by Julie Trevelyan
America’s national parks are treasures enjoyed by millions of visitors every year. Our national parks are a great place to spend a vacation! We’ve got five stellar reasons for you to paddle, hike, and overall enjoy the scenery in a park near you.
1) Not only beautiful, national parks are also cost effective. Want to bare bones your next vacation yet still get the most out of it? For just an entrance fee and campsite fees, you can take the whole family on an unforgettable trip. Most national parks have an entrance fee that’s affordable, and some even have no entrance fee at all. If you want to step it up a notch to in-park accommodations, you’re still probably looking at a reasonable cost all told, compared to a city or big theme park vacation. If you choose a river rafting trip that floats through a place like Canyonlands National Park, the cost is pretty sweet when you consider that it includes all this: food, starry sky accommodations, guides, park entrance fees, transportation to the put in, and a heck of lot of smiles and laughter along the way. And on certain days of the year, entrance to all national parks is fee-free.
2) Marvel at crazy-looking natural formations. National parks were created in order to protect natural areas. Some, such as Canyonlands, have an abundance of rock spires, arches, slot canyons, towering canyon walls, and curving fins in all shades of red, orange, cream, and other colors that defy description. Amazing photo opp, anyone?
3) Our national parks need visitors. Managed by a federal government, national parks are often on a pretty strict budget. The more people that love them and visit them and prove that their continued status as protected national parks is necessary, the more money can be put into keeping these unbelievable national treasures pristine and safe from development so that many future generations can show up and ooh and aah over them as well. Rafting down a river through a protected wilderness is a bucket list item for lots of people, and our national parks help keep that dream alive.
4) You can breathe clean, fresh air and relax back into nature. The heart of a popular national park can be almost as busy as Times Square on a weekend. But in most parks, if you just get a little off the beaten path, you leave behind the crowds and have miles of quiet, beautiful places to stretch out. Floating down a river through a national park is an especially serene, uncrowded way to do it!
5) You get to check out really cool wildlife. Let’s face it: back at home, unless you’re at a zoo, sightings of golden eagles, bighorn sheep, river otters, great blue heron, moose, elk, and bears tend to be fairly uncommon (we should hope). Getting into a national park can provide numerous opportunities to spot these and other wild creatures in their natural habitats. Honestly, how cool is that?
Written by Julie Trevelyan.
Julie is a freelance writer and wilderness guide in southern Utah. She especially enjoys books, coffee, yoga, wild country, horses, and dark chocolate.
See more of her work at www.wildgirlwriting