Northern States National Parks Bucket List

Northern States National Parks Bucket List

Preview: A Northern States National Parks Bucket List for families. Join guest writers as we travel around the states of Alaska, Michigan, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Wyoming to national and state parks!

I am so excited about this group of national and state parks to share with you! Truly I have no doubt it will spark a bit of wanderlust. When I was a kid, we went to parks in Alaska, and I will never forget the time we spent there with family.  

Now join our tour around the United States in Explorer Momma’s Operation U.S. Parks, Every Kid in a Park. This is number three in a series of five posts featuring guest writers who plug their favorite parks and give tips and stories about the area. I hope to encourage you and your family to get out, wander, and experience our magnificent national and state parks.

So, moving northward, let’s continue our journey and add to your own Northern States National Parks bucket list!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Northern States National Parks for family adventures! Add to your national and state parks bucket list and visit the wildlife in Katmai National Park, Alaska, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, and more! #yellowstonetravel #katmainationalpark

Northern States National Parks

Katmai National Park, Alaska

There are some places so worth going to that getting there is half the adventure. Katmai National Park is one of those places. To get to this over 6,000 square miles of Alaskan wilderness, you must first take a flight to King Salmon. Then, from there you’ll hire a charter flight to take you to the park. The number one reason to visit this park is to see grizzly bears in the wild. 

Each summer the bears congregate at the Brooks River Falls where the migrating salmon jump UP the falls. Visitors have their own bear-viewing platform to watch all the bears’ activities. From that point, you can see the older, wiser bears who can open their mouths and magically a salmon jumps right. Also, don’t forget, there are the younger, less-experienced bears who try and try and try again just to catch a couple of salmon per day.

Katmai National Park, Northern States National Parks, Alaska #katmainationalpark #familytravel

Due to the sheer number of bears in the park (estimates are around 2200), visitors must immediately take bear training when they arrive in Brooks Camp. Bear safety is a must when people are camping among North America’s largest predator.

Katmai National Park is one of the most beautiful and unique northern states parks to visit. Definitely, it’s a journey to get there, but boy is it worth it.

By Corinne from Reflections Enroute

Badlands National Park, South Dakota

Before my husband and I were married he mentioned many times how he’d like to take me to Rapid City, South Dakota. I remember being confused because I had no clue what South Dakota had to offer. Surely there were many more exotic places to explore in this world than South Dakota?

However, we took our family there on our long term RV trip across the country. We couldn’t believe we hadn’t made it sooner. Truly, the beauty of the Badlands National Park is breathtaking. The vast amount of buffalo at Custer State Park is enough to leave you speechless. Also, the amount of unique and fun family-friendly activities in the Black Hills will keep you busy and entertained for days. And of course, the majesty and iconic Mount Rushmore is a must for every family visiting the United States. 

Mount Rushmore with kids, Badlands, South Dakota #mountrushmore #badlandsnationalpark

There are so many historic and interesting things for families to do and see in this area. To begin, I had no clue how much we would love it. We started off with a 5-day reservation at a campground and kept extending it until we were there for two weeks. Even then we didn’t see it all and are already planning to come back.

Rapid City, South Dakota is a great choice for families looking for educational fun, history and natural beauty. Read more about the Badlands here: 10 reasons why South Dakota should be on your family’s bucket list.

By Hilarye at Dotting the Map

Wyoming: Northern States National Parks for Families

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park combines the otherworldliness of geothermal activity and the beauty of the Rocky Mountains. Then add to that the magic of the biggest wild animals in America. You won’t be disappointed!

Both planned stops and impromptu wildlife sightings make up the bulk of activities for most tourists. In addition, there are boardwalks for accessing the geysers, hot springs, thermal pools, and waterfalls. Also, there are trails leading into the backcountry. 

Both kids and adults alike will love the variety and frequency of things to see. First to plan your trip, know it’s generally a maximum of 20 minutes between interest points. You’ll find distinctive viewpoints, mud pots, geysers, waterfall hikes, and visitor centers. If you pair that with bear, moose, elk, wolf, bison, and eagle sightings, you’ll find every day is almost always action packed!

Yellowstone National Park, mud pot view #yellowstonenationalpark #familytravel

Know before you go:

  • Yellowstone is so big, it’s hard to see all the unique features in less than two full days.
  • The ranger talks and visitor centers are free and hugely valuable.
  • Accommodations include camping opportunities and hotels.
  • Also, the park is much easier to visit in the summer when roads are open to the public. In winter, much of the park is closed to vehicle access, requiring snow coach tours or snowmobile rentals. 
  • Plan to live without phone service. Signals are hard to come by given the terrain and remoteness.
  • Problems with the amazing wild animals or geyser injuries in the park generally are caused by tourists illegally approaching. Be safe!

Fun fact: Yellowstone is so-called for the yellow-ish volcanic material – rhyolite. It can be found throughout the caldera, which is a large volcanic crater. Did you know Yellowstone is a volcano so enormous you can’t even see it?

By Jema from Half the Clothes

Yellowstone National Park in Winter

One of my favorite National Park experiences is spending a few winter days at Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park. In summer, the park is packed with visitors. Often, you are shoulder to shoulder trying to watch the famous geyser erupt. Winter brings tranquility and space to Wonderland.

We like to stay at the Old Faithful Snow Lodge in winter. The roads are closed except to over-snow vehicles, so we ride in on a snow coach. The lodge is warm and inviting. A fireplace is ablaze in the lobby, and visitors read books, play board games, and discuss their day exploring. Also, the kids really love the ice skating rink just outside.

The dining room serves gourmet-casual food with an emphasis on local (well, as local as you can get in the middle of winter in Yellowstone). We love grabbing a hot drink from the bar to sip in the lobby before dinner.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming #yellowstonetrips #yellowstoneinwinter

The Best Part of Yellowstone in Winter

The best part is getting out on cross-country skis or snowshoes. My family likes the zippy ski tour down Spring Creek and walking around the Upper Geyser Basin. In winter, you can watch Old Faithful erupt without anyone else around.

From the Snow Lodge, you can take a snow coach to the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and ski or snowshoe along its edge. Seeing the partially frozen Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River is magical, and watching otters slide through the snow into the river above the falls, brings a smile to your face.

There is something about being in a warm cozy lodge after a day in the snow that feels like an iconic winter experience. Even though our kids were young when we went, they remember it fondly and long to go back.

By Melynda from Yellowstone Trips

Grand Teton National Park

Hidden below America’s first National Park, Yellowstone, is Grand Teton National Park. A place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. A place to breathe.

I passed through the Grand Tetons on my way from Yellowstone the first time, and I immediately knew someday I would return. For me, it was love at first sight. I loved it there so much that I will head back next year. I plan to explore more of the area, the trails, and to find those secret places the mountains always whisper about.

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming #grandtetonnationalpark #familytravel

While Yellowstone is definitely amazing in its own way, I felt that the Grand Tetons offered a little more peace and quiet. And fewer people as well. You might not be completely alone here, but who cares? You’ve got fantastic views over the mountains, beautiful lakes to watch the sunrise over, and miles and miles of hiking trails to explore. And if that’s not enough to convince you to visit, there are also plenty of opportunities for wildlife viewing.

