Five National Parks to put on your list as the National Park Service commemorates its 100th anniversary.
This year the National Park Service is commemorating its 100th anniversary and encouraging everyone to share in the celebration. Here are five parks to put on your list.
1. GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK, TENN.
Tennessee is home to this 800-square-mile wonderland, offering a treasure-trove of outdoor opportunities for all ages. The heavily forested park is well known for its plant and animal diversity, including a healthy population of black bears. Enjoy picnicking, hiking the nearly 800 miles of trails, horseback riding and fishing.
2. EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK, FLA.
A birder’s paradise, you’ll follow paved roads or wooden boardwalks to spot warblers, mangrove cuckoos, herons, egrets and other wading birds in the country’s largest subtropical wilderness area. Eagles, hawks and osprey also abound in this 1.5 million-acre park.
Home to 360 species, a World Heritage Site and designated a Wetland of International Importance, the National Park offers a free Junior Ranger program to enhance the experience for young explorers.
3. ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, MAINE.
Explore the rocky Maine coast via kayak, just as the Penobscot native people did centuries ago. The Maine Island Trail, comprising 325 miles of waterway, passes through the park and offers abundant sea life, views of the scenic coastline and the opportunity to camp in protected coves.
Open and private guided tours enable visitors to sample or fully immerse themselves in the splendor of the area’s natural beauty and rich wildlife. Nighttime tours include the chance to see planets, a sea of stars and, at times, bioluminescence.
4. GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, ARIZ.
Hike, photograph, raft or paint this wonder of the world. Explore the Bright Angel Trail for great views of the inner canyon. Choose day hikes to the Three-Mile Resthouse or to Indian Garden. With plenty of advance planning you can reserve a campsite at the Bright Angel campground or bunks at Phantom Ranch on the canyon floor for a full experience.
Other options include combining your Grand Canyon adventure with a road trip on historic Route 66. In Williams, hop aboard the vintage Grand Canyon Railway train for a memorable journey to the South Rim. Choose from several classes of service and various vacation packages, some of which include a night’s stay within the park.
5. MOUNT RUSHMORE, S.D.
Tucked within the Black Hills of South Dakota, Mount Rushmore is among the most famous monuments in the country. A tribute to four men and their contributions to our nation’s history, Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln are carved into rock for the ages. Hiking, biking, wildlife and other tourist sites are nearby.