Welcome to Well Planned Journey!
My name is Julia Jennings, a national park enthusiast living in the San Francisco Bay Area on a mission to see all 63 United States National Parks!
Life is busy and planning a trip to 1 of the 63 national parks can be stressful and time-consuming. That’s why I created this site – to help busy people like you plan epic, once-in-a-lifetime national park trips, without all the stress!
Here you’ll find national park itineraries, plus guides on the best places to stay, things to do, and what to pack for every trip.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s start planning your national park vacation!
This is my story.
If I had to describe myself in only one word, I think I’d pick practical. Or maybe planner. Better yet, practical planner. For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt most confident leading a group of friends or family on an adventure, knowing I’d spent weeks and months crafting the perfect trip.
Research and planning put me in my happy place. It’s where I feel calm, knowing I’ve exhausted every potential outcome and am fully equipped to handle anything.
Exploring national parks or remote destinations requires more planning than almost any other type of trip. You can’t just show up and go. You need reservations, permits, gear, and some basic know-how to get around. That’s where I come in.
I’ve spent years exploring and roadtripping national parks, going on hikes, camping on the weekends. And of course, exhaustively researching things along the way.
But aside from my over the top planning tendencies, I’m probably a lot more like you than you think.
I work a full-time job with limited vacation days. I do most of my travel on weekends or holidays.
I am a chronic snoozer. I can’t tell you the last time I actually got up when my alarm went off.
I studied engineering in school, but don’t really use my degree (sorry, Georgia Tech). Today, I work as an analyst in the tech world.
I’m accident-prone. If there’s a wall, I will 100% run into it. Trust me when I say, always carry a first aid kit on a hike!
Soft pretzels are my weakness. And maybe s’mores… s’mores are great too.
How My National Park Obsession Began
I visited my first national park. I was in high school at the time and went to Tuscon, Arizona with my family. We visited Saguaro National Park while we were there. I held a tarantula and posed in front of way too many cacti (I was in high school, okay…) And so my national park journey was born.
After graduating college, I went on a month-long adventure around Australia, New Zealand, Bali, and Thailand. While I loved seeing Sydney, the Barrier Reef, and the beaches of Bali and Thailand, it was New Zealand where I truly discovered my passion for travel planning and the outdoors.
I visited my first national park as an adult: Redwood National Park. It was mystical and eery and majestic, more than I ever thought a place could be. I’ll never forget how tiny I felt (in the best way possible) next to the giant coastal redwoods.
After this trip, I decided I wanted to check every national park off my bucket list.
After years of long-distance, I moved across the country from Atlanta, Georgia to San Francisco California to join my boyfriend. Together we explore national parks, awesome hikes in the Bay Area, and road trip down the Pacific Coast Highway.
Most of my trips are with Evan, my partner in crime. He’s a semi-professional photographer, free spirit (someone has to balance out my Type A personality), and maker of amazing cocktails and food. You’ll find a lot of his photography on Well Planned Journey and can check him out on Instagram.
Like many of you, I found myself with a lot of spare time around March 2020. Yep… Well Planned Journey is a COVID baby! I started this blog to share my passion for visiting America’s public lands and I’m still doing that today.
I’m so happy to have you here on this journey and I’m ready to join you in planning the national park trip of your dreams!