South Korea, Travel

July Update

July Update

Playing Catch up

Time for our July Update! As you may know, it is now December (almost January). I am backtracking a good few months, I realise this, but bear with me! I’d like to continue our monthly updates, as memories for ourselves and to keep family up-to-date with our activities. While I’m feeling inspired in the holidays I’ll be playing catch up with our monthly updates! So, for now, let’s go back to July!

July Update – in a nutshell

In July, we were still in South Korea. Doing a part-time teaching contract while searching for new opportunities abroad. I hinted in our June Update that I had had some leads, but I was very hesitant to share too much before things were confirmed! Well, as you may be aware, things worked out and the job search was successful. July was a whirlwind month spent signing contracts, applying for visas, visiting embassies and booking flights. I got a job teaching English in Sweden, and was due to start at the beginning of August! In addition to this, we had a special visitor from South Africa and had to pack up our home and lives, once again!

South Africans in South Korea

My friend arrived at the end of June and we spent almost two weeks flitting around Korea in the extreme humidity, post typhoon! It was a bit of a juggle, with us still working a few hours a day and trying to take trips and do some galavanting. But it all worked out great! We went to the beach in Busan, got lost exploring Gamcheon Cultural Village (yet again), tried all the delicious food at The Nampodong street market, dressed up in hanbok at the grand palace and walked our feet off in Seoul! We were so excited to finally share some of Koreas amazingness with friends from home!

River Rafting

Our friend (and boss) Sunny has been such a blessing to us in Korea. She has helped us out and made our short time in Korea so homey, convenient and fun! As our time together drew to an end, we decided to do something adventurous to create some memories together. Her and her husband suggested going white water rafting (which is something I have always been terribly afraid of).

july update

We went west towards Jirisan for our day in the sun and booked into a pension for the night. There are plenty tour companies that run these rafting tours, and I can’t quite remember which one we used, but this looks like it! The rafting wasn’t really “white” and was actually quite slow and boring on many parts of the river. We were able to jump off and swim alongside the boat to cool down. Just when we started getting “bored” and wishing we had a cooler of beverages in the boat, we arrived alongside an oasis. This oasis was created by the rafting company and sold plenty of delicious snacks. We very quickly demolished ramen, pajeon and a kettle of makgeolli. With spirits restored, we climbed back into the raft and continued for another 300m. These guys did it right with making an extra little income stop shop!

Packing up Home (again)

All that was left after this was to finalise our move. We had to stay in Korea until we received our work permits from the Swedish embassy in Seoul. however, we couldn’t book flights until we knew when exactly we could leave. There were so many if’s and buts. We slowly started packing some things into a box to ship to Sweden. We determined what could stay with Mark and go in his bag IF I was able to go home to South Africa between Korea and Sweden. Of course, I didn’t want to leave Mark with too much to do should he be packing up on his own. But, I also couldn’t leave him with nothing for a week if I did get to go home.

I’m an Aunty!

One of the main factors of my decision to pop in for a visit back home was because my brother and precious sister-in-law had a baby!! On the 19th July 2018, while teaching a class, I got a text message announcing the wonderful news. I stopped mid -sentence, picked up my phone and shrieked with joy! The first pictures of our beautiful addition. My mind was made up…I HAD to go home! But… our work permits still hadn’t arrived. I spent the next 36 hours searching for cheap flights (as cheap as they get when you book 4 days in advance). The very next day our permits arrived! I booked the flights to South Africa and then to Sweden a week later. Mark booked his straight from Korea to Sweden.

South Africa for a Week

It was a whirlwind! After I took the longest route possible ever to get home – I finally met my gorgeous nephew. Much of the week was taken up with visits at my brothers’ house, just soaking his baby newness all in. I’m in love! I met another special friends’ 7 week old cuteness too. I was so lucky to have these two special women on maternity leave. I’m so grateful to have been able to spend some quality time with them and their babes.

I also got to celebrate a very special 5th birthday party, and hang out at markets with my mom and dear friends. Of course, I got to cuddle my precious puppy and have a few tea times with my amazing gran. It really was a “take in everything you love” week. Who knows when we will be able to get back home again. Thank you home, for filling up my love tank!

Goodbye Korea, Again

Just like last time, it wasn’t any easier to leave Korea. We rekindled old friendships, went on more adventures, and settled into Korean life with a great sense of ease and familiarity. korea will always be one of our favourite places in the world. Delicious food, unending adventures and a home away from home. Thank you, and goodbye, SoKo. We’ll see you again, I’m sure of it.

