1

6 Ways to Experience Cheyenne Chic

Cheyenne, Wyoming is a veritable goldmine for cowboy culture. Known worldwide as the home of the Daddy of ‘em all Rodeo and Cheyenne Frontier Days, this bustling city is Western through and through. But what if you happen to find yourself in Cheyenne at any other time during the year? We’re so glad you asked! Here are six chic ways to enjoy a side of Cheyenne you haven’t met yet. This unexpected take on Cheyenne is artistic, historic, and delicious—a perfect combination for year-round fun.

This story was created in partnership with Visit Cheyenne.

Cheyenne, Wyoming Street Art

1. EXPLORE THE BOOMING STREET ART SCENE

When you think of giant, colorful murals, cities like Los Angeles or Austin might come to mind. But take one look at Cheyenne’s newest art installments and you’ll be realize it’s happening in the Cowboy State! Spend the morning walking downtown where you’ll find a surprising amount of art. Over 30 Big Boots (Cheyenne’s eight-foot-tall, hand-painted cowboy boots) are tucked like easter eggs throughout town, each with a unique story to tell. And following the Paint Slingers festival now in its fifth year, dozens of sensational murals peek out of alleyways and stand boldly on street corners. Keep an eye out for bison-inspired motifs and an impressive representation of Frida Kahlo that reaches two-stories high.

Cheyenne Chic pin

Museums and history of Cheyenne

2. BRUSH UP ON AMERICAN HISTORY

Did you know that Wyoming was the first territory in the United States to guarantee women the right to vote and hold public office? Not only was Cheyenne the setting of this historic legislation, but it is also rich in Native American cultural heritage. Additionally, the Oregon Trail intersects the state to the north, and Cheyenne was later a hub of commerce for the Union Pacific Railroad as our nation expanded westward. There is much to see in Cheyenne to take in this kaleidoscope of legacy. The Wyoming State Museum, Wyoming State Capitol, Cheyenne Depot Museum, and Cowgirls of the West Museum are all wonderful places to spend during a chic afternoon in Cheyenne.

Craft Beer and Distilleries in Cheyenne

3. QUENCH YOUR THIRST FOR CRAFT BREW

Cheyenne is considered to be the northern edge of the Front Range; a region well known for its robust craft beer scene. And Cheyenne is no exception! Four craft breweries and two distilleries call Cheyenne home. Follow the Daddy of the Malt Craft Beverage Trail to sample each of their unique flavors. Enjoy the cozy vibes of Danielmark’s Brewery, set in a historic house with a spacious backyard patio, or sip a classic Saddle Bronc Brown from Black Tooth Brewing while listening to live music. You really can’t go wrong tasting a rhubarb-infused whiskey at Chronicles right across the street from a live shootout reenactment, either. 

Dining in Cheyenne

4. TREAT YOURSELF TO LOCAL FARE

You don’t need to be a red meat aficionado to enjoy a meal in Cheyenne (although the steak options here are noteworthy). There is something for everyone to enjoy. Start with a hearty breakfast at the Luxury Diner, set in a trolley car dating back to 1894. Don’t forget to pick up a cinnamon roll to go! After a morning exploring the city, enjoy a tray of tacos from Best Tacos and Burritos La Paz—the go-to for locals. Dinner options are vast, but we recommend trying The Metropolitan Downtown, a chic, brand-new establishment serving everything from salmon to steak that proves there’s more to Cheyenne than cowboy boots. But we won’t blame you for wearing yours at the bar.

The Lincoln, Cheyenne Wyoming

5. CATCH A LIVE SHOW

If you’re hoping to catch live music in Cheyenne but didn’t make it for Frontier Nights, stop by the Lincoln to see what’s playing. This historic venue was most recently used as a movie theater, but has been playfully revamped to host the best bands and artists in the West. While COVID-19 restrictions are still in place at the time of writing, the Lincoln is open and operating according to all safety guidelines. So sit back, enjoy the show, and know that your safety is Cheyenne’s top priority.

Curt Gowdy State Park, WY

6. HIKE OR BIKE IN CURT GOWDY STATE PARK

No trip to Cheyenne is complete without a visit to Curt Gowdy State Park. Set in the foothills of the Laramie Mountains, the park is only 24 miles from downtown Cheyenne. Anglers, hikers, and mountain bikers will all find something to do on the many trails and three unique reservoirs within the park. Camping opportunities are tremendous, too. We wouldn’t blame you for spending the night! Hike to a hidden waterfall, then stand-up paddleboard as the sun sets before roasting s’mores over a campfire. Curt Gowdy is also open in the winter, when you can see locals zoom around the reservoir on “ice sailboats.” Now that’s a Wyoming holiday. 




7 Ways to Experience Winter in Cody, Wyoming

Our love for the American West–and particularly places like Cody, Wyoming–runs deep all year long. That’s why we’ve rounded up seven of the best ways to experience a Cody’s wide-open spaces this winter. Located just east of Yellowstone National Park and founded by William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, it’s no wonder this western town is a treasure-trove of outdoor activity, making ‘natural distance’ easy. We think you’ll find there’s something fun for the whole family, no matter what the forecast says!

This story was created in partnership with Cody Yellowstone.

Sleeping Giant Ski Area Lives On

1. CATCH A LIFT AT SLEEPING GIANT SKI AREA

This season brings great news for gravity enthusiasts; as of 2020 Sleeping Giant Ski Area has been purchased by a private investor whose plan is to make sure the legacy of one of the nation’s oldest ski areas lives on. Nestled into the Absaroka Mountain Range, Sleeping Giant boasts 184 acres of terrain and 49 runs for skiers of all abilities. The best part, though, is that day passes are among the most affordable in America. With an average snowfall of 150 inches, this historic ski area guarantees a good time.

Pin for winter in Cody, Wyoming experiences

Bonus: While you’re driving to the lifts on Buffalo Bill Cody Scenic Byway, you are sure to see some of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem’s winter wildlife such as elk and bison. Keep the kids busy by having them look for fox—their red fur and bushy tails are easy to spot against the white snow.

