49 episodes

In Dear Bob and Sue, authors Matt and Karen Smith share stories of their travels to all of the U.S. National Park as well as other spectacular public lands. From adventures gone awry to memorable moments and Q&As from readers, get to know the couple behind the books and get inspired to go on some adventures of your own.

Dear Bob and Sue: A National Parks Podcast Matt and Karen Smith

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.9 • 685 Ratings

In Dear Bob and Sue, authors Matt and Karen Smith share stories of their travels to all of the U.S. National Park as well as other spectacular public lands. From adventures gone awry to memorable moments and Q&As from readers, get to know the couple behind the books and get inspired to go on some adventures of your own.

    Twenty-Five National Parks to Visit in Your Lifetime

    Twenty-Five National Parks to Visit in Your Lifetime

    Our country’s national parks are frequently referred to as “America’s Best Idea,” for good reason. There are 423 National Park Service sites that protect everything from natural wonders to historical sites to endangered animals. Every one of them has something unique and special to offer visitors, but on this episode, we showcase our favorite 25 national parks. If you’re not planning to visit every national park, these are the ones we think you should visit in your lifetime.

    What are some of the parks that made our list?

    The crown jewel of the North Atlantic coast

    A park that contains 2,000 sandstone arches

    A park that’s beloved for its fruit orchards and its mini pies to go 

    The largest park in the lower 48; it’s also the hottest, driest and lowest park

    A park where visitors walk amongst brown bears

    A park where you can see the largest trees by volume in the world

    The park that’s referred to as the Alps of America

    A park that has multiple ecosystems

    A park with the highest road and the highest Visitor Center in the U.S.


    Links to more information:

    A list of all the NPS sites



    Where to learn more about our books and travels


    Join the conversation on Facebook - we want to hear from you!

    Check out our Instagram account


    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 58 min
    Badlands National Park

    Badlands National Park

    The southwest corner of South Dakota has an incredible variety of National Park Service sites to explore, and one of our favorites is Badlands National Park. From its mixed-grass prairie to its jaw-dropping geologic rock formations, this is a must-see park. In this episode, we talk about ways to explore the area on foot, by driving along the scenic road and by stopping at the numerous overlooks. You’re likely to spot the resident wildlife: bison, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, and lots of prairie dogs welcoming you to the park. Plus, we offer suggestions on where to stay and how much time to allot for your visit.

    Some of the topics we discuss in this episode:

    Other amazing public lands to explore near Badlands NP

    Why there’s a chance you could find a million-year-old fossil in the park

    How Badlands got its name

    When and how bison were returned to the park

    How black-footed ferrets were saved from extinction

    Our favorite hikes in the park

    What it was like to stay in a cabin at Cedar Pass Lodge

    Why Wall Drug is worth a visit

    One perfect day in Badlands National Park


    Links to more information:

    Book a cabin at Cedar Pass Lodge


    NPS Badlands National Park website 

    Book a tour at Minuteman Missile National Historic Site


    Learn more about Wall Drug



    Where to learn more about our books and travels


    Join the conversation on Facebook - we want to hear from you!

    Check out our Instagram account


    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 45 min
    Mailbag!

    Mailbag!

    It’s time again for our monthly mailbag episode where we answer questions from our listeners about national parks and other public lands, as well as questions about gear, hiking trails, and a broad range of travel-related topics.

    Some of the questions/topics we discuss in this episode:

    What kind of backpacks we use on our hikes

    Whether or not mosquito headnets really work

    Why we don’t use hydration bladders in our backpacks

    Which parks are good for small children

    Why we each have our own passport stamp books

    Whether or not we’ll be heading back to the Chilkoot Trail again this summer

    Driving a remote and rugged dirt road in Capitol Reef National park

    Advice and tips for older hikers


    Links to more information:

    Road conditions in Capitol Reef National Park

    Where to buy Permethrin Insect Repellant for clothing



    Where to learn more about our books and travels


    Join the conversation on Facebook - we want to hear from you!

    Check out our Instagram account


    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 52 min
    North Cascades National Park

    North Cascades National Park

    Only a three-hour drive from Seattle, North Cascades National Park looks like you’ve traveled all the way to Switzerland. With its 300 glaciers and soaring mountain peaks, North Cascades is a wilderness park best explored on foot during the summer months. We discuss our favorite hikes, as well as a unique park lodge in the tiny town of Stehekin that can only be reached by boat, seaplane, or on foot. And we share a story about a frightening night we spent in a remote backpacking campsite. 