So that was the July Update! Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for Augusts where you can see how we settled into our new home and job in Sweden!

South Korea, Travel

Korea 2.0 June Update

Korea 2.0 – June Update

So, our June Update is going to be a quick one. I’m a few weeks behind and for quite a valid reason. Things heated up quickly in June. I mentioned that I was job hunting in last months update, but in reality, I was actually already busy interviewing and crossing all fingers and thumbs and legs and arms or whatever else could be crossed. I was so hesitant to mention anything and didn’t want to jinx it. Anyway, all is well that ends well. But let’s start at the beginning (of the month).

Touch Rugby

Mark had a touch rugby tournament in Busan, his second one since being back in Korea. Thank goodness it was more local. I went along to watch and spent a glorious day in the sunshine, and got to watch them take home to trophy again!

June UpdateJune Update

Then, as thanks for supporting him all day, Mark went away that night on a fishing trip and left me alone haha. (Jokes it’s fine I don’t mind). I got to spend a lovely day with my Bianca having brunch that turned into lunch. We perused the balcony at a gorgeous coffee shop for well over 4 hours! We then spent some time grocery shopping at two different stores! Bliss!

June Update

Ulsan Roadtrip

Hyun Ju, Ha Yeon and I took a trip to Ulsan. The beginning of summer find all sorts of flower festivals popping up everywhere and it’s really just a great time to be outdoors. It was about a two-hour drive but it was fine for a day trip. We went to Daewangam Park for a walk first. It is a smallish nature reserve on the seaside, so think rock paths and coastline walkways. It was pretty nice.

Then we went to the site of a flower festival that had happened the previous week and just had a stroll, took photos, rented a bicycle car thing and had fun.

We had a pit stop at a coffee shop midway, feeling a bit tired from the heat.

And then began our trip home, with a stop for dinner and an ice cream.

June Update

June UpdateJune Update

Yoga Challenge

In June I managed to win our monthly competition in my yoga class (I’m pretty sure it’s just because I am the tallest person and required zero skill). So I won an ice cream cake and shared it with our friends.


One weekend we did an awesome hike. We parked at a temple in Changwon and hiked up to a pretty big and popular peak with ed and bee. To avoid doing the same route down we hiked along the ridge to another peak and tried to find another way down. It was nice. But we ended up crossing bridges, during ropes to scale rock faces and literally sliding down muddy, almost 90° hills. Also, we ended up in Jinhae after 10kms (in 6 hours) of hiking and took a taxi back to our cars in Jinhae. It was such a fun, adventurous and spontaneous day. Loved it.


Besides a few other bits and pieces, the most significant event was the arrival of My bestie! July’s update is basically going to be pictures of us. Be prepared.

June update
South Korea, Travel

Korea 2.0 May Update

May Update

The second month back in Korea is almost done, hence time for our May Update. This month was a whole lot easier after a salary each and having our own little home so close to the school. I started yoga at the local community gym (which is brand spanking new – they had only begun building it by the time we left last year). I’ve been applying for some jobs, and after a long dry spell of no responses, I’ve slowly started getting an interview here and there. Progress! So please keep me in your thoughts and prayers.

First Weekend

We celebrated Marks birthday for most of the weekend (and month actually – the guy is finally learning something from me). We went out for drinks on Friday evening and took our pack of cards with us. Yes, we are those people. We enjoyed a fun night out, chatting and playing cards at two of our favourite bars. On Saturday evening, We went out for dinner with Sunny, her husband and two of his friends. Dinner extended to drinks and fruit platers and pizza. This was followed by the third round of sake and Japanese food. Korean people cannot drink and not eat. I felt like I was about to pop!

May Update


On Monday we had a public holiday, due to children’s day falling on Saturday. We went with Sunny, her mom and sister to go visit her gran in Tongyeong, a group of small islands about an hour and a half away. Her gran lives in the cutest little village – DongPirang. It is a small hillside town, complete with tons of murals and cute cafes. As Teongyeong is a seaside town, naturally there is a fish market. Mark has been really keen to try out Nakji – which is Octopus/ But it is a live octopus that you choose, then it gets chopped up and put in a bowl with sesame oil and soy sauce (or something similar)… Thing is, when it arrives it is still all squirmy and stuff and you have to chew and swallow pretty quickly. Not sure about you but this is something I definitely cannot do.

