Exploring National Parks

GRBA Arial Wheeler Winter
Earlier this week I mentioned the fact that the National Park Service was giving free entry into all the national parks across the U.S. With Father’s Day coming this Sunday, it’s perfect time too, as you can take dad out to his favorite wilderness spot and enjoy the day. If you’re having trouble deciding which park you’d most like to visit, then fear not, as I have two stories that may help to clear up the problem.

First up, over at GORP.com they’ve put together a list of the their picks for the Top Ten National Parks for Wildlife Viewing. The parks that make this list are not only amazing for the wildlife that is on display however, but the natural beauty of the landscapes is generally unrivaled as well. This lists reads a bit like a “who’s who” of national parks, with places like Yellowstone and Denali taking up much deserved spots. Top to bottom this is a great list, with opportunities to spot bear, moose, elk, deer, wolves, and much more depending on which one you select, and several of these are amongst the most visited parks in the U.S. for a reason.

Two caveats on this list. First, because this list has some of the most popular parks in the country on it, you may find them crowded during the summer months, and you may find them especially crowded on a “fee free weekend”. The other thing that I’d point out, is that Big Bend makes this list, and it is spectacular and generally free from anything that remotely resembles a crowd. However, you do not want to visit it in the summer months, when it is hot and dry. Wait until after October. Trust me!

The second story you might want to check out when looking for ideas on which parks to visit is one that I wrote for Gadling today. It lists my selection for five national parks to visit this weekend which is based on the criteria that they are spectacularly beautiful and tend to be less crowded than the really popular parks. For instance, I selected Crater Lake, which is well off the beaten path, but offers a ton of outdoor adventure in an amazingly beautiful environment that most people outside of the state of Oregon don’t even know exists. Other selections include the Badlands, Carlsbad Caverns, and Conagree and Great Basin.

And if you can’t take advantage of one of these parks this weekend, never fear. Fee free weekends return on July 18-19 and again on August 15-16. Get out there and enjoy our natural wonders.

Kraig Becker

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