Adventurers Guide to One Week in Quintana Roo

Cancun, Mexico

Quintana Roo is a Mexican state within the Yucatán Peninsula. The state and the country Mexico in general typically get a bad rap from the American media stations. In fact, just days before my departure from Detroit to Cancun, there was a media story covering several brutal murders on the Cancun beach. My facebook feed BLEW UP with this story… friends warning me not to go to Mexico and to cancel my trip because of the danger.

very dangerous iguana in Mexico (this is sarcasm)

It’s hard to ignore travel warnings your country is publishing, especially when most of your family and friends are encouraging you to stay home. But is home any safer? 7 days after our trip to Mexico, my friend landed home in Chicago. Home- during a stabbing incident at the Chicago airport that day. Despite the danger being very real and very near- Facebook stayed quiet. 

My travels over the years have taught me that there are always multiple viewpoints to the story. I’m a firm believer in “not judging a book by its cover”, and applying that concept to life situations. Was I nervous for my first adventure to Mexico? Hell yes! I could feel that scratchy feeling of uneasiness you get when you’re about to step out of your comfort zone. Experience has taught me- the uneasiness will go away, replaced by the wonder and awe that is travel.

Adventure with me to the Caribbean coastal towns of Mexico as I spend 7 Days in Quintana Roo! 

Spend 2 Days in Cancun

What To Do:Head to the north side of the hotel zone and spend the day beach hopping down to the Caribbean side. There are 11 public beaches within the hotel zone, each unique, but all offering warm turquoise colored water along white sand. 

Go Paddle Boarding!

We spent one full day in Cancun at the end of our trip with nothing planned. We enjoyed wandering the markets and exploring, but wish we would have done a water activity. Next time we come back we plan to rent jet skis, or paddleboards to explore the area further.  

Go Parasailing!

Transportation:We flew in and out of the Cancun Airport, giving us a full day to explore the Caribbean version of Las Vegas. Renting a car in Mexico can get tricky with insurance, some rental centers require high deposits up to $2,500 usd. Do your homework on how insurance works in Mexico prior to arrival. My recommendation if you’re traveling in the off season as we were- wait until you’re at the airport to book your rental car. The rental companies at the airport will have more competitive pricing opportunities then you will find online and will negotiate with you. Have them explain the two different insurance options to you before you agree to rent with them.

Where To Eat: Quieres un, café?Brunch at the delicious Café Huayacán. This was a great first stop for coffee and food after leaving the airport before heading into the hotel zone. The adorable coffee shop had a huge menu of pasteles, and traditional Mexican dishes ranging from sweet crepes to savory huevos ranchero. We had a tough time choosing, so we ordered both (plus a chilaquiles verdes con pollo). 

I took this while sitting on our AirBnb balcony sipping a cerveza, SALUD!

Where To Stay:Our last night in Mexico we spent at an AirBnb listed as “Breathtaking Caribbean Sea View”. Well, the view was just that, putting us right in the center of the Hotel Zone. We stayed in the Hotel Zone to be close to the beach but not too far from the airport for our early flight. 

Sunset view of Cancun Airbnb balcony

Notice the “red tide” or mounds of decaying algae in my Cancun beach photos…Scientists have warned that the algae are a grave new threat to the Caribbean, not just Cancun. In the open ocean the algae support birds and other sea life. But when washed ashore, as they start to decay they become an environmental nightmare. The decaying algae, emit hydrogen sulfide fumes that kills fish, coral and sea grass. Still don’t care?

The black “sand” you see along the beach shore is the old decaying algae. In the water you can see the giant clumps of seaweed being washed ashore.

It also causes headaches and nausea in people- especially those that must clean it each morning before the tourists arrive. When not cleared, the algae becomes piled high blocking endangered sea turtles from reaching the shore to lay their eggs. Oh, and if the ugly, decaying man caused algae wasn’t bad enough- it also prevent the baby sea turtles from migrating to the ocean once hatched. This issue was seen across the region, as we journeyed south. East-facing beaches were the hardest hit, due to ocean currents. Each city we explored during the week as well as Cozumel and Playa del Carmen has been flooded with the red tide. Climate change and human pollution near the shores around the globe has made this red tide outbreak the worst in history.