After the fish market, we walked around Dongpirang and took pictures with all the cute murals. After that, we went back to Sunny’s gran’s house and had some more fruit and snacks and played with Sammy – Sunny’s cat who now lives with her gran. Before heading home, we had a (long) drive around the island before having one last dinner (I feel like we ate all day).  Like every city in Korea, Teongyeong is famous for its own food too. A specific kind of gimbab. It’s plain rice and gim, in small rolls. But with “very delicious” banchan (side dishes) of kimchi and spicy squid and odang. I mean, it wasn’t terrible and it did have its own charm, but nothing to write home about. BUT, because we had nodded in agreement with their exclaims of delight, we got given a whole bag to take home for breakfast, complete with some soup, double bagged in two packets. Yum – soybean soup, rice and seaweed for breakkie.

May Update

Second weekend

The second weekend in May brought a visit from our friend Sam. Sam lives in Suncheon so she grabbed a train after work and headed over to us. We met her at the train station and took her to O’Briens to indulge in some burgers, fries, mozzarella sticks and wings! Despite our town being fairly small – we are lucky to have a fair choice of western food options!

On Saturday Sam and I headed through to Busan to visit Gamcheon Cultural Village. It’s the sweetest little hilly village, filled with brightly coloured houses and cute cafes. Mark hates it, so chose not to come with us. We walked around, taking pictures and enjoying the outdoors (even though the weather turned quite chilly. By then, we decided to head through to Nampodong, our favourite little area in Busan. It is home to the Busan International Film Festival and has such a fun market and all sorts of alleys selling different things. My favourite of these alleys are the second-hand stores and the food street! Mark joined us here where we ate and shopped around before heading back to Jinhae (in the pouring rain). Ed and Bianca met us in Yongwon and we had chicken and beer and spent the evening chilling at our sweet little home (which I think was filled to capacity at 5 people).

May Update

On Sunday Mark went fishing with Son, and Sam and I decided to visit Yeongungsa – a temple on the edge of the water. Due to Buddhas birthday being the following weekend we assumed it would be beautifully decorated with brightly coloured lanterns every… It wasn’t. Even worse, the scaffolding was up all around the temple, in the early phases of decorating, so you couldn’t even enjoy a clean view of it up close. Here are some pictures of it when Mark and I went with Raina before we left Korea last year.

May Update

Third Weekend

Marks, fishing friend Son invited us to join his family and friends for a camping trip up near Jirisan, at Sancheong. We went up on Saturday morning and enjoyed a day of eating, eating and more eating. Thanks to Korea’s great love for technology, I was able to watch the entire royal wedding live stream on Son’s tablet, connected to an external power supply, right around the campfire. On Sunday morning Mark and Son went fishing at a nearby reservoir early in the morning and were back in time for breakfast. We ate three meals before 10:30 am when we decided to leave as they were preparing the fourth. Also, Sunday marked 4 months of being married – what a gosh darn adventure it’s already been!

May Update

Fourth Weekend

Mark left to go fishing with Son in Hapcheon at 7 am and returned at 10 pm. I watched half a season of The Handmaids Tale, had a shower and then watched Jersey Shore Family Vacation, before putting pajamas on and getting into bed. A great day. On Sunday we went to explore a nearby beach to prepare for summer. We arrived to find so much litter, a rocky beach, and millions of those prehistoric-looking cockroaches scurrying everywhere. We went home. Later I went to meet Kim (my old co-worker from Ungdong) in Gimhae for lunch and to meet her baby Jumi. It was so nice to catch up with her, and darn, Jumi is CUTE!!! Gyumi Jumi! (Gyumi means cute).

May Update

From there Mark and I went to Changwon and met up with Ed and Bee. We had an al fresco picnic dinner in the park. Yay for summer coming along (even though we have been avoiding winter since January 2017)!

May Update

Another month down already. I can’t believe that we have been here for two months now. Time is flying.

Lots of love, all around the world xx

Travel, USA

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore National Heritage Site

After visiting Badlands National Park (and finding our way to the infamous Wall Drug – do you know about this place??) we had to visit Mount Rushmore. Mount Rushmore National Memorial is the massive sculpture of four US presidents. The sculpture is carved into the side of Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The faces on the hill are depicted in many movies and pop culture (which is how we even know of them). The carving was completed in 1941 by Lincoln Borglum, the son of Gutzon Borglum who started the sculpture in 1927. They chose these four presidents who, in their perspective, represented the most important events in US history at that point. I wonder if the choice of presidents would be different in this day and age…

