Camping in United States National Parks
American National Parks – the Best Campground Ever. Yep, what better place to take a family camping trip than to one of our beautiful National Parks? They really are extra spectacular. It does’t get any better for outdoor adventures and there are so many National Parks in America. Let’s face it! Well, I need to get outdoors more this summer – doesn’t it sound awesome?
National Park Week
Once again it’s National Park Week! Two weekends each year in April all the beautiful national parks across America open their “doors” and offer free admission. So, it’s a great time for some family camping, backpacking and hiking!
Get outdoors and see some of our countries most spectacular views, amazing falls, crazy, beautiful red rock and even geysers! All sights to behold. If you’re not able to get to a National Park during National Parks Week – it makes sense to buy a National Parks Pass which covers entrance fees and day use fees for all American National Parks. I think the pass is around $80 per year (that’s per car & 15 and under are free). Get one by calling 888-275-8747.
How Many American National Parks Are There?
The number of National Parks in America surprised me. I did some research on our National Parks system and discovered there are 59 National Parks. The National Park service is celebrated its Centennial, 100 years, in 2016. The department was officially opened on August 25, 1916 by President Woodrow Wilson. This year, 2017 is being touted as “Parks 101”.
National Parks by State
Of course, there are parks scattered throughout the US. Alaska and California have the most parks, with 8 in each state. Utah has 5 and Colorado has 4. Those 4 states boast 25 parks, leaving 34 throughout the rest of the nation. Chances are there is a National Park near you.
They truly are our national treasures. So, let’s get out this summer and discover the wonder of camping, hiking, backpacking or just renting a hotel room and enjoying the vast diversity each park has to offer.
Federal Parks and Historical Reserves – Just as Awesome
If there is no National Park close by, you’ll find a National Monument, Historical Reserve or designated hiking trail some place nearby. There are 411 designated areas overseen by the National Park System and a total of 2,000 federal recreation sites in the country – all covered by an annual National Park Pass.
For example, The Appalachian National Scenic Trail starts in Georgia and winds for 2,200 miles through 14 eastern states, ending at Mount Katahdin, Maine.
The Pacific Crest Trail is on the west coast of the United States and it offer 2,659 miles of breathtaking scenery and hiking starting in Campo, California and ending in Manning Park, British Columbia, Canada. This trail also offers the opportunity of hitching up your trusty horse, and riding the trail, as well as hiking.
Camping With Dogs
Speaking of animals, most National Parks will accept Fido, as long as he’s on a leash and kept in the camping areas. They understand that camping with dogs is like – the best!
A few National Parks are more pet-friendly than others. At Acadia National Park, in the state of Maine, your pooch is going to find 45 miles of rustic roads and stone bridges to sniff and explore. Shenandoah National Park, in Virginia, is full of wilderness and offers over 500 miles (some includes the above mentioned Appalachian trail) for your pup’s exploration. Grand Canyon National Park, in Arizona, welcomes dogs, but of course, simple rules apply so he doesn’t “fall overboard”. Cuyahoga Valley National Park in northeastern Ohio and Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado round out the parks which a extend warm welcome to our 4 legged friends.
Most Visited National Parks
307 Million people visited our National Parks in 2015. Amazing!!! I found it interesting that the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee is the most visited of our National Park system. It hosts over 10 million guests annually. #2 was the magnificent Grand Canyon in Arizona and at #3 was Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. Yosemite was #4 and Yellowstone was #5.
While it has nothing to do with National Parks, the most visited Park in the U.S. was good ‘ol Central Park in New York City, with 25 million people stopping by every year. Just thought you’d be interested in that little bit of info. I found it interesting. That’s a bunch of people!
There are so many beautiful American National Parks to visit. I am filling out my bucket list as I type with the ‘must sees’ for my family. Get out there and enjoy all the camping, hiking, fishing, kayaking, canoeing and exploring!
What a great way to build family memories.