When people decide where to vacation, they want to go somewhere to rejuvenate their spirits, bodies, and minds. Some people choose to go to resorts, on a cruise, or to a spa. Avid campers find their serenity in the beauty of nature at a much lower cost than other expensive vacation areas. Nature lovers and campers who love to vacation in the outdoors have many options to choose from because there are many beautiful national parks throughout the United States.
The Great Smoky Mountains
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is open to the public 24 hours a day and is one of the few that doesn’t charge an admission fee. It is also the most popular attraction and most visited park welcoming more than ten million travelers annually. There are 3 entrances to the park located in downtown Gatlinburg where visitors can enjoy the natural wonders of hiking trails, biking and horseback riding, and historical exhibits. If you are an animal lover, you should definitely visit Cades Cove where there are plenty of opportunities to see elks, deer, black bears, and other wildlife in their natural habitat.
After a full day in the park, stay at a rental cabin in Gatlinburg with fully-equipped gourmet kitchens, games rooms, hot tubs, fireplaces, and large porches with beautiful views of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Straddled between North Carolina and Tennessee and covering more than a half-million acres, the beautiful and historic park offers so many things for you and your family to do like:
- Take in the breathtaking views on top of the Clingmans Dome Observation Tower where you can see the Smoky Mountains in all directions.
- See the magnificent scenery, diverse sights, and magnificent vistas while traveling along Newfound Gap Road.
- Hike along the unusual but beautiful mountaintop forest along the Spruce-Fir Nature Trail that leads to the Clingmans Dome.
- Take a break from your hike and have a picnic at Chimney Tops Picnic Area.
Yellowstone National Park
In 1872, Yellowstone became the world’s first national park. It is massive in size covering over 2,219,789 acres which is larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined. Millions of people visit the park each year with its multitude of attractions that appeal to everyone. Learn about the history of how our national treasures led to their conservation. Drive along the grand loop road where you can see the massive park and stop for a picnic at one of the many roadside areas. Hikers will enjoy the thousands of miles of trails where they can go on day hikes or backcountry explorations. Explore the lakes, forests, and mountains to catch the beauty and wonder of nature and the wildlife. You will find all the main attractions on the grand loop road. Some of the things you will see at the park are:
- 2 species of bears and 67 other mammals
- 322 species of birds
- 7 species of ungulates (pronghorn, bison, elk, moose)
- 1,100 species of native plants and more than 200 species of exotic plants
- 9 visitor center
- Over 2,000 campsites and 12 campgrounds
Rocky Mountain National Park
Visiting the 415 square miles of dazzling mountain environments at Rocky Mountain National Park makes you feel like you are on top of the world. More than 3 million people visit the park, one of America’s great wilderness destinations, annually. It is open 24 hours a day 365 days a year. There are over 100 peaks of mountains that are over 11,000 feet in altitude where visitors can take in the incredible beauty of the park. Nature and wildlife lovers will be able to see mule deer, chipmunks, elks, and other animals in their natural habitat. Many of them camouflage themselves so you might have to look closely to find them. You will never be at a loss for what to do while visiting Rocky Mountain National Park. No matter what the season is, there are sports and activities for everyone to enjoy.
Grand Canyon National Park
Located in northern Arizona, the Grand Canyon is a mile-deep gorge that scientists estimate may have formed between 5 and 6 million years ago as erosion from the Colorado River cut a deep channel through layers of rock. It is one of the biggest canyons in the world, over 270 miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and a mile deep. Geologists embrace the opportunity to study evolution by having access to a cross-section of some of the oldest exposed rock on Earth. Some facts you might not know about The Grand Canyon are:
- It is considered to be one of the seven wonders of the natural world.
- The steep sides of the Colorado River that run through the Canyon have been eroding for millions of years.
- The Grand Canyon became a national park in 1919.
- Although the Grand Canyon is not the deepest, widest, or longest canyon in the world, it still attracts approximately 5 million visitors each year.
- Rafting, sightseeing, and hiking are popular activities.
- It stretches 18 miles across at its widest point.
- The narrowest point of the canyon stretches across 4 miles.
- It is around 6000 feet deep.
- Because the rocks found on the upper rim are about 230 million years old and the rock found at the bottom is around 2 billion years old, the Grand Canyon makes it an important site for geological research.
The National Park Service has managed millions of acres for more than 100 years. The 59 national parks in the United States attract over 200 million yearly visits to unique natural wonders. The sole purpose is for the inspiration, enjoyment, and education of our current and future generations.