Joy Ride

The site offers a small interactive museum to view the sculpture up close. But instead of paying the $10 to park and walk right up to the sculpture in the mountain we decided to take the scenic route! Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road are two routes that were built and created to experience the most of the natural landscape. Needles Highway takes you through Custer State Park where you drive around sharp turns and through rock tunnels. Iron Mountain Road goes from Custer State Park to Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The highlight for us was driving through the granite tunnels which so perfectly frame the Presidents faces across the valley.

mount rushmore, south dakota mount rushmore, south dakota mount rushmore, south dakota mount rushmore, south dakota mount rushmore, south dakota mount rushmore, south dakota mount rushmore, south dakota mount rushmore, south dakota mount rushmore, south dakota mount rushmore, south dakota mount rushmore, south dakota mount rushmore, south dakotaHave you been to Mount Rushmore or only seen it in a movie? My most vivid recollection of it in the movies is Richie Rich’s own version of it called “Mount Richmore”.

National Parks, Travel, USA

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park was the first national park on our road trip through the United States. It is situated in South Dakota and is easily accessible from the I90. We actually ended up driving through it along our road trip and spent most of an afternoon there. The park has hiking and camping options but most of it you are able to see from the road that runs through it. There are plenty of pullovers to stop for photos of this gorgeous scenery.

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Hiking in Badlands National Park

Badlands National Park has some impressive scenery. It is made up of a different layers of rock. These have eroded at different rates and this has led to the formation of all the canyons and spires. The park is also home to prairie dogs, big horn sheep and bison.

badlands national park



badlands national park badlands national park badlands national parkThere are a number of hiking options available in Badlands National Park. They range from easy hikes on paved boardwalks  to more strenuous hikes up rope ladders and along canyon walls. We didn’t have a lot of time to spend in the park so opted for the Notch Trail. It is a moderately strenuous hike that goes up a rope/log ladder before taking you to a spectacular view of the rest of the park. It is a 2.4km round trip, depending on where you parked your car. The footing is loose sand/rock in some areas and the rope ladder is a bit shaky, but overall it is not a difficult trail.

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America the Beautiful Pass

Badlands National Park was the first national park we had the pleasure of visiting in the USA. This is also where we bought our America the Beautiful Pass. The America the Beautiful pass is an absolute must if you plan on visiting more than 2 National Parks in the USA. It costs $80 and allows you entry into all the national parks in the USA. You can purchase the pass online (for a delivery and service fee) or from the entrance at any National Park. I would advise phoning ahead to make sure they have them in stock.

Have you visited any national parks in the USA? We have loved exploring 14 of them through our travels the past few months. One of our most memorable was visiting Yosemite National Park in California – undoubtedly one of America’s most popular parks!

Travel, USA

Mt Tallac Photo Journal

Hiking Mt Tallac

One hike on our South Lake Tahoe bucket list was getting to the top of Mt Tallac. Among other hikes we did in Tahoe, this was our favourite. We left it to just about the last minute before finally getting around to it. Thanks to Uncle John and some new found friends, we had an entertaining journey up and down. We couldn’t believe that we started the hike in sunshine and at the top there was still some leftover snow – in August!! The out-and-back hike was around 10km each way so it was a tiring journey that left our legs feeling a little jelly-like at the end of the day. Needless to say, it was nothing a milkshake couldn’t fix!

Here are a few photos of our day to inspire you to get out there and climb a mountain!

mt tallac mt tallac mt tallacPS: This doggy friends name is Cicado and we thought he was just the most handsome fella! he even ate the snow on the top and clambered about the rocky peak like a boss! Cannot wait till we have a furry friend to go adventuring with!


Travel, USA

Where to hike in South Lake Tahoe

Go on a Hike in South Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is surrounded by mountains, snowcapped peaks, valleys and lakes. The whole area is generally referred to as the Tahoe Basin. There are a multitude of trails to hike in South Lake Tahoe. Each of these comes with gorgeous views of undulating hills, rocky peaks and (even in the summer), snow capped mountains and, of course, the beautiful Lake Tahoe.

One of our favourite past times (among a bunch of other free summer activities) while staying in South Lake Tahoe has been to hike. If you’re wondering where to hike in South Lake Tahoe, here are four of our favourite hikes in order of difficulty.

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Left: Wildflowers, snow and the view on Mt Tallac. Right: Lake of the Woods from Echo Lake

Lower Eagle Falls

This one is a hike to a hike in South Lake Tahoe. You have to hike down to Vikingsholm/Emerald Bay from the roadside parking lot. The hike down is 1.6km. When you reach the bottom follow the signs for lower Eagle Falls. This is a short trail with a few stairs before you get to the viewpoint to see the falls. As a bonus there is usually a small beach where you can swim and hangout, water levels were super high when we were there so the beach was very small!

