National Park Week: Our Top 5 Recommendations

Quick, name 5 national parks in America NOT named the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone or Yosemite. What’d you come up with? Zion? The Smoky Mountains? Those are all great parks, I’ve been to 4 out of the 5, and loved each one of them.  So as the National Park Service kicks off their annual spring celebration today with National Park Week, which includes free entry to all parks from Monday to Friday this week, I’d like to give you my 5 recommendations of parks that might be lesser known, but equally worth a visit.  

Image via Flickr/ cm195902

Montezuma Castle National Monument – Sure, Arizona is best known for the Grand Canyon, but it has many other scenic and historical must-see destinations for families.  We recently visited the Petrified National Forest, and Montezuma Castle.  The Castle is comprised of cliff dwellings built into the side of a mountain over 800 years ago. The intricate 5 story building and ladder system are incredible testaments to the ingenuity of the Sinaguan people. The self-guided, 1/3 mile loop is an easy walk for young kids, and would only take half a day to explore.

Image via Flickr/ beeron2003

Redwood National Park – When you think of California’s national parks, Yosemite usually tops the list. But an equally grand experience can be had walking through the forest of ancient redwoods. Standing in awe at the base of a tree that towers hundreds of feet above you and has been alive for centuries can touch your soul the way only nature can.

Image via Flickr/ fortherock

Grand Teton National Park – Wyoming is the home of two spectacular parks; the infamous Yellowstone National Park, and just to the south, the Grand Teton National Park. The Tetons are home to hikers, climbers, and photography enthusiasts from around the world. Close to Jackson Hole’s fine dining, art and entertainment, it’s a wonderful place to spend your next vacation.

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Image via Flickr/ MoabAdventurer

Arches National Park – Utah is a mecca of national parks, with Zion being its most famous. Yet, equally impressive is the Arches National Park, with over 2,000 naturally occurring arches, colorful rock formations, and gorgeous vistas. It’s definitely a place to put on your bucket list.

Image via Flickr/ Mathieu Lebreton

Carlsbad Caverns– In a quiet corner of New Mexico sits one of the worlds oldest cave systems, consisting of over 100 underground chambers and some of the most intriguing hikes available. The Big Cave, the biggest cavern, boasts some of the largest and most colorful rock formations. There are self-guided as well as guided tours to choose from. If you’re looking for something different on your next vacation, the caverns definitely fit the bill.

No matter what national park sparks your interest, I just urge you to visit one soon. These national treasures are often overlooked amidst the hype of manmade attractions like Disney World, Las Vegas, and the like; however they can be the most memorable adventures of all. Happy National Park Week!

What do you think?

National Park Week: Our Top 5 Recommendations

Shannon is a mother of 3 teens, who hit 40 and decided that instead of a "mid-life crisis", she wanted an adventure of a lifetime. She convinced her wonderfully open-minded husband to pack up their house, sell most of their possessions, and travel the USA in an RV for a year or two. Besides homeschooling her kids, running their online program, Watts in the World, Shannon loves to explore new places. Nothing is more exciting than waking up in a new city everyday, and discovering what's great abou ... More

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1 comment

  1. Marina says:

    I have been to 7 National Parks already. Definitely better than Vegas or Disney.

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