northeast corner of Griffith Park, at 5333 Zoo Drive, Los Angeles, CA, 90027. See more on what Zoo’s use for mental exercises and more.

Lion

Del Amo Fashion Center

Now if you are looking for the ultimate experience in shopping, look no further than Del Amo Fashion Center. You will find everything from the latest trends in retail boutiques, a movie theater, and dining options to die for! It has also been the filming location for a few Hollywood movies such as Jackie Brown, Valley Girl, and Bad Santa. I’ve got wonderful memories of my visits here including enjoying an ice cream, taking in a movie and having lunch with my sister in the food court. 

Sunsets

You cannot visit or live in L.A. without witnessing the most beautiful sunsets around! Seeing the gorgeous sun as it gently disappears into the horizon behind the mountains, or beyond the ocean is the ultimate food for the soul.

Sunset

Final Thoughts

When I think of L.A., I usually see palm trees, ocean waves, and stunning sunsets. I love the southern California lifestyle and Los Angeles is an amazing place to experience. I hope you will find this guide to fun adventure in Los Angeles helpful. Like I said earlier, you may not only be visiting, you might end up wanting to live in Los Angeles! In the meantime, keep on California Dreaming!

You can find more adventure in L.A. by taking a journey with Adventuring Woman and explore further into downtown Los Angeles, DTLA.

You might also enjoy this overview of Los Angeles video created by my friends Reel Happy Travelers.

Disclaimer: Some photos included in this article are sourced from Pixabay and belong to original owners. This is a sponsored post.

Abu Dhabi Observation Deck at 300

The capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi is known for its cultural attractions. It is rare for someone to consider it as a spot for a romantic holiday. However, if you look a little deeper, there are several amazing things that couples can do in Abu Dhabi. You may be a tourist who wants to enjoy a romantic holiday or honeymoon, or a resident who wants to plan a memorable romantic evening for your partner. Whatever it is, you would easily find the perfect romantic things to do in Abu Dhabi.

Luxury Desert Safari

Abu Dhabi Desert Safari
Abu Dhabi Desert Safari

Spend a romantic evening in the vast desert of Abu Dhabi. Various types of desert safaris are available here, including evening, morning and overnight desert safaris. If you are looking for a romantic desert safari where you and your partner are the only guests, then go for a private luxury desert safari.

Belly Dancing

You can enjoy the beautiful sunset, delicious food, the complete attention of the staff and Arabic hospitality here. Entertainment programs like belly dancing or Tanoura dance would also be arranged for you. You can also choose to stay overnight at the desert in completely air-conditioned Bedouin-style desert tents for a complete desert experience.

Hot Air Balloon Ride

Abu Dhabi hot air balloon

Another desert activity is a hot air balloon ride. This is one of the favourite things to do in Abu Dhabi for couples. After all, is there anything more romantic than watching the aerial view of the enormous desert with your loved one in tow? Moreover, the high and low sand dunes are not the only things you see during the hot air balloon ride. On the other hand, keep your eyes open and you may spot gazelles and the Arabian oryx as well. However, the highlight of the hot air balloon ride is the glorious sunrise that you will witness during the one-hour long ride over the desert.

Couple’s Spa

Abu Dhabi Spa

Nothing is more relaxing than a massage during a holiday. Make it a romantic experience by going for a couple’s spa when you are in Abu Dhabi. There is no dearth of spas in Abu Dhabi and most of the premium ones offer special spa services for couples. These spas make an effort to turn the couple’s spa into an extremely romantic experience. Apart from the relaxing massage, you are welcomed with beautifully lit candles, pleasant aroma and dreamy music. You also get to enjoy a glass of champagne or your favourite drink while your body and mind are pampered.

Adventures on Yas Island

Yas Island Abu Dhabi

If you are on a romantic holiday in Abu Dhabi, you may like to take a break from the classic romantic experiences and enjoy something more dynamic and exciting. In this case, drive down to Yas Island, an island built purely for entertainment and fun. Yas Island is home to Ferrari World, the first F1 themed in the Middle East. Here you will find some amazing rides and attractions, including the Formula Rossa, the fastest roller coaster in the world. Yas Island also has the Yas Waterworld and Warner Bros. World, where you can have a fun time with your partner.

