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On the Road: Coast to Coast!

Updated: May 15

Luke and I met in San Diego, Ca although both of us are from the East Coast. I’m from New Jersey and Luke is from Delaware. Since getting engaged recently we thought it would be best to move back home to plan the wedding closer to family. After living in San Diego for 5 years (Luke 2 years) we were ready for the next step towards our future.

Horseshoe Bend, AZ

We did have a time frame to make it back home since Luke had a start date for a new job, but we wanted to make the most out of the long drive. We planned to go the southern route since we were making the trip in February. Going through Colorado was too much of a risk for us in our little Kia Soul if we were to hit a snow storm going through those mountains. Colorado would have been our preferred route if it weren’t winter!

Since I was working for Hilton at the time I was able to use my employee discount throughout our drive home. Working in the hotel industry definitely has its perks if you are an avid traveler. We mostly stayed in Hampton Inn’s.

Our Route: 7 Days California to New Jersey


San Diego to Zion National Park- 2 nights

Zion to Horseshoe Bend, AZ - Pit Stop

Horseshoe Bend to Gallup, NM - Overnight stay

Gallup, NM to Oklahoma - Overnight stay (I don’t remember where we stopped in Oklahoma)

Oklahoma to Ozark National Forest, Arkansas - Pit Stop

Ozark National Forest, AR to Forrest City, AR- Overnight stay

Forrest City, AR to Roanoke, VA- Overnight stay

Roanoke, VA to Natural Bridge State Park, VA - Pit Stop

Natural Bridge State Park, VA to New Jersey - HOME!

Zion National Park:

Our hotel was in Springdale, Utah and is the closest town to Zion National Park’s entrance. The park charges an entrance fee of $35 per vehicle and is valid for 7 days. Zion is beautiful and as picturesque as the internet makes it out to be. We enjoyed the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive and the Pa’rus Trail since it is the only dog friendly hike the park offers. Luke and I had our beloved dog Huck Finn with us. Zion has a strict no dogs allowed policy. We were able to explore on foot the surrounding areas inside the park with Huck on a leash when we stopped along the Scenic Drive. We wish we could have done some real hikes on our visit, but we couldn’t bring ourselves to leave Huck locked in a hotel room all day. With him already being squished in the back seat of the car during the long drive, it just wasn’t fair to not bring him along. Even though we did the bare minimum, we thoroughly enjoyed being immersed in scenery and nature that feels out worldly!

Eat at Oscar’s Cafe for some bomb Mexican food or Zion Brewery for a great outdoor atmosphere.


Horseshoe Bend:

Dogs are allowed on leash! You do have to pay to enter ($10 per vehicle). It was a short walk down to the viewing area. There is a railing, but Luke is a dare devil and decided to risk his life sitting on a ledge with his feet hanging off. Most people were taking daring photos, but not me, I was scared. I had eyefuls of beautiful views from a safe distance from the edge.


Gallup, NM:

We stayed overnight in a town called Gallup, NM. The town wasn’t much but it had everything you need as far as shopping goes. (Target, Walmart, etc) My favorite part about it, The Cracker Barrel!

(on the road New Mexico)


Didn't stop except to sleep overnight. Drove through.


Ozark National Forest, Arkansas:

Once we reached Arkansas we stopped in Ozark National Forest for a short hike. Spy Rock Overlook Trail. Dogs are allowed on leash. We hung out here for a while enjoying the fresh air and the view. On the drive back down to the main road we noticed a river and found a pull off area to check it out.

We stayed in Forrest City, AR to get some sleep.


Natural Bridge State Park, Virginia:

On the way home from Roanoke, VA we saw signs for a Natural Bridge on the highway. We decided to check it out to see what it was all about. We followed signs to Natural Bridge State Park. There was an entrance fee of $8 per person and it was worth it! Such a great stop to stretch our legs and witness the bridge and the nature surrounding it. Huck was allowed to come for the walk too!

From our unexpected highway turn off we then made our way up to New Jersey. We made it home!

++ If you are wondering why we didn’t stop in any major cities. Luke and I both prefer locations that have lower populations and less traffic congestion. Usually the people are much nicer and sometimes small towns have hidden gems.

#roadtrip #coasttocoast #westtoeast #ontheroad #horseshoebend #zionnationalpark #zion #ozarkstateforest #ozark #arkansas #newmexico #california #newjersey #oklahoma #naturalbridgestatepark #virginia

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