Cross Country Skiing Cody Wyoming

2. TRY YOUR SKILLS ON SKINNY SKIS

Nordic skiing, or cross-country skiing, is a favorite pastime for those who enjoy a slower paced winter holiday. Cody offers several groomed trail systems to glide around on during the winter months: Sleeping Giant Ski Area, Pahaska Teepee Resort, and Wood River Valley Touring Park near Meeteetse. Each have their own advantages, so the true Nordic lover might want to sample them all! After you’ve clocked a few miles come inside to warm up. Sleeping Giant’s T-Bar, dubbed Wyoming’s smallest bar, serves beer and wine, and Betty’s Grill will take care of hungry bellies. Go ahead, you’ve earned it.

Ice Skate Cody Wyoming

3. ICE SKATE, INDOORS OR OUT

Perhaps the most nostalgic of winter sports, ice skating takes us back to our youth. Whether you’re visiting with kids in tow or want to relive your younger years, there are several ways to get on the ice this winter in Cody! Visit Homesteader Park in Powell, a short drive from Cody, for open-air skating. The rink is lit at night and there’s a warming hut so you can stay out late and enjoy the stars! Wind picking up? Visit the Victor J Riley Arena, near downtown, to skate indoors. Rentals are available at both locations on weekends.

Snowmobile Cody Wyoming_stock image

4. TAKE A SNOWMOBILE TOUR TO OLD FAITHFUL

Ready to enjoy the thrill of winter, without having to do it under your own power? Cody is the perfect place for a snowmobile adventure! Sleds are permitted within designated areas of Shoshone National Forest for those with their own equipment, and rentals are available in Cody. Or, coordinate a trip with Gary Fales Outfitting and you’ll be zooming around Yellowstone National Park in no time. Your guide will take you to Old Faithful, Yellowstone Falls, and beyond for a truly unique great American adventure.

Ice Fishing in Cody Wyoming_stock image

5. CAST A LINE IN CODY’S BLUE-RIBBON TROUT WATERS

We’re not talking ice fishing, either. Dedicated anglers who are willing to brave low temperatures will reap the rewards in the winter months! Cody is home to some of the best blue-ribbon trout stream fishing in North America. Several professional fishing outfitters in town can help you catch (and release) the trout of your dreams. Know your way around a fly rod? Stop by to get the tips from Cody’s friendly guides before heading out. Don’t forget to dress wisely.

Snowshoeing Local Trails in Cody Wyoming

6. HIKE OR SNOWSHOE THE LOCAL TRAILS

If you only have a morning to spare or prefer to keep things simple, head out for a hike on Cody’s local trails. Of course, depending on snow conditions you might want to bring a pair of snowshoes along. You will find a variety of multi-use trails surrounding town on Cody Pathways. Not only are these trails a great way to generate some winter warmth, but you are very likely to encounter some of Cody’s wildlife during a quiet stroll. Just give them their distance to keep everyone content and safe in the sun and snow. Keep in mind that you can also snowshoe at all of the cross-country ski areas listed above!

Cody Wyoming World-Class Ice Climbing

7. SCALE CODY’S FAMOUS FROZEN WATERFALLS

Ice climbers have long sought Cody’s frozen waterfalls for wintertime sport, and it’s easy to see why. With a typical season creating over 150 pitches, the South Fork Valley of the Shoshone River is home to the highest concentration of natural waterfall ice in the lower 48. A number of guiding services in the region are available, so even novice climbers can experience the challenge of ice climbing. To take advantage of this world-class ice, be sure to visit during February and March when conditions can set up just right.

We love winter in Cody, Wyoming, and the secret isn’t really out yet, so enjoy it without the crowds soon!




Cedar City: A Mighty Five Road Trip Must

If you’re planning to make a Mighty Five road trip in southern Utah,  then Cedar City should be on your itinerary. Not only is it close to the Mighty Five of Arches, Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, and Zion national parks, it has plenty of its own amazing landscapes and activities.

This story was created in partnership with Visit Cedar City.

overview of cedar city, part of a mighty five road trip

Day 1

Morning: Go For a Hike Among the Wildflowers

Cedar Breaks National Monument is Cedar City’s pride and joy. Just 30 minutes outside of town, the geological amphitheater has miles of hiking trails and incredible views all around. During the month of July, wildflowers begin to bloom alongside the trails, adding another dimension of beauty to your experience. In the summertime, the mountains offer a cool relief from the heat. We suggest trying to be there for sunrise, then going for a hike on the Ramparts Overlook Trail. Stop by Bristlecone Coffee for your caffeine and bagel fix on the way.

Mighty Five road trip stop: Stargazing in Cedar City pin

Utah hiking and flowers on mighty five road trip

Afternoon: You Thought You Weren’t a Theater Person?!

You may feel like you’re only surrounded by national parks and red rocks, but Cedar City is an oasis for anyone who loves live performances, art shows, local brews, and fancy wine. Speaking of local brew, you deserve an adult beverage after your hike! Check out Policy Kings Brewery, then walk over to the Pastry Pub to pick up a great sandwich to go. Since you’re just across the street from Cedar City’s art and theater scene, we recommend strolling over to the Utah Shakespeare Festival grounds, the perfect place for a picnic. 

utah shakespeare festival

The Utah Shakespeare Festival was founded in 1961. In 1962, the Festival attracted about 3,000 visitors. Today, it’s grown to nearly 100,000. Visitors can book a show in advance or stop by the box office on the spur of the moment to see what’s available.

Next door to the Festival is the Southern Utah Museum of Art, which is free! SUMA features regional artists, student artists, and distinguished artists from all over. We know you like national parks, so don’t miss the amazing landscapes featured here!

southern utah museum of art

Evening: Stroll Downtown District & See a Show

What’s great about Cedar City’s Downtown District is that it’s all walkable. When you start feeling hungry, head over to Centro Woodfired Pizzeria. Directly across from there is I/G Winery & Tasting Room. Enjoy the warm ambience by the fireplace or soak up the sunshine on their patio. If you didn’t get tickets for a show at the Festival, they offer The Greenshow on their lawn every night—a free, lighthearted, and fun play for the whole family. 

