Hey there, I’m Julia!

I’m the founder of Well Planned Journey. I’m so grateful you’re interested in taking a few minutes to learn more about me and this site. 

Well Planned Journey isn’t a generic travel blog covering destinations near and far. Instead, it’s laser-focused on one topic: US national parks. This blog is all about inspiring travelers and outdoor enthusiasts to explore the incredible beauty in America’s public lands.

I will share more about my background, what you can expect from Well Planned Journey, and what makes this site unique.

Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!

Julia in Glacier National Park

Who is Julia and What’s Well Planned Journey?

Well Planned Journey is a travel blog dedicated to US national parks. I’m a national park expert living in Atlanta, Georgia – and I’m on a mission to visit all 63 US national parks! I started this site to follow that journey and am the exclusive writer and planner behind everything you find here.

So, why should you trust me to help you plan your national park trip?

Well, in short, I’ve been where you are. I work a 9-5 job with limited vacation days. I love exploring the outdoors and national parks. And life sometimes feels like a constant battle to balance the two.

That’s why I share itineraries and national park guides made with busy people in mind. So you can get the most out of your time in America’s beautiful national parks. Whether you’re looking for trip inspiration for your busy family or are a recent retiree on a mission to see all the parks, there’s something for you here!

On Well Planned Journey, you’ll find national park itineraries, plus guides on the best places to stay, things to do, and what to pack for every trip.

Well Planned Journey receives more than one million visitors annually, inspiring detailed-oriented planners to discover the best of America’s national parks.

Meet the People Behind Well Planned Journey

Julia Jones

Julia is the founder, planner, and writer behind everything you find on Well Planned Journey. Her background as an industrial engineer fuels her love for all things planning, spreadsheets, and analytics. Julia balances her time exploring national parks with her full-time day job in the computer networking industry and spending time with family and friends in Atlanta, Georgia. Outside of the national parks, Julia loves cuddling on the couch with her newborn daughter and labradoodle.

Julia’s favorite national park is Grand Teton (it’s where Julia and Evan got engaged!).

Evan Jones

Evan at Upper Grinnell Lake in Glacier National Park

Evan is the photographer behind most of the images you find on Well Planned Journey. Before becoming Julia’s sidekick on all national park adventures, Evan was a hobby landscape photographer turned part-time wedding photographer. Today, he works for a successful wedding industry start-up and handles all things photography, camping, and driving on our national park adventures.

Evan’s favorite national park is Yosemite, which we visited a half dozen times while living in San Francisco.

Julia’s National Park Journey

My national park journey started over twenty years ago. 

I moved to Tennessee when I was ten years old and grew up less than an hour from Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I spent weekends hiking with my family in the Smokies. I explored the Smokies on excursions from my nearby summer camp. I learned to pitch a tent with my Girl Scout troop in the Smokies. 

Smoky Mountains, Cherokee National Forest in 2003
My family and I in the Smokies (that’s 10-year-old me on the left!)
Julia and family in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Back in the Smokies my senior year of high school!

Spending the formative years of my life so close to America’s most visited national park instilled a deep love for the outdoors in me. But my love for travel planning came later. 

I was fortunate enough to have plentiful opportunities to travel internationally during college and on my extended post-grad trip, visiting nearly 30 countries on four continents before my 23rd birthday. I was the map-holder, spreadsheet-maker, and trusted planner on those trips. I was always prepared with a color-coded, minute-by-minute itinerary.

Julia at the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy
Trevi Fountain in Rome
Tanah Lot in Bali, Indonesia
Julia at Hobbiton in New Zealand
Hobbiton in New Zealand

But after spending so much time traveling internationally, I felt embarrassed that I’d visited more countries than US states. I wanted to see more of my own country, explore my own backyard, and get back in touch with the nature I’d grown up around.

That’s when I came up with my goal: to visit all 63 national parks and every US state. 

I applied my love of international travel planning to national parks, starting with trips to the Utah “Mighty 5” National Parks and Glacier National Park

Julia and Evan at the top of Observation Point in Zion National Park
Observation Point in Zion National Park
Grinnell Glacier Viewpoint hike in Glacier National Park
Upper Grinnell Lake in Glacier National Park

A few short years later, I’d visited a dozen national parks and moved to California with my soon-to-be husband. While in California, I visited a dozen more national parks on the West Coast.

Julia in front of Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park
Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park
Julia and Evan in front of the Olympic National Park Sign
Entrance Sign to Olympic National Park

Friends and family began to ask me questions about national park trips, seeking my advice and input as they planned their vacations. And in March 2020 (we all know what happened then!), I suddenly found myself with some extra time at home. I channeled my boredom into something productive – creating a website all about national parks!

Over the last several years, Well Planned Journey has grown from a small passion project to a trusted resource for national parks. Here, I share everything I’ve learned in hopes that you can benefit from my personal experience in the national parks. 

Today, I’ve visited 21 national parks, covering most of them on this blog. You can check out my national park guides by the park here:

What You Can Expect from Well Planned Journey

On this site, you can find guides on things to do (including hiking, camping, and scenic drives), where to stay, the best time to visit, and itineraries for each national park.

Over the past few years, Well Planned Journey has reached more than 3 million visitors, helping both first-timers and seasoned travelers plan national park trips. Additionally, publications like Insider, Volkswagen, Medium, SFGate, Cruise America, and Joy have featured Well Planned Journey.

But despite that success, I want you to know you can always trust the information you find on Well Planned Journey. Rest assured, you can trust the guides you find here for three reasons:

  1. My husband, Evan, and I pay for all our travel. Well Planned Journey does not accept sponsored content, and I don’t get any “freebies”. In fact, I’ve never even mentioned to tourism boards or national parks that I’m a travel blogger! That means all opinions, reviews, and experiences are my own. By planning and paying for my travels, I’m experiencing our beautiful national parks the same way you would. This gives me the perfect insight to share helpful yet informative guides with you.
  2. Every article on Well Planned Journey has been researched, experienced, and written by me. I don’t accept any guest posts or outsource any part of the writing. I only write about national parks that I have personally visited. While this may mean it takes me longer to publish new guides, I put my heart and soul into ensuring I’m sharing the most up-to-date and accurate information.
  3. Details are in my DNA. As an engineer and Type A personality, I pride myself on the level of research I put into planning a national park trip. It’s more than just a hobby or a passion. I work hard to share those experiences with you and simplify your planning process (because not everyone enjoys it as much as me!). I’ve received thousands of testimonials and thanks from readers who have benefitted from the guides on Well Planned Journey over the years.

Want to Connect?

Thanks for reading about my story and how Well Planned Journey was born! My goal at Well Planned Journey is to help you simplify the process of planning a national park trip.

To explore more on the site, check out some of these links:

Feel free to email me anytime at julia@wellplannedjourney.com or reach out via my contact page.

To stay up-to-date, you can subscribe to my email list or follow me on social media:

You can also get in touch by mail at:

Well Planned Journey
P.O. Box 94232
Atlanta, GA 30377