2019 Travel Guide | National Parks Park FREE Dates

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National Park Service announced the park fee-free dates at our National Parks.  With over 400 National parks, it difficult to just pick one favorite park.   There are the majestic views of Yellowstone National Park and the beautiful landscape of White Sands National Park to name a few.

Park fee-free dates are great for day trips or weekend trips with your families.

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The 2019 Park fee-FREE dates are as follows:January 21: Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • January 21:  Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday
  • April 20: First day of National Park Week
  • August 25: National Park Service Birthday
  • September 28: National Public Lands Day
  • November 11: Veterans Day

Start planning your 2019 day, weekend or vacations in 2019 around these dates!

Photo Credit:  Eva Smith

 

 

*Updated 12/5/2018

 

 

2019 Travel Guide – Rejuvenating Our Souls with a Pacific Crest Trail Hike

We headed out to the Pacific Crest trail via White Water Canyon Preserve with our PCT association guides and wandered through the PCT trail.  On the Pacific Crest trail we found several flowers in bloom, a great landscape and reminder of beauty in the desert.   We also stood in the middle of a PCT landmark with the Pacific Trail South towards our left and the Pacific Crest Trail North to our right.   It was my first time on the PCT and a great introduction to the famous trail.   The afternoon on the PCT is an experience I will never forget.  It was very healing.   It has inspired me to  return to the PCT with friends and family and continue my journey to explore the healing mysteries of the Pacific Crest trail.

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The Pacific Crest Trail is the perfect getaway for exploring the beautiful trails of California.  Walk in tent camping is available for individuals and groups by permit on a first come, first serve basis.  You’ll discover a lot of wildflowers on the trails as well.  You can take a 1 hour hike or several day hike depending on the type of adventure you are looking for.  Our guide hiked the Pacific Crest Trail twice.  We toured the Pacific Crest trail South for a 3 mile hike.

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Hiking Trails At White Water Canyon Preserve

1. Canyon View Loop Trail 3.5 miles Moderate A loop trail with excellent views of the canyon and surrounding mountains. This trails leaves from the Whitewater Ranger Station, and follows a segment of the Pacific Crest Trail heading south. When crossing the riverbed, keep your eyes peeled for a small wooden footbridge that will carry you across the Whitewater River.

2. Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail “PCT” A 2650 mile trail that runs from Mexico to Canada Get there in 1/2 mile along a trail from the Whitewater Ranger Station.

3. Red Dome 2 miles each way, 4 miles total Easy –moderate Leave the Whitewater Ranger Station and hike to the Pacific Crest Trail. Hike north on the “PCT” 1.5 miles to this small red rock hill in the canyon bottom. Continue past Red Dome if you wish to reach the West Fork Trail.

4. West Fork Trail 1.6 miles from gate to Stonehouse, 3.6 to Pacific Crest Trail Easy-moderate The West Fork Trail departs from the Mission Creek Preserve gate, and passes the historic Stonehouse in 1.6 miles on its way to the Pacific Crest Trail. It is an eight mile hike from the Mission Creek Preserve gate to the Whitewater Preserve Ranger Station.

5. Cottonwood Trailhead along the Pacific Crest Trail 8 miles Moderate –Difficult Follow the Pacific Crest Trail south from the Whitewater Ranger Station to reach this parking lot off the Haugen-Lehmann exit on Interstate 10

Hiking Tips

What To Wear: Bring comfortable walking shoes, cold water, a hat, sunscreen and insect repellant.

Hikers Beware:   Stay alert, there are snakes on the trails.

Best time to Visit:  Palm Springs area is hot during the summer.  Recommend visits during the Fall, Winter and Spring.  Best time to visit is the Spring to view the wildflowers.

 

Location

9160 Whitewater Canyon Rd.

Whitewater CA 92282

Additional information at Pacific Crest Trail Association or  White Water Preserve.

 

Happy Trails!

Eva Smith Tech Life Magazine

2019 Socal Roadtrip – Inland Empire Splash Pads

June is just beginning, but the summer heat has already shown up in the Inland Empire.

A splash pad – a recreation area with no or little standing water – is a great place to cool off in the summer heat without all the stress of going to the neighborhood pool.

A splash pad is something all of the children can enjoy – from bigger kids to toddling babies. One-year-olds love to splash in a small pool of water.  Older kids love watching other kids manipulate streams of water and sticking their feet in the fountains in the ground.

