National, State and Local Parks

Geographic Center of the 48 Contiguous U.S. States

Chapel at the US Geographic Center of the Continental United States
Chapel at the US Geographic Center of the Continental United States

Near Lebanon, Kansas is the Geographic Center of the 48 contiguous U.S. states just a couple of miles away from the town. You can find it in the northern part of the state via US-281 and K-191. Alaska and Hawaii are not included since they do not border any other U.S. state.

When you arrive, you will notice that there is a flag pole with a U.S. and Kansas flag on it.  There are also places to sit and have a picnic in the shade. A small white building with a cross symbolizes the religion which our founders believed in. Other than that, there is not much there besides the things already mentioned.

If you are standing in the area, you can spot the town Lebanon with your eyes since it is not that far away. Lebanon is a very small town. In fact, the population is only about 200 people. However, I am pretty sure the visit will still be interesting.

Wilson State Park Kansas

Wilson State Park

You can stop by Lake Wilson (Wilson State Park) above if you are heading North to US-281 (from I-70) via scenic Kansas Highway 232.

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Cold Places in the U.S.

If you like the cold or you want to travel to somewhere cold for vacation because you just can’t handle the heat, there are some places in the U.S. that you can go to. They are all up north near Canada. Minnesota, Maine, and North Dakota are some of all 13 states that border it. But the coldest place has to be Alaska, where the average temperature is always somewhere below freezing. In the summer there, you have sunlight for around 80% of the day, while in the winter, you only have a few hours. This is a link to an article for more about Alaska.

Or visit somewhere in Middle but high in altitude like the Rockies.

Rocky Mountain National Park Snow
Rocky Mountain National Park Snow

If you want to travel to Minnesota, for example, you should travel up north to St. Paul where you can visit the Como Park Zoo Conservatory, the Science Museum, the Cathedral of St. Paul. Also, Minneapolis has the Institute of Art, Sculpture Garden, or Minnehaha Falls. There are just examples, there is so much more in this state and in other northern U.S. states already mentioned.


Wide Open Spaces

A lot of people think that places like Western Kansas or Eastern Colorado before you get to the Rocky Mountains is just mostly flat with wide open spaces. It is true that you can see a long way since, after all, the place is wide open, but it’s not necessarily true that the land is just flat. In fact, when you go from Eastern Kansas to Western Kansas, the elevation rises by around 3,000 feet. Precisely, the lowest point, at 679 feet above sea level is by the Oklahoma border in Montgomery County. The highest point, at 4,039 feet above sea level, is on the Colorado border in Wallace County, also known as Mount Sunflower.

There are also many places to visit in Western Kansas. For example, you can check out tracks from the Santa Fe Trail, Castle Rock, some Bison ranges, Parrot Cove Water Park, and so much more. The Cimarron National Grassland in Southwest Kansas is also a good place to visit. So what are you waiting for?

Click here for info on Little Jerusalem Badlands Kansas

Little Jerusalem Badlands
Little Jerusalem Badlands Kansas USA

Beautiful Patagonia!

Some of the world’s most beautiful places are located in Patagonia. Explorer Ferdinand Magellan called the Southern region of Chile and Argentina “Patagonia” which means “big feet”. This region is sparsely populated and offers miles and miles of pristine beauty.

Parks to explore
Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, Argentina
Perito Merino Glacier, Argentina
Torres Del Paine National Park, Chile
Bernardo O’Higgins National Park, Chile

How to get explore Patagonia
You can fly into Santiago International Airport, Chile (SCL) or Buenos Aires International Airport, Argentina (EZE) to start your journey to Patagonia. You may wish to fly into one country and fly out of the other. If you can spare the time, fly into Santiago, Chile. Go down to the Valparaiso, Chile on the Pacific Coast of Chile. Enjoy some time on the beach and then get on a Patagonian cruise down to Punta Arenas in the Straits of Magellan (which connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean). If you do not have the time, fly from Santiago,Chile to Punta Arenas, Chile. You can make Punta Arenas, Chile your base in Patagonia. Take your time to to discover the Chilean side of Patagonia. Cross the border over to Rio Gallegos, Argentina and take Ruta 40 that runs along the Andes Mountain Range to explore the breathtaking Patagonian region of Argentina. You can make your way North to Buenos Aires, Argentina if time permits.