Winery, festival and pizza

Day 2

Morning: Pioneers & Petroglyphs

After breakfast, get ready to dive deep into the history of Cedar City, Iron County, and southwest Utah! Frontier Homestead State Park allows visitors to relive the pioneer days through hands-on activities like stepping inside a horse-drawn wagon, touring an old home and schoolhouse, crawling into Native American dwellings, and even panning for gold. 

Next, drive out of town to go further into local history at Parowan Gap. This site is known to be one of the most concentrated collections of petroglyphs in the West, plus, it’s very accessible! Park and walk right over to incredible galleries of Native American rock carvings.

parowan gaps petroglyphs and frontier museum

Afternoon: Take the Lift Up, Ride the Bike Down

Time to get the adrenaline pumping! Head back up into the mountains, this time to Brian Head Resort. Typically a ski resort, Brian Head remains a place for family fun in the summertime (open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays). The ski hill is transformed into a downhill bike park in warm months. The ski lift brings riders and bikes to the top so they can enjoy the long ride down. Additional activities include ziplining, disc golfing, archery, bungee trampoline jumping, scenic lift rides, and tubing. 

brian head resort and mountain bike park

Evening: Sunsets and Stargazing 

Enjoy the mountains as long as you can—stay in Brian Head for dinner after your ride! Drive just 10 minutes back to Cedar Breaks National Monument to witness the sunset turn all of the spires into a fierce, glowing red. After all of that, if you’re still awake, settle in for some out-of-this-world stargazing. Cedar Breaks is designated as an International Dark Sky Park and was voted in 2016 as the “Best National Park Night Experience.” Throughout the summer, the park even hosts “star parties” with rangers and volunteer astronomers. 

cedar breaks hiking and stargazing as part of a mighty five road trip

As if there isn’t enough adventure in Cedar City, hit the road and move on to the next of the five national parks on your Mighty Five road trip itinerary. Cedar City will be the breath of fresh air that offers fewer crowds, intriguing nightlife, and the “small town America” feeling. 




Best Kept Secrets Along the West Coast, USA

Summer is always a popular time to travel. However, when it comes to planning your trip to the Olympic Peninsula, Washington, it’s time to change it up. Fall is the ideal time to visit since crowds have dispersed, colors are breathtaking, outdoor activities are at their best, and the culinary scene is mouth-watering. Discover the perfect activity-packed, fall vacation as you take a journey around the Northwest section of Highway 101 on the West Coast, USA. To fully enjoy your time, be sure to plan ahead, make reservations, and always recreate responsibly.

This article was created in partnership with the Olympic Peninsula Visitors Bureau, Washington. By Erika Land & Emily Taylor. All photos by Erika Land.

Day #1 on the Olympic Peninsula

Along Hood Canal

West Coast, USA pin for Olympic Peninsula

Get an early start, hop in the car, and drive onto the ferry in downtown Seattle. Once you arrive on Bainbridge Island, head southwest on Highway 3 toward Belfair, which becomes Highway 106, hugging the shores of the Hood Canal and merging with Highway 101. As you drive along the water through tall trees reaching to the sky, your senses will be on joyous overload with evergreen scents and a kaleidoscope of autumn color. Take time to stop and stretch your legs, grab a snack, or hike to a waterfall. The Hama Hama Oyster Saloon is a must-do when you are driving along the canal. Located on the water, you’ll see the oyster beds, taste their sweet, briny deliciousness, and enjoy your favorite drink amid the natural beauty of the area.

Olympic, peninsula

Olympic, peninsula

Olympic, peninsula

Heading North on the Olympic Peninsula

As you drive north toward Port Townsend, stop off in Chimacum. There, you will find Finnriver Farm and Cidery. The 80-acre orchard and farm will fuel your taste buds with delicious hard cider and local food. What complements autumn better than locally brewed cider? Following new safety protocols, Finnriver invites you to relax and join them for a taste of life on the land.

Olympic, peninsula

Port Townsend and Fort Worden State Park

Port Townsend is Washington’s Victorian seaport and arts community. This vibrant town is rich in talent and inspiration. Slow down and wander through the charming downtown. Support some local artists by bringing home a locally crafted memory with you.

Olympic, peninsula

Fort Worden State Park is just a short drive north. There you’ll find campgrounds, vacation rentals, two miles of beautiful shoreline, and the historic Point Wilson Lighthouse. Built as part of the early 20th century coastal defense system known as the “Triangle of Fire,” Fort Worden’s setting high on the bluff offers spectacular views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. This part of the West Coast, USA has a unique personality that you’ll want to learn more about.

Olympic, peninsula

Onward for Sequim

Sequim is another charming small town on the Olympic Peninsula that has abundant activities. Railroad Bridge Park is located nearby on the Olympic Discovery Trail where you can explore the Dungeness River Audubon Center. This center honors the Olympic Peninsula’s unique natural and cultural resources, with emphasis on birds, rivers, fish, and people

Day #2 on the Olympic Peninsula

Wake up and smell the lavender! Sequim is the “Lavender Capital of North America” and provides unique, organic beauty. Even though fall is the end of the season for these farms, you can still drop in for a visit, enjoy the peaceful fields, learn how lavender products are made, and shop for them around town. While you’re in Sequim, take a walk along the Dungeness Spit, the longest natural stretch of sand in the USA!

Olympic, peninsula

Port Angeles and Hurricane Ridge: Where the Mountains Meet the Sea

Port Angeles is a working port town known for its maritime history, scattered artistic gems, and Native American heritage. It is also a gateway to Olympic National Park. You will truly understand the meaning of “where the mountains meet the sea” as you drive from sea level up 5,000 feet to Hurricane Ridge. There you can take in the 360-degree views of the breathtaking mountain ranges of Olympic National Park, as well as the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Vancouver Island.

Olympic, peninsula

West on Highway 101, a West Coast, USA Classic Highway!

This part of the highway is full of easily accessible natural beauties that you won’t want to miss. A short detour off the highway will take you to lovely Madison Falls. Lake Crescent is another beauty right off the highway. If you have time, take a kayak out on the lake or hike to Marymere Falls.