Picnic at Abu Dhabi Corniche

Abu Dhabi Corniche

If you are looking for something simple and not too expensive, head to Abu Dhabi Corniche, 8-km of beautiful waterfront. Complete with walking and jogging pathways, children’s play area, cafes and restaurants. This is the place where families come to rest and relax.

Romantic Corniche Beach

But if you are looking for a romantic time with your partner, visit the Corniche Beach which is endowed with white sand and azure waters. Pack a picnic (or buy food and drinks from one of the cafes or restaurants on the Corniche), lay on the sand watching the blue waves and the gorgeous sunset. It cannot get more romantic or peaceful than this.

High Tea with a Spectacular View

A quiet meal or drink with your loved one is the most romantic date for most people. Added to this, having a spectacular view will surely be a bonus. Treat your partner and yourself with a delicious afternoon tea as well as a beautiful bird’s eye view of the Abu Dhabi Emirate. Then include a visit to the Observation Deck at 300, perched on Level 74 of Jumeirah at Etihad Towers.

Observation Deck at 300

While the panoramic views of the city are a pleasure to your eyes, your tummy will love the delicious food and drinks. The high tea menu at the cafe includes freshly blended coffee, variety of tea blends, wine specialties, and delicious salads, sandwiches, scones, cakes and pastries. If you want to impress your ladylove, you can never go wrong with a high tea date on the Observation Deck at 300.

Phenomenal Sunset Cruise

Sunset in Abu Dhabi Photo credit: Pixabay

What do you think about enjoying a magical sunset while cruising on the blue waters of Abu Dhabi? Doesn’t that sound romantic to you? If yes, you will find several romantic cruise tours in the capital Emirates of UAE. You can go for an island hopping boat tour, a unique cruise dinner or a luxury private yacht tour. Whichever option you choose, you will enjoy a peaceful evening, with a gorgeous sunset and a champagne flute. Some of the tours also include a full-fledged dinner. For adventurous couples, there are sunset cruises that offer the chance of water adventures like deep sea fishing and scuba diving, etc.

Enjoy a 7-Stars Movie Experience at NOVO Cinema

Nova Cinemas Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi takes the classic date of movie and dinner to the next level by offering the 7-stars NOVO Cinema experience. When you buy tickets to watch a movie with your partner, you do not just have two seats but a private VIP Lounge as well. Sink into your plush recliner seats and get comfortable to watch the movie. Along with the movie experience, you also get a private butler who takes care of all your needs. You can also pick your favourite dishes from the gourmet-dining menu. If you are looking for a romantic experience, can it really get better than this?

Conclusion

These romantic things in Abu Dhabi will ensure that you have a starry-eyed holiday in Abu Dhabi with your partner. Abu Dhabi has all the makings of a city that has numerous romantic experiences. All you have to do is pick one that you like the best. Moreover, if you are planning a holiday with your spouse or partner to Abu Dhabi, make sure that you have the proper UAE visa, so that you have a flawless holiday.

More ideas for romantic travel destinations for couples; Honeymoon Destinations.

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Disclaimer. Guest Post written by Pranitaa. Photos are provided by Pixabay.com and guest blog author. Youtube video content belongs to its original owner.

San Diego certainly has its share of culture, coasts, and city life! But it also has an abundance of beautiful nature, landscapes and waterfalls. Three Sisters Falls Hike in the Cleveland National Forest is icing on the cake when it comes to fun and unique hiking adventure. Here is a recap of our recent excursion into Pine Valley to explore this amazing pathway to gorgeous waterfalls.

Three Sisters Falls Trailhead
Three Sisters Falls Trailhead

Getting There

There are a few different ways to get to Three Sisters Falls Hike Trailhead; I will share the route we used. Coming from San Diego area at 78 E reaching Ramona area:

Passing through Ramona, California:
Left on Olive Street
Right on 7th Street
Left on Main
Continue on 78 East  (20.2 miles)
Right on Pine Hills Road
Right on Eagle Park Road
Left on Boulder Creek Road
Turn Right to stay on Boulder Creek Road
Turn Right to stay on Boulder Creek Road  (Dirt gravel roads)

The Trail

This hiking trail is an interesting path that leads up and down eventually taking you to the triad of cascading waterfalls. It is considered a seasonal hiking trail because parts of the year there is very little water flowing in the falls. However, this year in 2019 there has been lots of rainfall so these falls are full!