Antarctica
Do you know that Chile has its own Chilean Antarctic Territory? Chilean Antarctica is a territory claimed by Chile across from Patagonia. Puerto Willams (Cabo De Hornos), Chile would be your starting point to Antarctica. You can also cross from Puerto Willams, Chile over to Ushuaia, (Tierra Del Fuego) Argentina which many consider the end of the world. You are pretty much in the bottom of the world here! It is an experience of a lifetime! You can fly from Ushuaia, Argentina to Buenos Aires, Argentina to connect to your international destination.


Third party resources used to create this article. You may click the hyperlinks in the article for more information.

Christmas in Lalibela Ethiopia

Christmas is celebrated in January in Ethiopia. An exceptional place to celebrate Christmas is in the ancient rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia. This place is also known as the “New Jerusalem”. There are eleven ancient churches clustered together. Pilgrims clad in white come from all over to celebrate Christmas. Eat some wat (thick spicy stew) on a Ethiopian sourdough bread (injeera) which looks similar to Indian dosas.

Getting to Lalibela, Ethiopia
Addis Ababa International Airport (ADD) is the international gateway to Ethiopia. Addis Ababa means “new flower”. Ethiopian Airlines flies into the local airport in Lalibela. Lalibela is situated in the Northern part of Ethiopia in the region of Amhara, South of neighboring Eritrea.

Attractions
If you have time visit ancient Aksum, Gondar (Camelot of Africa), Lake Tana and the breathtaking Simien Mountains National Park.

Third party resources used to create this article. You may click the hyperlinks in the article for more information.

Little Jerusalem Badlands Kansas

Little Jerusalem Badlands
Little Jerusalem Badlands Kansas USA

The newest State Park in Kansas, USA is truly unique. The Niobara Chalk formation is a hidden treasure in a valley not far from the Smoky Hill River. It is located between Oakley (Logan County) and Scott City (Scott County), Kansas. Go South on US Highway 83 from I-70 at the Oakley exit. Drive South until you pass the Smoky Hill River. Then turn West on to a gravel road to Fairleigh Ranch. You will see signs that will direct you to Little Jerusalem.
The hiking trails will take you around the park. Most of the trails have been improved with gravel. The final trail is a regular natural trail that leads you to the best view of the park and the valley from the top. You will need a guided tour to get down into the valley.
Little Jerusalem Badlands Kansas USA
Little Jerusalem Hiking Trails with grasses and wildflowers

It is a peaceful walk through this park while enjoying the spectacular views. There are rock formations, canyons, grasslands, wild flowers and birds to enjoy. You will see beautiful grasses such wild buckwheat and bluestem blowing in the Kansas wind. If you come at the right time of the year, you can see Kansas wildflowers such as Sunflowers growing right along the gravel path. The photos were taken in the Fall just after the Park opened in October 2019. The flowers were done blooming and turned into seeds which is a source of food for the birds.
The rocks and canyons are spectacular. You are staring at what used to be an inland sea. The colors vary with the seasons and light at different times of the day.

Little Jerusalem Badlands
Little Jerusalem Badlands Kansas
Little Jerusalem Badlands Kansas USA
Little Jerusalem Badlands Kansas USA

Fall Colors in Wamego, Kansas

Fall Colors in Wamego Kansas

Fall Colors in Wamego Kansas

You can find the most beautiful trees of varying colors at the Wamego City Park in Kansas.  Just go North on Highway K-99 (also known as the OZ Highway) from Interstate I-70.

Fall in Wamego Kansas

Fall Reflections in Wamego Kansas

The park is just North of the Kansas River (as you enter the city of Wamego go East on old US Highway 24) with a beautiful Schonhoff Dutch Mill overlooking a beautiful lake. The reflections of the trees on the water is just beautiful.