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If you’re interested you can also take a tour of Vikingsholme. This is a holiday home built in the 1920’s inspired by Scandinavian architecture. The walk back up to the parking lot isn’t nearly as bad as you would think, personally we found the downward trip more taxing. If you’re feeling very lazy you can also view the falls from the top next to the road.

The drive to the start of this hike is also very scenic and quite dramatic at stages as you drive along narrow ridge line between with sheer drops on either side. There are a number off pullouts along the road if you want to stop for photos.

hike in south lake tahoe, emerald bay
Emerald Bay from the parking lot

Railroad Grade/ Powerline Trail

This hike in South Lake Tahoe is a very easy to access trail and starts in a residential suburb. You can make this as long, or short a hike as you wish. The trailhead is situated in the cul-de-sac on Columbine Trail. The first part of the trail is called Railroad Grade. It follows the banks of Trout Creek with gentle ups and downs. It is 2.4km long and ends on Powerline Trail. You can follow Powerline Trail in either direction from the junction. It has a few other trails branching off it as well.

If you’re looking to do about 10km of not too strenuous hiking take a left where Railroad and Powerline trails intersect. Take your first right onto Corral Trail and follow this up to the intersection with Cedar Trail. Cedar Trail will bring you back down to Powerline. Turn right where the trails meet and follow Powerline back to the culdesac where you started. You should get a few glimpses of Lake Tahoe in the distance.

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Picnic stop on Powerline Trail

Echo Lake to Lake of the Woods

This is an out and back hike in South Lake Tahoe, so again the distance is up to you. It starts with an undulating trail that follows the shores of Lower Echo Lake before heading into the desolation wilderness. You have to register your hiking party at the start of the hike and carry your permit with you. Registration is free. The trail head is just behind the dam wall near the general store. Some of the trail gets technical with loose rocks etc underfoot and on a hot day there is very little shade for long stretches of the trail. Carry lots of water!

We hiked out to Lake of the Woods for a total of 17.7km. The last bit going to the lake is a quick, steep climb up and then switchbacks down to the lake. It is beautiful down there though, well worth the effort. You can also head to Lake Aloha if you don’t take the split for Lake of the Woods. This trail also follows a part of the Tahoe Rim Trail. Pack fishing rods if you want as a lot of the lakes up there hold some trout.

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Echo Lake

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Incredible views of Lake of the Woods

Mt Tallac

This was definitely the best hike in South Lake Tahoe we did. Rather than taking the more popular hike up the ‘front’ of Mt Tallac we took a longer more scenic route around the back. It was 20km round trip. The trailhead is situated at the far end of Fallen Leaf Lake. There are a few parking bays but they fill up quickly on the weekend. This is also a popular starting point for back country campers as there are a number of smaller lakes off the same trail.

The terrain varies a lot on the hike – loose gravel, hard packed earth, rocky slopes and possibly some snow! The scenery is spectacular as you go through the valley and start ascending the back of the mountain. The last bit to reach the peak is a scramble across loose rocks and boulders so can be quite tricky. The view at the top is completely worth it as you have almost 360 degree vistas of Lake Tahoe and the surrounds. At the start of the Glen Alpine trailhead keep following the Mt Tallac and Gilmore Lake signs.

Gilmore Lake was a place for a rest on the way up and down. There is a tricky water/river crossing at the outlet. It was also a great place for a swim on the way down. You will also pass a small hot spring you can poke your fingers into near the start of the hike. Also, be aware this a backcountry hike so you have to register your hiking party at the trailhead and carry a permit.

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Gilmore Lake on route up Mt Tallac

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Lake Tahoe from Mt Tallac

Here is a map with all the trailheads and turnoffs marked.

Fishing, USA

Where to find a random freshwater fishing spot in Palm City, Florida


Are you looking for a random freshwater fishing spot in Palm City, Florida? Look no further. I am ever a fan of fishing less popular ponds and streams, especially in places that you wouldn’t think to fish. Read further to find out about a few places where I found some fish in Palm City and the surrounding areas.


Random Freshwater Fishing Spot #1:

I found this random freshwater fishing spot by pouring over google maps as soon as we arrived. I ran out there one afternoon to make sure it was accessible on foot and of course to see if I could spot any fish activity. I wasn’t disappointed on either case. Lots of easily accessible bank to fish off and I spotted a bass within a few minutes of walking the bank. There are actually two ponds here, I only got fish in the one, check the map at the end of the post for the location. This pond holds large mouth bass, mayan cichlids, plecis (armoured catfish) and goodness knows what else.