Day Trip to Akumal 

Akumal is a small carribean community known for its sea turtles! Spend a day swimming with Sea Turtles in Akumal. The town is just a short drive from Playa del Carmen or Tulum making for an easy day trip. You can see the sea turtles on your own or take a guided tour. We decided to try our luck and to explore on our own. Vendors will try and tell you that you MUST join a tour/wear a life vest to see the turtles- this is not true. There are roped off buoyed areas protecting major turtle feeding areas; if you stay inside the designated swim areas you can explore on your own as we did. 

My recommendation would be to arrive at the beach early, the visibility in the water goes down as people swim throughout the day and stir up the sand. I would recommend not going through a guided tour and arrive to the beaches early for your best chances to see some turtles.

Make sure each person has their own mask/snorkel if you choose to search for turtles on your own. Our group had two snorkels/masks for 6 people to share, and only a few of us were able to spot some turtles. There are plenty of vendors along the town center that sell masks and snorkels for your convenience. 

Spend 4 Days in Tulum 

Along the Caribbean coast, the town of Tulum offers seaside Mayan ruins to explore, sandy beaches for relaxing and undersea caves for diving. September is the birth month of my two favorite traveling partners. My best friend Grace, and my boyfriend Logan both celebrate birthdays, just two days apart. This year was a big one for Grace as she turned the big 3-0. Logan would like for me not to mention his new age (it’s old people 😊). 

What To Do:  Explore the many cenotes! A cenote is a freshwater filled Mexican sinkhole. The word Cenote is of Mayan decent originally called dzonot or ts’onot, meaning well. The cenotes played a crucial role in the development of the Mayan civilization. There are over 3,000 unique cenotes throughout the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. The cenotes are mostly found in the crater area that formed from the meteorite impact (the same meteorite responsible for the dinosaur extinction in this area). The cenotes are great for swimming, diving, snorkeling and more! The extensive underground river systems, make this area of Mexico the best place to experience cave diving.

Go Scuba Diving in a Cenote

Logan received his PADI certification just weeks before our Mexico departure! Dos Ojos was unanimously the favorite dive of the group. Noted as “The World’s BestCavern Dives.” The name Dos Ojos translates to “two eyes” and refers to two nearby cenotes that connect by a massive underwater cave system that is shared between the two. The two caverns start and end in the same place but are two very different dives. The first dive is 500 meters (1,600 feet) along The Barbie Line and leads divers along the opening of the second eye with plenty of daylight to see the stalactites. The second dive is along The Batcave Line and is a much darker route with little to no daylight entering the cave system during the dive. Divers will ascend up the cave to an open air pocket filled with bats flying everywhere!

 *They also dove in casa cenote and the car wash cenote. Check out my post on 6 Must See Cenotes Here!

Kayak at Casa Cenote

Explore Ancient Ruins

Hangin out in a treehouse at Kin Toh

Where To Eat: 

Budget Friendly: Antojitos La Chiapaneca: Mexican 

Best Tacos: Las Antorcha Food Truck; location varies

Instagram WorthyKin Toh; Mayan-Mexican cuisine in a tree house venue offering guests an experience they’re sure to remember. From the time you enter the restaurant until the time you leave, every one of your senses will be interacted with. Make reservations in advance, $$$$$

Best Ocean ViewMezzanine; Authentic Thai and casual beach menu includes a legendary Happy Hour if you’re looking for a boozey brunch on the beach.

Where To Stay:We spent four nights in a jungle paradise we discovered on AirBnb.The three bed three bath penthouse came with a private rooftop pool. 

Check out AirBnb for other amazing places to stay, and enjoy jungle views! New to AirBnB? Click here for $40 usd towards your first trip!

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The Perfect Weekend in Death Valley National Park

Death Valley Sign

Death Valley holds the title for driest, hottest, and lowest National Park of the 59 in the U.S. PLUS it’s the largest National Park outside of Alaska. We had two full days to see as much as we could and we’re already planning our next trip back to explore more of this diverse landscape.

Death Valley Road

The park entrance fee is $25 usd per vehicle per day- I have an annual pass ($80 usd) we used to get in. With over 3 million acres of wilderness, sand dunes, slot canyons, rocky rainbow peaks, and miles of back country roads to explore- where do you begin?! We flew into Las Vegas after work the Friday of MLK weekend and rented a car to make the 2 hour drive through the desert into Death Valley.

