California Bloom - Fire, rain, and flowers in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Malibu

A little over a year ago much of this area was ravaged by fire, but now the rains have come and life has returned full force in a dramatic way. While these areas are often baked brown, we had the privilege to witness the hills in green and golden splendor. Walking through the hills surrounded by wildflowers that were often taller than us and watching butterflies flit about was magical.

Big Bend National Park - Border Crossing to Boquillas - Legally walk to Mexico

Easy crossing, very safe, surprisingly well organized, but very touristy. We came here not really knowing what to expect, except that people said this was a fun thing to do. There is not a ton to see or do, but taking a rowboat to Mexico makes for an interesting story and you get a passport stamped. It is very safe, completely legal and there is some decent food. Read for a full guide

Big Bend National Park - Santa Elena Canyon - Planning your hiking experience

Dramatic but tranquil, very rewarding for an easy hike. Santa Elena Canyon was gorgeous. From the lookout you could see an abrupt stone wall stretching into the distance in both direction. It was a severe transition from rolling desert to a solid wall of stone that only parted for the canyon. In my opinion this is the prettiest of the canyons.