Did you hear the news? National parks, those wondrous and scenic expanses of Nature's eye candy, those wild and rumpled landscapes that test your skills and will kill you if you're not careful and prepared, or maybe just in the wrong place at the wrong time, are boring. They've been transformed -- or, perhaps, kept since their creation -- as "drive-through museums."
Some stories, whether focused on travel or a specific issue, deserve a longer treatment.
Why has the National Park Service largely overlooked the religious symbolism at Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial?
The three kids—my 12-year-old son, Nate, and 10-year-old daughter, Alex, plus my 15-year-old nephew, Marco—are slightly less than enthusiastic about our plan to hike the Skyline Trail Loop above Paradise, on the south side of Mount Rainier National Park. My 76-year-old mom, Joanne, normally an eager hiker, shuffles along this morning, still recovering from a long, hard hike up Mount St. Helens two days ago.
Mesa Verde is an old friend. I’ve been here many times. But I still have lots more to see. It’s one of those places where you could spend a lifetime and still miss some of it.
Summer can pose a difficult problem for national park travelers: Where do you go and what should you do? Traveler’s Facebook audience had some great ideas for family hikes in the parks, and we’re happy to share them with you.
Summer vacations at the Cape have long been an American tradition, dating back well before the national seashore was authorized in 1961. So popular is the seashore, in fact, that the vacation season has stretched out, going well beyond Labor Day and creeping into October. And why not? Waters, whether you’re talking about the Cape’s freshwater kettle ponds, Cape Cod Bay, or the Atlantic, remain relatively warm through September.
It sounds counterintuitive to head to the Utah desert this summer to cool off. But Utah is an enigma: it is desert, canyons, and high mountains in one trip. You find groves of Ponderosa pines and wildflower meadows in abundance in Bryce Canyon National Park. The days are warm, the nights are chilly. The view of the desert is astounding, and at night visibility is measured in light-years.
It’s a long, rough and dusty road from anywhere to Chaco Culture National Historical Park. But, boy, is it worth the trip! The fact that it’s such a rough trip may have a lot to do with determining the kind of people who come to visit this place carved out of the high desert of northwestern New Mexico. Unlike visitors to so many other parks, these folks have a certain quality about them that hit me right off the bat.
The Niobrara River flows eastward 535 miles from the high plains of Wyoming to its confluence with the Missouri River in northeastern Nebraska. Over its course the river cuts through nearly the entire width of northern Nebraska, much of which is in the state’s scenic Sandhills region. Unlike most rivers that are fed by rainwater runoff, nearly three-quarters of the Niobrara’s flow is the result of groundwater from the vast Ogallala Aquifer.
Though Florida is one of the most populated states in the country, there still are places where you can flee humanity in the Sunshine State. Canaveral National Seashore, just north of the Kennedy Space Center, is one of them. Here on the Atlantic Coast the seashore’s beaches draw surfers, swimmers, surfcasters...and turtles...lots of turtles.
El Morro National Monument is one of the little gems in the crown jewels of our national parks, and even though it may not be as noticeable as its bigger cousins, it is precious just the same.
People have been collecting stuff forever. When adults visit national parks, they can collect passport stamps or pamphlets. Children earn Junior Ranger badges, though getting one takes a lot more effort and time than a passport stamp. But there’s something else out there to collect, too, and it looks a lot like baseball trading cards
It would be overly simplistic to define Apostle Islands National Lakeshore merely through its watery connection to Lake Superior. True, the lakeshore is comprised of 21 islands that dot the lake, but this 69,372-acre mix of water and land also boasts more lighthouses than any unit of the National Park System.
On The Road Again In The National Park System: From Faneuil Hall To Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park
If you’ve read any history of the Revolutionary War, you know how fickle and lucky we were to be triumphant in our quest for freedom. That’s evident throughout the city of Boston and within the surrounding countryside. Standing in the spots that made history can make the past come to life for the whole family. This trip is about what was, and now is.
Ponies in the morning mist-they’re a sight to see at Assateague Island National Seashore. You might awake in your dune country campsite to find them gazing right back at you. More likely, you’ll spot them throughout the day roaming free about the 48,000-acre seashore’s beaches and marshlands.
Over the years the two of us have visited numerous Civil War battlefields, memorials, monuments, and museums (sometimes referred to as “the cannonball circuit”), but none better than Shiloh National Military Park. Shiloh is a world apart from better-known and much busier Gettysburg. It is a superb place to walk, bike, and simply linger during an exploration of the site of this important battle during the early part of America’s Civil War.
Transitions can be tricky, and for Clark Bunting his arrival as president and chief executive officer of the National Parks Conservation Association coincided with two pivotal events for the National Park Service: the shuttering of the National Park System last fall, and the challenge of attracting younger, more diverse generations into the parks.
What is better than packing a car with sleeping bags, tents, new tunes, and good friends? Not much in my opinion! Here in northern Utah I am spoiled with weekend desert adventures that range from meandering around Devils Garden in Arches National Park to canyoneering the narrow ravines of Zion National Park. Exploring the natural wonders, and connecting with friends, is kept alive by the National Park System. The parks make for a great getaway.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, where Lake Superior’s stupendous power pounds Michigan’s craggy shore, is a tremendous place to kayak. But plan for a few extra days unless you have a really favorable weather report.
Strolling, appropriately enough, down Elkhorn Avenue, the small band of elk didn’t notice that Estes Park is not inside Rocky Mountain National Park, and you likely won’t, either.