Tip: Make your rental car and camping reservations early. Spend the money on a 4×4 high clearance vehicle. You’ll need one if you plan to do the back country drives- that includes the famous racetrack. It’s 27 miles of HARD road to get there, and the ever logical Logan deemed our compact car  unfit for such conditions… preventing us from seeing the racetrack and other park sites (getting a flat or needing a tow truck in the middle of no where sounded not so fun).

Day 1: East Side

Sunset Campground

We spent more time dicking around in Vegas than we anticipated, so we got to the park a little later than planned, meaning we got to drive around in the dark looking for an open site… the campground is first come first serve and there were plenty of spots (it seems we’ve made setting up camp in the dark an unintentional tradition). The campsite didn’t have a fire pit or picnic table but the campground had water and flush toilets (no showers). The sites weren’t very private and it felt like we were in a giant parking lot more than a campground. We set up our tent facing to the darkest side, and watched the sky light up with stars.  

sunset campground

Artists Drive

This scenic loop drive is 9 miles of paved road that takes you through multi-hued colorful volcanic and sedimentary hills. We had the the one way road to ourselves so we took our time as we drove. As the famous Artist Palette came into view we got out at the pull off and explored further into the rock formations for a small hike. Our little compact car did fine on the paved road.

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Natural Bridge

We did a few hikes in our time at the park, but this by far was our favorite. The road to get here is rough and rocky, we didn’t think our car was going to make it- thank God it did. The out and back hike took us 1 mile round trip from the natural bridge formation- bbbbbut don’t stop there! We hiked back as far as we could get past the bridge (another mile or so) and the dramatic canyon turned to beautifully colored marble walls glistening around us. You could see the remains of a dried up waterfall, and how the powerful element carved it’s mark permanently into the earth. It was incredibly pretty, and the tall narrow canyon kept us shaded from the sun.

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Badwater Basin

It was 75 degrees and sunny when we walked a mile out to the salt flats 282 ft below sea level- the lowest point in North America. There was no shade, and in the dead of winter- we were hiking in Death Valley, and for the first time- we felt it. I’ve seen salt flats in Bolivia, and they were miles and miles long. But these were the first salt flats with water I’d seen, and it was an incredible sight (and another reason I FREAKING LOVE MY TEVAS). I walked out into the salty water expecting the lake I saw before me to get deeper as  walked further out. The water never went above my ankle in depth- and from afar it looked to others as if I was walking on water. It was a magical experience.

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Zabriskie Point

If you’re looking for the best spot to catch a sunrise or sunset- this is it. The golden colored badlands make for an amazing backdrop to natures free shows each day. Start your day or end your day here- you won’t be disappointed either way you do it. We missed the point coming into the park at night, so we made sure we caught it on our way back out!

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Day 2: North Side

Stone Pipe Wells Campground

We spent our 2nd night in this first come first serve campground that’s only open during the winter season; the campground has tent only sites everywhere, and a lot of private options; we had a beautiful view outside our tent of the mountains across the desert- there’s flush toilets and water, but no fire pits or picnic tables.

stone pipe wells campground

 

 

Ubehebe Crater

Hundreds of years ago, a massive volcanic explosion happened in Death Valley. Magma mixing with an underground spring caused the explosion that created this 600 ft deep crater. As we drove to the trail head you could see the landscape around us changing from light colored brown tones to dark volcanic black sand. You can hike the full rim of the crater (around 1.5 miles round trip) but we were short on time, so we hiked to see little ubehebe crater and enjoyed the views before heading back down.

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Mosaic Canyon

This was the hike I was most excited about. The 4 mile hike took us through polished marble narrows, and required a bit of rock climbing (scrambling). It was beautiful walking through the labyrinth of smooth rock.. The colorful walls changed in color and texture along the hike, making for gorgeous photo opportunities.

