Welcome back, park enthusiasts!
It’s Piper here, let’s get busy on how to plan a national park trip!
First off, what is it you like to do? Do you like visiting the mountains, beaches, or volcanoes? Do you prefer active vacations where you can hike, white water raft, or ride horses? Or, do you enjoy observing wildlife in its natural environment?
How to Plan a National Park Trip
Well, you’re in luck, because you can find it all in our beautiful National Parks. When planning your trip, it’s important to fully understand the key features of the park you want to visit. Things you should know before going are as follows:
- Daily temperatures – some can be very extreme/harsh (For example, Death Valley during the summer is not advisable)
- Physical requirements of activities
- Changes in elevation
- Terrain (water, rocky, sandy)
- Equipment needed – clothing, footwear, bear spray, compass, insect repellant, salty snacks, walking stick, maps, drinking water, etc…
- Time of year/season
- Visiting during non-peak times may allow you to avoid crowds
- Certain parks and/or park events/seasons may require an entry ticket
- Transportation details of the park: can you drive within the park, do you need to ride the park shuttle (certain times of the year in Arches National Park), does it require a 4×4/high clearance vehicle (Canyonlands & Capitol Reef have many places where you must have a high clearance vehicle)
- Lodging options – camping, RV hookups, or park lodging (must be booked well in advance)
- Food/Gas options – some parks are very remote and don’t have onsite offerings
The best way to get the most out of your visit is to do your research. (After all, planning is part of the excitement!) Here are a few resources I find helpful:
- National Park App – great for storing downloaded information when you are in remote locations without Wi-Fi!
Also, plan ahead! Many parks require reservations over a year in advance!
Once you begin your National Park adventures, make sure you have a fun way to track your travels. There are t-shirts, push-pin maps, hiking markers for your walking stick, etc. Most importantly prepare yourself to make some fabulous memories!
Next time we will look into actual park itineraries!
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