Olympic, peninsula

Olympic, Peninsula

Sol Duc Falls

Another detour off Highway 101, and further into Olympic National Park, you will discover a hiking trail to the breathtaking Sol Duc Falls. As you walk through the magnificent enormous trees, you’ll feel dwarfed by their size. A “hidden gem” on the way to or from the falls is Salmon Cascades, so named for the salmon migrating upstream where they spawn, and are best seen from late September into November, especially after a heavy rain.

Olympic, Peninsula

Continue Toward Forks

Forks is a small town with a big heart located on the western side of the Olympic Peninsula, at the edge of the peninsula’s temperate rain forest. Nestled between the Olympic Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Forks is a great basecamp for exploration. If you’re a fan of the Twilight saga, this is where the novels are based and where a replica of Bella’s truck is parked. You can also explore the Forks Timber Museum to learn more about the area’s logging industry.

Olympic, Peninsula

Lodging in Forks

Forks is the perfect place to reset, relax, and get away from it all. There are many choices for places to stay near Forks, some hidden between the trees of the rain forest, such as the serene Quillayute River Resort. Here, your front door opens up to the Quillayute River, with the rain forest surrounding the rest of the property.

Olympic, Peninsula

Day #3 on the Olympic Peninsula

A Day of Beach Hopping

Start exploring the Pacific Coast beaches, where your day may begin with a foggy morning at breathtaking Rialto Beach, just a few miles from Quillayute River Resort. How often do we get to enjoy fresh ocean air mixed with that of a rain forest? It’s a wonderful sensation. Time your beach visit with low tide, and you might be able to walk out to Hole-in-the-Wall, a sea-carved arch, for some tide-pool discoveries.

Olympic, Peninsula

Traveling south on Highway 101, you won’t want to miss Ruby Beach. Located within Olympic National Park, Ruby Beach, so called because of the ruby-like crystals in the sand, is often considered the prettiest beach in Washington. The weathered driftwood, dense rain forest and protruding sea stacks give this beach dramatic beauty—truly a must visit. Just a little further south, stop at Kalaloch Beach to see the renowned Tree of Life.

Olympic, Peninsula

Quinault Rain Forest and Lake Quinault

After a day filled with Pacific beaches, it’s time to trade in salt water for fresh water. Quinault is an ideal spot to enjoy nature at your leisure. You can take a kayak or boat out on the lake, rent a bike, go fishing, or take a hike through the colorful, enchanting forest. These hikes are filled with stunning waterfalls, moss-covered trees, and flowing rivers.

Olympic, Peninsula

Lake Quinault Lodge

Lake Quinault Lodge is a bucket-list destination that you’ll be delighted to experience. This rustic, cozy lodge is surrounded by the trees of the Quinault Rain Forest with views overlooking Lake Quinault. Stress doesn’t exist next to the calm water, fairy-tale forest, and blazing sunset at this lodge.

Olympic, Peninsula

Wrapping up your West Coast, USA Route

The Olympic Peninsula region on the West Coast is beautiful and breathtaking. It is the perfect combination of rain forest, striking mountain ranges, and dramatic beaches. Even better, visiting in the fall is the best way to ensure that the crowds don’t distract from the serenity of this much-loved destination.




How to Spend the Perfect Weekend in Logan County, Colorado

Now more than ever, escaping the congestion of the city and well-known road trip destinations is at the top of all of our lists. Lucky for you, we just returned from a 72-hour adventure in Logan County, Colorado, where the town of Sterling offers outdoor recreation and charm in big portions. A historic hub for sugar beat farming, today Sterling is the commercial center of northeast Colorado. But don’t let its remote location fool you. Located on the banks of the South Platte River with access to a 2,880-acre reservoir and several family-friendly watering establishments, Logan County is our go-to place to chill out away from it all this summer. Read on to find out why this is one place you won’t want to drive by on your next road trip!

This story was created in partnership with Explore Sterling.

Welcome to Logan County Colorado

DISCOVER THE OVERLAND TRAIL MUSEUM AND GO BIRD WATCHING

Morning

Journey to Sterling from the Front Range on I-76 to begin your weekend away. Only 125 miles from Denver, Logan County is within reach—even if you can’t leave until after work. Upon arrival, get checked into your lodging for the weekend. You might elect to stay at the boutique Crest Motel, or select from a number of hotels including the newly constructed Holiday Inn Express. For those who opt for the latter, stroll right across the street for easy access to the Overland Trail Museum. With detailed exhibits recounting the rich past of Logan County (from the discovery of dinosaur bones to the availability of electricity on the high plains), this is the best way to get acquainted with the area.

Logan County pinterest pin

Afternoon and Evening

Afterwards, stretch your legs at the Overland Trail Recreation Area. With multiple access points, you can pick your own adventure. Meander along the river on the Penny Lane Trail, or stroll around the lake and even throw in a fishing line. Did you know that northeastern Colorado is known for its bird watching? Look for regal Mississippi Kites and energetic Harris’s Sparrows. Even those without an eye for flying friends will enjoy the birdsong and copious dragonflies along the river trails.

By now, you’re sure to have worked up an appetite! Head downtown to Fourth Street, where Parts & Labor Brewing serves up mouthwatering burgers and lighter options such as Thai Peanut or Balsamic Blueberry salads. Their seasonal brews, such as the prickly pear hefeweizen dubbed “Cactus Wrestler,” will wash down your first day in Sterling with ease.

Go Boating on North Sterling Reservoir

PADDLEBOARD NORTH STERLING RESERVOIR AND SEE A GINORMOUS WIND FARM

Morning

On Saturday morning, take a look around. You’ll instantly notice how quiet the river, trails, and town of Sterling are. Congratulations—you’ve escaped the city life! Tuck into breakfast at the J&L Cafe or Brew Grit Coffee, where Cowgirl Cinnamon Rolls come out hot and go great with a strong cup of joe. Then, journey 20 minutes out of town. The refreshing green waters of North Sterling Reservoir and North Sterling State Park await. On weekends, you can rent paddle boards, kayaks, and other flotation devices from PJ Marina. Otherwise, kick back at the swim beach where shaded picnic areas and tables make for easy lounging. (Note: bug spray can be of benefit during summer months.)

