More than 250 National Park Service units have been featured in travel-style articles over the years. If a sign restricts visitors from exploring past a certain point, do not go into that area — not even for what you think will be a great photo-op. 1500 K Street NW, Suite 700, Washington, D.C. 20005Phone: (202) 796-2500  |  Toll-Free: (888) GOPARKS  |  Fax: (202) 796-2509  |  [email protected]The National Park Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Don’t know where to begin? Try to reserve a spot online, ahead of time, especially at popular parks, which often see spaces booked months in advance. What planning tips would you add to this guide? Visit from anywhere. National Park Road Trip Itineraries National Parks are natural treasures, and a road trip to and through them gives us all access to the majesty. Knowing about parking and access to the park is critical, especially when heading into some of the most-visited sites. January: Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho Bringing plenty of water for your pup will also be very important, especially if you consider the temperature and length of the journey. Privacy Notice: The National Park Foundation adheres to the privacy policy found at For example, parking on a fee-free day at Zion National Park could be headache-inducing — the main parking areas fill up by late morning. I know it would be a huge planning experience and I would appreciate any advice from others who have done it. The National Park Service also offers an excellent trip planning guide that will ensure a fun and safe trip. Consider if you’re comfortable camping, or if you’d rather stay in an RV, or look into park lodges. I have spent the last eight years taking care of my wife who suffers from Alzheimer’s and the time I can dedicate to this effort is thus more limited than would be typical. Some road trips include itineraries for multiple parks. For example, parking on a fee-free day at Zion National Park could be headache-inducing — the main parking areas fill up by late morning. Explore national parks with digital tours, ranger programs, educational opportunities, and more. National parks are priceless and exquisite, so treat them with the respect they deserve. Check out the FREE parks pass that’s available to all fourth graders: Every Kid In A Park. You can also visit during the annual fee-free days – just be prepared to be joined by many other park lovers, as these are popular days to visit. Shookum Volcano to Rambler Mine route at Wrangell - St Elias National Park and Preserve. This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions. You may have heard the saying, “take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints” – this is especially true during national park visits. Detail from our America National Parks map. Ready to explore the National Parks of the United States? Don’t confuse a lack of visitors with a lack of merit. Sign up to receive the latest NPF news, information on how you can support our national treasures, and travel ideas for your next trip to the parks. Bird-watching? Some do require a small entrance fee, used to help maintain the park, so be sure to know if you’ll have an entrance fee. Other National Parks to visit. Some parks will also have check-in policies. 6 Steps to Help You Plan an Unforgettable National Park Adventure, Big Bend National Park — National Park Service. Dogs are allowed at parts of Lake Mead National Recreation Area. If alternative transportation isn’t available, consider adjusting your schedule to get into the park earlier or visiting during the shoulder season (read: not peak season). Our message boards are still an active source of trip reports on what to see and do in the parks, and with so many national park enthusiasts around, they are also a great place to ask some questions for trip advice for planning a trip as well. How do you begin figuring out how to explore these places? Whether you want to explore local places or plan a vacation, you'll. After you’ve narrowed down which park you’d like to explore, the next step is to spend some quality time navigating the park’s page on nps.gov. I'll have 2 teenagers and one other adult. Plan ahead and scope the many resources and tips provided by the parks (start by looking at the “Directions & Transportation” section under the “Plan Your Visit” tab on the park’s navigation bar). From picking the best time to go to becoming buddies with the park rangers, here is the ultimate guide to visiting national parks. So, the next question becomes: where do you start? Basic national park maps so you can get your bearings. Method: Driving to Alaska with Oscar the Outback, our own vehicle. Visit our keyboard shortcuts docs for details Duration: 1 minute, 17 seconds. You’ll find great travel ideas on our blog and experiences on FindYourPark.com. In fact, because they’re not as easy to drive to for most of us, they tend to be less crowded and some include virtually untouched wilderness. Don't just plan to visit one of Utah's surreal national parks. The National Park System oversees 62 parks, so there are plenty of places to explore beyond the Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon, and Yosemite. It’s often easier to tag-along with somebody who’s done it before and to learn from them. While it's relatively simple to practice social distancing when you're camping or hiking, the influx of quarantine-weary travelers to parks across the country could make staying safe challenging. His company, National Parks Revealed (NPR), was founded in 2010 after a two-year trip to national parks in the western U.S. The National Park Service in partnership with Operation Live Well would like to thank military personnel and their families for their service and invite them to enjoy their national parks. You can share your favorite moments with the park community or even enter your best shots into a photo contest! Manzanita Lake Fee Booth at Lassen Volcanic National Park. nationalparks.org. In-park accommodations vary widely in the camping areas and services provided, but this information can easily be found by looking at the park’s page (look for the “Eating & Sleeping” section under the “Plan Your Visit” tab on the park’s navigation bar) or calling the park directly. Make sure you’ve done your research ahead of time. FindYourPark.com shares details on parks across the country and activities offered at each of them. There are as many ways to celebrate the National Park Service’s centennial as there are parks to explore (over 400). Camping wherever possible. I am 61 years old and in pretty good shape. If you’re going with friends, make sure that the group has an emergency contact for each individual. Overview of national park entrances and their closest gateway towns. East Coast and Smokies National parks are not just for summertime. Unlike other states (see: Utah and Wyoming), Colorado’s national parks don’t sit shoulder-to-shoulder, but that’s what makes this trip so great. Camping under the stars at Joshua Tree National Park. RANDY OLSON, a computer science and engineering Ph.D. candidate at Michigan State University, is a man who likes to design road trips.He has previously organized the ultimate US road trip and the best cross-Canada journey