 

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Rainbow Canyon

We ended our day exploring the west side of the park. As soon as I saw their was a “rainbow canyon” I knew we couldn’t leave without seeing it. The drive takes a couple hours, so we stocked up on fuel and road trip snacks in Stovepipe Wells Village before heading towards the canyon. The drive to Father Crowley Vista was one of the most scenic drives I’ve ever done. A landscape of dark lava flows and volcanic cinders turns to rainbow canyon with an explosion of color. As you’re driving through the mountains you can see the colors start to pop the closer you get.

 

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Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

Hike to the largest dune field in the park for another great spot to catch a sunrise or sunset. You can walk as far out into the dunes as you want, the hike to summit the highest is about 2 miles roundtrip. We walked through the sand up and down the dunes until we found the perfect sunset viewing peak, all to ourselves.

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Furnace Creek Campground

We spent our last night back on the east side of the park (where the only showers in the park were)- it was MLK Day, and the park entry and camping was free for the holiday! We were expecting a huge crowd but we had no issue finding a site on the first come first serve sites. It was our favorite campsite, we had a picnic table, a fire ring, and nobody around us. Of course the night we have furniture the clouds decided to be assholes- we didn’t see one star that night. Instead we were kept awake by the howling of the locals (aren’t they just adorable?!?).

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furnace creek camp

Know Before You Go

  • Showers are only available at the privately owned Furnace Creek Resort. It’s $5 per person for a pool pass that gives you access to their pool & showers/locker room. **These are the only showers in the entire park, and if you’re camping and hiking, you will want a shower.**
  • You can rent a 4×4 high clearance vehicle by the hour in the town of Furnace Creek from a privately owned company.
  • There is 1 restaurant (Stovepipe Wells Village) and a few small grocery stores inside the park (Stovepipe Wells Village & Furnace Creek).
  • It is a 2 hour drive to the park from Las Vegas and a 5 hour drive from Los Angeles. The park is located in both California & Nevada.
  • Check out my guide on what to pack for your national park camping trip!

 

 

Packing Guide: Camping National Parks

Packing Guide for Camping

Being outside in nature, soaking up the sunshine and fresh air is one of my favorite things to do. Camping is one of the best ways to experience the outdoors in all it’s natural beauty. My budget travel enthusiasts will appreciate the cash they’ll save by instead of staying in hotels. My packing guide for camping is perfect for when visiting National Parks, or other backpack camping destinations.

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But what do we do for food?!? The best part about camping outdoors means cooking meals in cool places. After all, what’s better than dinner with a view? The Skys the limit on where you choose to eat your meals.

Camp Freeze Dried Food
Yosemite National Park

Last year I went on dozens of camping trips- forgetting something when you’re camping can be a huge pain in the ass (this one time we couldn’t find fuel, so our meal depended on if we could get the water boiling over a fire- not impossible, just time consuming, and after 5 days- that’s a lot of work) – most times we’re in the middle of nowhere, so you’re out of luck if you do.

I’ve brought friends with me on trips who have never camped before, and their first question is always- what do I pack? It was entertaining to watch them stumble through what they thought they might need (20 lbs of clothes, and no sleeping bag- maybe they were going to just wear lots of layers?)

Yoho National Park

I’ve created a packing guide to avoid that, broken up into camping essentials that you cant be without- down to what is nice to have if you have the packing space/weight. I usually try to fit my gear in a carry on so I don’t have to check a bag on the flight. Helping me save money!

Here’s your ultimate packing guide to camping in national parks!

Camping Essentials

necessities

 

Tent

My REI Half dome plus tent is the perfect size for me and my travel companion. With a door on each side it makes it easier to enter + exit without disturbing my sleeping partner.

The towel I bring is ideal for backpack camping. The light weight, compact towel comes in handy for showers, swimming, travel, or backpacking. It dries fast and is designed for multiple uses daily.

Sleeping Bag/Pad

Sleeping on the ground isn’t always the most comfortable, a good pad can make a huge difference when it comes to a good night sleep- plus it keeps you warm when the temperatures drop. The sleeping pad I use is nice because it self inflates- and after a long day of hiking, I’m lazy and need all my air.  The marmot sleeping bag I use is awesome- it has a hood at the top that not only keeps your head warm- it keeps your pillow from sliding away at night.

 Tip: Pack a sleeping pad repair kit just in case!