Afternoon and Evening

After a picnic lunch, continue northward to Chimney Canyons and Peetz Table Wind Energy Center. Take either County Road 70 or 72 west (the author insists you don’t follow Google Maps) to view the windmills on top of a beautiful butte. Keep your eyes peeled for roaming pronghorn and wildflowers such as white prickly poppy along the way. That evening, enjoy dinner at another of Sterling’s local restaurants; Hot Spot Smokehouse is a local favorite for BBQ and the Grill at River City will satiate those salivating for steak.

Tourist Fun in Sterling, Logan County

VISIT THE LOGAN COUNTY SHOOTING RANGE AND TAKE AN URBAN ART HIKE

Morning

Come Sunday, you’ll be savoring your final day in Sterling prior to returning to the Front Range. Enjoy a decadent crepe at McCauley’s Mustache Cafe, an entrepreneurial drive-through with big flavor and hospitality. Depending on how much time you have, choose from the following options for your day. The Logan County Shooting Sports Complex costs $10 for a full day on the range (bring your own equipment). Or perhaps you would prefer a walking tour through downtown Sterling. With 12 cottonwood tree sculptures by famed artist Bradford Rhea and several murals throughout town, you’ll find artistic surprises and historic buildings at every turn. Be sure to visit a number of small businesses along the way, including the High Plains Spice Company, where you can taste local honey and countless spices.

Afternoon

Finally, pick up a taco plate at Baja Tacos on your way out of town. The authentic flavor and prices are sure to have us city folk coming back for seconds the very next weekend!




Yellowstone North Entrance: The Best Town to Stay In

Just an hour drive from the Yellowstone north entrance, Livingston, Montana is something out of an old-fashioned western fairytale. The small town is nestled between four stunning mountain ranges and lies alongside the Yellowstone River. From historic hotels and local beef dinners to world-class fishing and waterfall hikes, Livingston is easily one of the best year-round options for a home base when visiting Yellowstone National Park.

This article was created in partnership with the Livingston Chamber of Commerce and TBID. All photos provided by the Livingston Chamber.

Livingston is a launching point for Yellowstone National Park. Fly into Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport just 30 minutes away, or fly into Billings, an easy 1 hour, 45 minutes away. Many folks like to stay in the park for a few nights to cut down on driving time, which is a great idea. In Yellowstone you’ll get high doses of nature, wildlife, and scenic views. In Livingston you’ll get authenticity, unique experiences, fantastic local (and more budget friendly) lodging, and a whole lot of local charm. Livingston has a stay for every taste.

Livingston MT Pin 

Livingston First, Yellowstone North Entrance Second

Why do we recommend staying in Livingston on your Yellowstone vacation? It’s the best way to get national park advice from true locals. Make friends in Livingston and find out where they like to go in the park. It also has a wide variety of overnight options so your Yellowstone home away from home will be exactly what your vacation style calls for. Furthermore, not only does Livingston provide easy access to the National Park, you’ll find this historic town on the banks on the Yellowstone River is also a year-round destination in its own right.

Day 1: Explore the town

The best way to get over travel fatigue and soreness is to go for a walk. Take a stroll through town and soak up Livingston’s charming Main Street. Try the local cuisine, and find out what events are happening while you’re there. There’s often live music, art auctions, and even weekly fly-tying workshops at the local fly-fishing shop.

Livingston Montana downtown in the winter

Lodging

Something we love about Livingston is the assortment of unique lodging the town has to offer. Book your home away from home in Livingston, as they have a variety of choices, from a charming Western hotel or a family-run motor in to a brand-new place with a pool for the kids and a Jacuzzi for you. You’ll find a stay to suit your tastes in this happening little town.

Day 2: Ride the River

Time for some sports action! What better way to experience the Yellowstone River than to go rafting? Check out the list of outfitters that will take your family out for a day of white water rafting down the river. If you’re not looking to get soaking wet, go out on the river with a fly-fishing guide in search of dinner instead. 

Rafting on the Yellowstone River

Arts & Theatre

During the day, visit the three museums in Livingston. In the evening, experience local theatre any time of year at the Shane Lalani Center for the Arts or the Blue Slipper Theater

Shane Lalani Center for the Arts theatre

In the summer, you’ll also find live bands all over town—you’ll have lots to choose from, especially Thursday through Saturday nights.

If you’re looking for a more Western form of entertainment, you’ll find it at the Livingston rodeo or in the form of art by renowned artists who call Livingston home. Between shows, sets, and meals, browse the 18 art galleries in town to see local art inspired by the beauty of Livingston.

Day 3: Hiking and Fishing

Before continuing down to the Yellowstone north entrance, make the most of your third day by getting up early and grabbing breakfast at one of may spots, such as the Northern Pacific Beanery or Pinky’s Cafe. Any dining option in Livingston will offer you home-cooked, classic American breakfasts. Make sure you fuel up, because there is no shortage of outdoor recreation surrounding Livingston. With over 1 million acres of public land right outside your hotel door, you can take a biking trail all the way from the center of town down Paradise Valley, soaking up all the views of the surrounding mountain ranges. Test your fitness and hike up to the top of Livingston Peak, enjoying beautiful wildflowers on the way, or take a more relaxed hour-long hike to the Pine Creek Falls. You can choose to fly-fish on the Yellowstone river or golf  the only course in the country that sits right next to the Yellowstone River.

Woman hiking with beautiful views in Livingston Montana

Music & Hot Springs

On your way south, we highly recommend seeing a show at the Montana Music Ranch or the Old Saloon. There’s nothing like live music in a gorgeous red barn, in the middle of a field with exceptional mountain views—except maybe live music at a quirky, themed saloon with an outdoor stage.  If your hotel doesn’t have a pool, make a stop at Chico Hot Springs or Yellowstone Hot Springs. It will be a peaceful moment to soak up your Livingston experience. 

Once you drive into the Yellowstone north entrance and spend some time immersed in nature and wilderness, you’ll be glad you spent those few days around such charming people, culture, and easy-living in Livingston, Montana. 