Oh, and did I mention there are gorgeous waterfalls as well?

I actually fell so much in love with this place I’ll be returning with my family next summer. It may not be the ideal time to visit if you’re looking for peace and quiet. However, I’ll be alongside family I’m sure it’s going to be a fantastic trip.

I just know I would’ve just loved to visit this place when I was younger! Why? Because it’s heaven for kids with endless nature to explore.

By Helena from Darling, Let’s Be Adventurers

Interested in more National Parks?

What’s on your national and state parks bucket list in Utah and Colorado?

Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado #trailridgeroad #rockymountainnational park

 

Northern State Parks

Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Michigan

Of all the amazing family-friendly stops in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, my family’s favorite destination is Tahquamenon Falls State Park. We love it so much that we convinced our entire extended family (three generations – 8 adults and 11 children) to go there with us last summer. Everyone agrees it was great fun.

Upon arrival, we immediately headed to the Upper Falls overlooks. Big and powerful, the Tahquamenon Upper Falls are a thrilling sight to behold. Also, this waterfall is especially family-friendly because most of its overlooks feature paved trails that are easily accessible for strollers and wheelchairs.

Tahquamenon Upper Falls, MinivanAdventures, Michigan #TahquamenonFallsStatePark #familytravel

After viewing the Upper Falls, we drove down to the parking area near the Lower Falls. We walked the trail for a short distance to take in the view of the considerably smaller Lower Falls. There are boats available for rent if you want a closer look at these falls. We did not take any boats out as we had several small children (including toddlers and a baby) in our group.

Instead, we wandered a little further along the trail where we joined several other families wading in the shallow river water. The children and the adults had a blast playing in the water and stacking rocks.

Hint:

Bring water shoes for protection from the river’s rocky bottom.

Our entire group left with fond memories of Tahquamenon Falls State Park. The children frequently ask when we will go back there, and the adults think it would be fun to return as well.

By April from Minivan Adventures

Mahoney State Park, Nebraska

Situated in the heart of the US, along the I-80 Interstate, many road-trippers pass through Nebraska without a second glance. However, by doing so, they are missing out on so many great stops, one of them being Mahoney State Park. It is one of the top 100 US State Parks. 

One of the things that makes Mahoney so fantastic is its never-ending list of things to do. First, horseback riding, ceramic making, toboggan sledding or snowshoeing in the winter. Next, you can try sleeping in teepees, miles of hiking trails, and more. Moreover, this means there is something for everyone. Also, you can spend days upon days at Mahoney State Park and still not have done everything there is to do! 

Mahoney State Park, Nebraska #familytravel #nebraskaactivities Mahoney State Park, photo credit to Nebraska Tourism

Kids love Mahoney for its gigantic indoor play zone and its AMAZING water park. Fabulously, it’s complete with wave pool and dump buckets. Also, adults can’t get enough of things like the high ropes and zip-line course, 40+ foot rock climbing wall, and nearby vineyards.

So don’t just cruise past what you thought was nothing but boring cornfields on your next cross-country road trip. Don’t forget to check out Mahoney State Park and Nebraska’s other great activities for a fun stop.

By LeAnna from Well Traveled Nebraskan

Pin this post to save for later here!:

Northern States National Parks amaze and delight kids and adults alike. Family travel to Yellowstone, Katmai National Park, and more! #familytravel #usparks

Operation U.S. Parks

So this week we’ve ventured up to some of the Northern regions of the United States. What do you think? I am so ready to plan a family trip to Alaska to see all the wildlife, the glaciers, and do some hiking! My son absolutely obsesses on puffins, sea lions, whales, and bears and cannot wait to see them in the wild for himself.

Also, we’re planning trips to Yellowstone and the Badlands this summer and fall, and I’m so excited to experience those places as a family!

What’s next on your bucket list?

Check out more articles on U.S. parks:

Have you been to any of these Northern States National Parks? What about Northern State Parks?

Tag me in your pics on Instagram @explorermomma. I’d love to see them!

Keto Cheddar Focaccia

Keto Cheddar Focaccia

Preview: Soft and delicious, keto cheddar focaccia is cheese and rosemary goodness with your favorite low carb soup or salad. 

I’ve had so many people tell me how hard it is for them to give up bread on a keto, low carb, or gluten-free diet. Do you have family members or friends who moan about how much they miss bread and how terrible all the gluten-free versions are?

I’ve found for myself it’s hugely important to have good alternatives and options to curb any cravings. Yet, such recipes options also have to fit into my daily macros and plan. Sound familiar?

This keto cheddar focaccia is one of those recipes that is so awesome people who are not low carb or keto begin to crave it! It’s difficult when half the household eats one way and the other half another. My husband regularly grabs one of these for a snack or with dinner over the bread he says he prefers. I have to bite my tongue not to say, “Hey wait a minute! We can’t eat your stuff, why are you eating ours?”

Can I tell you a secret? I very rarely miss bread anymore and am not tempted by it. Once you get through that initial phase the cravings start to fade and maybe just the idea of it sounds good and the memories of good times sharing a meal with others. So bam! Introduce a new plate to the table. Keto cheddar focaccia, yum!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. 

Keto cheddar focaccia is low carb, cheesy heaven! Missing bread? Soft and delicious, this gluten-free bread is perfect with keto soups and salads. #ketobread #lowcarbrecipes

In a hurry?

Scroll down to the bottom for the printable recipe or PIN it here for later!

How to cope when family members eat different diets

Is there anyone else out there who struggles with this? We began for health reasons, and my daughter and I are very strict about what we can eat and what we want to introduce into our systems. On the other hand, my husband is very much a traditional meat, bread, and potatoes guy with a gigantic sweet tooth.

What can you do when you have temptations in the house and are not allowed to completely clean out the cupboards? I will never say that it’s easy, but there are a few alterations we’ve made that seem to have helped. A little.

1. Always have keto treats and emergency snacks available

The best way I’ve found to keep snacks on hand is to consistently update the supply in the freezer. That way, my daughter or I can get a low carb muffin, keto peanut butter cup, or piece of keto cheddar focaccia out whenever the need or craving arises. In addition, because I know I have good options in the freezer I’m less likely to raid my husband’s stash.

2. Keep non-keto or non-low carb items together in one cupboard

In our house, this is called “Daddy’s secret spot”, named by my son. My husband keeps all his candy bars, Pop-tarts, granola bars, and other snacks in a higher cupboard sort of like a liquor cabinet but for non-keto-friendly snacks. It’s not locked or anything and always there, but it helps when it’s a place I don’t go into and don’t see. In this way, I’m not reaching in to get the almond flour passing by the chocolate caramels or mint Christmas candy.

Yes, this can backfire if you have no emergency keto options available, but so far it’s worked well for us. My daughter doesn’t even try to venture into “Daddy’s secret spot”.

3. Be strategic in the foods you buy

What does this mean? Well, if I have to go to the grocery store and buy my husband bagels and granola bars, I buy the kinds he likes but I know my daughter definitely does not. Therefore, he’s happy, and she won’t be tempted.

For example, I could buy raisin cinnamon bagels because I know she doesn’t like raisins and wouldn’t think about them constantly in the cabinet. Then for the granola bar choice, I select a granola bar with peanuts because although she grew out of her peanut allergy, she still cannot stand to smell or eat them. Perhaps not ideal, but as a family, you have to make life work!

