GoCampingAmerica.com | Posted May 5th,


How to Make the Most of your Visits to
Our National Parks


Happy Camper Blog



March 1, 1872
was a landmark day for Americans since it was the day when Congress
established our first national park—Yellowstone—in the Territories of Montana
and Wyoming “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.” In the years that followed,
the U.S. added many more parks and monuments, and in 1916, President Woodrow
Wilson signed the act creating the National Park Service (NPS) to conserve
the scenery, natural and historic elements and wildlife within these
treasured lands so they can be enjoyed for generations to

Now, more than a century later, there are 63 officially-designated
National Parks in the U.S., American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In
size, they range from less than 100 acres (Gateway Arch
National Park
in Mo.) to the massive
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park in Alaska that
spans more than 13 million acres, making it the size of Yosemite, Yellowstone
and Switzerland combined. The breathtaking scenery of our National Parks is
equally as diverse and includes mountains, lakes, canyons, shorelines, red
rock formations and lush forests.

You just may want to add one or more National Parks to your travel
plans this year. Some of the most visited National Parks are
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
(Tenn./N.C.), Yellowstone National Park
(Wyo./Mont./Idaho), Zion National Park (Utah),
Rocky Mountain National Park (Colo.),
Grand Teton National Park (Wy.),
Grand Canyon National Park (Ariz.),
Cuyahoga Valley National Park (Ohio),
Acadia National Park (Maine),
Olympic National Park (Wash.) and
Joshua Tree National Park (Ca.). But there are
many others to choose from, as well.

Here are three ways to make the most of your

  1. Decide which National Park(s) you want
to visit.

The National Park
has a handy “Find a Park” tool that you can search by state
to help you plan your visit(s) to more than 400 sites, including National
Parks, monuments, memorials, historic sites, trails and recreation areas.
Each listing includes basic information, a calendar of events, maps and any
alerts and/or conditions you need to know about. You can also download the
free NPS
, available for iOS and Android devices. It offers interactive
maps of NPS sites and much more.


  2.Find a great campground

Search right here on GoCampingAmerica.com
to find the ideal campground that offers the amenities and services you need
and want. Your campground hosts will be happy to share their local insights
and perspectives on visiting the National Park in their area.


  3. Learn how to do your part to help
preserve our natural resources.

A good place to start is to review the 7 Principles of Leave
No Trace
before you leave. They offer helpful guidelines for
planning for your trip and minimizing your impact on our National

Studies have shown that spending time in nature can offer many
benefits for health and well-being. In fact, the Japanese have created a
term, shinrin-yoku, for this type of therapy. It
literally means “forest bathing” and refers to spending time peacefully
relaxing while benefiting from the restorative properties of being surrounded
by trees. Our National Parks offer many opportunities to engage in this
mood-enhancing practice.

One more tip: As you plan your camping trips to see our incredible
National Parks, be sure to leave yourself enough time to fully enjoy the
experience. Dayton Duncan, who co-authored “The National Parks: America’s
Best Idea” with filmmaker Ken Burns, shared a humorous tale about not
planning to spend enough time.

“The story is, a man came up to Yosemite and the ranger was
sitting at the front gate and the man said, “I’ve only got one hour to see
Yosemite. If you only had one hour to see Yosemite, what would you do?” And
the ranger said, “Well, I’d go right over there, and I’d sit on that rock,
and I’d cry.”

So, enjoy exploring our National Parks! When you get back to your
campground, you’re sure to have a lot of great stories to share around the