The United States is full of natural wonder and the National Park System is one of the best places to see it. From alligator-packed treks through Everglades National Park to imposing glaciers in Denali, there is truly something for everyone.
Visitors in the United States could spend years visiting different parks and would only make a dent in these vast natural landscapes. Here’s how you can prepare for your trip to get the most out of each place.
Think outside of the box.
There are hundreds of US National Parks that you can visit to connect with nature. The country is filled with endless kayak opportunities and winding hiking trails. However, there are some out-of-the-box parks that have national distinction and are worth visiting.
For example, Alcatraz island in San Francisco is part of the National Park System While it might not have the kayaking and trails you expect, it’s still worth visiting to learn about American history. Golden Gate Park in San Francisco is also a National Park destination. Wherever you plan to travel, there is likely a park nearby.
One of the biggest mistakes that travelers make is packing too much into one day. Can you drive from Yosemite to Joshua Tree in one day? Technically, yes. But that doesn’t mean you should. Make sure you leave plenty of time to explore each park individually so you can take in its natural wonders.
If that means spending a few days at Yellowstone or lingering at the Grand Canyon, that’s okay. When you move between parks, enjoy the road trip. Stop in small towns to support the local businesses there. You may find that some of the best restaurants and coolest cabins are far away from any major city. It’s also a good idea to book any tours well in advance. These can book up quickly and can potentially ruin a road trip if you aren’t able to do the things you love.
Pack for adventure.
If you are planning to visit multiple National Parks, then you want to make sure you are ready for anything. From swimming under waterfalls to horseback riding, there are countless activities in the National Park System to try.
Just because you are packing for a trip to California doesn’t mean you can’t ignore cold-weather gear. Some areas get cold and you will be happy that you packed a raincoat and sweatshirt. Make sure you have enough essentials to get you through different climates on your trip. Of course, if you just planning to stay in San Diego, then sandals and sunglasses should suffice.
Get to know the local wildlife.
Many people travel to national parks to see unique wildlife. Powerful bison roam through Yellowstone while whales populate the West Coast. These trips serve as opportunities to learn about flora and fauna that you would otherwise see in a zoo.
Before you leave for your trip, learn about the animals you might see. For example, bison like their space. You can ruin your trip and potentially get injured by getting too close to one. Additionally, there are ways to keep grizzly bears and black bears away from your camp so you are safe.
You are entering the homes of the animals. They are protected here and play an important role in the ecosystem. Even certain wildflowers are endangered and shouldn’t be touched. Take steps to respect the environment and stay safe.
Whether you plan to spend your vacation exploring the Grand Canyon or snorkeling in the tropical coral reefs of Dry Tortugas National Park, there are plenty of ways to connect with the forest service. You can put together a unique road trip that highlights the nature, culture, and history of the United States. Have fun!