Keto cheddar focaccia, overhead view #ketorecipes #lowcarbbread

After a good dinner, one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.

Oscar Wilde

Author

To make keto cheddar focaccia you’ll need : 

Keto cheddar focaccia, the perfect low carb bread to pair with keto soup or salad. #lowcarbrecipes #ketobread

How to make keto cheddar focaccia

This is actually a pretty easy recipe to make, and the most difficult part of all may be in gathering the things you need to make it. Therefore, first, I always get out my food processor, baking dish, and other kitchen items and ingredients I need. It makes it quicker and feel simpler.

Second, take the 9 x 13-inch baking dish and grease it with butter or coconut oil. Once that’s done, preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Now, move to the food processor. I like to make this recipe quickly in the food processor, but you can always do it in a mixer. Just be sure to mix it very thoroughly.

Measure all the ingredients except for the topping, into a food processor. Next, pulse and process the mixture until it’s well-blended and makes a dough. Then spoon the dough into the greased baking dish and smooth it around with a spatula so it’s evenly distributed.

Next, take a smaller bowl and mix together the topping ingredients then sprinkle it all over the dough. Then place it in the over to bake for about 30-35 minutes and let cool. I like to eat it when it’s still a little warm, but it reheats very well also.

The nutrition facts I’ve included are for 20 equal-sized pieces. You can always make them a little smaller to cut the carb count down to 1, but I like a good piece to bite into with my dinner. It keeps well for about a 4 days in the fridge or up to a month in the freezer.

Keto cheddar focaccia, holding up a piece. #ketorecipes #lowcarbdiet

If you’re afraid of butter, use cream.

Julia Child

Chef

Keto Diet

What do you struggle with most following a keto or low carb diet? Do you also have a family with certain members eating different diets or maybe at different times because of work and school schedules? Planning and organization are huge in these situations, but you also have to use trial and error to see what works for you.

Don’t worry if you don’t succeed all the time. With our kids, we always talk about the growth mindset, and it’s true. We all learn from our setbacks and just haven’t learned the perfect way yet. But with perseverance and determination, it can be done!! And taste pretty good along the way! Enjoy!

Pin the recipe here!:

Tag me in your recipe pics on Instagram @explorermomma.

If you LOVE this recipe please consider giving it a five-star rating in the review area below!

Happy baking!

Need emergency Keto treats?

Keto chocolate truffles are chocolate perfection and great to keep in the freezer for an emergency craving!

Low carb, keto chocolate truffles are the perfect Christmas treat! Gluten-free and made with almond flour, they're the best sugar-free package for the holidays. #ketotruffles #ketochocolate

Keto Cheddar Focaccia Printable Recipe

Keto Cheddar Focaccia is the perfect low carb recipe alongside your favorite keto soup or salad. Craving bread? Try this and your keto diet will thank you. #ketobread #lowcarbbread
Print Recipe
4 from 1 vote

Keto Cheddar Focaccia

Do you need a keto bread? Cheesy keto cheddar focaccia with a hint of rosemary is mouthwatering low carb goodness. Perfect for dipping in soups or eating as a side.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Italian, Keto, Ketogenic, Low Carb
Keyword: cheddar focaccia, keto, keto bread, low carb bread
Servings: 20
Calories: 98kcal
Author: Lauren Gonikishvili

Ingredients

  • 2 cups finely ground almond flour
  • 3/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp finely ground sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp melted butter

Topping

  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary

Instructions

  • Take a 9 x 13-inch baking dish and grease it with butter or coconut oil.
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Blend all the ingredients (not the topping) in a food processor until it's well-blended.
  • Spoon the dough into the greased baking dish and smooth it around with a spatula so it's evenly distributed.
  • Mix together the topping ingredients and sprinkle it over the dough.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes and let cool.
  • Cut it into 20 equal-sized pieces.

Notes

Nutrition Facts

 
Servings 15.0
Amount Per Serving: 1 piece
Calories 131
 
Total Fat 11 g  
Saturated Fat 5 g  
Monounsaturated Fat 3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 63 mg  
Sodium 350 mg  
Potassium 38 mg  
Total Carbohydrate 2 g  
Dietary Fiber 0 g  
Sugars 0 g  
Protein 6 g
*Nutrition Facts per MyFitnessPal.com. For most accurate facts, calculate your own with the exact ingredients you use in the recipe.

Nutrition Disclaimer

Please be aware I am not a medical specialist or nutritional professional. On this blog, I share recipes and what works for me. Please do not take anything on this blog as medical advice and always consult with your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program. I use MyFitnessPal.com to calculate nutrition facts as a courtesy to my readers, and I remove erythritol from the final carb count and net carb count because does not affect my own blood glucose levels.
This is as accurate as possible, but it’s best to independently calculate nutritional information on your own with the specific ingredients you use. I expressly disclaim any and all liability of any kind with respect to any act or omission wholly or in part in reliance on anything contained in this website.

Utah and Colorado National Parks Bucket List

Utah and Colorado National Parks Bucket List

Preview: A Utah and Colorado National Parks Bucket List for families. Join guest writers as we travel around these mountain states to national and state parks!

What’s your reason to visit a national or state park? Why do we go to these parks? Is it the magnificence, the feeling of heaven on earth, the challenge, or the varying landscapes?

We are planning family trips for this summer and so I asked travel bloggers from all over to share their experiences in state and national parks. You may find your reasons to travel to one of the parks from their answers!

The national parks bucket lists will be published in a series of 5. I hope you enjoyed last week’s California National Parks Bucket List! Have you been to many of the California parks?

But now, without further ado, let’s continue our journey and add to your Utah and Colorado National Parks bucket list!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Utah and Colorado National Parks bucket list | Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Rocky Mountain National Park, and more! #utahnationalparks #coloradonationalparks

Utah National Parks for families

Bryce Canyon National Park 

Bryce Canyon National Park is one of the most unique and memorable parks we explored in the U.S. on our West Coast road trip.

Technically not a Canyon, the landscape is surreal. Millions of years of erosion through the valley have created pillars called hoodoos, and are scattered over a large area. You can admire the hoodoos from the canyon rim, or take a hike down to the valley floor where the hoodoos tower above you.

Bryce Canyon is great with kids as it is quite small. The park can easily be visited in one day and many of the hiking trails are not too challenging. We took the Navajo Loop Trail starting from Wall Street and also covered the Queens Garden Loop Trail in the valley.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, hoodoos #brycecanyonnationalpark #utahnationalparks

The kids loved walking through the hoodoos, looking for shapes in the towering pillars of sandstone and playing hide and seek amongst the spires.

Our best tip is to visit the park at sunrise or sunset when the colors are simply magnificent. If you have time, sign up for a ranger talk on the trail. They are engaging sessions, and our kids learned a lot from about the landscape and the animals that call the park home. The area around Bryce Canyon is said to be one of the darkest locations in the US. That makes it also the perfect spot for a little star gazing.

By Rachel from Adventure and Sunshine

Zion National Park

Zion National Park is centered around a large canyon. However, unlike most canyons which you see from above, the main accessible part of the park is along the canyon floor. The park is car-free. Instead, there are frequent free shuttle buses that run the length of this part of the park, making it easy to travel, and keeping the park free of traffic.

