Snorkeling at “Two Steps” in Honaunau Bay (Big Island, Hawaii, USA)

Snorkeling at 'Two Steps' in Honaunau Bay, Hawaii's Big Island

Fancy a snorkel in one of the Hawaii’s best snorkeling locales? If you’re staying on the Big Island, you don’t want to miss “Two Steps.” It’s a laid-back beach snorkel destination with abundant sea life less than 40 minutes south of Kailua-Kona. And it’s free!

Continue reading for more info on snorkeling at Two Steps, plus a video from our visit.
Continue reading

U.S. Road Trip Re-Cap: Week Thirteen (Chicago to Pittsburgh)

North to South U.S. road trip recap week thirteen

After our much needed road trip break in Chicago, we set our sights on exploring the Northeast. Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania were all checked off this week of our road trip, as we made our way to New England. And we saw a good amount of ultra-green midwestern farmland along our route. Take a look at our journey from Chicago to Pittsburgh on week thirteen of our trip!

Note: I’m still catching up on our weekly road trip re-caps! This one covers August 2-8.  Continue reading

Our Year in Review: An Epic 50-State Quest + Matching Our Old Income [2015]

North to South: Our Year in Review -- The Epic 50-State Quest + Matching Our Previous Income (2015)

Wow, 2015, you really outdid yourself. It’s amazing how much Ian and I accomplished in just one year’s time, continuing to build on and cross-promote our online business endeavors. We knew we had it in us, but this year we proved to ourselves that if we really stick with focusing on projects we believe in, great success will eventually come!

Have a look with us, as we review our major milestones and accomplishments in 2015!  Continue reading

U.S. Road Trip Re-Cap: Weeks Nine, Ten, Eleven & Twelve (Chicago & Oshkosh)

North to South U.S. road trip recap weeks nine, ten, eleven and twelve

Two months of nearly non-stop road-tripping exhausted us, so we decided to take a break.

We wanted some time to relax, regroup, and work on our blogs, and to do that, we needed to stay still. Luckily, we were traveling around the midwest at the time, and my twin brother had a room available for rent in his Chicago apartment. So we settled down for a full month and used the time to explore Chicago more, set new goals for our projects, dabble in some artistic hobbies, and even launch a new business. See what else we accomplished during our month-long road trip break in Chicago below!

Note: I’m still catching up on our weekly road trip re-caps! This one covers July 5 – August 1.  Continue reading

The Magical Landscape of White Sands National Monument: A Photo Journal (New Mexico, USA)

The Magical Landscape of White Sands National Monument, New Mexico, USA

This year Ian and I checked a HUGE item off our bucket list. We can both now officially say we’ve visited all 50 U.S. states. (Hooray!)

We’ve explored a LOT of the U.S. this year — even amplifying our goals to include visiting all 50 states in one year’s time — and every time I tell people about our epic quest, I always get asked some version of the same question: Which place was your favorite?

Well, if you limit me to a certain number, I’ll have trouble answering, but White Sands National Monument is absolutely 100% somewhere on my list of favorites. (Funny, because our visit there was completely unplanned.) And while I could go on and on about how amazingly surreal and magical the scenery is there, I think the photos will give you a better idea. So I’ll let the scenic photos do most of the talking… Continue reading

U.S. Road Trip Re-Cap: Week Eight (North Dakota back to Chicago)

North to South U.S. road trip recap week eight

Rounding out our second month on the road, we started week eight by finishing off our northern U.S. 5-park circle. After visiting Badlands, Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Glacier National Parks the previous week, we found that Theodore Roosevelt National Park — a park we’d never heard of until we spotted it on the map — was an unexpected gem of wildlife large and small.

Once we’d had our fill of bison and prairie dogs, we headed back toward the Windy City, paying a brief visit to one of my oldest friends along the way, and returned to Chicago just in time to celebrate the 4th of July with a totally unique fireworks viewing experience from the Chicago river.

Note: I’m still catching up on our weekly road trip re-caps! This one covers June 28 – July 5.  Continue reading

Things to Do Year-Round in and Around Anchorage (Alaska, USA)

Things to Do Year-Round in Anchorage, Alaska on NorthToSouth.us

Alaska is a BEAUTIFUL state. In fact, it’s one of my absolute favorite states from our entire 2015 50-state quest. And there are a lot of things to do, even if you’re visiting outside of the summer “tourist” season.

The most popular tourist season in Alaska is summer, with a secondary season in winter, but the time in between — the “shoulder” seasons — can seem pretty dead. That 28-glacier cruise only runs May through September. Dog-sledding tours near Anchorage don’t run in fall or spring. And even the expensive polar bear excursions up north shut down post-summer. There’s a lack of demand, so yes, the big tour companies that rely on big numbers shut down when the crowd thins, but there is still PLENTY to do in this awesome state outside the major tour company offerings.

We’re currently in the midst of a two-week “offseason” trip to Anchorage — the last week of October and first of November — and we haven’t run out of things to do yet. Here’s a list of our favorites so far:  Continue reading

U.S. Road Trip Re-Cap: Week Seven (Wyoming to Alberta)

North to South U.S. road trip recap week seven

Week seven was by far one of the most memorable weeks on our road trip. I can’t believe how much we saw in one week! Oodles of wildlife, gorgeous sunrises, and even the Northern Lights — all the way down in Yellowstone National Park (they’re not usually visible so far south).

Somehow we managed to visit FOUR national parks all in one week. And despite late night Milky Way photo sessions, we managed to wake up before dawn TWICE to witness the gorgeous sunrises Yellowstone has to offer. If you’ve never seen Yellowstone yourself, add it to your bucket list NOW. And in the meantime, you can drool a bit over these photos!

Note: I’m still catching up on our weekly road trip re-caps! This one covers June 20-27.

Continue reading

The Best and Worst Rides and Attractions at Universal Studios Florida

Best Rides and Attractions at Universal Studios Florida

Universal, Disney, Six Flags… growing up I visited ALL the theme parks. I was the kid who re-rode the Ninja (a relatively intense Six Flags St. Louis coaster) as many times as I could.

As an adult, I still enjoy an annual dose of theme park but am now far less concerned with the number of rides I can rack up in one visit. These days I’m more intrigued by the overall atmosphere and experience. So, being a diehard Harry Potter fan AND a long-time theme park goer, Universal Studios was on our to-do list when our U.S. road trip took us to Florida earlier this month.

Below are our top ten rides and attractions from our 2-day park-to-park Universal adventure. Continue reading

U.S. Road Trip Re-Cap: Weeks Four, Five & Six (Illinois to South Dakota)

North to South U.S. road trip recap weeks four, five and six

After completing our third week on the road in the U.S. this summer, we decided it was time for a little breather. We departed St. Louis at the beginning of week four and then pressed the pause button when we reached Chicago. And there we stayed, visiting my twin brother, for the first two and a half weeks of June.

Despite growing up in St. Louis, I’d never visited the nearby Windy City ’til now. And what an awesome place it turned out to be! So much so that we decided we’d return to Chicago for an even longer break after our upcoming national park loop. We finished off this three-week period in Badlands National Park, where we found unique erosion-formed landscapes, plentiful prairie dogs, and the craziest (and unexpected) storm we’ve ever experienced! (You don’t want to miss that video.)

Note: Since we paused for so long in Chicago, this recap covers weeks four through six of our U.S. road trip. And I’m still catching up on our weekly road trip re-caps! This one covers May 30 – June 19.

Continue reading