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Three Sisters Falls

Although this trail has had its share of injuries, emergencies, and even fatalities; it has its challenges, diversity, and tranquility. Which makes it an incredibly fun trail to hike. This trail has been modified recently and a new path is now open. The old trail lead to a steep decline path where ropes were needed to assist the hiker on the route heading down into the gorge area. Also avoiding tons of poison oak.

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Three Sisters Falls Hike

As you are getting close to the waterfalls, you will scramble over some boulders and trek on a rocky trail section and end up coming out near the middle falls. You can carefully walk down to the lower falls for a few photos, and then climb up to the upper falls area.

What To Expect

As you arrive at the parking area for the Three Sisters Falls Trailhead, it is all dirt roads leading into the parking lot, which is also dirt. Drive carefully. There are a couple bathrooms, which are porta potties. Keep in mind since the trail takes you down, you will be climbing on your return.

Parking Lot Three Sisters Falls Trailhead

The trail is about 4.2 miles and is heavily trafficked both in and out. The return incline is about 1000 feet. The path can be rough in some areas; you will also scramble over a few boulders and pass by a flowing creek bed with plentiful small trees, shrubs, and singing birds.

Creek bed below and trees, shrubs, and singing birds

Tips and Safety

This trail can get heavy traffic and I recommend arriving to begin your hike before 11 a.m.

  • Bring plenty of drinking water. The summer can reach high temperatures.
  • Do not bring your pet.
  • Do not bring alcohol; this will dehydrate you.
  • Bring salty snacks.
  • Bring camera
  • Wear shoes with good grip
  • There are porta potties but no water.
  • Rated Moderate to Strenuous. (But with new trail path, could be rated easy).

Finally, Enjoy Three Sisters Falls!

We hiked this trail in the month of May 2019, so the weather was cooler, and skies were mostly cloudy. But we got lucky and enjoyed the abundance of water flowing in the Three Sisters Falls! Be careful, and be prepared so that you can maximize your experience hiking this beautiful trail.

Maps and Information

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Kayaking On Convict Lake in the Sierra Nevada region near Mammoth Lakes is amazing! The reflection of the mountains off the shimmery lake surface sparkle and glimmer as I stare ahead sitting in my kayak.

The still of the air, the silence of nature, and bright morning sunshine creates the perfect day to explore the area around Convict Lake.

Kayaking on Convict Lake
Convict Lake

Road Trip Finale

After spending the previous two days exploring mountains, hiking trails, and hot springs around Mammoth Lakes; we made a change for this final day of our weekend road trip. Kayaking Convict Lake near Mammoth Lakes is no doubt one of the highlights of our weekend road trip.

Mammoth Lakes

The History of Convict Lake

Surrounded by majestic mountains and pristine skies, Convict Lake is more than a place where the fishermen go. The history of Convict Lake is quite interesting as it relates to being a place where bad things happen. It begins back in the late 1800s during the early settlement days; where a group of prisoners escaped from Nevada and made it to this lake, known as Wit-Sa-Nap by the Paiute.

Convict Lake A Murderous Tale

Morrison Mountain

Fishing at Convict Lake Morrison Mountain

Unfortunately their escape didn’t go as smooth as they might thought it would have as they encounter a Deputy Sheriff George Hightower. In this encounter, Posse member; Robert Morrison ends up killed. The beautiful mountains that surround the lake are named after him; Morrison Mountain. There is another strange incident that happened in the early 1990s as well. A group of teenagers and a couple counselors fell into the water while standing on a thin layer of ice. All except one teenager was able to pull himself out; it is assumed the others had drowned.

Kayaking Convict Lake

Convict Lake Today

Although these tragic events have infiltrated the memory of the community in years past, today it has blossomed into something new full of fun and adventure. It is known as a place for recreational opportunities. The opportunity for fishing, hiking, exploring, and kayaking. Convict Lake in the Sierra Nevada area is one of places that will surprise you. It is sort of a hidden gem believe it or not. 

The activities and things to do in this area of Mono County are endless including hundreds of miles of trails for hiking and backpacking. Trek your way through the Inyo and Humboldt Toiyabe National Forests that includes the John Muir trail, Ansel Adams, and Hoover Wilderness. To offer you a few nature and hiking trails to explore, I have listed a few below:

Hiking Trails

  •   Agnew/Meadow Wildflower Nature Trail          Short Trail        Map
  •   Burt Canyon Trail         Distance: 6.5 miles to Anna Lake           Map
  •  Crystal Lake Trail         Distance: 3 miles                                    Map
  •   Duck Pass Trail            Distance: 1 mile or 5 miles                      Map

You can also enjoy the 3 mile hiking trail around Convict Lake of which this trail connects to the Sierra Crest according to Wikipedia.com.