There are plenty of places to stay in nearby Springdale, but if you want to stay in the park, the lodge is half way along the canyon. At the lodge, you’ll find a restaurant and cafe as well as an enormous cottonwood tree that is lovely to relax under in the summer.

Zion National Park, Utah #utahnationalparks #zionnationalpark

There are plenty of hikes, including The Narrows – a spectacular hike through a narrow slot canyon in a river. Younger kids can do the river walk to the start of this hike easily. You’ll also find plenty of slot canyons that are perfect for canyoneering (rappelling down a series of extremely narrow canyons) – not for little kids, but perfect for adults or even adventurous teenagers.

Also, there are shorter, easier hikes, such as the short half-mile hike to Weeping Rock (a dripping ‘waterfall’ over a rocky outcrop) and a one-mile hike to Canyon Overlook for breathtaking views of the canyon below.

Zion really does have something for everyone of all ages, levels of fitness, and adventurous spirit.

By James from Travel Collecting

Arches National Park

Arches National Park was one of my favourite national parks to visit in the USA. If you have 2 days you should be able to see everything in the park. There are a lot of short hikes that you can do which is ideal if you are going with children.

Just off the main road through the park, there’s a nice little hike of 0.3 miles is to see Balanced Rock which stands at 39 metres tall. More difficult, Delicate Arch was one of my favourite hikes and is a 3-mile hike. Actually, it is quite a strenuous hike as it’s mainly up a steep rock face on the way there. However, it’s well worth it once you get there. It is possible to do with children, but you will need to keep a close eye on them as there are sharp drops in places.

Arches National Park, Utah #archesnationalpark #utahnationalparks

Devil’s Garden trailhead has a lot of different options for hikes with many more arches you can see. Some are very easy walks and some are longer and more difficult. This is a great area to explore though as there is so much to see. Unfortunately, it does mean it is one of the busiest in the park. My favourites to see are Landscape Arch, Partition Arch, and Double O Arch.

If you are in Utah you need to make the time to have a couple of days or at least a day to visit this park.

By Clare from I Live 4 Travel 

Interested in California State and National Parks?

Yosemite National Park, California National Parks Bucket List #familytravel #everykidinapark

 

(Pssst!! Add all of these to your Utah and Colorado national parks bucket list today!)

Colorado National Parks for Families

The Great Sand Dunes National Park

The Great Sand Dunes National Park is one of the most unique National Parks in the United States. Containing the tallest sand dunes in North America, the dunes stretch across about 30 miles of land. One would think the dunes were close to the ocean, but no, the dunes are actually located in Colorado, at the edge of the San Luis Valley and Sangre De Cristo mountain range.

The dunes can be spotted from miles away, and the closer you drive to them the bigger and bigger they appear. A favorite way to explore the dunes is to rent sand sleds or sandboards and climb to the top for an awesome view and then an even better ride. Families with children can choose to surf down smaller dunes rather than the very large ones.

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado #greatsanddunesnationalpark #coloradonationalparks

Another way to explore the dunes is to drive the rugged Medano Pass, a 22-mile sand road that requires a 4 wheel drive vehicle to go on. Don’t have a 4 wheel drive vehicle? You can actually rent fat tire bikes that are the only type of bike allowed pass the no point of return on Medano Pass.

If you don’t feel as adventurous, simply taking a hike to the foot of the dunes at sunset is a magical experience. The dunes light up in a soft ray of orange light and are beautiful to photograph at this time.

By Jess at Unearth the Voyage

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park, just west of Estes Park, Colorado, is my happy place. It feels like a second home to me, always welcoming and awe-inspiring. There are so many different places to explore and fabulous hiking options for families.

In this magnificent park, you’ll find views of majestic mountains, valleys, and snakelike rivers, as well as a variety of wildlife and plants. There are mountain-sides with pine and aspen trees, mountain flowers like the Rocky Mountain columbine, and even the grass of the tundra up on top of Trail Ridge Road.

Trail Ridge Road, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado #trailridgeroad #rockymountainnational park

If you want a day to impress the kids in the park definitely drive up Trail Ridge Road. A highway to the sky, Trail Ridge Road is the 48-mile portion of U.S. 34 between Estes Park and Grand Lake, Colorado. To me, this is one of the most beautiful stretches of road and mountains you will ever see. At the top point, 12,183 feet in elevation, the wind whips and even in summer cars drive by walls of snow.

Take your time and get out of the car to enjoy the scenic views or take one of the short hikes. The Alpine Visitors Center is almost at the top on the Grand Lake side and worth a stop if nothing else but for the photo op.

Personally, when traveling the road I’ve seen moose, elk, deer, coyotes, bighorn sheep, marmots, chipmunks, and all sorts of birds. If your kids keep a written or art journal be sure to encourage them to track all the wildlife they see!

For more information on Rocky Mountain National Park and the area check out these articles:

I may be a little biased as I grew up in the area, but there is no place on earth like Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s perfect for families, adventurers, and wanderers.

By Lauren from Explorer Momma

Pin this post to save for later here!:

Utah and Colorado National Parks | Family Adventure Travel bucket list. Zion National Park to Rocky Mountain National Park and more! #rockymountainnationalpark #familytravel

Operation U.S. Parks

Are you ready for a family education? Teach your kids to respect and honor nature. Visit the parks, hike, camp, and enjoy the outdoors! It’s so much more powerful to have a hands-on experience to demonstrate why we must protect them and the wildlife in them. Truly, as a kid, these are things you’ll never forget, not only the time in these amazing places but the fun as a family.

Are you enjoying our journey around the country to the U.S. Parks? Have you added to your Utah and Colorado National Parks bucket list? Maybe it will give you and yours some inspiration to get out and plan your own trips! Good luck!

Have you been to any of these Utah or Colorado National Parks? What about any other State Parks?

Tag me in your pics on Instagram @explorermomma. I’d love to see them!

 

Check out more articles on U.S. parks:

Low Carb Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies

Low Carb Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies

Preview: With the perfect snap and texture, low carb chocolate pinwheel cookies are deliciously made of almond and coconut flours along with chocolate and other flavors. All the gluten-free goodness comes in a neat, perfectly swirled package perfect for Valentine’s Day, Christmas, or afternoon tea!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

On the 10th day of Christmas, we have swirls!

It’s the 12 Days of Keto Christmas Cookies, and we’re on cookie number 10! Have you ever made a swiss roll cake? Or perhaps you’ve watched one of those cooking shows I watch far too many of where they discuss the perfect “swirl” in a cake or cookie?

I am the first to admit my swirls are never completely perfect, but they are fun! This recipe is great because it’s super easy to make. Also, you have much less risk of the dough breaking than with a swiss roll.

Those are entirely different! I’m sure you’re telling the computer now. A swiss roll is a cake rolled up with jam, cream, or frosting inside. These are almost a shortbread-style cookie with no cream whatsoever. However, that all-important roll to create the perfect, or almost-perfect swirl is the unifying factor.

