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I can clearly see why travelers rush off to Europe and Exotics locations around the globe. Unfortunately, many overlook southern Utah which is listed as, "One of the most beautiful places in the world. I myself was guilty of "far away" destinations, when Utah is practically in our back yard. It's only a 9 hour drive from L.A.

When I finally did arrive, I kicked myself for not having done it sooner. We began at the Grand Canyon which I had seen hundreds of pictures of throughout my life. However, none of those portraits could really describe her beauty until you see it with your own eyes. We took the helicopter trip which was very disappointing. We were crushed like Sardines in an oven. Pay a little more and upgrade to the larger helicopter with A/C.

From the Canyon, we decided to cool off and drove to Lake Powell. The drive is boring until you come around the last corner. The view of the lake from that vantage point is magnificent! The lake did not disappoint. In the summer the water is warm and refreshing in the desert heat. What was disappointing was the boat rental. We stood in line in boiling weather for over 3 hours are the Marina. The next day we decided on jet skis. You can rent them in town, much cheaper and they'll bring them down to the lake. We spent the day navigating narrow canyons that are carved in the the rock like snakes...quite scenic and amazing.

Zion is one of my favorite places so we wanted to get back for a little more of that. Few people know this, but there's a villa you can rent that sleeps 8 , close to the main road, the bus stop and the river. Call Flannigan's. It's the only house rental I know of there r, right near the entrance to the park. We rented bikes, attached them to the front of the bus and had the driver take us up to the Narrows trail head. We glided down and took in some fantastic views along the river. At the bottom we jumped in and cooled off.

Bryce is a beautiful stop, especially for picture taking. From there it was on to Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonlands and Moab. While these three parks are incredible, it's a lot of ground to cover. Mark a few "must see" locations or you'll become overwhelmed. One of my favorite days in my life was in Moab. We took a river trip from Red Cliffs Lodge on the Green River which was nice, but the highlight was the day we went on our ATV ride.

They drop them off near the lodge at the trail head . They're all yours for the day, no guide, just you, the scenery and the creek. This is an "all day" ride, so have lots of water and food in case something happens. In some parts, it can be a fairly tough ride, so not for the novice or small children. The scenery is out of this world and changes every mile or so. You pass over the creek twenty times and can gas the ATV so the water will splash up, cooling you off. You're changing altitude heading up to the La Sal mountains in Colorado, so it gets cooler as you go. The " pay off " is at the top where we stopped for lunch. The view looks like a painting.

We spent two weeks in Southern Utah and still felt rushed to see it all. My advice is pick one to three parks and really get to know them. So much to see!!!!