Head Lamp

It’s always ideal to set up camp during the daylight hours- however somehow I always manage to end up at camp when the sun goes down. Holding a flashlight (or your cellphone) while trying to set up your tent for the night is difficult- get a head lamp. Yes it looks silly, yes you will be extremely grateful you brought one.

Tip: its handy to study the park maps and pick out what hikes you’re going to do the day before to see if there are any restrictions before you get to the trail head.

Backpack With Daypack

The backpack I take on my trips is better classified as a travel backpack than it is a backpacking backpack. What I love about it is it opens like a suitcase/duffel. PLUS the outer small daypack is the removable- great for carrying my water bladder or camera gear on my hikes.

Camp Stove/Cookware

Food is one of the largest expenses when traveling. Cooking your meals while camping will help cut down costs tremendously ($5 usd a meal vs $15 usd eating out). I bring my stove and cookware with me on longer hikes and cook my meal with a view at the summit- just don’t forget your spork (that’s happened to me several times). The cookware kit I have comes with bowls/pots/pans/spork and a stove. 

Tip: Conserve water and use the leftover water from cooking to clean your dishes. 

Footwear

I have two different types of hiking footwear. My Tevas are designed specifically for a woman’s foot in order to provide unmatched comfort and performance in the water. I’ll also wear them in hot climates or sand hiking.

For more aggressive terrain such as rocky trails, I’ll wear my Salomon Women’s X Ultra hiking boots. These shoes are specifically designed for a woman’s anatomy. It holds your foot in place even during technical descents, and prevents slippage so you can enjoy more stable and safer descents.

Still Have Space?

Other Stuff

 

If you are planning on backpacking and hiking to your campsite every oz of weight matters- you have to carry your bag for miles. These next items are SUPER NICE to have, but you can get by without them if you don’t have them or are trying to save space & weight.

Hammock & Slap Straps

There’s nothing better than kicking back in my hammock after a long day on the trails. I keep telling myself one night I’ll pull in my sleeping bag/pad and sleep under the stars (But then things like coyote’s howling at all hours of the night prevent that from happening- imagine that.) The slap straps I have are easy to use and make set up happen in seconds.

Pillow & Chair

I’m not gonna lie… camping without a pillow or camp chair can make for an uncomfortable night. I use my pillow on the airplanes (and sleep the entire flight 99% of the time). Sometimes I’ll forget the pillow, and I have to get creative for an alternative. Most times I make a ball out of clothes or the sweatshirt I’m wearing (I don’t recommend that). This lightweight camping chair takes up minimal space, and makes those nights around the campfire that much more enjoyable.

Tip: Some campsites don’t have picnic tables so when I get stuck sitting on the ground or finding a good “butt rock”. I always regret not bringing one.

Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are perhaps the most genius travel invention ever. If you don’t have a set- pay the $10 and get yourself some. They will change the way you travel forever. The cubes keep your clothes separated, keep your bag organized, and make packing things up fast and easy.

Tip: Roll your clothes instead of folding them, you’ll fit a lot more in.

Cocoon & Life Straw

I use my cocoon in the summer months- it’s perfect for warm nights and keeps my sleeping bag clean if it’s a dry shampoo type of day. The life straw is nice to have if you plan on doing longer hikes (6 + miles). My water bladder holds about 3 liters- and I get pretty close to running out on harder treks. I bring the lifeproof straw in case of emergency- it filters out 99.999999% of all the bad stuff, so you can drink from a fresh water source in a pinch.

What’s your favorite camping gear? Leave a comment!

Check out these extraordinary National Parks to inspire your next camping adventure!

2017 Year Review

✨2017 Was an Incredible Year for me ✨

I traveled on 3 international trips with AMAZING people (Thailand, Alberta Canada, and Peru), I camped in 5 new national parks, and I put thousandssss of Michigan road trip miles on the car. 🚙

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Macchu Picchu, Peru, November 2017

Rocky Mountain National Park, Septemer 2017- Couple Trip

 

California Mother Daughter Trip, November 2017

 

Brimley State Park, October 2017- Couple Trip

 

Yosemite National Park, California, September 2017

 

 

Port Crescent State Park, Michigan, Summer 2017

 

Wilderness State Park, Michigan, Summer 2017

 

Emerald Lake- Yoho National Park, July 2017

 

Jasper National Park, Alberta Canada, July 2017

 

