Steaming lobster, fresh quahogs, corn on the cob, a cold brew, sand and sun. It doesn't get much better than that at Cape Cod National Seashore, a place where the perfect summer surely could have been designed.
Towering sand dunes that ripple across the heart of a 3.4-million-acre landscape, hidden canyons that echo with splashing, gurgling water that nourishes a surprising cache of lush vegetation, a human history of anguish as well as prosperity. The surreal landscape of Death Valley can be deadly hot in summer, and yet it is one of the more intriguing units of the national park system because of its stark beauty and demanding nature.
Surrounded by southern Utah’s rugged wilderness, I’m confronted by, of all things, butterscotch. In a landscape of warm kaleidoscopic colors that change with the swinging of the sun, butterscotch currently is the color of the limestone ramparts that brought fame to Bryce Canyon National Park. And, I find as I plant my nose against the rough and rumpled bark of a 100-foot-tall Ponderosa pine, butterscotch is the unmistakable scent wafting from the tree.
Grand Teton National Park holds up western Wyoming's border, soaring to nearly 14,000 feet. While the young crags with their snowfields hold your eye, there's much more to do in this park than grab a rope and ice axe and climb to the roof.