Because of its many diverse states, cities, and plethora of unique roadside stops, road trips across the United States are popular with both tourists and locals alike. This summer, my childhood best friend Katie and I rented a van and took a five-day road trip from Las Vegas, Nevada, to our hometown of Santa Cruz, California. We camped in a new place every night, and stopped at five national parks, one state park, and a couple of the aforementioned “unique roadside stops” along the way.
Sounds pretty standard, right?
Here’s the thing: we did it in matching banana suits.
I bought my banana suit off of Amazon.com about a year ago, and instantly started bringing it on trips with me, because 1) life’s short and 2) it’s hilarious. About a month after I bought it, my banana suit came to Las Vegas with me for the first time, and then Miami, and then New Orleans, which is where Katie saw it and realized she needed one too.
If you want inspo for your own U.S road trip, or if you really just want to see pictures of me and Katie in matching banana suits at the Grand Canyon, keep reading.
Our trip started with a night out in Vegas.
We spent the next morning confusing people on the Las Vegas Strip with our matching banana suits and asking bewildered vacationers to take our picture in front of some quintessential “Vegas” landmarks.
Pro tip: if you visit Vegas in a banana suit, stay out of the casinos. My banana suit and I got kicked out of a Vegas casino for the second time in my life that day. I guess the security guards didn’t find me very a-peel-ing.
And yes, I did purchase those yellow heels just to match the banana suit. Go big or go home, as the kids say.
After getting escorted out of the casino, we packed up our van, whom we had named Vanna White, and headed to somewhere I’d always wanted to see - the Seven Magic Mountains!
Located about a 20 minute drive from the Strip, the Seven Magic Mountains are seven (duh) stacks of neon-colored boulders that stretch 30 feet high into the sky. Created by mixed media artist Ugo Rondinone, the Seven Magic Mountains have been a colorful backdrop for many an Instagram photo since their inception in 2016, but I’m willing to bet we’re the first pair of bananas who have ever visited.
Oh yeah, we’re doing our “banana dance” in that picture, by the way. Obviously.
After the Seven Magic Mountains, we were off to Utah!
Our plan had been to camp in Zion National Park for the evening, but when we got there, we found that all the spots were booked. Instead, we found a free BLM (Bureau of Land Management) campground in Virgin, Utah, about a 20 minute drive from the park.
Note for those who are interested in visiting: for each of the national parks we visited, each park costs $35 per private vehicle. This pass is valid for ten days as long as you keep your receipt for proof of purchase. However, if you buy a yearlong pass, it’s $80, so if you plan to go to three national parks in a year, it’s worth it. Katie and I split the price of year long pass for this trip, so we each paid $40 total.
After spending the night at the free campsite in Utah, we explored Zion!
After a few hours at Zion, we hopped back in the van and drove the hour and 20 minutes to Bryce Canyon. Yes - we did the whole drive in our banana suits. There’s nothing quite like stopping for gas in rural Utah in banana suits and looking at everyone’s faces as you walk into the gas station. I highly recommend it as a life experience. It’s a “bunch” of fun.
After a hot drive, we arrived at Bryce Canyon!
A random dad in the parking lot was getting a kick out of helping us think of inventive banana poses to do with the Bryce Canyon sign. One of the most fun things about running around in costume in public is when you meet strangers who are down to get involved with your shenanigans. Banana-gans? Sorry. I’ll show myself out.
If you’re ever in Utah, Bryce Canyon is not to be missed, banana suit or not. It’s made up of unique rock formations called hoo-doos. I promise I am not making that word up. We didn’t get a good banana suit picture of both of us here, but I’m dropping a Bryce Canyon pic below anyway, because it is just that beautiful.
After Bryce Canyon, we began the two and a half hour drive to Page, Arizona to see another landmark we had always wanted to see. But I’ll get to that in a minute.
On our way to Page, we spontaneously decided to visit Coral Pink Sands State Park in Kanab, Utah.
The park costs $8 per vehicle, and is made up of sprawling dunes of, as the name suggests, pink sand dunes. Also, if you look really closely, you might be able to see a banana at the top of that sand dune.
After the sand dunes, we made it to Arizona!
We wanted to get a picture of both of us with the Arizona state sign, so we propped my phone up on Vanna’s dashboard to take photos, wave hello to perplexed truckers driving by, and (banana) split our sides laughing.
Pardon the smudges. Vanna had gotten a little dusty during our adventure.
Another pro tip: did you know that many Walmart stores let RVs and other large vehicles park overnight for free in their parking lot? Not all Walmarts do, but we found one in Page, Arizona that does. That’s how I found myself cooking ramen over a camping stove in a Walmart parking lot at 10 p.m. with my childhood best friend. The banana suits stayed in the van.
At 5 a.m., we woke up early to beat the heat and other tourists to:
Not pictured: us doing the “Peanut Butter Jelly Time” dance on the top. We even played the song and everything.
After Horseshoe Bend, we drove the hour and 45 minutes to yet ANOTHER place I’d always wanted to go: the Grand Canyon!
Not pictured: the couple having a nice moment about 10 feet away from us. Until two girls in banana suits showed up. Whoops.
We spent another night in Arizona before heading to California!
The next morning, we explored Joshua Tree National Park.
We blended right in with the resident cacti. Well, maybe not.
After Joshua Tree, we spontaneously spent the night at Sequoia National Park.
At $20, it was the most expensive camping spot of our trip by far, but this view made it worth it.
The next morning, we donned our banana suits again and hopped back in Vanna to drive the four hours back to our hometown.
Taking a five-day camping trip across four states in banana suits is definitely one of the more interesting things Katie and I have done together. What would have been really crazy is if we explored The Bahamas in banana suits. Oh wait - we did that too. Stay tuned.