    Some of the topics we discuss in this episode:

    The three NPS units that make up the North Cascades park complex

    Where the Visitor Centers are

    The best time to visit for hikers

    Why this is one of the least visited national parks

    Where we like to stay when we visit the park

    Our favorite hike in the national park 

    How to get to North Cascades Lodge in Stehekin

    Fun things to do and see in the Stehekin area

    What happened to us during our backpacking trip to Stehekin


    Links to more information:

    Book a room at North Cascades Lodge in Stehekin



    Where to learn more about our books and travels


    Join the conversation on Facebook - we want to hear from you!

    Check out our Instagram account


    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 47 min
    Crater Lake National Park

    Crater Lake National Park

    In the third episode of our series about volcano parks in the Pacific Northwest we’re featuring Oregon’s Crater Lake National Park, which has one of the most stunning scenes in any national park: a sapphire-blue lake situated in the middle of a collapsed volcano’s caldera. Reaching a depth of almost 2,000 feet, Crater Lake is the deepest and most pristine lake in the country. What is there to do in this park besides gaze in awe at this incredible view? A lot, actually. On this episode we talk about the wide variety of activities available, plus lodging options in the park, and the best seasons to visit.

    Some of the topics we discuss in this episode:

    Where the only place to swim in the lake is located

    Why there is no limit or license needed to fish

    The different boat tours available

    Who the Old Man of the Lake is

    Why Matt wants to be a trolley captain

    Our favorite hikes in the park

    What gives the lake its deep blue color

    Things to do in the park in the winter


    Links to more information:

    Check out Crater Lake’s webcam


    Book a room at Crater Lake Lodge



    Where to learn more about our books and travels


    Join the conversation on Facebook - we want to hear from you!

    Check out our Instagram account


    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 45 min
    Mount Rainier National Park

    Mount Rainier National Park

    Rising more than 14,000 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier stands as an icon in the Washington landscape. In this episode we discuss this active volcano and the incredible national park that surrounds it, one of the oldest parks in the national park system. With 97% designated as wilderness, we share tips on how to visit some of the developed areas, with information about what to see, where to stay, when to go, and our favorite hiking trails. 

    Some of the topics we discuss in this episode:

    Why it’s called Mt. Rainier and the controversy surrounding its name

    How to visit the park in the winter

    Why you might want to wait until July for your summer visit

    What the five different developed areas of the park are like

    What it’s like to stay in Paradise Inn, one of the great lodges of the West

    Our favorite hike in the park

    Information on summiting Mt. Rainier

    Other things to do and see in the park


    Links to more information:

    Check out the current road status in Mount Rainier National Park



    Where to learn more about our books and travels


    Join the conversation on Facebook - we want to hear from you!

    Check out our Instagram account


    Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

    • 44 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
685 Ratings

685 Ratings

Alexys E ,

New Favorite Podcast!

I heard about this podcast when Matt and Karen were on Hiking Thru Life. I began “binge-listening,” and I was immediately enthralled from the very first episode. The Smiths are so entertaining; I love their goofy banter and interesting stories. The episodes are not only filled with adventures and misadventures in the National Parks, but details and information about our public lands. This couple is very inspiring, and makes me all the more excited to visit each of the U.S. National Parks. I will definitely be reading their books, and I look forward to a new episode every week!

hiking Baba ,

Loving this podcast

My daughter introduced me to the podcast a month or 2 ago while we were driving to a camp together. Now I listen to the two of you on all adventures. I love hearing about the parks near by, also living in Washington makes it nice to get your ideas. Since Karen loves and wants more reviews I finally wrote my very first podcast review.

Reggie820 ,

Great podcast!

Love the podcast, I love the every week podcast. Keep up the great work!
We went to Vegas and went to all the parks you all talked about in episode number 14. We also went to another area called Mount Charleston which had some awesome hikes. When we got there it was 64° at 7 AM and 74° at noon in Vegas that day it was 108°. We went on three hikes that day and they were all awesome. Love the podcast.

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