I'll be honest with you. Big Bend National Park in Texas was never on our radar. In fact, I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't even recall that it was a national park or know what the place had to offer in terms of things to do for families. It feels crazy saying that now after having been there and loving the diverse experiences this park allowed us to discover. Perhaps we never went because of its remote location, or maybe because it was a lesser known national park. All I know is I have a long-lost hometown friend to thank for urging us to go (you know who you are, girl!). We are so glad you shared your stories, photos, and tips with us because Big Bend has so much to offer people of all ages. Hopefully this post will give you a little glimpse into the fun things to do in this huge national park. Here, we'll explore a free natural hot springs on the US/Mexico border, walk across the Rio for an epic day in Mexico, and take in the wonders of the Santa Elena Canyon. Also, the boys turn FOUR!
The deeper south we drove on the Baja Peninsula, the more impressed we became with the beaches, people, and well, I'll be a little nerdy here, the memories and bonds that were forming. Yes, sometimes we felt we needed to be on our toes (even here, perhaps),but it's clear we have fallen cautiously in love with Baja. There is a little bit of mystery to Baja, some dirt and grime, and maybe a tiny bit of hesitation in some situations. Combine that though with the stunning landscapes, friends we're traveling with and meeting, and the incredible experiences we've had and you've got one of our favorite parts of our year "hitting pause". So join us as 'we hit Paz' (Chip's proud contribution to this blog post!) and drive further south where we discover stunning streches of beach, snorkel alongside the largest "fish" on the planet, and stumble upon new friends who help us discover the volunteer project we've been searching for all year!
We welcome you back to our best of the best in Baja! This is hands down my favorite section of the peninsula and you'll see why in a moment. To lure you in further highlights included freshly squeezed orange juice at our fingertips, a crescent-shaped bay where we slept (and played) at the ocean's edge, Mexican towns that left us begging to come back, and the most divine and flavorful fish tacos - oh heck, I'll just sum it up by saying the most divine and flavorful Mexican food we've ever consumed. Period. If your mouth isn't watering yet, I'll bet money it will be at some point during this post.
Many memorable experiences have happened because of this year-long trip. I often wonder if it weren’t for this "pause" that we're on, would we have even seen or experienced this much in our entire lifetime? There are definitely times that have reinforced the precise reasons for why we are taking this year together as a family. One moment that stands out is our remarkable boat trip through Ojo De Liebre, a lagoon that embraces thousands of gray whales each winter. I've reserved this post for them. This was undoubtedly a once-in-a-lifetime, holy-crap-did-that-just-happen moment. Without further ado, here is our up close and personal day with the gray whales in Guerrero Negro, Baja California Sur!
"Have you ever been? Have you seen the recent news? Read the latest travel warnings? You’re bringing the boys? Be careful. I used to go to Baja back when it was safe, but now, I’ll never go again." These are just a few things people were saying to us before we left for Baja, Mexico. As I'm sure you can imagine, we were not totally psyched given all the "glowing" reviews. In fact, we were so nervous we almost threw our plans to visit out the window. Ultimately, we made the decision to go and are so thankful we didn't cave in to the fear.