Low carb chocolate pinwheel cookies have the perfect tea cookie snap and are ideal for Valentine's Day, Christmas, or any day! If you want a gluten-free, sugar-free cookie that tastes amazing, these are for you! #lowcarbvalentine #lowcarbcookies

In a hurry?

Scroll down to the bottom for the printable recipe or PIN it here for later!

The tradition of the pinwheel swirl

In the past, one of my favorite Christmas cakes to make was the Bouche de Noël. I studied French in high school and college, and one of my favorite parts of French culture was and still is the food!

A Bouche de Noël is a roll cake, similar to a swiss roll, made in the shape of a log. Next year, I’m determined to make a keto version for Christmas. Traditionally it’s decorated with meringue mushrooms, marzipan leaves, or anything edible to make to appear more like you could stumble upon it in a fairy forest.

I always struggled with getting the cake to roll correctly to create the main part of the cake. Why is that swirl so difficult?

It comes down to several things easily managed when faced with cookie dough instead of a sponge cake.

Low carb chocolate pinwheel cookies. Keto and full of flavor, these gluten-free tea cookies are perfect for Valentine's Day, Christmas, or anytime! #ketocookies #lowcarbcookies

How to create the perfect swirl

First of all, the layers of dough need to come together evenly so as not to create bubbles or bumps of dough. Both different kinds of dough should be even throughout, just like the cake and filling should be in a roll cake. This is accomplished by taking your time and smoothing out the dough to the correct thickness without any bubbles or imperfections.

Second, a trick I’ve learned is to guide the dough as you roll it up with parchment paper, not your hands. As you pull the parchment paper up to start the roll, the paper more evenly creates the roll than your hands alone. Also, with a cookie dough filled with butter, the less you touch it the better because you don’t want to melt out that delightful butter!

The third trick for creating the perfect swirl is to roll it into a 2-inch diameter log, wrap it in cling wrap, and throw it in the freezer to chill. As I said, butter melts so if the dough is chilled it hardens. Not only then does the swirl stay in place, but then the log is ready to slice and bake anytime and can even stay in the freezer for up to a month.

To make low carb chocolate pinwheel cookies you’ll need: 

Cookies are made with butter and love.

Norwegian Proverb

How to make low carb chocolate pinwheel cookies

To begin, as always, make life easier by getting out all the necessary ingredients and kitchen utensils. Go ahead and preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare two baking sheets. I’ve found with these cookies you don’t need parchment paper or baking mats on the pans, but use them if you like.

For the ingredients now, first beat the butter and sweetener in a large bowl. I like to use a standing mixer for this, but use what you prefer. Once the mixture lightens up, add in the vanilla and mix it throughout.

Next, for the dry ingredients, measure in the almond and coconut flours. Beat it together thoroughly to make a dough. Obviously, there’s no gluten in this so you don’t have to worry about beating it too much and developing a gluten structure. Just combine it completely and knead it into a dough.

Low carb chocolate pinwheel cookies, keto and gluten-free tea cookies are easy and delicious! #glutenfreecookies #lowcarbdesserts

Then divide the dough into two equal parts. Put one part in an extra bowl to wait then take the other half of the dough and mix in the cocoa powder. Make sure it’s well-mixed and equal in its chocolate color throughout. It’s not fun to see specks of unmixed white dough in the middle of the chocolate.

Now, take the other half of the dough resting in the extra bowl and mix in the extracts and food coloring. For the cookies in the pictures, I used peppermint and a bit of red food coloring for the perfect Christmas or Valentine’s Day cookie.

Tip: Use different flavorings

One thing I love about this recipe is that it’s so versatile. You can’t really go wrong with the chocolate swirl, and the other layer of cookie dough can be made any number of flavors to suit your taste. My son’s not a fan of peppermint so no problem! Add in strawberry, almond, or coconut extract instead. I’ve even used a few drops of orange essential oil for a chocolate orange cookie.

Another note. It’s up to you whether or not you use food coloring, and while I always recommend natural food coloring, the ones from the grocery store can work also.

Low carb chocolate pinwheel cookies, overhead #lowcarbcookie #lowcarbrecipes

How to roll out the dough

Get ready to roll out the dough and take out two large pieces of parchment paper. Set the chocolate dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper in the center, and roll it out to about a twelve-inch by eighteen-inch rectangle. Then do the same with the other flavored dough.

Next, remove the parchment paper and place the two kinds of dough one on top of the other. As I mentioned before, to get a good swirl, be careful to keep it flat and even with no bubbles or bumps. It should still be sitting on one of the pieces of parchment paper to act as a rolling guide.

Pull up on the parchment paper evenly to begin the roll and continue to pull upward on the paper to help guide it around. Of course, use your hands on the parchment paper to help form the log if necessary. Now make the dough into a log about 2 inches across and roll it in cling wrap or parchment paper.

Low carb chocolate pinwheel cookies, log of dough. Perfect keto treat to freeze and slice 'n bake. #lowcarbrecipes #easylowcarb

This next step is the one I love because it allows you to premake the dough whenever and it’ll be ready to slice and bake off when you need for your holiday party or Christmas tea. Put the log in the freezer to chill for at least 30 minutes up to a month! I like to have several different kinds of slice and bake cookies in my freezer for emergencies.

Bake the cookies

To bake the cookies, first get the log out of the freezer and trim off the uneven edges of dough. Then slice the cookies about 1/3 to 1/2 inches wide in order to make 24 cookies. Place them about two inches apart on the baking pan.

Low carb chocolate pinwheel cookies, slice and bake the cookie dough log #ketocookies #lowcarbcookies

Bake them in the 325-degree oven for about 10 minutes, until the edges barely start to brown. They will be very soft, but once they’re cooled they’ll be a hard shortbread style cookie. Don’t be tempted to leave them in longer and let them burn. I speak from experience.

Lastly, let them cool for at least 20 minutes on the baking pan before moving them to a cooling rack. Let them cool completely and dress them up in a pretty bag for a gift or serve them at a party. Or snack on one while you read a good book. It’s up to you!

Low carb chocolate pinwheel cookies, gluten-free, keto and sugar-free! #ketocookies #lowcarbcookies

 

Reach as high as you can, then reach a little higher. There you will find magic and possibility. And maybe even cookies.

Marc Johns

Author

What’s your favorite kind of cookie?

Does your family have a favorite cookie? I like to have different options to have a variety for holiday parties. These low carb chocolate pinwheel cookies have the swirl, there’s those with cream or frosting, fillings, jams, or even traditional chocolate chip. We love them all, especially my kids. Also, cookies are a fun thing for them to make with you and for all my talk of the “perfect swirl”, it’s never quite perfect, and it doesn’t have to be!

Enjoy baking with the kids and that family time together. You’ll end up with happy kids, fun family time, and a delicious cookies snack. What could be better?! Enjoy!

Pin the recipe here!:

Low carb chocolate pinwheel cookies | Keto treats for Valentine's Day, Christmas, or an afternoon snack! Gluten-free and sugar-free, these flavorful shortbread-like slice and bake cookies are sure to please. #lowcarbcookies #lowcarbrecipes

Tag me in your recipe pics on Instagram @explorermomma.

If you LOVE this recipe please consider giving it a five-star rating in the review area below!

Happy Valentine’s Day, Merry Christmas and happy cookie baking!

