Las Vegas and Southern Utah Vacation Recap

One month ago Jesse and I went on vacation with his siblings, mom, and her side of the family.  There were 15 of us total, and yes, that was a little chaotic (for organizational purposes) at times, but overall, this was such a fun trip.

This post is chock full of pictures – the scenery was too beautiful not to share – plus a little explanation of where we were and what we did…


We flew out early on a Saturday morning from the MSP airport.

Jesse & Danica - in the airplane - vacation

airplane - vacation

Once we arrived and gathered our things, we met up with some of the family.  We spent that afternoon getting all checked into our condo and relaxing until it was time to get ready to head to the Strip.

We went out for dinner, went to the show, and then walked around for a bit.

If you ever go to Las Vegas, I’d highly recommend seeing the “Mystere” Cirque du Soleil show.  “Amazing” doesn’t even come close to what that show is…I’m still in awe of how strong those people are, and it was most certainly a highlight of being in Vegas.

Welcome to Las Vegas - vacation

Vegas - vacation

Jesse, Spencer, Scott - vegas vacation

Jesse & Danica - vegas vacation

cirque du soleil - vegas - vacation

Jesse & Danica - vegas vacation

Las Vegas Strip - vacation

las vegas vacation at night

vegas strip vacation

Walking around on the Vegas Strip was really cool, though the further into the night it got, the scarier it was.  If you’ve ever been in downtown Chicago, you know what crowded sidewalks are like – multiply that by 2 or 3 and that’s what the Vegas Strip felt like on a Saturday night after 9p.m.  smushed!  We called it a night relatively early and ventured back out on Sunday, which was my birthday!

It was a lot of fun just to walk through each of the different hotels/buildings – the architecture there is unique to each place.  We spent hours on Sunday just strolling by everything.

las vegas strip fountains - vacation

Jesse & Danica - las vegas - vacation

caesar's palace - las vegas - vacation

(inside Caesar’s Palace)

caesar's palace mall - las vegas - vacation

Jesse & Danica - las vegas - birthday dinner - vacation

24th birthday - las vegas - vacation

Everyone made the day so much fun – definitely a birthday to remember!


On Monday, we loaded up the cars and drove to southern Utah.

vacation site

souther utah - driving, vacation

Before “checking in” to the giant house we rented, we stopped at Zion National Park and hiked up Angel’s Landing.

This hike was my favorite hike of the week!  It was tough but so incredibly rewarding.  What an accomplishment to make it to the very top!

angel's landing - zion national park - vacation

hiking - utah vacation

hiking southern utah vacation

Spencer - hiking - utah vacation

hiking angel's landing - utah vacation

view from angel's landing - vacation

hiking angel's landing - utah vacation

Jesse & Danica - top of Angel's Landing - Utah - vacation

angel's landing - utah vacation

view from Angel's Landing - Utah vacation

group photo - cousins - Utah vacation

top of Angel's Landing - Utah - vacation

We cooled off and relaxed a bit down by a river once we made it back to the bottom.

Zion National Park, Utah - vacation

Jesse & I - hiking - vacation Utah


On Tuesday we were back to Zion to hike some easier trails, which included the Emerald Pools.  I was thankful for this lighter hiking day because my legs were tired from the Angel’s Landing hike!

emerald pools - Utah hiking vacation

hiking - vacation - Utah emerald pools

Jesse - hiking - Zion National Park Utah vacation

emerald pools - utah -vacation hiking spencer

The person wearing red and blue on top of that big rock is my brother-in-law :)

Emerald Pools - Utah vacation hiking

Jesse - utah hiking vacation

family will understand the picture below…long story short, there was a bat hunt in the house we stayed at – everyone had to get creative, but in the end, we won and no one was hurt :)

cousins killed the bat! - Utah vacation


On Wednesday we went horseback riding!!  We rode through Bryce Canyon, and if you ever go to this park, I’d highly recommend doing such a tour.  Not only was it a great way to see a lot of land in one afternoon, but the tour guides are funny and informative – well worth it!  Just beware – there are some really steep edges that you just walk right along, but you quickly learn to trust the horse and enjoy the view.

