the long way south - chapter 3
Always make time for the unexpected pit stops. For the four friends in Mexico, it was ball pits, cacti and animals. Lots of animals.
the long way south - chapter 3
Always make time for the unexpected pit stops. For the four friends in Mexico, it was ball pits, cacti and animals. Lots of animals.
the long way south - chapter 3

the long way south - chapter 2
Car camping on a beach with your best friends is a dreamy way to spend the summer. Here’s what you need to plan your own oceanside (or lakeside, or riverside, or mountainside) trip.
Always make time for the unexpected pit stops. For the four friends in Mexico, it was ball pits, cacti and animals. Lots of animals.

When you’re on the road, there’s no telling what you’ll find along the way. Keep your eyes peeled and leave space in your schedule for the unexpected.

It wasn't all beaches and backroads. The adventurers made sure to stop in small towns along the way.El Rosario Map
It wasn't all beaches and backroads. The adventurers made sure to stop in small towns along the way. Photo by Carina Skrobecki.

Karen, Adriana, Luz and Cassie did. They found themselves in a forest of elusive boojum trees, explored a ball pit on the side of the road, and made time for local delicacies. Lots of local delicacies. Ceviche, tortas, beautiful stacks of hot, crispy-sweet handmade churros ... sorry, what were we talking about again?

Check out what they discovered in Mexico, plus ways to make your road trip delightful from departure to homecoming.

Meet the boojum tree

Name: Fouquieria columnaris (my friends call me Boojum tree or cirio)
Height: up to 60 feet
Age: over 300 years (people always say I look great for my age)
Hometown: the midsection of the Baja Peninsula, plus a little spot by the sea in Sonora, Mexico
Fun fact about me: I’m a late bloomer–I take 50 to 100 years to flower for the first time
0:49

Making time for roadside attractions

From ball pits to conga lines, these four REI
members either find the fun or make their own.

Handpicked podcasts to enrich your summer

Luz’s picks:

Karen’s picks:

Looking for more outdoor-centric options?
Check out REI's podcasts: Wild Ideas Worth Living and Take It From Me
podcast

Wild Ideas Worth Living with LatinXHikers and Get Out, Stay Out

Karen and Adriana are dedicated to increasing diversity and representation in the outdoors.
Learn more about the amazing work they’re doing with their organizations; Get Out, Stay Out and LatinXHikers.
Summer road trips are great. Summer crowds, not so much.
Try these low-key tripworthy spots in the US.

P.S. Let’s leave these places as beautiful as we found them.
Pre-departure, brush up on how to Leave No Trace.
A snorkel mask photoshoot
Hot summer days call for multiple ice cream breaks. Photo by Ali Vagnini.
Sol de Mayo reserve waterfall
If there's one thing that the women learned on this trip; always leave room for more treats. Photo by Ali Vagnini.

The Co-op Wanderlust Shop

Savor the serendipities your journey brings.
And always take the time to stop and taste the churros.
Shop the Wander Collection
“We got to see the Baja that is sometimes
forgotten. The places that were a little
off the beaten path.”
– Karen
0:28

Goal: Pet every animal in
Mexico

It’s hard to say no to the cats, dogs and
horses that the four friends met along the
way. Could you resist?

Cassie’s
put-this-on-repeat playlist.

Imagine driving for hours through the desert and stumbling upon a tiny town lined with palm and date trees. That's San Ignacio. Stroll the main square, get a local treat (or three), and take a dip in the nearby lagoon. There’s a reason they call San Ignacio an oasis.

If you’re not planning on driving through
Mexico this summer but still want to hit the
road, here are some bizarre roadside
attractions in the US to add to your list.

Weird America:
roadside oddities worth stopping for

Cabazon Dinosaurs
Cabazon, California
World's Largest Beagle Hotel
Cottonwood, Idaho
World's Largest Beagle Hotel
Cottonwood, Idaho
Talking Penguin
Cut Bank, Montana
World's Largest Paul Bunyan
Akeley, Minnesota
World's Largest Paul Bunyan
Akeley, Minnesota
Jimmy Carter's Peanut Statue
Plains, Georgia
Cadillac Ranch
Amarillo, Texas
Cadillac Ranch
Amarillo, Texas
Corn Palace
Mitchell, South Dakota
World's Largest Chest
of Drawers
High Point, North Carolina
World's Largest Chest
of Drawers
High Point, North Carolina
Lenny the Chocolate Moose
Scarborough, Maine
up next - chapter 4