In the USA, the National Park system consists of "preserves", where areas of important historic sites, geologic regions, native flora and fauna, etc. are both protected, and open to the public so everyone can learn, enjoy, relax, or have an adventure!

You might have already heard of the Grand Canyon, or Yosemite, or Yellowstone. You might even already be planning to visit one or all of them. But you might not have heard of smaller parks nearby that might just interest you! Some examples: are you interested in volcanoes or the ruins of an ancient civilization? Did you know that Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monuments are just those types of sites, and they're found near Grand Canyon National Park's South Rim. Going to Yosemite to see some of the highest mountains and beautiful waterfalls? Then you're going to be close to the lowest point, nearby in Death Valley National Park.

When you are visiting the USA, whether for business or pleasure, you can find out if there are any parks near where you'll be traveling by visiting the park service's website. From here you can pick out the category of park that would interest you. You can search by any state or region you'll be visiting, or search by topic. You can get a list of all of the parks, monuments, etc. in that area or that relate to your interests. And there are sites for every interest. Want to see Eugene O'Neill's home? Is maritime history your favorite topic? How about music? Do you like New Orleans Jazz? There is something for everyone.

From there, you'll be linked to each park's own website. You can find out mundane details, like when they're open and if you need reservations. Or is there an entrance fee? You can find out what kinds of programs they have available at that park--are there hikes? Photography workshops? Period reenactments?

You'll find suggestions for making the most of your visit. Information on what resources are available. Are there accommodations inside of the park? There will be a list and contact information for any authorized concessionaires within the park. Many park websites will even include a list of nearby attractions that you may find interesting, nearby towns where you could stay, shop, etc.. You'll find maps, driving directions, photos and sometimes even historic documents. 

So if you want to enhance your visit, take a look at all that the nation's parks have to offer.

National Park Pass

And knowing that many parks have entrance fees of up to $25, consider purchasing an annual park pass for U.S. $80.  You can buy it anytime, and it is valid for entrance to all national parks and many other Federal natural, historical, and recreational sites.  It is good for a year from when you purchase it, and covers you and everyone riding with you in your private vehicle.  At parks with a per-person entrance fee, it admits you and three persons accompanying you.  Extra options like campground fees or special tours are not included.  Amusement or theme parks are great, and they have their place in a families' recreation agenda.  But compare the per-person one-day fee for any amusement or theme park to the cost of a whole year's ticket for your entire family to get into Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Acadia, Hawaii Volcanoes, Glacier, Everglades, Mesa Verde, Arches, Crater Lake, Denali, plus over 350 other places of extraordinary natural splendor or historic or cultural significance.  There is no better recreational value in the United States and perhaps in the world!

Purchase a national parks pass.

 

Here is a link to some photographs of U.S. National Parks