In Summary

I highly recommend you make a stop by Convict Lake on your visit to the Inyo National Forest or Mammoth Lakes area in California. If you are looking for simple easy adventurous things to do this Summer, then go visit Convict Lake and the Mammoth Lakes area. Directions: Convict Lake is approximately two miles from Highway 395 and about 15 minutes south of Mammoth Lakes.

One of the highest peaks in the beautiful Joshua Tree National Park is Ryan Mountain. It’s vast diversity of foliage and desert shrubs align this moderately challenging hiking trail on Ryan Mountain. The opportunity for stunning views and exploring the surrounding desert nature is what lured me to this hiking adventure recently. Read further for my hiking guide to Ryan Mountain in Joshua Tree NP.

Landscapes near Ryan Mountain Hiking trail
Near Ryan Mountain

Ryan Ranch History

If you are like me, I am always up for another new hiking adventure. Before I take you on my trail journey here, let’s review a little bit more about Ryan Mountain and its history. The historic ruins of the Ryan house still remain on the trail to Ryan Ranch. J.D. Ryan was a wealthy rancher from Montana who supplied water to Lost Horse Mine (Gold Mine), which was the most profitable mine in the area.

The ruins are the remains of a 6-bedroom adobe built house built in 1896 and a fire destroyed it in August of 1978. According to sourcing on Wikipedia.com, there is a small cemetery nearby with 6 graves.

Ryan Mountain Trails

Ryan Ranch Trail

We enjoyed this short easy 1.5-mile round trip path that leads you out to the Ryan ruins. On the way, you see massive boulders and rock formations, wildflowers, and cactus galore. There are also a few abandoned old modern structures, and miscellaneous rusted machinery left in the area. There is also an interesting large rock formation a very short distance off the trail that is a perfect hideaway for small critters and animals looking for shade.

Headstone Rock at Ryan Ranch hiking trail
Headstone Rock at Ryan Ranch hiking trail

The trail is a flat narrow dirt path and is about ½ mile east of Ryan Campground. You will find two restroom structures at the trailhead here.

Ryan Mountain

Another perfect day in the desert and sets the tone for our road trip to Joshua Tree National Park and attempt to climb and explore Ryan Mountain. This 3-mile round trip-hiking trail is not very long but a portion of it is strenuous.

Parts of the trail are very rocky so you need to watch your step. My foot slipped off a small rock and I twisted my ankle ending up later that evening with a slightly swollen foot. The scenery is quite lovely as you make your way to the summit at 5,456 feet in Joshua Tree National Park.

Ryan Mountain Trail
Views from Ryan Mountain Trail

The ascension climb is about 1,050 feet at 1.5 miles so do not take this hiking trail lightly.

CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO – Hiking Ryan Mountain

I very much enjoy seeing all the color variations of rocks and cliff sides together with so many wild flowers and abundant desert flora.

Wildflowers on Ryan Mountain Trail
Wildflowers on Ryan Mountain Trail

Treat Yourself

After a full afternoon of exploring through Joshua Tree, and climbing Ryan Mountain, we deserve to treat ourselves at some delicious dining. One of our favorite Mexican Restaurants in the Palm Springs area is Maracas Cantina.

There are two locations with one located in Palm Springs and the other located in Rancho Mirage. They offer live music, free chips and salsa, and have the best food quality of any restaurant we’ve eaten at in California. We especially indulge our taste buds in the complimentary pico de gallo and corn cake with entrees. It is absolutely mouth watering. If you ever visit Palm Springs area, this place is a must! You won’t be disappointed.

In Summary

Ask anyone from southern California, spending time in the desert is a remarkable experience. It is very therapeutic and soul replenishing.

Joshua Tree National Park is one of those places with all of its serene desert landscape and unique beauty; it is the perfect place for exploring first time hiking trails and seeing historical western ranches and mines. Ryan Mountain has a challenging incline but also offers the rewarding scenic views to enjoy for all the hard work you do climbing to the top.

I highly recommend this hiking trail on your next visit to Joshua Tree National Park.

Top 10 Honeymoon Destinations By Guest Blogger Mark B. of Outdoorily.com.