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Photo Credit: City of Lake Elsinore

Splash Pad Tips

  • Wear sunscreen and bring an umbrella if there is not going to be shade nearby.
  • Wear a swimsuit to play in the water and consider water shoes. Avoid flip flops that get slippery when wet or catch on rubberized ground.
  • Don’t bring the family dog to a splash pad. Not only could a child with a fear of dogs be forced to leave the pad, but even a well-trained dog could get nervous or overexcited around screaming, running kids.
  • Since there is no need for a lifeguard at a splash pad, keep a close eye on your children.
  • Wear swimsuits to a splash pad if possible, including swim diapers if needed.

 

 

Inland Empire Splash Pads

There are many splash pads all over Inland Empire (Riverside and San Bernardino counties) – from public spaces, regional parks to water parks.

Here’s a list of some you don’t need to pay admission to get you started.

  • Citrus Park Splash Pad at Citrus Parkin Corona is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. until September 30th. The splash pad, which features water cannons, leaf-like structures and other ways to play, is near two playgrounds and grass areas for drying off in the sun.
  • Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga has a small fountain feature splash pad in the center of the shopping area, close to Bath & Body Works and Ben and Jerry’s. There is a family-friendly bathroom nearby for changing.
  • Monte Vista Park in Chino features a fenced-in splash pad with a tall geyser spray and has benches nearby.  The seven-acre park, which also features playgrounds and basketball courts, will have the splash pad running 7 days a week  Open  June 14 – September 1 from 10am-6pm.
  • The colorfully-lit interactive fountain at The Shoppes at Chino Hills is in the middle of the shopping center. There is a bathroom for changing nearby, so change out of your swimsuit and get dry before you go shopping or have lunch.
  • Veterans Park in Colton has along with the splash pad has large trees and grass nearby for moms to stay in the shade. There is two playgrounds, other activities and a library and community center.
  • The splash pad at Tom Minor Park in San Bernardino is right next to a covered area with picnic benches and a playground. However, there are no bathrooms at the park – the nearby Arco station bathroom (by Starbucks) is the closest option.
  • Lake Elsinore’s Canyon Hills Community Park has a splash pad along with its 18 acres of park activities and sport fields. The  whimsical splash pad is walled off and surrounded by umbrellas to keep parents cool.

Updated 06/20/2014. Posted 06/04/2014.

2019 Travel Guide | Roadtrip To White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

My heritage is both Mexican and American with a huge influence on Latino culture due to my upbringing by a Latina Mom in Mexico and border town of San Ysidro, CA.  I embrace my bicultural heritage and through the Latino Heritage road trip discovered Hispanic Heritage across America and influence of Hispanics in each of the places we visited.

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I had the pleasure of visiting the White Sands National Monument during our Latino Heritage road trip.   The visitor center and monument is located  on U.S. Highway 70, 52 miles east of Las Cruces, New Mexico.   The white as snow dunes were created over three million years ago and look like a comma from outer space.  The White Sands National National Monument was established in 1933 and is one of the world’s natural wonders.

The visitor facilities has a lot of Hispanic influence and was constructed over a period of six years during the Great Depression.   The building was designed to reflect traditional regional Pueblo architecture in the area.  The architects also relied  on the local craftspeople including Hispanic woodcarvers for some of intricate designs.  I really admired the workmanship, latillas and vigas of this adobe building.

The visitor center also features a fully bilingual state of the art museum exhibits with English and Spanish text.  The exhibits provide the history of the architecture of the adobe visitor center and tell the story of the geology of the world’s largest gypsum dunefield, unique plants and animals.

After checking out the exhibits we headed towards the sand dunes.  I jumped out of the car and started snapping photos and literally dancing in the Sand.  This place is phenomenal! It’s a beautiful site to be on top of a White Sand Dune. You can also walk on the dunes with bare feet, even in the hottest summer months.  The sand feels cool and soft to the touch.  White Sands Monument is also very popular among hikers and photographers nationwide.

I also had the opportunity to interview two National Park Service Rangers during our visit as well who shared tips for visiting the glistening White Sands National Monument.

 


If you’re planning a recreational or educational trip to New Mexico head on over to the White Sands National Monument, bring a camera and stay awhile.  Some of the best Park Ranger guided events are scheduled around sun down. We’re definitely coming back! Plan your trip here: http://www.nps.gov/whsa

Disclosure: The Latino Heritage roadtrip was partially funded by American Latino FundVerizon Wireless & General Motors.  The vehicle driven during the roadtrip was provided by General Motors.  All opinions and content rights are my own.

Question:  Did you know that the National Parks have online resources to help you discover historical sites in your local city or nationwide? Have you ever planned a roadtrip or a vacation to learn more about your heritage?

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