My husband and I love road trips! We went on our first one together way back in 2006, and we have made it a yearly tradition ever since. Ever since Cooper was a baby he’s been coming along too. It’s just not summer unless we take a long road trip to somewhere! This year we scratched off some bucket list locations and we traveled more than 3100 miles round trip. It was an amazing adventure- and I’ll be recapping it all here.
On day one we got up and out of the house early in the morning. We were headed to Richfield, Utah as a stopping point before heading to Denver, Colorado the next day. We have a general rule when road-tripping that we try not to drive more than 7 hours in one day. Any longer than that and we feel like it’s just way too much sitting in the car time for our son. So, with Richfield being about 7 hours away from us, we made it our stopping point.
We made a pit stop in Las Vegas on our way through for lunch at the Cracker Barrel! I LOVE Cracker Barrel…. to a ridiculous degree! The closest one to us is an hour away, and in the middle of nowhere, so the only time I get to eat a meal here is when we are on road trips! I love their dumplin’s, fried okra, haddock, fried chicken, and fried apples….you know, the healthy stuff! 😉 Southern style food is my favorite. We had a delicious meal, did a little shopping in their store, tested out some rocking chairs, and got back on the road.
The drive through Utah was really pretty, and the time passed quickly. When we finally arrived in Richfield, we decided to grab dinner before checking into our hotel. My husband really likes these restaurants called Taco Time(It’s a chain restaurant but there aren’t any in California- he grew up eating at them in Canada). So when I saw that there was one near our hotel, I knew he’d want to go there for dinner. It’s good, cheap, Americanized-Mexican food. We grabbed our order to go, and went across the street to eat in a pretty little park.
We enjoyed our Taco Time dinner in the park. Cooper had a blast on the awesome playground! Richfield is a tiny little town, with a really wholesome feel. There was even an ice cream truck that came by the park- definitely a treat since we don’t see those where we live anymore. It was a beautiful night and the weather was perfect! So much nicer than the sweltering heat back home. After playing in the park forever, and eating our ice cream, we drove over to our hotel.
We stayed at the Fairfield Inn. We were very happy with our stay. We had a nice, spacious room and it was super clean. We immediately got our swim suits on and went to their indoor pool where we swam until 10pm! Then it was time for showers and bed. We had a great first day!
The next morning we ate the free breakfast served at the hotel and hit the road towards Denver. The drive felt extra long- it was a little over 7 hours to get to there. But I was excited to see Colorado for the first time! The drive was so pretty. We finally arrived and checked in. We stayed at the Hotel Indigo in downtown. It’s a great hotel and it’s in a great location- right near Coors Field, Union Station, shopping, and restaurants.
We walked to dinner and we were so surprised at how clean and quiet the city is. Everything is so picturesque. Definitely different than the downtown areas of Los Angeles, San Diego, or San Francisco. It felt so safe- even after dark.
We ate at P.F. Chang’s because it’s my son’s favorite. He will eat his weight in those pot sticker dumplings! After dinner we walked back to the hotel and went to bed.
We got up early the next morning and walked to breakfast. We are at this restaurant Snooze AM. It has great reviews on TripAdvisor and it did not disappoint! I wish I had taken pictures of our food, but of course I forgot. I had the eggs Benedict(traditional), Cody had the corned beef hash, and Cooper had pancakes with bacon. Our food was so good! Especially the corned beef hash- if you are in Denver, eat here- you won’t be disappointed.
After breakfast we went to the Denver Aquarium. We loved this aquarium! They have a cool flash flood waterfall, a Mosasaur skeleton, tons of fish, a touch tank, and even a tiger exhibit. They also have this huge tank with sharks, sea turtles, and sawfish! We’ve been to many different aquariums and we’ve never seen a sawfish- it was incredibly cool! We spent a few hours here and had such a great time.
After the aquarium, we went back to our hotel to change our clothes. We had tickets for the Dodgers vs. Rockies game that night! I was so excited to see my Dodgers play, and I was excited to scratch another baseball stadium off of our list. It was a short walk over from our hotel to Coors Field. The stadium is so pretty!
We had a great time at the game! Their hot dogs are delicious, the Coors Light is great, and we had awesome seats for a really low price. On our way out of the stadium we grabbed a pedicab for our ride home! It was a fun night.
We had a great time in Denver! I wish we could have spent more time here- two days was not enough! But we had to leave the next morning to continue on our road trip!
The next morning we got up early and drove to South Dakota! Our drive time was shorter today than on the last two driving days, so Cooper was happy about that. The scenery was beautiful! Wide open spaces for most of the drive. We were pretty excited when our destination came into view! You can catch a glimpse of it as you come around the turn into the parking lot, and then there it is: Mount Rushmore!!
I was SO excited to see this in person! Growing up, we didn’t have much money and traveling was not something we did. Ever. So as a kid I would imagine what it would be like to see these iconic places, like Mount Rushmore, in person. The idea of traveling seeming like such a luxury to me back then, that I never dreamed I’d get to go anywhere. So when I do get the chance to see places like this, it definitely strikes a chord deep within. I feel so thankful and grateful for the ability to scratch these locations off my list with my husband and our son. I felt the same sort of misty eyed feeling that I felt when I saw the Golden Gate Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon, the big ball at Epcot, etc. It’s a great feeling. It’s just neat to see these places in person after seeing them in books and on television your whole life!
Mount Rushmore is awesome! The idea that they turned some rocky mountain into this incredible sculpture is mind blowing. It’s very cool. We took a bunch of pictures, and then looked around the gift shop.
We let Cooper use one of our old phones to play games, and he loves to use it to take pictures and videos. Seeing him take a bunch of pictures of Mount Rushmore made me smile:
We left the monument and continued on to Keystone, South Dakota which is this little town about 10 minutes away. It’s a cute, little, old western town. We checked into our hotel, the K Bar S Lodge. We loved this place! It was just off the main road, surrounded by trees and nature. We even had a view of Washington’s profile from our balcony.
After checking in, we went to town for dinner. We stopped and grabbed some Sarsaparilla/cream soda combo in this cute mug while we were deciding where to eat. It was the best soda!
We decided to eat at The Ruby House Restaurant. While we waited for our table we had a couple beers in the Red Garter Saloon. We also listened to some great live music while we waited. The Saloon and the Restaurant share the same building, and don’t worry- the saloon is family friendly 😉 Everything about this place looks like it’s straight out of an old western movie! It was cute. Our food was great too! Cody and I each had the rib-eye steak and we were both very happy. Cooper had mac and cheese and he gobbled it up.
After dinner we walked around the little town, then went to the candy store. After picking up some sweets we headed back to the hotel for showers and bed.
We had a great first day in Keystone!
That’s all I have time for now- stay tuned for part 2 of our Summer Road Trip!
Thanks for reading!