Banff National Park, Alberta Canada, July 2017

 

Thailand Group Pic

 

Thailand, February 2017

 

 

I’ve worn glasses or contacts since I was in middle school. Every year my eye sight would get worse and worse- I made the decision I would get lasik surgery and ditch the contacts & glasses- and it’s one of the best investments I’ve made. This year my body was challenged in so many ways. From eye surgery to zero gravity flying to hiking into the highest altitude I’ve ever experienced- 2017 had it all. ⛰

 

Rainbow Mountain Peru, Altitude around 16,000 ft

Zero Gravity Flying

 

In 2017 I knocked some big stuff off the bucket list including white water rafting, rock climbing, and starting a travel blog. 💻

I have so many wonderful amazing things to be thankful for this year. But these two amazing beings here are what I am most grateful for. They came into my life a year ago and I am so excited I get to start 2018 with them– Happy New Year everyone!

 

The Perfect Weekend in Seattle

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When you work full time- you look forward to a couple days off at the end of the week. I am the queen of utilizing my weekends to their full potential (all the adventures). April 2017 I spent a long weekend over Easter with one of my oldest friends in Seattle. We both live in different states- and I arrived a couple days earlier, giving me time to explore the city solo. We spent a couple days in the city and then ventured off for a day trip to Mount Rainier National Park.

Seattle, is surrounded by water, mountains and evergreen forests, and contains thousands of acres of parkland (could you BE any cooler Seattle?!) I gravitate to cities surrounding by nature and scenic getaways close by- Seattle was no different.

Here’s your guide to a perfect weekend in Seattle!

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Stay in Downtown Seattle

In Seattle, staying in the downtown area is going to be the most convenient. All the prime spots are close by if not walking distance, and staying there will keep you in the center of everything which helps save some cash on transportation.

AirBNB: Before I even look at hotels- I always start with Airbnb. It has some awesome places right in the city center, and you’ll save some cash renting one big house or apartment rather than booking multiple hotel rooms. (Click Here to earn a $40 credit!)

The Edgewater Hotel: Seattle’s only waterfront hotel looking over Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains in the distance. Located in the heart of downtown, you’ll be within walking distance to the city’s favorite sites… or you just might decide to relax there, soaking up the view beside a river-rock fireplace. Search for current prices HERE.

Four Seasons: This five-star stunner is located downtown near Pike Place Market. Reflecting the Hotel’s appreciation of local art, guest rooms display a selection of 16 works by classic Northwest artists, reproduced from the collection of the Seattle Art Museum. Search for current prices HERE.

Kimpton Hotel Monaco: Winner of the 2017 Traveler Readers’ Choice Award- this boutique hotel is PET FRIENDLY (yeyyy fur babies!) and comes with a yoga mat in every room so you can start and end your day with some sun salutations. Search for current prices HERE.

 

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Grab Brunch in Seattle

Brunch is my absolute favorite meal when I travel- and just so happens to be the ideal time for planning your adventures for the day. The hard part will be choosing where to go-Seattle has foodie approved eateries across the city. I didn’t have a bad meal the entire trip.

The Fat Hen: Innovative french low country cuisine made with freshly provided ingredients from their local friends and neighbors in the farming community. (Whittier Heights)

Skillet: This award winning diner has delicious stuff like maple braised pork belly and waffle with a fried egg on top. (Multiple Locations)

Americana: Cozy bistro famous for their diverse brunch menu and mimosas. Bonus: dog friendly patio for your fur babies. (Capitol Hill)

Biscuit Bitch: A coffeehouse as funky as its name that serves southern-inspired foods specializing in biscuits, BITCH. (Pike Place Market))

Citizen: Café and bar with all types of crepes (sweet & savory) that serves Nutella hot chocolate- need I say more?  (Queen Anne)

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Drink Local in Seattle

Seattle takes it’s beer seriously. The microbrewing scene has been going strong for decades-with over 60 breweries in the city. With so many options- it’s tough to go wrong when deciding which ones to try. If you’re like me and prefer anything other than beer- no worries, you’re also in luck! Washington state is one of the top five cider producing states in the country (victoryyyyy).