Yellowstone River and the Mountains

 




Uncover California’s Central Valley in Yolo County

Getting off the grid in California can be hard to do, but not if you know where to look. Let us help you discover Yolo County in California’s Central Valley. Here, small town culture hemmed in by beautiful rolling hills and countryside connotes a slower pace of life, perfect for first-time visitors and return travelers alike. Take your time sipping, tasting, and pedaling your way through Yolo County. You’ll be amazed at how much this part of the Golden State has to offer!

This story was created in partnership with Visit Yolo.

Girl Cruising on Bike

Day 1: Explore by bike and overnight in Davis

Morning

The city of Davis, California is probably best known for their world-renowned University of California campus, home to roughly 30,000 students during the school year. But you may not know that Davis has recognition as the Bicycle Capital of America with over 100 miles of bike paths and trails and is home to the USA Bicycle Hall of Fame. That’s why Davis and Yolo County is the perfect place to explore on two wheels. Pick up a cruiser from B & L Bike Shop and hit the bike paths. First, stop for breakfast at Delta of Venus, a colorful cafe built into a historic house that has been serving hungry Davis residents for 20 years. Next, pedal on to the Arboretum at UC Davis. This 100-acre public garden features a 3.5-mile path. Park your bike and then walk the trail that winds through 4,000 kinds of trees, plants, and shrubs. Keep an eye out for native wildlife including reptiles, amphibians, and over 135 species of birds.

Davis in Yolo County

Afternoon & Evening

Later, wander through downtown Davis on foot. There is plenty of window shopping to be done, and the Avid Reader is a popular local institution for both students and residents. At this point you will have worked up quite the appetite. The eccentric food scene in Davis will not disappoint! Dig in to any number of options from sushi to steak, Mediterranean fare to ramen, Irish pubs and burgers, of course. This is also a great place to venture into the Beer-Muda Triangle of Yolo County featuring craft breweries to tempt your taste buds.

If you find yourself in town on a Wednesday or Saturday, the Davis Farmers Market is an experience in itself. It is ranked as one of the top 10 markets in America. Yolo County is truly all about the bounty of its agricultural offerings, and serves up some of the freshest local produce and craft food products anywhere.

Davis offers an array of lodging options for all traveler comfort levels. Any one puts you centrally located and close to the action.

Day 2: Hiking & Winters Wine Tastings

Morning

Journey 15 miles west to Winters, voted by USA Today as #4 of America’s best small-town culinary destinations. It’s also a gateway for a number of activities such as wine tasting and hiking. Enjoy breakfast and locally sourced coffee at Steady Eddy’s, the locals’ favorite, before an active day! Consider picking up some local varietals at Turkovich Family Tasting Room or Berryessa Gap Tasting Rooms, as well as cheese from local Winters Cheese Company for a mid-hike picnic.

Wine Tasting in Winters, California

Afternoon & Evening

That afternoon, stroll the historic downtown filled with quaint shops throughout its redbrick architecture and small-town charm. Yolo Traders Bistro serves mouth-watering seafood and appetizers like Korean BBQ Pork Belly Flatbread. Other options include: El Verduzco Taco Truck, Putah Creek Cafe, Hooby’s Brewery, Preserve, Buckhorn Steakhouse, or any number of other locally owned, specialty type dining establishments.

Lay your head at Hotel Winters, a boutique suite style property offering countryside luxury and an amazing view from its rooftop bar. You can also find the comforts of home at any number of Airbnbs in the area.

Day 3: Unlimited Adventure & Dining Await in Woodland

Woodland Yolo County California

Morning

Your third day of exploring Yolo County is a make-your-own adventure. Woodland was once the largest county in California and still serves as the county seat. Steeped in history, Woodland is a cornerstone of California’s (and the world’s) agriculture industry. It’s the perfect place to put your culinary adventure hat on! Start out early and head just 30 minutes north to Morgan’s Mill, a craft coffee bar which roasts its own beans from sustainable sources worldwide.

Downtown Woodland sets the stage for unique and diverse global dining experiences with something from just about everywhere in the world. Take a self-guided dining or history tour through the historic Victorian home neighborhoods. Historic buildings such as the Opera House extend the historic architectural experience, along with the well-preserved red brick construction of many of the corridor’s buildings. Quaint and unique shops make for fun strolling (and buying). For something unique, check out Father Paddy’s pub style grub and whiskey vault. More than 60 products from around the world line the bar for your tasting pleasure.

For some afternoon California adventure, check out Velocity Island Park , a great place for kids and families to let loose and play at this one-of-a-kind wake board and water park. Peak summer offers another great water experience choice at Cache Canyon River Trips , just over an hour away with guided access to some of the most fun whitewater rafting in the state. Less active but unique is Reiff’s Gas Station Museum, a local haunt where visitors travel back in time to the 1950’s. You’ll want to pose for photos with retro antique cars, jukeboxes, and more.

Evening

After a full day of fun, tuck into dinner at any one of Woodland’s 27 restaurants within a walkable stretch. For after-dinner entertainment, consider taking in a performance at the Opera House theater. Overnight at one of a broad variety of Woodland area hotels, ranging from familiar brands to locally owned, independent hotels.

Day 4: Yolo Countryside

Yolo County Countryside

Your final day opens up the window to Yolo’s Countryside area. Activities include exploring wide open spaces dotted with large and small farms, more hiking, biking, and wildlife viewing. Afterwards, enjoy restaurants and wineries galore! There are more than 10 locally owned wineries in the area. Each offers a very personal experience in their tasting rooms as well as unique varietals not found anywhere else.  Yolo County is a substantial grape growing area with much of its grape volume going to other nearby regions such as Napa Valley. But each winery saves the best for their own visitors. 

Finally, don’t forget the Sierra Railroad’s train excursions through the Yolo County farmland and along the Sacramento River.  Their new railbikes are definitely a rare experience!

