9 National Parks in the US You Should Visit This Year
Stunning Scenery & a Cheap Price Tag
No matter where you live in the United States, you don’t have to leave the country to get a taste of something different. The US is home to a plethora of landscapes, from lush lakes to towering mountains to dazzling deserts to uninterrupted prairies.
The 58 national parks scattered throughout the country are the perfect way to experience these diverse areas full of natural wonders. While most people think of “roughing it” when they picture national parks, there’s a lot more going on at the parks than you might think.
Plus they are a great choice for budget travelers who have a thirst for incredible sights. Instead of heading to the lake or a theme park like you’ve done year after year, think about exploring some of the best national parks in the country.
Yellowstone National Park
This nearly 4,000-square-mile park is home to more geothermal features — including geysers, mud pots and hot springs — than any other spot on Earth. Kids will not only be mesmerized by its most famous, Old Faithful, which skyrockets steam as high as 185 feet every 90 minutes, they’ll be getting a fascinating geology lesson.
Kids can have even more fun by stopping at the Old Faithful Visitor Center to pick up an infrared thermometer gun that takes readings of the thermal pools, such as the rainbow-hued Grand Prismatic Spring, when pointed at the water.
Everyone will love watching the wildlife, too. The park is one of the best places to see animals such as elk, bison and bighorn sheep along with the occasional bear and wolf. For an even more adventurous trip, book a stay at a nearby dude ranch — there are a range of options in the area, from relaxing retreats to working vacations. Plus horseback is a unique and exciting way to tour the park!
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Grand Canyon National Park
Standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon is a humbling experience. Peering at the layers of the canyon below is another great way for children to understand the geology of our planet. But there’s a lot more to do here than just look — a variety of hikes are available for all ages and abilities in order to get a closer look at both the layers of the canyon and the wildlife that lives there.
The immense gorge is 277 miles long and 6,000 feet deep in some places, with rocks that are millions of years old. For an especially unforgettable experience, explore it by mule. Just be sure to plan well in advance as the three-hour treks need to be booked a year or more before your trip.
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Rocky Mountain National Park
Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park offers a wealth of things to do, with plenty of activities to satisfy all ages and tastes. Horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, fly fishing and more await in the warmer months, while winter brings the opportunity for snowshoeing through the fresh powder.
No matter what season you’re here you can expect to do it all among some of the country’s most impressive mountain scenery.
Be sure to base your stay in the eastern gateway town of Estes Park to enjoy easy access to all sorts of restaurants and shops, golfing and even a small amusement park in between adventures in the national park.