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Shop at Pike Place Market

Yes- it can be as touristy as you fear… but it’s worth the visit if it’s your first time in Seattle. Pike Place market is WAY bigger than I thought it would be. This nine-acre historic district is filled with local farmers, a crafts market, and over 200 specialty shops- all locally owned. The market was originally established in 1907 to connect citizens and farmers. Farmers markets take place year round with bakeries, fish markets, butcher shops, produce stands, and FLOWERS! My suggestion would be to buy some of the famous tulips while you’re there to color up your life a bit 😊

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Taste Award Winning Chowder

Located within the market, Pike Place Chowder makes the perfect snack while you’re shopping up an appetite. This chowder has earned dozens of wins in regional AND national competitions! Now, I’m not a huge chowder fan, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try this famous chowder, and I’m so glad I did- it was so creamy and delicious! With awards coming out the ass-  it’s no wonder there was a line out the door and around the block!

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Chew Bubble Gum

I loved the look of the gum colors melting together on the famous gum wall, it almost looked like wax. It wasn’t as gross as I’d imagined it would be, and I found it weirdly fun to look at, while I added my bubble 😊 Grab some bubble gum and make the decision for yourself!

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Get Outside

Discovery Park: Discovery Park is Seattle’s largest public park at 534 acres. The park is in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle, and has around 12 miles of walking trails. It has a lighthouse- and I’m from Michigan (so many lighthouses) so this park was at the top of my list. The West Point Lighthouse was my favorite part of the park. To visit the lighthouse, your best bet is to stop into the Visitor Center- they can direct you to the walking trails that will lead down to the beach of the lighthouse. Warning: The hike back up can be strenuous, there’s a shuttle bus that runs from the Visitor Center down to the beach as well. (Magnolia)

Kerry Park: This park is popular for its incredible view of downtown- the city sky line against the green of the park is just breathtaking. (Queen Anne Hill)

Gas Works Park: What I love about this park, is that it could have been left as a forgotten industrial wasteland, like so many others- but instead was turned into a beautiful park. This park is so unique- the rusting remains of the manufacturing plant that once stood remain. The park has a picture-perfect view across the lake to downtown Seattle that’s worth the visit. (Lake Union)

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Visit the Chihuly Garden & Glass

Located next to the Space Needle, the Chihuly Garden & Glass is a magical place. The glass wonderland is breathtaking and bursting with colors. The venue combines the glass with the natural beauty of the gardens. The glasshouse occasionally closes for private events, but the rest of the exhibition and the garden remain open, so check the calendar before you’re heading over. If you plan on visiting the Space Needle- save some cash, and buy a combo pass for the Glass Garden + Space Needle.

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Treat Yourself

I’m obsessed with Molly Moon! It has delicious icecream with rotating seasonal flavors. It’s an easy detour where ever you are with 8 various locations spread across the city.

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Go Out For Dinner in Seattle

The food scene in Seattle is starting to gain some movement. When you’re there, forget about chain restaurants, and go where the locals go.

Uneeda Burger: Do you need a burger though? Located just .04 miles away from Seattle’s fremont troll, Uneeda Burger is a casual, roadside-style burger shack with seriously delicious burgers, sandwiches, sides and shakes. (Fremont)

The Pink Door: Equal parts Italian-American dining, with eclectic entertainment such as trapeze, cabaret, music and tarot. If it’s a nice day when you visit, opt for outside on the view deck overlooking Elliot Bay. Located on 1919 Post Alley the restaurant has no sign, but look for the pink door on the water side of the Post Alley promenade. (Pike Place Market)

Lola: With cooking styles of Greece; the menu offers modern Mediterranean and North African riffs on local ingredients such as Anderson Valley lamb, Penn Cove shellfish and wild King salmon. (Belltown)

Northlake Tavern – If you crave pizza always like me- then you know where to go. The pizza is an old local favorite, having been around since 1954! The pizza is served with an “old Italian recipe.” Not only is the pizza incredible, but it’s also a local dive bar with cheap pitchers and a laid back Seattle attitude. (North Lake)

How to Cook a Wolf: This rustic Italian-inspired small plates restaurant is sure to impress. Best to go family style and order a couple plates a person to share, that way you get to try a little of everything!

Have a couple extra days in the area? Why not spend them in Olympic National Park?

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