Can’t get enough of Yolo County? Make plans to return in the near future! We recommend venturing out on Highway 128 from Winters west to Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. You might also look to other Central Valley area locations to further your California experience.

yolo county california pin




California Road Trip: Be Sure to Make This Stop

Not sure where to begin your next California road trip? Let us help! Just a few hours from the north entrance of Yosemite National Park is a lively city known as Stockton. Settled between the San Francisco Bay Area and the Sierra Nevada mountains, Stockton is ideal for a traveler looking to get a healthy mix of culture, food, and outdoor adventure. Plan your trip in advance—check out this sample itinerary

This article was created in partnership with Visit Stockton. All photos provided by Visit Stockton.

Day 1: Paddle on the California Delta & try new foods

Morning

Stockton, California food pin

For your first morning in Stockton you’ll be anxious to get outside and see the city, but firstbreakfast. Stroll down the city’s “Miracle Mile” and try something sweet or savory at Midtown Creperie.

Stockton is located at the furthest inland point of the California Delta, an expansive inland river delta formed near the coast. What better way to see the city than out on the water? Head over the the Downtown Stockton Marina to rent a kayak or a water bike. 

Visit Stockton Kayaking

Afternoon

After lunch at either Market Tavern or Garlic Brothers, take it easy and check out the local museum. The Haggin Museum has been referred to by Sunset Magazine as “one of the undersung gems of California.” The exhibits focus on art and local history, including 19th-century paintings. If you’re visiting with children, check out the Children’s Museum or even Pixie Woods Amusement Park, where kids can enjoy rides, a water play area, and playgrounds.

Collage of museums along a california road trip

Stockton was recently named the most racially and ethnically diverse city in the nation. That is important for many reasons, and one of those is food! Visitors can find great food from many different countries and cultures. Try something new for dinner on your first night. Maybe go with Mexican food at Nena’s or Korean food at Seoul Soon Dubu.

A plate of food in Stockton, California

Day 2: Shop the best farmer’s markets & watch the races

Morning

If there’s one thing you don’t want to miss in Stockton, it’s the farmers markets—there are three of them and they each have their own unique specialty. The biggest, and most abundant, is the Downtown Stockton Certified Farmers Market, formerly known as the Downtown Stockton Asian Farmers Market. This market is held every Saturday year-round and is considered to be one of the oldest and most successful markets in California. Locals say that there are items here that they just can’t get anywhere else. 

Farmers market in stockton, california

Another spot is In Season Market and Nursery. Not only can customers find unusual plants here, but they can also find organic produce as it comes in season. The market sells artisan food, olive oils, honey, jams, and even has a specialty coffee shop for folks to enjoy espresso by the garden. The third spot, The Fruit Bowl, is a 73-year-old, family-owned market and bake shop. Their specialty? Peach pies. Need we say more?

The Fruit Bowl, in Stockton California.

Afternoon

You don’t have to go to Napa Valley to enjoy fine wine in northern California. With lower prices and more family-owned operations, Stockton is the perfect place to enjoy an afternoon of wine tasting.

If you’re looking for something to do with kids, take the more exciting route and experience the Stockton 99 Speedway. The racetrack hosts car races, stunt bike events, and swap meets. 

wineries and race tracks in northern california

In the evening, see what’s showing at the historic Fox Theatre in the downtown area. Built in the 1930’s, the theatre was one of the few “movie palaces” in the Central Valley of California. 

Fox Theatre in downtown Stockton

Between one of the country’s most intriguing cities (San Francisco), and one of its most iconic national parks (Yosemite), Stockton is an ideal place to call home for a few days on the road between.

 




Where to Find the Best Hot Springs in South Dakota

If you’re in search of the best hot springs in South Dakota, they aren’t too hard to track down. The town of Hot Springs didn’t get its name for nothing! Not only will you find incredible natural springs in this all-American town, but you’ll be close to outdoor adventure, a world-class museum, relaxing spas, exciting water slides, and so much more.

This article was created in partnership with the Hot Springs Area Chamber of Commerce. All photos provided by Hot Springs Area Chamber of Commerce.

Hot Springs in South Dakota

Soak in the Springs

As the name suggests, there is an abundance of warm, natural, mineral spring water in Hot Springs. Some are more developed than others or have more amenities for children to enjoy.

Pin for Hot Springs, SD 

For everyone

Moccasin Springs

Most recently built, Moccasin Springs Natural Mineral Spa is a cozy, rustic dream no matter the season. There are multiple outdoor pools that range from 88 to over 102 degrees Fahrenheit (31-39 Celsius). Indoors, they offer a pool house with a fireplace to stay warm when you’re out of the water, an on-site restaurant, yoga classes, a sauna, massages, and more. Moccasin Springs also offers accommodations for people to stay for a few nights and enjoy many warm soaks and the whole experience for days.

collage of moccasin springs photos

Cascade Falls

While many of today’s hot springs have developed into spas or bath houses, there are still undeveloped natural springs in South Dakota. About 15 minutes south of town, there are warm springs that feed into Cascade Creek. A few miles downstream is a popular swimming hole called Cascade Falls, which stays at an average temperature of 67 degrees Fahrenheit (19 Celsius). The water doesn’t move very fast here, and this is is the only recommended spot to swim in the creek, making it an ideal spot for families. Though it looks like a perfect fairytale, visitors must watch out for poison ivy and rattlesnakes. 

jumping into the water at Cascade Falls

For the kids

Evan’s Plunge

Evan’s Plunge Mineral Springs was established in 1890 and is a huge wellness center with everything from a sauna and steam room to water volleyball and a jet slide. This facility is great for families who are looking for the whole package. There are pools indoors and outdoors, workout rooms with equipment, multiple slides, swing rings, food, and more. The water is kept at an average of 87 degrees Fahrenheit (30 Celsius), and there are also two hot tubs kept at warmer temperatures. 

Evan's Plunge mineral spring in Hot Springs

Fall River 

One of the best parts about the town of Hot Springs is that the Fall River, which is fed by thermal warm springs, runs directly through the entire length of town. The mile-long paved Freedom Trail runs alongside the river and connects two city parks: Centennial Park and Brookside Park. Exploring the warmer, deeper spots in the river is a favorite pastime of locals. Fall River is great for kids because it’s shallow in many sections. 

