I haven’t got a national park “life list” where I’ve ticked off every one of the country’s national parks, monuments and seashores I’ve visited, although if I did, I’d soon be adding one more to it: Acadia National Park in coastal Maine.
2016 is the centennial of the U.S. National Park service, so interest in visiting America’s national parks this summer and fall is undoubtedly running even higher than its already high level.
So I decided to put together a recap of past and recent stories that I’ve written about “America’s Best Idea.”
Here it is.
Which national parks should you visit this year? I review two new books that will help you make that decision, particularly if you live in or are headed to California.
Although national parks can be huge, acreage-wise, the easily accessible portions of even the largest of them, and the visitor accommodations within the parks and nearby, are much more limited. And that means finding a spot to hike, fish, stay, or sightsee can be problematic.
Summer officially arrives on June 20th. The foresight of those who have looked and booked far ahead will be rewarded when it comes to finding “room at the inn (or campground)” in the western U.S. national parks during summer. Here’s how to increase your odds of making it “in the door” in those parks this summer or next, and finding your way around the most crowded time of year.
National parks entrance fees might strain the wallets of some Americans, so I give you some tips on how park passes can reduce the cost of visiting the parks.
Many national park photographs you will see were taken in national parks in the mountains or southwest deserts of the American West. But this story gives you a quick photographic peek at three parks along the country’s coastline, two in the San Francisco Bay Area, the other in Maine.
So ever since last Christmas when Santa put a drone under the tree for you, you’ve been itching to capture stunning photos and videos as you fly it over the grandeur of the Grand Canyon, the geysers of Yellowstone, or the glaciers in Glacier National Park. But will you be able to “scratch” that itch, or will the National Park service ground your dreams?
Even if you don’t have a drone or aren’t permitted to use one in the national park you plan to visit, you’ll still be able to bring home great visual memories of your trip in photos taken with your feet firmly planted on terra firma.
Most national parks can be reached by car, but to get to Glacier Bay National Park, to the west of Alaska’s capital city, Juneau, you’ll have to travel by boat or plane. A visit to this park helped launch my career as a travel writer.
California’s least known national park is my favorite and sees only about the tenth the number of visitors as its “older cousin,” Yosemite.
Even if an actual “boots on the ground” visit to Yosemite National Park isn’t on your travel horizon, you can virtually see its peaks and valleys in these photos and videos.
If a post-Civil War Congress had not created Yellowstone National Park in 1872, would there be any national parks in the U.S. today or, indeed, anywhere on Planet Earth?
Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns has called the U.S. national parks “America’s Best Idea.” But while legislators of yore in the national capitol wisely kick-started the saving of millions of acres of the country “For The Benefit and Enjoyment of The People,” their present-day counterparts need a swift kick in the pants from the American people urging them to fully-fund the maintenance and operation of those parks.
(Tales Told From The Road publisher, Dick Jordan, has visited many U.S. national parks during the past five decades.)