Horseback riding group - Bryce Utah - vacation

cousins and aunts - utah vacation

horseback riding tour - Bryce Utah - vacation

Bryce Canyon, Utah - vacation

horseback riding tour - bryce canyon, utah - vacation

horseback riding tour - bryce canyon, utah vacation

Bryce Canyon, Utah - horseback riding - vacation

Bryce Canyon, Utah vacation

horseback riding group! - bryce, utah - vacation


Already to Thursday…we were back to Zion National Park to hike one last time!  This time we did the river hike.  And this one made me the most nervous, but it was, again, just beautiful and I highly recommend doing it.  Just make sure not to go if there’s any chance of rain – the river can rise to huge heights in a matter of minutes – be sure to choose a sunny, dry day.

river hiking - utah, vacation

zion national park hiking, utah vacation



river hiking - utah vacation

utah vacation

river hiking utah vacation

Jesse & Danica - river hike, zion national park, utah - vacation


On Friday we made our way back to Las Vegas!  After all of the hiking, we enjoyed relaxing by the pool and then we went out to dinner.  We ended the night in a casino.  When in Vegas, I suppose…

Vegas condo pools - vacation

Jesse gambling in Vegas - vacation

Jesse & Danica - las vegas vacation

And then we flew back home on Saturday!


Thank you to Melinda (J’s mom) for making this trip happen – we’re so grateful for the experiences we had over the course of the week!  Priceless memories.


**if you plan to vacation in this area and want to know anymore specifics about restaurants, trails, etc., ask away!**


  1. Those hikes look amazing – it is soooo flat here in Indiana we must get West to the mountains some day! Way to be active while still on vacation and not truly exercising :) just ENJOYING it all!
    Sarah@creatingbettertomorrow recently posted…Friday Facts June 27, 2014My Profile

    • Yes!! Usually when Jesse and I vacation we just love to lay by the beach/pool, which we did some of in Vegas, but it was a ton of fun to have a trip where we explored so much! You’ll have to get out there sometime to see it all – I bet you’d love it.

  2. Looks like such a great trip! The views of that hike are stunning!
    Lauren recently posted…Just Slow DownMy Profile

  3. Thanks for sharing the pics Danica! It does look like a fantastic trip. Anxious to spend time with you and Jesse at the cabin next week. Have a good weekend.

    • Oh you’re welcome! It was you and other family in mind when I wrote this post – I didn’t want to post everything on Facebook but wanted you to see some shots from our trip :)
      Can’t wait to see you on Friday!!

  4. Wow, seriously nature is so beautiful! I hope I get to see places like that one day!
    Rebecca @ Strength and Sunshine recently posted…Friday Finisher 6/27/14My Profile

  5. How fun!! I really enjoyed Vegas when I went there. It is an exhausting place, though! ;)
    Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl recently posted…Chickpea Polenta Breakfast Scramble (Vegan)My Profile

    • haha it totally is exhausting….nevermind the heat (which I actually liked – no humidity there!), just seeing everything and keeping up with the flow is overstimulating most of the time :) tons of fun though!

  6. Looks like a fun vacation!! Nice how you mixed in Vegas with hiking in Zion!
    Lindsay recently posted…Date Night in Dallas: HG Sply Co and Steel City PopsMy Profile

  7. I’ve never been to Vegas but I’ve always had a curious interest!! Looks fun and happy belated! :)
    Jen @ Bagels to Broccoli recently posted…June 2014 Bestowed BoxMy Profile

    • Thanks, Jen!
      If you get the opportunity you should definitely visit Vegas sometime – a long weekend would be enough time to see all the major things. It’s a lot of fun! :)

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