 

Want my favorite Keto chocolate chip cookie recipe?

Best keto chocolate chip cookies on a plate #ketochocolatechip #lowcarbcookies

Low Carb Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies Printable Recipe

Low Carb Chocolate Pinwheel Cookies

A fun keto cookie perfect for afternoon tea at Valentine's Day, Christmas or whenever! Similar to shortbread, low carb chocolate pinwheel cookies are full of flavor and sure to please kids and adults alike.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Chill time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American, Gluten-Free, Keto, Ketogenic, Low Carb
Keyword: low carb chocolate pinwheel cookies
Servings: 24
Calories: 99kcal
Author: Lauren Gonikishvili

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup powdered sweetener of your choice, I use Swerve
  • 3 1/2 cups finely ground almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract (optional: could also use almond or coconut)
  • food coloring (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare two baking sheets.
  • Beat the butter and sweetener in a large bowl until combined and light, then mix in the vanilla.
  • Measure in the almond and coconut flours and mix together thoroughly to make a dough.
  • Divide the dough into two equal parts. Take one half of the dough and mix in the cocoa powder.
  • In the other half of the dough, mix in the extracts and food coloring if using.
  • Place the chocolate dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper and roll it out to about a twelve-inch by eighteen-inch rectangle. Do the same with the other dough.
  • Remove the parchment paper and set the dough one on top of the other careful to keep in flat and even.
  • Roll up the dough like a Swiss roll cake, using a piece of the parchment paper to help guide it around.
  • Form the dough into a log about 2 inches across and roll it in cling wrap or parchment paper. Chill the log in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.  
  • Trim off the edges and slice the cookies about 1/3 to 1/2 inches to make 24 cookies. Bake for about 10 minutes, until the edges barely start to brown.
  • Bake for about 10 minutes, until the edges barely start to brown and let cool for at least 20 minutes on the baking pan before moving to a cooling rack.

Notes

Nutrition Facts

Servings 24.0
Amount Per Serving: 1 cookie
calories 99
 
Total Fat 10 g  
Saturated Fat 5 g  
Monounsaturated Fat 2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 20 mg  
Sodium 4 mg  
Potassium 19 mg  
Total Carbohydrate 2 g  
Dietary Fiber 1 g  
Sugars 0 g  
Protein 1 g
*Nutrition Facts per MyFitnessPal.com. For most accurate facts, calculate your own with the exact ingredients you use in the recipe.

Nutrition Disclaimer

Please be aware I am not a medical specialist or nutritional professional. On this blog, I share recipes and what works for me. Please do not take anything on this blog as medical advice and always consult with your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program. I use MyFitnessPal.com to calculate nutrition facts as a courtesy to my readers, and I remove erythritol from the final carb count and net carb count because does not affect my own blood glucose levels.
This is as accurate as possible, but it’s best to independently calculate nutritional information on your own with the specific ingredients you use. I expressly disclaim any and all liability of any kind with respect to any act or omission wholly or in part in reliance on anything contained in this website.

California National Parks Bucket List

California National Parks Bucket List

Preview: A California National Parks Bucket List for families. Join guest writers as we travel around the state of California to national and state parks!

This year my daughter is in the fourth grade, and eligible for the Every Kid in a Park pass. What this means is she gets her own national parks pass that will let our entire family into all national parks all year for free! Your child does have to be a U.S. resident to qualify, so click here to see my blog post on how to get your own free pass!

We’re in the process of planning trips for this summer so I asked travel bloggers from all over to share their experiences in U.S. state and national parks. I got many fabulous responses and will share them with you by region of the United States.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

California National Parks Bucket List | Tips for family travel to Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Redwood National Park, and more. #nationalparks #familytravel

So, without further ado, let’s begin our journey and add to your own

California national parks bucket list!

Yay! Let’s go!

Joshua Tree National Park

One of our favorite national parks to visit as a family is the unusual and beautiful Joshua Tree National Park. It’s located in Southern California, on the way between Los Angeles and Arizona. Joshua Tree is often described as ‘otherworldly’ and indeed, it is different from anything we had ever seen before.

The park lies where the Mojave and the Colorado deserts meet. Indeed, its landscape is made of barren land dominated by large boulders which erosion has carved into unusual shapes. The park takes its name from the ‘Joshua trees’, yucca plants stretching their spiky arms towards the sky, typical of this area.

Joshua Tree in Joshua Tree National Park, California #joshuatree #exploremore

You can visit Joshua Tree at any time of the year. The spring is the most popular time as it is when the desert flowers blossom. However, we went there in the summer and it was still easy to enjoy its stillness and beauty. 

If visiting in the hot season, be aware that this is an unforgiving, desert landscape and some caution is required. Suitable clothing, shoes, and sunscreen are a must as well as protection from the sun and water.

The park is easy to enjoy with kids as several of its hikes are short and some even stroller friendly. The most popular hikes with kids are the walk in the Cholla cactus garden and the loop around Skull Rock.

The park is served by 3 visitor centers, one at each entrance. I highly recommend a stop there as they rangers can give advice on how to visit safely no matter the season.

By Marta, Learning Escapes

 

Lassen Volcanic National Park

Lassen Volcanic National Park is one of the most unique and yet least visited National Parks in California. The park is famous for having every type of volcano represented in the park from shield, composite, cinder cone, to plug dome. The volcanic landscape allows visitors to explore beautiful and interesting rock formations, sulfur pools, boiling mud pots, and volcanic cones.

Lassan Volcanic National Park, California National Parks Bucket List #usnationalparks #familytravel

One of my favorite experiences in the park was getting to climb up the sides of a cinder cone. It was around sunset, and I got to see the light highlighting various spots of the volcanic ash.

The park is a great learning experience, especially for those interesting in viewing the violent and beautiful sides of nature.

By Anwar, Beyond My Front Door 

 

Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park in California is an amazing destination for outdoor, family adventures. This national park is a part of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, and it’s named for its beautiful Sequoia trees.

The General Sherman Tree is the largest tree in the world (based on its volume) and is a must-see! The giant sequoia forest is beautiful, so plan for at least one full day to explore the trees alone. The paths through the forest are all stroller accessible.

In addition to enjoying the sequoia trees, you will want to go to the underground Crystal Cave to explore cool streams and rocks. Walk around Crescent Meadow Trail and enjoy the beautiful meadow flowers, and if you’re lucky, catch a glimpse of a bear (I have seen several bears in the meadow over the years!).

Sequoia National Park, California National Parks Bucket List #sequoianationalpark #familytravel

Sequoia National Park Family Travel Tips

Hike to the top of Moro Rock for a magnificent view of the park from above. It is a steep climb and therefore not the best for small children on their own two feet. Babies in carriers and older children who don’t have a fear of heights will do just fine, but leave the stroller behind!

If your family enjoys camping, the Lodgepole Campground is our family’s personal favorite. It is located in Lodgepole Village, which has a small market, restaurant, and showers. Campsites are available 6 months in advance, and they go almost immediately, so be sure to plan ahead to avoid missing out!

The park’s shuttle system runs often, is family-friendly, and is the easiest way to explore multiple destinations within the park. During holiday weekends and peak season, it can be difficult to find parking, so I highly recommend considering the shuttle.

