There are 63 National Parks within the United States. The Parks offer a way to enjoy the natural beauty America has to offer. The diverse landscape from East to West of winding paths like the Blue Ridge Parkway and snowy mountains of Rocky Mountain National Park offer so much to explore and enjoy. Getting out to enjoy the great outdoors is a must. It allows you to get away from the traffic, noise and busy schedules of everyday life. With many parks offering hiking, camping and other outdoor sports, they also provide ample opportunity to get your 150-minutes a week of recommended exercise -- and the beauty around you may distract you enough to not even notice the passing time! While it is hard to choose just 5 of these amazing parks, here are five across the U.S. that we recommend to get out and enjoy the natural beauty and history of America.
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
While the Grand Canyon National Park is very popular, with 2.9 million visitors in 2020, the canyon is so vast that you will only see a fraction of those numbers. The South entrance is the most visited, as it is open more often than the North entrance due to snow and weather. Visit in the spring and summer to enjoy hiking down the canyon walls or rafting down the Colorado River. The fall offers cooler temperatures to enjoy hiking while taking in the changing colors of the trees. The winter often offers snow covered mountain tops, which can affect visibility, but also brings out the local animals of moose and deer. Anytime of year is a good time to enjoy the Canyon. There is also a train from Williams, Arizona that you can take into the park for a full enjoyment of the area with a history of the area and the park.
Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho
The first national park, Yellowstone National Park, was established din 1872. The park expands multiple states and boasts thermal basis and wooded areas. Check out the bucket-list worthy spots of the Mammoth Hot Springs and Grand Prismatic Spring and watching the Old Faithful Geyser. Explore via ski, snowshoe or guided tour on snowmobile in the winter. Bike, trail or even take a guided horseback ride in the spring or summer to view the waterfalls and wildlife. There are over 300 campsites and 12 campgrounds allowing for overnight stays, with open rotations based on the seasons. If a lodge or cabin is more your speed over a tent or RV, there are several lodges and cabins on the property that also are open seasonally.
Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Ohio
From hiking to fishing, fishing to picnicking the Cuyahoga Valley National Park offers a wide variety of activities appealing to all ages. There are even two golf courses within the property, neither are federally owned or operated. If water sports appeal to you, the park offers canoeing and kayaking depending on the season. For the equestrian in the family, there are horse trails marked throughout the park for exploring on horseback. The park also boasts an amazing scenic train ride allowing for complete comfort for visitors of all ages while exploring the park, watching for the local wildlife and learning about the history of the park.
Acadia National Park, Maine
The Acadia National Park along the Maine coastline has hosted 3.5 million visitors on average per year and that many people cannot be wrong. The park boasts 158 miles of hiking trails, 27 miles of historic motor roads and 45 miles of carriage roads for exploring by both modes of transportation. If heading to the park in the winter, part of Park Loop Road is closed by December 1st each year, but the Ocean Drive and Jordan Pond Road remain open for exploring by vehicle or snowshoe across the carriage roads. Hike via the trails in the Spring and Summer as the trails are steep and can become slippery in the fall and winter. This is the perfect park for bird-watchers with numerous bird watching locations from Cadillac Mountain to Otter point to watch for seabirds and songbirds and even Snowy Owls!
Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
The Shenandoah National Park boasts an amazing 105-mile-long drive called Skyline Drive making it easy to take in the spring or fall foliage from the comfort of your vehicle. Once you have driven and explored to your hearts content from your vehicle, check out a hiking trail. There are various levels of hiking that appeal to all ages, and several the trails are pet-friendly to leashed pets. Old Rag is beautiful all year around, why not share the view and exercise with Fido! Stay overnight by camping in a tent, one of the public use cabins or at the three lodges along the trail. Most facilities are open seasonally, with opening typically in early spring and closing in November so plan accordingly for your trip.
Stay up to date on safety and current road and park conditions by searching for the park you are getting ready to explore at www.nps.gov. Get ready to unplug from technology, plug into nature and your travel partners! Where will you go in 2022?
-- This article originally appeared on the Millie Journal.
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