Visiting Our National Parks

For years I was focused on stamping my passport. The farther flung and more exotic the destination the better.  As the below collage demonstrates the destinations were wide-ranging, varied and sublime. However, even when I had maximum frequent flier miles to spend going to these distant destinations they required a lot of funds and I dealt with some pretty severe jet-lag. Now that kids and school holidays are a factor, those international trips become even more challenging as does funding them. But that doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice on exotic beauty and gorgeous visits. Our national parks beckon!

El Nido, Venice, Paris, Moorea

In 1864 President Lincoln set aside Yosemite protecting for the first time thousands of acres for generations of us to enjoy. Although Lincoln experienced Yosemite’s vista’s in person he was inspired to protect it from the photos he saw. Numerous presidents followed to create a parks system that spans 27 states and extend into American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Valley of the Giants, Yosemite, California

Over the last several years our family has started exploring our national parks and have been stunned by the beauty, variety, and history available to us. Our son now has a National Parks Passport he gets stamped at each park we visit. When we explored the amazingly preserved cliff dwellings in Montezuma Castle he became a Junior Ranger.

Cliff Dwellings at Montezuma’s Castle

Sunset at the Grand Canyon was so magnificent it was almost hard to describe. I’ll let this photo do the talking.

South Rim of the Grand Canyon at Dusk

We’ve been equally amazed by the beauty at some of our less famous national parks:  The Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan, North Cascades in Washington during the winter, and the Presidio, Fort Point and Point Reyes in California have all been gorgeous as you can see below.

National Parks Views: Sleeping Bear Sunset

The beauty of the national parks we’ve visited is jaw dropping and we’ve barely scratched the surface. We eagerly look forward to Joshua Tree, Death Valley, Arches, Bryce Canyon, and Yellowstone over the next couple years.

What other national parks should we put on our list? Let us know in the comments or become a guest contributor and tell us about your own experience.