Random Freshwater Fishing Spot #2:

If you’ve been to Florida you’ll know there are retention ponds all over the place. This one is right next to a Ruby Tuesday restaurant. I stumbled upon this random freshwater fishing spot  when we took our rental car for a wash. On a quick walk around the pond I spotted fish activity and a few small bass hanging on the edges. I returned the next morning and managed to pull a few out. Nothing huge but a convenient pond to pass a bit of time. I also spotted more plecis as well as tilapia in the pond. I went early in the morning and parked in the Ruby Tuesday parking lot.

Random Freshwater Fishing Spot #3

This random freshwater fishing spot is actually a number of retention ponds in this suburb. They all seem to hold large mouth bass, alligator gar and some other unidentified species. I just drove from pond to pond and fished for a while in each one. Most of them produced at least one fish.

Random Freshwater Fishing Spot #4

I didn’t get the chance to fish this random freshwater fishing spot unfortunately as I only found it on the morning we were leaving Palm City. I spotted a small school of bass roaming the shallows as I ran past. They were at least 30cm in length so I would assume there may be some larger specimens in there as well.

There are of course a multitude of ponds/canals in the area to choose from. Most of the fun comes from finding a random freshwater fishing spot and seeing if it actually holds any fish! There is a map at the end of the post with the spots I’ve fished.


Have you fished this area? Do you know what other species can be found in these waters?


Travel, Uncategorized, USA

Free Summer Activities in South Lake Tahoe

Free Summer Activities in South Lake Tahoe

Free summer activities in South Lake Tahoe, you say? Can it really be?! It so often happens that when you’re searching for things to do in a new city, nothing comes for free. Since we are unemployed and traveling on a budget, it’s not always possible for us to pay out the pocket for activities everyday.  We have had to use our creativity to find things to fulfill our days, while spending the summer in South Lake Tahoe. Here are five free summer activities in South Lake Tahoe that we have enjoyed over the last two months.

Go Swim in a Lake

It goes without saying that spending time at the lake or on the water in South Lake Tahoe is a must do. The gorgeous 80km circumference body of water has multiple bays and beaches with gorgeous azure water and mountainous surroundings. We spent multiple days hanging out on my uncles boat, trying wake boarding and floating on the water in our tubes.

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If you aren’t lucky enough to know someone with a boat, there are multiple beaches and picnic spots along the waters edge. Due to this winter being the heaviest snowfall in the last five years, the lake is at its fullest leaving us very small to no beaches. Our favorite (and just about only one left) beach has been Reagen Beach. It has a teeny tiny stretch of sand and some stairs leading down to it, as well as a large stretch of luscious green grass. It comes complete with some benches, picnic tables, a jungle gym, beach volleyball court and bathrooms as well as a few spots of shade. Hanging at or on the lake is probably our most favourite of free summer activities in South Lake Tahoe!

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Live at Lakeview

During the summer the beaches are home to some live music concerts. Our favourite has to be at Lake View commons. The concerts take place every Thursday evening from the last week of June till the end of August. The concert starts at 4pm and ends at around 8pm. You can read about the lineups at .People take their blankets and sit on the steps, or even their slackline and hammocks and hang out on the grass of the commons. Some even pump up their float tubes and enjoy the music from the water. If you take along your ID you’ll be allowed into the beer garden and can have a few beers as you watch the sun go down over the mountains. For sure, a great way to bring in the weekend! Don’t forget to bring along your wallet in case you find something you love at the small flea market stalls.

live at lakeview, budget, lake tahoe, free summer activities in south lake tahoe

Frisbee Golf

I’ve heard of golf, and I love to play frisbee, but call me old fashioned for not ever hearing about frisbee golf (otherwise known as disc golf). Turns out this is a pretty popular game and such fun! In South Lake Tahoe, there are two disc golf courses that we know of, both of which are FREE! Yes, you only need to have your own discs in order to play. They go for around $10 each. You could probably get away with only having two (as long as you don’t lose one like I did). The concept is the same as golf. You tee off, but instead of using a golf club you throw the frisbee towards the “hole” which is actually a big metal bucket/crate with chains to catch your frisbee.

free summer activities in south lake tahoe

We played at Zephyr Cove Park and it was a gorgeous course – kind of like doing a small hike. As you go up the hills, you are rewarded with gorgeous views of Lake Tahoe itself. The other course is at Bijou and is apparently a bit easier and flatter.