Sequoia National Park is a stunning destination, and it definitely deserves a spot on your family’s bucket list.

By Leah, An Adventure is Calling

 

DL Bliss State Park

DL Bliss State Park is home to gorgeous Emerald Bay in South Lake Tahoe, California. The picturesque bay is the spot of many iconic photos of the region.

The parking lot fills up quickly so arrive early in the morning!

Many visitors photograph the view from the upper lookout each day. However, only those willing to hike down to the shoreline get to enjoy all that the area has to offer. The hike is .8 miles each way on a wide paved path, but it is quite steep.

Our kids basically ran down the hill; the walk up was much slower (and hotter!), but they all made it and were so proud. We saw younger children riding back up on their parents’ shoulders, so be prepared!

DL Bliss State Park, California National Parks Bucket List #californiastateparks #dlblissstatepark

Because the path is paved, it is easily accessible for strollers as well. Down at the shoreline are restrooms, kayak rentals, swimming, guided tours of the Vikingsholm Mansion, and a small gift shop with drinks and ice cream. The tour is not stroller friendly, but it is short and doable for children of all ages. Our daughter was in awe of the historical interior design, and it was a highlight of her day.

Our children loved playing in the shallow water on the water’s edge. Also, just a few minutes beyond the mansion is an easy detour hike. It brings you to Eagle Falls which is a peaceful photo spot and a wonderful bonus.

When in Lake Tahoe, DL Bliss State Park is not to be missed!

By Sierra, Free to Travel Mama

Interested in other State and National Parks?

You do not want to miss Carlsbad Caverns National Park! Get great tips for visiting the caverns with kids.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park, formations #carlsbadcavernsnationalpark #familytravel

(Pssst!! Add all of these to your California national parks bucket list today!)

King’s Canyon National Park

Part of the charm of King’s Canyon National Park is the variety of ever-shifting landscapes throughout this beautiful place.  From towering granite walls, to open vistas, to groves of giant sequoias, each new landscape is surprising and delightful.

One of the most well-known features of King’s Canyon is the General Grant sequoia tree—the second largest tree in the world.  This tree is an icon as both the official US National Christmas Tree and a living monument to veterans.

Kings Canyon National Park, California National Parks Bucket List #nationalparks #californiabucketlist

But besides groves of living sequoias, King’s Canyon also contains groves that are monuments to fallen giant sequoias from the days of logging.  The Big Stump Trail hosts the most famous stump—the Mark Twain Tree. A ladder stands against the remains of this tree so visitors can climb on top of the stump and gain a new perspective of the size of these sequoias. Kids and adults alike will love to experience the size of this fallen giant in a tactile way. They will also love attempting to count the tree rings to find its age!

Towards the backcountry of King’s Canyon, there are hikes for all ages and skill levels. From very short hikes like Roaring River Falls, longer hikes like the one to Mist Falls, to hiking overnight, there is something here for everyone. Inevitably, each hike reveals another facet of this park’s beauty. The waterfalls are particularly gorgeous and worth the journey to see them.

Whether you visit for a short or a long time, King’s Canyon National Park will leave you fascinated by its diversity of nature and the range of things to do and see!

By Abi, Happy Go Abi

 

Yosemite National Park

There are so many amazing national parks to visit in the US. Yosemite however, is a great option for those who aren’t very outdoorsy, or have younger children with them. But it does cater to the adventure junkies too. 

Yosemite is one of the most popular national parks on the list. And after even just one afternoon there – you will want to return a million times over. The thing I love about Yosemite is that it is full of amazing scenic views but also some hidden gems worth detouring for.

Tip: Bear in mind that even as late as June, parts of the park may be closed following the winter season. We had a 4-hour detour because a major road was closed. But it was so worth the wait.

Yosemite National Park, California National Parks Bucket List #yosemitenationalpark #familytravel

When it comes to ultimate views, you really can’t go past Taft Point at sunset without stopping. It’s recently made the news for both positive and negative reasons. One couple had a photograph taken of their marriage proposal by chance, and the photographer managed to track them down. However, one couple also fell from Taft Point, assumed, when taking a selfie together.

Therefore, always remember to err on the side of caution and be careful around cliff edges and lookout points. It can be dangerous if you aren’t paying attention.

Other highlights for your California national parks bucket list

Other highlights include Half Dome (for rock climbing), Yosemite Valley, Yosemite Falls and El Capitan. There are heaps more, but if I listed everything we would be here all day! 

A real highlight that many don’t know about is Bridgeport. We stayed at an RV park there and rented an anchored RV for the night. At sunrise, we woke up in darkness to enjoy the views from the natural hot spring rock pools at the Travertine Hot Springs. This is evidently a real local haunt as we only saw one other person there. Little kids would absolutely love it!

Yosemite is truly amazing. I need to go back to see more, just like everyone who visits and immediately falls in love with it too. 

By Toni, Enchanted Serendipity

 

Redwood National Park

Home to the tallest trees on earth, Redwood National Park is the most magical of national parks and in 2018 was 50 years old!

It was the discovery of the world’s tallest tree that led to the creation of Redwood National Park in 1968. While the tallest tree lost its title to another, the current record holder is in the vicinity. There are 40 miles of rugged coastline to explore, and you’ll find 45% of the remaining coastal redwoods here.

Redwood National Park, giant Redwoods #redwoodnationalpark #gianttrees

The biggest tree you’ll see here is Big Tree, which has a circumference of 68 feet and is estimated to be 1500 years old.

The Shrine Drive-Thru Tree is the focal point for many visitors, myself included. There are in fact THREE drive through trees on the Redwood Coast. It’s a great sight for all ages and of course fun to drive through too!

For me, though, the unique and best thing about Redwood National Park is simply being able to walk through the woods and stare in wonder at the giant trees, protected for future generations.

By Sarah, A Social Nomad 

Redwood National Park, line of cars #californianationalparks #bucketlist

Pin this post to save for later here!:

California National Parks Bucket List | Tips for amazing family travel to the Redwoods, Yosemite, and more! #californianationalparks #familytravel

Operation U.S. Parks

Does your family love to visit U.S. National and State Parks? This is such a beautiful country, and visiting parks, hiking, camping, and just being outdoors can be a huge education for kids. They need to see their beauty and learn hands-on why we must protect them and the wildlife in them.

I hope you’re enjoying our journey around the country to the U.S. Parks. Have you added to your California National Parks bucket list? Maybe it will give you and yours some inspiration to get out and plan your own visit! Happy Travels!

Check out more articles on U.S. parks:

10 Musts for Visiting Carlsbad Caverns National Park

Epic Things to Do at Niagara Falls with Kids

Secrets of Rocky Mountain National Park in Winter

Keto Taco Soup

Keto Taco Soup

Preview: A delicious, creamy low carb comfort soup. Keto taco soup tastes like a taco in a bowl and is super quick and easy for a weeknight meal.

One of my absolute favorite things to make for dinner in winter for the family is soup. It’s warm, cozy, comforting and super quick to heat up for a couple of nights in a row when running in from karate or basketball practice.

A good soup or stew is one of those homemade meals never the same out of a can, and it’s also so important to be able to control the ingredients put into it.

