Parks are a great place to exercise, socialize, explore, and simply relax – and if you’re a fan of NBC’s Parks and Recreation, you know just how hard Leslie Knope fights to maintain the parks of Pawnee, Indiana. July marks the 30th Anniversary of Parks and Recreation Month, which is dedicated to and celebrates the past, present, and future of parks and recreation!
So, to show appreciation for the beautiful landscapes around us, let’s chat and chew about the top parks to visit and park-friendly activities the whole family can enjoy!
TOP PARKS TO VISIT
While we all have our favorite national (or local) park, there are many ‘must-see’ options around the United States. See the list below for a closer look at some of our country’s top landmarks.
Yosemite National Park | Sierra Nevada Mountains, California
Yosemite is roughly 1,200 squares miles—full of deep valleys, meadows, ancient giant sequoias, and a large wilderness area. However, this National Park is best known for its waterfalls. Check out this visitor’s suggestions for your Yosemite-inspired vacation.
Glacier National Park | Montana
There are only twenty-five glaciers left of the 150 that existed in 1850, according to Fodor’s. That’s why they rank this national park as a must see—especially the waterways. Enjoy the sites with a boat tour, a kayak, canoe, rowboat, or smaller motorboat. Experience what this national park has to offer with these suggestions.
Grand Canyon National Park | Arizona
I’ve had the distinct pleasure of exploring the Grand Canyon myself, and let me tell you, it’s jaw dropping. At the bottom on the Grand Canyon—which is roughly 5,200 feet deep—is the Colorado River. The 277-mile river provides visitors the opportunity to see this national park in a whole new light. See Trip Advisor’s list of top things to do at the Grand Canyon.
The photos above are from my family vacation to the Grand Canyon (’08).
Acadia National Park | Maine
This 47,000 national park is the oldest national park east of the Mississippi River. It also the first American national park to have an endowed trail system, according to Fodor’s. Become one with nature on a walk through the park’s 130-mile hiking trail, which includes the 4.4-mile round trip journey to the top of the Cadillac Mountain—the tallest peak on the Atlantic Coast—on the North Ridge Trail. Check out this list of things to do on your visit to Maine.
Olympic National Park | Washington
Visiting the Olympic National Park presents the opportunity to see the Hoh River Rain Forest—home to an 88-site campground, which is open year-round. Enjoy your pick of trails, which range from a 0.8-mile nature loop to the 17.3-mile Hoh River Trail. If you’re looking for other ways to relax, enjoy miles of beautiful coastline, natural geothermal mineral pools, or dip into some American Indian history. Don’t delay – start planning your Washington State adventure with these tips.
For a look at other National Parks you should add to your bucket list, check out National Geographic’s suggestions, and Fodor’s other 2015 favorites. There is a lot of world to explore this year, and with so many different places to go, it’s hard to narrow it down. Take some time to research the perfect national park for you and your family, and make memories with some of the country’s most breathtaking landscapes. If you’ve had the pleasure of visiting any of the famous national parks above or have suggestions to add, feel free to leave a comment below.