Hello folks!
Honeymoon period is special for many reasons. It’s when the couples establish a stronger bond, it’s when they get some “we-time” after all the hectic marriage days. It’s something that will be cherished for a lifetime, so choosing the right destination is very important.

Here, I take you through some of the most popular choices for honeymoon destinations around the globe.

1.Mauritius

Mauritius
Mauritius

Top 10 Honeymoon Destinations

Ranking first, Mauritius is the most popular choice among newlywed couples. It’s pristine beaches, crystal lagoons, white sands and the wide open coastal roads, makes it the ideal honeymoon destination.

Recreational activities include snorkeling, and you can find a mixture of Indian and French cultures there. The best time to visit is in the second half of the year – May to December.

2.Bali

Bali
Bali

Top 10 Honeymoon Destinations

This Indonesian island is the affordable choice for many, and it offers nothing less than a dreamy vacation. Bali is situated amidst a jungle, and it has a lot of picturesque landscapes, temples and beaches to offer. Not to forget the swing at Tegalalang Rice Terrace, that’s one of the highlights of the place. The ideal time to visit Bali would be in mid of the year – June to August and towards the end of the year.

3.Paris

Paris
Paris

It needs no introduction when it comes to romantic destinations. Watching the city from the Eiffel tower, strolling the streets of Paris hand-in-hand, sipping some good wine in the cafes is a perfect way to start marital life. This city is no doubt a dream destination to celebrate love! The best time to visit is from June to September.

4.Island of Santorini

Santorini Greece
Santorini Greece

Santorini in Greece is a small island that has breathtaking sceneries, white-washed buildings facing the Aegean seas and some amazing food. The Greek salads and wine are something to die for! All-in-all, this place makes for a luxurious and relaxed honeymoon time. The best times to visit the place would be towards the end of the year – September to December.

5.Maldives

Maldives
Maldives

Yet another island option, it’s one of the most ideal places for couples to begin their lives. The crystal clear water, the white sand and exotic resorts make it one of the popular choices. One interesting facts about Maldives is the night glow in the beaches of the Mudhdhoo Island, because of bioluminescence. Make sure to not miss that if Maldives is your choice!

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6.Italy

Italy
Italy

Ever since ages, Italy has been the favourite of honeymooners. There are a lot of destinations to explore in Italy itself, starting from the green meadows of Tuscany, the beauty of Como lake, or the rivers that run through the streets of Venice, or the historical buildings. The best time to visit would be July to August

7.Switzerland

Switzerland
Switzerland

Switzerland is paradise on earth, and the honeymoon can’t get any better. It comes in the luxurious options for honeymoon but the vast wide green valleys, the ever beautiful mountains and the crystal clear water bodies make it all worthwhile. It by no doubt is a choking beauty! The best times to visit would be April to June in the summers and December to March in the winters.

8.New Zealand

New Zealand
New Zealand

New Zealand is famous for its cruise, cave and film tours. Nightlife in here is pretty lively, and the adventure sports include Scuba Diving and Skywalk. It has golden sand beaches that make any romantic trip complete. Not to forget the penguins 😉 The best time to visit would be from December to February.

9.Ireland

Ireland
Ireland

Ireland is where you get to spend your honeymoon in a castle, which ranges from economical to luxurious options. It’s an option for couples who wish to explore places other than conventional choices like beaches. The major attractions of the place are the Ferns castle and the Titanic Belfast. The best time to visit would be spring and fall.

10.Mirissa

Mirissa
Mirissa

Mirissa is a small town to the south of Sri Lanka. It’s famous for its clear beaches and the Taprobane Island and is cost effective yet very good choice for newly weds. The best time to visit the place would be from August to December.

That’s it guys!  We hope this guide helped you get a glimpse of some of the most top ten honeymoon destinations. Hopefully you were able to choose one of the places listed above. Have lots and lots of fun, crazy time and most importantly, stay safe!

Be it a trip to anywhere, owning a good backpack can help you keep things organized and save you a lot of time. The best of them are tactical backpacks, and the best according to us is the 5.11 Tactical Rush 12 Backpack.

Author Bio

Author’s BIO: Mark Bennett is an American writer and traveler, whose major inspiration has been camping with his father ever since his childhood. He aims to visit 75 countries before he’s 30. You can also follow his adventures on his site outdoorily.com.