and, this time, Olson created an itinerary that would allow travelers to see every single national park in the 48 contiguous states without wasting any time. For those who wish to see some of the famous parks of the Grand Circle in Utah but have less time, consider checking out this version of the road trip. Connect with the parks you love. This window varies from park to park so again, be sure your research covers this too. When you realize there are more than 400 national parks across the country to explore, it can be daunting narrowing down the choices. Join our community. The U.S. is fortunate to have an abundance of beautiful parks to explore. I've never vacationed at a national park. Within the continental United States (aka Lower 48) there are a total of 50 National Parks — there are 2 in Hawaii, 8 in Alaska, and 2 in the territories, making a total of 62. Plan ahead and scope the many resources and tips provided by the parks (start by looking at the “Directions & Transportation” section under the “Plan Your Visit” tab on the park’s navigation bar). When the pandemic struck earlier this year and dashed my travel plans for Germany and Austria, I instead planned a different adventure: Acadia National Park in Maine. For example, if you’re hoping to boat in Isle Royale National Park, be sure to check all boats and water equipment for zebra mussels or other invasive aquatic species. Are you ready? Whether you’re going on a day hike or exploring the wilderness, it’s imperative to let someone know where you’ll be going and how long you’ll be gone. Check the park’s website for more information (look for the “Fees & Passes” sub-section of “Basic Information” under the “Plan Your Visit” tab on the park’s navigation bar). Our national parks tell the story of America’s history, … If pets are welcome, remember to keep them on a leash at all times and to clean up after them. Share your adventures online by using the hashtags #FindYourPark and #EncuentraTuParque. A packing list Park entrance fees; And more All five of Utah’s national parks are located across the southern end of the state in Red Rock Country and can easily be seen on one road trip. I am wondering if there are people who have experience in planning trips and general outdoors tips available for hire on a consulting basis. The first step is to decide whether you’re looking for a day-trip or a multi-day experience. Start by packing these ten essentials. Parks to visit: 8 Duration of journey: Month of August, 2017 (yep, we’re planning way ahead). This is my road trip travel guide to Utah’s National Parks. Camping is the cheapest option, but campgrounds are often filled to capacity in the summer. National parks draw lots of tourists during the high season, reducing room availability at hotels and pushing rates through the roof. New parks are featured each month. Take a moment to move to the side and let them pass — it’s the polite thing to do! Thank you! Anything can happen on your journey, so make sure someone knows where you are and when you expect to complete your trip. Tell a friend in person about your favorite parts of the trip – share your tips with them too. You know that national parks exist, though you haven’t sought them out before – but you’re open to the idea! More than two-thirds of national parks are free year-round. Hoping to sketch wildflowers? And, finally, I visited Petrified Forest National Park in the same RV. The Utah’s parks feature some of the world’s most surreal and magical landscapes. Paper and pencil are a must! You can also download our collection of free Owner’s Guides that highlight road trip itineraries, lesser-known sites, places to stay, and so much more. Have you learned any lessons during your park adventures? By submitting my email, I agree to receive correspondence from the National Park Foundation. I want to take a road trip and visit as many of the most “famous” national parks in the western part of the country. The United States national park system offers so much diversity—climates range from tropical to subarctic, and from arid deserts to lush rainforests—that in every month of the year you can find a park worth visiting. Take this scenic road trip to see all five of them in a row. Overnight trips add another layer of research. The National Park Guide 1. The National Park Foundation often assists parks in projects committed to removing invasive species to save the area’s natural ecosystems. The following parks are not in the contiguous United States, but they are definitely worth visiting! Either taking Inside Passage, a ferry system along the Pacific Coast, or driving on a highway through Canada. Know what they are and commit them to memory. A good place to start would be telling us where you live, otherwise it's pretty difficult to say what options are within a 1 to 2 day drive. You can also check our the local Chamber of Commerce sites, as well as the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau of the area you’ll be visiting – they’ll often include tips, recommendations, and concessionaires (e.g., guided hikes or rafting trips) that work in the park. Visiting national parks right now is undeniably different. Trip Ideas. National heritage areas join natural, historic, and cultural features through community-based conservation for all. Visiting a historic home won’t necessitate the same level of equipment as a backcountry hiking trip, though both require forethought. Partnership & Cooperation National Heritage Areas. Find a hotel or use an online lodging service to find a homestay near the park — you’ll return to civilization for the night but be close enough to jump right back into your park adventure after a hearty breakfast in the morning. First, I stayed in Estes Park, Colorado to visit Rocky Mountain National Park. This guide will help you discover where to go, what to do, and how to make sure you have a fantastic, safe, and unforgettable adventure. Individual parks may have rules about cleaning different types of gear and equipment depending on which parts of the park you’ll be visiting and the activities in which you’ll partake. We guarantee: you’ll be hooked after your first adventure. Choose the right time to go. Packing for any trip can be the most tedious part, and it’s also the most important! The “Things to Do” section (found under the “Plan Your Visit” tab on the park’s navigation bar) can be helpful in scoping out the options at your park of choice. Packing food and water, as well as appropriate attire and first aid kit, are always a good idea. There are seven principles to ensure you leave no trace, ranging from minimizing campfire impacts to disposing of waste properly, to respecting wildlife. Photographer Drew Rush, an expert on our National Geographic Ultimate National Parks Expedition, has been making it his goal to travel lighter. Though the necessary research and preparation may seem tricky, the rewards far outweigh the daunting nature of the task. #4 in Best U.S. National Parks The Grand Canyon is so magnificent that even the highest quality photos don't do the park's beauty justice – you just have to see it in person. These parks are remote, which keeps the number of travelers to a minimum. 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