Hiking around the Tahoe Basin

With the entire perimeter of the lake being surrounded by mountains, why wouldn’t one hike? The Tahoe Basin is filled with an abundance of hiking trails for people of all abilities. Our favourite had to be hiking Mt Tallac, one of the higher peaks in Tahoe standing at 9735 ft. Less strenuous hikes can be found around Echo Lake. An even shorter hike is down and up to Lower Eagle Falls. Whichever you choose, remember to take ample amounts of water, especially in the summer months. I’d possibly even a swim suit – those alpine lakes are hard to resist when you’ve been in the sun for a few hours! Read more about Hiking in South Lake Tahoe here.

hiking, budget things to do, south lake tahoe, free summer activities in south lake tahoe
Left: Wildflowers and snow on Mt Tallac. Right: Lake of the Woods from Echo Lake

Tailgating at Harvey’s Outdoor Theatre Concerts

During the summer particularly, The Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys hosts some big name music concerts. Tickets for popular acts sell out fast (and are often very expensive). Don’t worry – park outside Edgewood Golf Course (across the street from the Outdoor Arena) and set yourself up for an evening of tailgating! We packed a picnic blanket and some chairs, beers and UNO cards. We were so close to Jack Johnson we could almost see him (well, we could see the sides of the video screen at least)! Some sang along while others even danced alongside the road. Another group enjoyed the concert from atop their campervan parked streetside!

free summer activities in south lake tahoe
Tailgating outside the Jack Johnson concert

Support Local Softball Games

Now this may seem random to some, but there is a Thursday night softball league that runs every week. Since we were staying with my relatives, we went weekly to watch my cousin and my other cousins boyfriend play. We didn’t know much about softball, initially, but definitely grew to love the game. Even though we didn’t know many people playing it was still a good evening out. Mark loves to watch any live sports and we totally got into it. Each week we would pack some snacks and refreshments and a blanket, and sit on the bleachers enjoying the game.

free summer activities in south lake tahoe

We were lucky enough to spend 8 weeks over the summer in South Lake Tahoe. While in Tahoe we stayed at my aunts home and spent lots of time hanging out with my cousins and family. We spent time fishing, hiking, going to yoga classes and getting to enjoy a bit of the Tahoe lifestyle.

We hope you can someday enjoy these free summer activities in South Lake Tahoe, or at least be inspired by them!

chasingkm, National Parks, nature, travel, USA

Two days in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

With just a few weeks left in California before we start our road trip back east, we decided to squeeze in a quick trip to America’s most popular national park – Yosemite! We realize only a few days is not enough to explore Yosemite to its full potential. But, you can fill your days with enough to make you feel satisfied, tired, thrilled and awed by this grand valley!


Day 1

We left Tahoe at 4am and took a slow and scenic route through Mariposa and entered the park via Arch Rock entrance.  You are very soon in Yosemite valley and surrounded by granite cliffs, gorgeous meadows and waterfalls. We couldn’t help but stop right away to gawk at El Capitan – a massive granite cliff face that people have actually scaled – one guy with no ropes in 2015!!

el capitan, yosemite

Since we were staying in Housekeeping Camp in the valley, we went straight there to park the car and utilize the free shuttle. We took the shuttle to stop #7 (or E2 if you’re on the El Capitan shuttle that only runs in the summer months) and walked across the Swinging Bridge (to avoid taking the bus all the way around the valley to E7) to the start of the Four Mile Trail – our chosen hiking trail for the day.

hike, glacier point, yosemite

Four Mile Trail to Glacier Point

Despite this trails name, the one way distance to Glacier Point is in fact, 4.9miles (7,8km). Many people choose to take the shuttle up to the point and walk the trail back down. But, at 25$ per person for the bus this was not an option for us. We began the hike around 11am, not the most ideal time for a 17km hike. The trail begins with some steep switchbacks, straightens out and continues with quite a few more switchbacks. Most of the beginning of the trail is under tree cover which provide some welcome shade. The views become even more spectacular as you ascend. With the inviting Merced River, powerful Yosemite Falls and eventually Half Dome, you get to experience so much of the Yosemite valleys beauty in one hike. We took it slow, stopping for pictures, water breaks and snacks along the route. We arrived at the top of Glacier Point in just over 3 hours.