Does your family have a taco Tuesday? If you are eating a keto lifestyle it’s so easy to change that up to a taco salad (my favorite in summer) or this awesome taco soup in winter! My kids don’t even miss the taco shells or tortillas!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Keto taco soup. An easy and delicious low carb, gluten-free recipe, perfect for family weeknights. #lowcarbdinner #ketosoups

In a hurry?

Scroll down to the bottom for the printable recipe or PIN it here for later!

You cannot make everybody happy, you are not a taco.

Unknown

To make this easy keto taco soup you’ll need:

Why use bone broth in keto taco soup?

What is bone broth exactly you may ask, and how is it different than regular broth or stock?

Well, bone broth is essentially stock renamed. It’s confusing because when you traditionally think of a broth it’s the liquid boiled with the actual meat or vegetable and what results after a couple of hours. With a stock, or what is now called bone broth, you boil bones for an extended period of time so that the collagen and cartilage break down to dissolve into the liquid. You really can’t boil it too long, but I’ve seen recipes between 8 and 18 hours.

A really good bone broth will gel into a good meat Jello. Doesn’t that sound appetizing?! I remember when I first joined the Peace Corps, one of my first meals at our training location in Georgia (the country, not the state) was a gelled meat square and a plate of cheese curds with sour cream on top. Being jet-lagged and not quite my usual adventurous self, you may imagine my reaction to that meal.

Now, however, it doesn’t sound all that bad! In fact, I’m making the bone broth myself or buy it when I don’t have the time. Bone broth is said to be good for hair, nails, skin and promotes a healthy gut. I use it in all my soups.

Keto taco soup: delicious, gluten-free, low carb and a comfort taco in a bowl. #lowcarbtacos #ketodinners

“Well,” Claire said, “at least we have tacos. Everything goes better with tacos.” 

Rachel Caine, Bitter Blood

Author

How to make easy keto taco soup

This keto taco soup came out of a taco craving and what was on-hand at the time. Now it’s an easy family favorite, super simple to throw together for a couple of weeknight meals.

First, brown the ground beef and add in the 3 tbsp of taco seasoning. Second, stir it up to combine and cook for another couple of minutes. When choosing any meat, I try to get good quality, the healthiest possible for my family.

Good quality beef and meat products

If you frequent the meat counter at the grocery store, look for good grass-fed beef without hormones or antibiotics. There are also quite a few mail-order meat companies out there to make life more convenient. The beauty of this is you can get it delivered directly to your door, and as I still have youngish kids I avoid going into stores if at all possible.

We use a company called ButcherBox and have had great luck with them for our meat. You can check out my blog post here about our first delivery. Also, if you purchase a ButcherBox through my link here, they will also throw in 2 pounds of Alaskan Wild Salmon for free! Yum.

ButcherBox unboxing ground beef

How to put the soup together

Now set aside the taco meat. Then pull out a dutch oven or soup pot and pour in the bone broth. On medium-high heat, warm the bone broth then whisk in the cream cheese.

Tip: When I’m running late and haven’t set out the cream cheese to warm, I just throw the bone broth and cream cheese in a blender for thirty to forty seconds then pour it into the soup pot. Voilà! No lumps.

Next, add the meat to the pot, then the tomato sauce (or you can also used finely diced tomatoes for a chunkier soup), and the salsa. Make sure to you use homemade or a good-quality low carb tomato sauce and salsa. That way you can be sure there’s no extra sugar added and keep the carb count down. The carb count can go up and down drastically with the kind of sauce and salsa you use.

Now heat it on medium-high until it’s simmering then mix in the cabbage and cheddar cheese. Turn the heat down and continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes.

A spoonful of keto taco soup. Easy, kid-friendly, low carb recipe. Perfect for gluten-free diets and a healthier option. #ketosoup #ketorecipes

My secret ingredient: cabbage

What? Did you just say cabbage?! Why yes, yes I did. I’ve found very thinly sliced cabbage mimicks the lettuce on a taco and is perfect in this soup. It holds its shape and has a good texture. To make it even easier, look for the angel hair cut cabbage in a bag at the grocery store. Easy peasy.

Lastly, serve up the soup in bowls topped with optional cheddar cheese, cilantro, lime, and/or avocado. Yum!

Tacos are like what the voices of a hundred angels singing Bob Dylan while sitting on rainbows and playing banjos would taste like if that sound were edible.

Isabel Quintero

Author

Want more keto soup recipes?

Try this easy creamy keto Italian sausage soup!

Creamy keto Italian sausage soup. Delicious and easy. #ketosoup #ketorecipes

Comforting soup in winter

I love a good soup when it’s cold outside. Do you know what? I also love how easy it is to re-heat for an even quicker hot meal. So, I challenge you. Put a twist on taco Tuesday and try out this keto taco soup. I know you’ll be glad you did.

Pin this recipe here!:

An easy weeknight meal! Keto taco soup is the perfect low carb recipe for an easy family dinner. Gluten-free, a great recipe for your keto diet and ketogenic lifestyle. #ketodinners #lowcarbsoups

Tag me in your recipe pics on Instagram @explorermomma!

If you LOVE this recipe please consider giving it a five-star rating in the review area below.

Thank you!

Keto Taco Soup Printable Recipe

Keto Taco Soup

A taco in a warm spicy low carb bowl of soup. Keto taco soup is quick and comforting on a cold evening.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American, Gluten-Free, Ketogenic, Mexican
Keyword: keto, low carb, soup, taco
Servings: 10
Calories: 309kcal
Author: Lauren Gonikishvili

Ingredients

  • 32 oz beef bone broth
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 14 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3 tbsp taco seasoning (sugar-free)
  • 16 oz salsa
  • 2 cups angel hair chopped cabbage
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • cilantro chopped

Instructions

  • Brown ground beef and add the 3 tbsp of taco seasoning. Stir to combine and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
  • Take a dutch oven or soup pot and pour in the bone broth. Warm then whisk in the cream cheese (or blend in a blender and add to the pot).
  • Add the meat to the pot along with the tomato sauce and salsa. Heat until it's simmering then mix in the cabbage and cheddar cheese. Continue to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Serve in bowls topped with optional cheddar cheese, cilantro, lime, and/or avocado.

Notes

Nutrition Facts

 
Servings 10.0
 
calories 309
 
Total Fat 22 g  
Saturated Fat 12 g  
Monounsaturated Fat 4 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 77 mg  
Sodium 392 mg  
Potassium 188 mg  
Total Carbohydrate 6 g  
Dietary Fiber 1 g  
Sugars 3 g  
Protein 18 g
*Nutrition Facts per MyFitnessPal.com. For most accurate facts, calculate your own with the exact ingredients you use in the recipe.

Nutrition Disclaimer

Please be aware I am not a medical specialist or nutritional professional. On this blog, I share recipes and what works for me. Please do not take anything on this blog as medical advice and always consult with your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program. I use MyFitnessPal.com to calculate nutrition facts as a courtesy to my readers, and I remove erythritol from the final carb count and net carb count because does not affect my own blood glucose levels. This is as accurate as possible, but it’s best to independently calculate nutritional information on your own with the specific ingredients you use. I expressly disclaim any and all liability of any kind with respect to any act or omission wholly or in part in reliance on anything contained in this website.

Pin It on Pinterest

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close