So you’ve decided to visit one our country’s 59 National Parks. Whether you are headed to the Everglades or the Utah desert, there are a few things you should do to make the most of your National Park visit.
Hit the Visitor Center
The Visitor Center provides a wealth of information to get your visit started off on the right foot. Not only can you grab a map and hit the restrooms, you can learn about the Park’s history, local wildlife, hiking and walking trails and amenities.
Check out a popular hiking trail
There is a reason why some of the trails in a National Park are the most popular. They take you to the most spectacular monuments and amazing views the Park has to offer. Check the map you picked up at the Visitor Center to ensure the hike is doable for all members of your group before you set out.
Chat with Park Rangers
Rangers know the park better than anyone. They can provide some of the best hiking and sightseeing recommendations, including those that may be off the beaten path. Check out the schedule for Ranger-led activities including the Junior Ranger program for kids (it’s free!), hikes and nature talks.
Stay at a National Park lodge
Some Parks, like Yellowstone are huge. Even if you stay just outside of the gates you may find yourself more than an hour from some of the best sites the Park has to offer. Staying at a National Park lodge allows you to have a late night or early start without the extra drive time. Make sure to book early because they tend to fill up quickly.
Leave the Park better than when you came
National Parks need to be protected so they can be enjoyed by generations to come. Don’t disturb the local habitat or bother the animals. And if you see trash pick it up.
For a complete list of National Parks by state, visit https://www.nps.gov/findapark/index.htm