yosemite falls, tosemite yosemite valley

Our celebratory cool drink atop the peak was soon interrupted by a thunder storm rolling in so we started our descent pretty quickly just to get off the top of the mountain. By the time we got down to the valley again our knees and lower backs could feel each of those 17km! Thankfully, we could catch the El Capitan  shuttle back to E1 and then just walked the rest of the way back to Housekeeping Camp.

half dome, yosemite

Housekeeping Camp

After staying outside the park when we visited Yellowstone, and having to travel over 60kms each day into and out of the park we really wanted to stay inside the park this time. But – we had read and heard that bookings for campsites were rarely available. Bookings open up five months in advance and are fully booked during summer months often within the first few minutes of reservations opening up!! We really thought we had no chance seeing that our trip was such a last minute decision. Two days before our trip I was frantically searching for accommodation nearby, cheap enough and nice enough when I found myself on Yosemite’s website. I had just about given up hope and was checking every lodge and campsite within the park for our dates and was so surprised when housekeeping camp came up as available. I hadn’t even heard of Housekeeping Camp before!!

Turns out, housekeeping camp is a “campsite” that consists of three walled structures with a canvas roof and one canvas side. Each unit has a double bed, one set of bunk beds, a shelf and a mirror inside. Outside each unit is a little verandah area with a picnic table and a fire ring just outside out it. Exactly what we needed for just one night in the park (although I could have happily stayed there much longer). There are showers available at Housekeeping Camp. You get vouchers for these when you check in. (Keep them safe for the duration of your stay -they’re also valid for the hotel swimming pool!). Showing your shower pass gets you a free towel and the showers are supplied with shampoo and body wash!

Campfire Meals

After feeling clean and refreshed we were starving for dinner. We bought some charcoal for 10$ at the general store at the campsite and a lighter for 1$. We set a picnic blanket next to our fire pit and started a fire – of course we were going to braai for dinner! On went our pork steak and down went a couple of beers! Some roasted marshmallows were enjoyed and off to bed we went. After our 3:30am start, we were both so ready for sleep!

Quiet time is from 10pm and though the campsite was lively and full of families it was a super pleasant environment. We slept well, the beds were comfy and the bathrooms nearby. If we came back to Yosemite we would totally stay here again.

Day 2

We set our alarms for 8am and got some coffee from the general store. We were able to have breakfast and pack up at a leisurely pace before 9:30am to start our second day. Our second day included three smaller hikes around the valley. We planned to use the shuttle again on the second day and leave our car parked at Housekeeping Camp. From stop #12 the shuttle can often be pretty busy as it picks up all the visitors from the day parking area just before it. A few buses passed us by before we were finally able to catch one and head to our first hike of the day – Mirror Lake.

Mirror Lake

A popular little hike only 3 miles (4,6km) round trip up to a lake. You can walk along a trail or along a paved road. The lake changes seasonally as it is all snow melt run off but is still a popular place to swim and hang out. We took off our shoes and waded through the water before going back. We hopped back on the bus only an hour or so after we started and headed to our next little “hike” for the day.

yosemite, mirror lake

Lower Yosemite Falls

At stop #6 you’ll find an entrance to this hike which makes an easy little loop trail. Only a mile long and all paved makes it a very accessible and highly popular trail. Stand on the bridge. Starie up at the lower part of the falls. Feel the spray of it in the breeze. AMAZING!! This is the 4th largest waterfall in the world and often stops running by mid summer to fall. This year however they expect it to run all year through as the snow melt has been so huge!

yosemite falls, yosemite

At this, we took the shuttle back to pick up our car. We headed off to our third and final trail of the day. This one was outside of the valley area toward an exit. It made sense to do it on our route out of the park.

Merced Grove

This one is another 3 miler – a quick drop down to a sequoia grove and a slower climb up. The information board suggests it takes 3 to 4 hours but I think that’s a large over estimation. We went down, gawked at the size of them and took a few pictures. We were back up at the car in an hour and 10 minutes. At the bottom there is a 1 mile loop to Twin Bridges if you want to extend your hike.

sequoia, yosemite

The trail starts on Big Oak Flat road at the B7 marker. There is a parking lot and a turn out space for a few more cars. There is a restroom at the start of the trail too! This was helpful as we were heading out the park from here and back to Tahoe.

Yosemite Fees

Yosemite entrance fees: $30 per non commercial vehicle

Interagency annual pass: $80 (this gets you into all national parks in the US for 12 months)

Housekeeping Camp: $98 per night (for up to four people)


Yosemite brings our total National Park tally to four in the USA so far.

Have you explored any and which has been your favourite?