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Woolly Mammoth Fossil

Enjoy a day with the dinosaurs at the ND Heritage Museum. Do you ever imagine a day with the dinosaurs during the dinosaur age millions of years ago? I think about it every so often, and I get chills as I envision these massive beasts roaming around the earth. I visualize the lush landscape, and the warm and tropical climate that existed as well. I’ve always been curious about the history of that time and have an interest in dinosaurs and all the other creatures and insects living exactly where we all live.

Woolly Mammoth Fossil
Woolly Mammoth Fossil

Time Eras

The time period is known as the Jurassic Era, or the Mesozoic Era; which is about 208-146 million years ago. This era in time is so fascinating to me, which is why I set out to learn more and decide to visit the local museum in my home state of North Dakota. My trip to the museum was both amazing and delightful. Enjoying quality time with my mother and her friend and a full day of enlightenment and Dakota history. 

The Museum

The North Dakota Heritage Center is a beautifully built structure that is home to plentiful galleries and exhibits. It is located on North Dakota State Capitol grounds in Bismarck. The museum building boasts of green and environmentally friendly materials together with creating an extraordinary experience with the visitor in mind.

Passage of Time

This place is full of history and is organized with an easy layout in a chronological manner including the dinosaur age! The museum has three main permanent galleries that include the Adaptation Gallery, Innovation Gallery, and Inspiration Gallery. Additionally, you will also find a small quaint café called the James River Café within the museum as well.

James River Cafe Seating
James River Cafe Seating

The Galleries

Not only did my enjoyable day consist of roaming around the historic dinosaur exhibits, I also enjoyed wandering into other museum galleries. I began my journey with the historical piano, tractors, and an old wagon car. Next I ended up back into millions of years ago starring up at the Tyrannosaurus rex. Here is a brief glance at the galleries below:

North Dakota Heritage Center
Photo Credit: North Dakota Heritage Center

Adaptation Gallery: Geologic Time

The gallery is amazing as you enter the underwater room you will hear the sounds and tones as if you are under the sea. Take a walk on the sea floor and you then encounter amazing fossil exhibits that are from 80 million years ago; when North Dakota was covered by inland seawater. You will learn about the skeleton fossils and parts of the creatures during this time. Take a look at a few of the fossils of dinosaurs in ND displayed in here.

Adaptation Gallery Giant Sea Turtle
Adaptation Gallery Giant Sea Turtle

           Plioplatecarpus– a large marine lizard like predator  
        Xiphactinus– 16 foot long tarpon like fish
            Archelon– giant sea turtle
            Hesperornis– diving seabird

North Dakota Heritage Center

One of the most significant display exhibits that stands out to me is the mummified Duck Billed Hadrosaur. This fossil still contains the skin preserved.

mummified Duck Billed Hadrosaur
Mummified Duck Billed Hadrosaur

Innovation Gallery: Early Peoples

Take a journey with the early peoples, Palioindians from 13,000 years ago and the collections from that era. Here you will learn about the invention of the bow and arrow, clay pottery, and hallmarks and milestones of these big game hunters and their survival techniques.

Inspiration Gallery: Yesterday and Today

This particular gallery section is one of my favorites. During my childhood, my folks shared their stories about rough times growing up having to walk miles in the winter snow to get to school. The museum clearly illustrates how tough life was back then. But it also demonstrates how folks entertained themselves as well. I really enjoy this old-time section that simulates an old-time soda shop.

Photo Credit: North Dakota Heritage Center

In addition to the soda shop, you will also enjoy exploring all the static and rotating exhibits and displays throughout the year. The museum has various events occurring during each month as well, you can see all the events happening on the calendar:  

The Horse in North Dakota

This particular gallery is brought to you by the Historical Society Staff, and is open until 2020.  You will learn about the vast history of horse domestication and culture, artifacts once belonging to Sitting Bull and Madam de Mores (Medora) and much more.

In Summary

Our world today has so many luxuries and conveniences, I always take time to appreciate my own blessings. I find myself thinking what life must have been like millions of years ago. It is amazing to think about those massive creatures roaming the earth.

The North Dakota Heritage Museum allows you to see history as it was and get a small peek into a day with dinosaurs in ND from hundreds to millions of years ago. According to Wikipedia.com, the museum in 2008 was named the Smithsonian of the Plains. I highly recommend on your next trip to North Dakota, that you add this museum to your itinerary!

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