Travel Tips - Visiting National Parks
Posted by Nick Niesen on October 29th, 2010
With 388 national park sites to choose from, picking a park should be easy. At the tip of your travel tongue may be Yellowstone or the Grand Canyon, but dig a little deeper and you will find many surprises. America's National Parks are more than just hiking trails into mountain valleys, campsites overlooking sweeping vistas and unparalleled chances to watch moose and elk run wild. Many are famous historical sites, battlefields and small parks with big-time scenery.
Whether you want a wild adventure or an historical quest, follow these helpful tips:
Follow Your Sense of Adventure
Most Visited National Parks - 2003
Visitors may flock to the parks on the list above, but the good news is that others are relatively free of crowds, leaving more room for solitary adventure, quiet family outings and undisturbed wildlife. Here are a few possibilities for your next escape.
Nez Perce National Historical Park (Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Montana) These 38 sites in the valleys, prairies, mountains and plateaus of the inland northwest honor the history of the Nez Perce people as they mixed with explorers, fur traders, missionaries, settlers, soldiers, gold miners and farmers. Several sites feature interpretive trails, and visitors will often see golden eagles, marmots, black bears and mule deer.
Isle Royale (Michigan, Minnesota) You'll escape crowds of people in these wild woods of the North, but encountering crowds of wolves, otters and moose is another thing. Roadless Isle Royale is a 45-mile long wilderness archipelago in the heart of Lake Superior, gloriously threaded with 165 miles of scenic hiking trails connecting historic lighthouses and shipwrecks, ancient copper mining sites and plenty of spots to observe wildlife.
Catoctin Mountain Park (Maryland) You will not see the President on Catoctin Mountain, for his nearby, well-known retreat, Camp David, is closed to the public. But you will see plenty of white-tailed deer, wild turkeys and woodpeckers among the beauty of this rolling forest. Camping and hiking dominate the minds of visitors here, with relaxation in resplendent nature the ultimate goal for presidents and common folk alike.
When to Go
Peak periods also follow school schedules, so avoid winter break, spring break and the summer holidays. Visiting during the week will garner you much more open spaces than weekends. That said, traveling during peak times, like most of us are forced to do, should never deter you from visiting, for the parks are well worth the trip 365 days a year.
Where to Stay
Fun for the Whole Family? Children, Yes. Pets, No.
The wilderness is not pet-friendly. Some hiking trails prohibit all pets, while others demand that they remained leashed. Bears, wolves and mountain lions prey on small animals and will be attracted to your trail or tent if you bring your pet(s) along.
Stop in at the Visitors Centers for the latest information about safety hazards, closures, weather and wildlife notices.
Travel agents can help you choose which park to visit, where to stay, and what you can do when you get there. And since most parks are unfortunately not in your neighborhood, travel agents can get you there with little cost and littler worries.
Like it? Share it!
About the AuthorNick Niesen
Joined: April 29th, 2015
Articles Posted: 33,847
More by this author