 

Fall Colors Wamego Kansas

Wamego Windmill –  Fall in Kansas

There are also other cool things to see and do in the park from a beautiful Veteran’s memorial, children’s train (runs from April to October), swimming pool, tennis courts, playground and  Wamego’s Historical Museum and Prairie Town Village .


Pacific Coast Highway 1 California USA

Pacific Coast

Pacific Coast

California’s Highway 1 is probably the 2nd most famous US highway after Route 66. If you have driven the Trail Ridge Road hugging the side of the Rocky Mountains (Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park), you would observed the steep valleys below. Here you will get to drive high above the cliffs with the  the Pacific Ocean below.  It is a drive with gorgeous views at every turn and along the way.

California

Panaromic view of the Pacific Coast from Highway 1 – California’s Pacific Coast Highway. Stunning beauty and raw power of the Pacific Ocean.  You can see white caps as the waves hit the rocks below.

Pacific Coast

Beautiful Flowers Adorn the Pacific Coast Highway

Beautiful flowers grow on the side of the cliffs from the mist of the Pacific Coast Ocean spray. In some places, you can park the car on the side of the road and get off on a trail to the hidden sandy beaches below.

 

Pacific Coast Highway California USA

Pacific Coast Highway California USA

Amazing engineering work done to build bridges connecting one cliff to another. If you are headed south, you will have land on the left and the Pacific Coast Ocean view on the right.


Great Smoky Mountains National Park USA

Great Smoky Mountains National Park USA

Great Smoky Mountains National Park USA

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a must-see. It is one of the few national parks that you can visit for free, which is a great bonus for a family on a budget.

One feature that is interesting if you go at just the right time of year is an area where the lighting bugs, a.k.a. fireflies, light up in sync with one another. We were not there at the right time when we visited, but our waiter in Pigeon Forge told us about it, and we researched where to go next time. Our future trip will most likely be timed to see those special lighting bugs.

There are a lot of beautiful trees and wooded areas, as well as the distinctive smoky look of the mountains. Friendly park rangers give educational presentations about the history of the area and the wildlife. It is common to see elk and other wildlife.

When visiting the park, you can stay in Pigeon Forge, which has a variety of family-friendly entertainment and lodging options. Or there is Gatlinburg, which is a beautiful family-friendly tourist town.


Rocky Mountain National Park USA

Beautiful Estes Park is the closest town to the Rocky Mountain National Park’s East entrance. You can find affordable lodging and restaurants here.  Even Elk roaming the golf course in the Fall!

Rocky Mountain National Park Bear Lake

Take a gentle hike around this lake and enjoy its beauty. You can see the Rocky Mountains reflecting on the water. Stand or sit (some rocks you can even lay down flat) on any of the  huge rocks on the side Bear Lake’s and soak in the beauty of this place.

 

Rocky Mountain National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park – Trail Ridge Road

As you drive on the Trail Ridge Road (closed in the Winter), take some time to stop and take photos at the various stops.  Due to the high altitude, drinking lots of water and taking gentle strides in your walk will help you catch your breath. You can get out of breath easy at this high altitude!

View from Alpine Visitor Center Rocky Mountain National ParkView from Alpine Visitor Center Rocky Mountain National Park

Stop at the Alpine Visitor Center for some food and a break in the trip. Enjoy the view of the valley and melting snow (depending on the time of the year and amount of Winter snow).

Beautiful tundra. You can find beautiful flowers up high in the mountains. Please keep to the trails and try not to damage this fragile ecosystem.


Rocky Mountain Glaciers are melting away. Let the kids run out some steam by hiking and sliding!

Poudre Lake Colorado

Milner Pass  and Poudre Lake ColoradoGet up to the Poudre Lake and Milner Pass and take a photo next to the Continental Divide sign. You have been to the roof of the United States! Water flows either East to the Atlantic Ocean or West to the Pacific Ocean.