1. Avoid peak times, which is the summer months and holidays. Nearly 300 million
visitors descend on our national parks annually! Did you think you were the
only one with the bright idea to visit Mammoth Cave or Glacier Bay? While
Disney can be quite nice in the winter, national parks are not. Spring and fall
are the best times to visit. Go to the most popular places first thing in the
morning to beat the crowds. If you’re not a morning person, go at the end of
2. Decide on your choice of lodging. Do you want to stay at a campsite or in a cabin or
at a motel? Even campsites require reservations and get booked up fast. To
learn more or make a reservation, www.recreation.gov.
Lodges are wonderful but usually the most expensive option.
3. Do your research. What is there to see and do? Go fishing? Hike a great trail? Go
birdwatching? Eat dinner at a famous lodge? Is a Park Pass worth your while (http://www.us-parks.com/park-fees.html)?
4. Now that you know what is there and what you want to do, how do you plan to
achieve it? Independent travel? Escorted tour? Or something in between? In the
end, cost may be the deciding factor.
5. Be prepared. Have the right clothes and gear. Don’t wear brand new hiking boots!
Break them in before your trip if you don’t want blisters. Stay hydrated and
wear sunscreen. Be sure to carry a park map at all times. Stick to the
designated trails. Watch for warning signs, such as “Alligator Area” or “Beware
of Snakes.” Keep a close eye on children and pets. Carry snacks in case there
is limited food options. Good choices are energy bars, energy drinks, fruit,
string cheese, and canned meat.
For more information, visit http://www.nps.gov/index.htm
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