Fall River

Enjoy the Great Outdoors

The Parks: Wind Cave National Park & Custer State Park 

Just north of Hot Springs is Wind Cave National Park, where visitors can experience extraordinary landscapes above and below ground. Above ground, bison, elk, and other wildlife roam the grasslands of the Black Hills. Below ground, park service rangers offer tours of one of the longest and most complex caves in the world. Tours are required to see the cave and are offered 362 days of the year.

Just north of Wind Caves is Custer State Park. Granite cliffs shoot out of the water in the five lakes in this park. Custer State Park is great for swimming, boating, biking, camping, and paddling. 

Wind Cave National Park

Closer to Town: Angostura State Recreation Area & Golfing

Lucky for the people—and guests—of Hot Springs, there is no shortage of water around the town. To the south is Angostura State Recreation Area, a reservoir established in the 1950s. The water is clear, the beaches are sandy, and the views are expansive. This is a great local spot for water sports, camping, and fishing.

If you like to golf, you don’t want to miss Southern Hills Golf Course, rated by Golf Week as the #1 Golf Resort in South Dakota.

Golfing in Hot Springs

Be Inquisitive

Mammoth Site

Just another incredible fact about Hot Springs, South Dakota: It’s home to the world’s largest mammoth research center, The Mammoth Site. Tour this indoor active dig site view Ice Age fossils of woolly mammoths. 

Searching for fossils at the Mammoth Site

Town Architecture

Construction in Hot Springs began in the late 1890s, and the town was built to be a destination, so it sure looks like one. The historic downtown area was constructed from locally quarried sandstone and many of buildings have not since been changed. The town was named a ‘Distinctive Destination’ by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is worth walking through to learn more about the unique architecture. 

Sandstone architecture of Hot Springs

While this quaint town does have some of the best hot springs in South Dakota, it’s easy to tell that there is more to do in Hot Springs than just soak in the natural waters. If you plan on stopping here on the classic Black Hills route to Yellowstone, check out our itinerary here.




Find Wyoming Cultural Experiences in Riverton

Riverton, Wyoming, is a special destination en route to Yellowstone for several reasons. The first is the access to Native American culture, due to the town’s location at the edge of the state’s only Native American Reservation. The second is the full calendar, which means whenever you pass through you’re likely to find an authentic Wyoming event to attend. Finally, you can reach all these Wyoming cultural experiences in Riverton via plane or on a road trip.

This story was created in partnership with the Riverton Chamber of Commerce.

Riverton has a lot to offer, and the best way to get a sense of the culture is also the best way to stretch your legs after your time on the road or in the plane: Go for a walk.

Pin: Riverton, Wyoming cultural experiences

Art and Community

Start on the lovely Main Street, browsing local art in the shops, sampling locally made baked goods, and learning about the gorgeous rocks that come out of the surrounding mountain ranges. While you walk, keep an eye out for the pieces of art on the town’s buildings. You might not have guessed that one of your Wyoming cultural experiences would include massive displays of classic art and murals, but it does. You can follow a tour of the artwork while getting to know the town.

Two pieces of public art on Riverton buildings, Wyoming cultural experiences

Having worked up an appetite on your walking tour, head to the Trailhead for lunch. This restaurant serves up local beef with a story that you can read all about while you wait for your order. The opportunity to engage with Wyoming culture while having a positive impact on a locally owned restaurant and a nearby family ranch is a tough combination to beat—especially when it tastes so delicious!

History and Culture

Due to Riverton’s proximity to the Wind River Indian Reservation, this town is a unique gateway to Wyoming cultural experiences. Just a few miles from town, you might spot the recently re-introduced bison herd roaming the Reservation. Or tour the many historical and cultural sites on the Reservation, including the gravesite of Sacajawea, the young Shoshone woman who guided the Lewis and Clark expedition across much of the continent.

Native American dance exhibitions are one of the best Wyoming cultural experiences

Riverton is home to a number of places where you can take a deeper dive into Wyoming culture and stories. Spend some time at the Riverton Museum in downtown to learn about the town’s history. Then head up to the Wind River Hotel & Casino’s Northern Arapaho Experience Room. In this intimate museum, you can view regional artifacts and talk to a Native American elder to gain perspective and personal insight.

Events

Riverton is called the Rendezvous City because in the 1830s this was one of the sites where mountain men and fur traders met to trade goods for hides. This meeting was also a chance to party and reconnect—or rendezvous. You can reconnect with this history, too, at the annual 1838 Mountain Man Rendezvous, held in early July each year. This is the only place in the country where the rendezvous reenactment takes place in the exact place of the original gathering. Attend to learn about American history, learn new skills like axe throwing, and talk to re-enactors about the life of mountain men.

Every year, Riverton also holds a monthlong summer celebration in July. The Riverton Rendezvous and Balloon Rally, is full of color and music. You can ride a hot air balloon over the Wind River, join in parades, learn to country swing dance, create some chalk art, and more.

Hot air balloons over Riverton Wyoming as cultural experiences

This year, the town is adding even more to the calendar the weekend of July 11, 2020. This big event of 2020 will include a day in the park gathering with live music and vendors, a statewide skateboard competition to watch, an obstacle course race, an evening of live music and more.

No matter the month you visit, be sure to coordinate your summer visit to Riverton to include a Tuesday night so you can watch the weekly Native American dance exhibition. Hosted by the Wind River Hotel & Casino, these free demonstrations are a unique Wyoming cultural experience. Learn all about Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone culture, song, and dance, then join hands for the last dance of the evening.

If, somehow, none of these events match your calendar, be sure to check the Riverton events calendar, as there is always a reason to gather in the Rendezvous City.

Girl getting face painting at one of Riverton Wyoming's many events

Road Trip or FlyRiverton

Whatever Wyoming cultural experiences you’re planning on having in Riverton, getting there is the easy part. There are regular flights to and from town, connecting from Denver, Colorado. The highways that lead to Riverton also lead to Yellowstone National Park. Riverton and all the Wyoming cultural experiences it offers are a destination all their own or an authentic stop on your way to or from Wyoming’s national parks.