There are so many places to travel that it is no wonder you want to know how and why you should travel to a place. You want to know the reasons behind each of the places and why they come recommended. Visit some of the places, visit all of them; the choice is yours on which places are worth the visit and which might be a pass on your list. You can have it all and more right from this one area.
Here are the top reasons to travel in the US if you are looking for somewhere to go. You can be sure to find exactly where you want to find yourself and be able to check out all that this area has to offer.
Tops Reasons to Travel in the United States
If you love to travel, or even if you’re new to it then you don’t have to go big in order to have a good time. There are many reasons to stay in the US, or even to visit the US if you’re not from the area. This can be because there are plenty of things to do, things to see, and of course; culture to take in with each state you come up on.
As compared to traveling the world abroad; this is one of the most affordable trips that both Americans and Canadians can take. Those who are traveling domestically and not internationally are able to save a lot more money by doing so. This is one of the biggest reasons why people choose to vacation in the states.
There is A Lot of History to Be Had
Museums, museums, museums are always inviting and welcoming for those looking for something to do. With the museums comes a wide range of history that brings the excitement to you. You can map out a trip that is holding onto the best museums for the area and go from there, or you can check out what museums are in the specific place you’re visiting. The choice is yours!
There are Many Hidden Gems to Explore
There are several hidden gems that are scattered all around the area. You can expect to find dozens of them within one city. If you ask the people from the area, or those who have been in the area before what these are, they will be more than happy to tell you.
Some of these hidden gems include, but are not limited to:
Rosendale, New York
Geneva on the Lake, Ohio
Pismo Beach, California
Fayetteville, West Virginia
Beacon, New York
You don’t have to visit one of these places, or any of them at all. These are just the highly rated and recommended hidden gems worth exploring from other travelers, like yourself, looking for the best places to visit.
Plenty of Delicious Food
There is plenty of food to eat around each corner that you turn. There are specific cities that provide the best foods, and if you’re unfamiliar with them then it might be time to do a little trip. You can eat at some of the most world-renowned places, too. This gives you plenty of options and some of the most delicious foods out there.
Here is a list of some of the top foody destinations. Of course, it is not exhaustive, and there are so many others throughout the United States offering delicious food worth checking out.
New York City
Wherever you choose to go, you can look up the restaurants in the area and book reservations ahead of time, or find out what types of foods there are being offered. Some of these, like in NYC and Chicago, you will want to do food from the vendors on the streets. This is where the local, delicious foods mostly come from in these larger cities. They’re worth a bite!
The Views are Worth Visiting Alone
The views are something that you want to take in around you. Viewing them from over the cliff or looking at them from another point of view is going to really make you want to continue to visit these places.
We’ve put together a list of some of the best places to get a view from when you’re visiting the states. You can choose one of these top places to visit. Some of them means a trek up a mountain or hill, while others allow you to drive up them. Find out more about each one to see which one would best fit your needs and wants in a vacation with the best view.
The Grand Canyon in Yellowstone
Big Bend’s Heritage Site
A Rocky Yet Enjoyable Time
Montana’s Glacier National Park
Congaree National Park
America’s Highest Mountain
Zion National Park and Canyon
There are so many other places worth visiting in the states but too many to name. If you are looking for a specific spot to look over the edge, you are sure to find some of the most beautiful views here.
Tourism is a Big Part of the Country
Tourism is a big part of the country, and as such, they have plenty for tourists to do throughout each of the states and cities. The country thrives on those visiting the other states, or even just coming to the country. This is one of the best ways for them to make money, but also to boost their economy and culture.
If you’re interested in learning more about one of these areas, then being a tourist in one of them is the best way to do so. Many of the people there will talk with you about their culture and how they live, they enjoy tourism in many of these areas.
Choose a Big City or Small Town
Small town living or big city life; you can have one or the other when visiting the states. You just have to choose which one you feel the most comfortable with. You can find that little gems are hidden all around the cities, towns, and states. You just have to choose which area you want to visit given the specific areas you know, or ones you might have wanted to visit for some time.
Experience a New Way of Life
Depending on where you choose to visit, you may be able to experience a new way of life. There is a lot of different people, ways to live, and things to do. This is something that can teach you more about the culture of others.
NYC is a great place to experience a mix of cultures in one. The same is true for New Orleans, or other areas of interest where settlers and immigrants found themselves moving too. You can learn more about this in the many different places you can visit and get more from. Experience how everyone lives in the many cities, towns, and states throughout the country – it can be worth it if you do.
Shopping is at Its Best
Shopping is one of the best ways to get more out of your time away from home, isn’t it? America is known for their large shopping complexes and plenty of outlet stores that you can visit regardless of where you choose to go.
If you are someone who loves the finer things in life, then this is where you want to find yourself having a good time. You can shop ‘till you drop with so many stores around the tourist areas, but also around the many hotels that you will find throughout the states.
Perfect for Road Tripping
If you’re from the area, or even if you’re flying in, renting a vehicle, and just driving to the many states and cities is one of the best things you can do. This is one country that makes road tripping one of the best ways to spend some down time and see some more stuff. If you want to hit the road, roll down the windows, and let your hair fly then plan out your next road trip!
The Theme Parks are AWESOME!
Theme parks are not everywhere, and because of this; many people will travel to them. This means that you can find them hidden in many of the cities and states that you travel too. There are many top theme parks that you can find yourself spending some down time in. From Universal Orlando Resort to Disney World, all of the finest theme park fun can be found in many of these options.
The United States is like nowhere else in the world that you will be able to visit. Therefore, choosing this as your favorite destination is one of the best ways to get more out of your trip. It is a must visit place for so many who are not from the country, and there are plenty of states for those who are living in the country to visit.
One of the best ways to tour the U.S. is to plan a trip to the country’s national parks and visit popular states, such as Florida or California, or Hawaii. The tropical appeal of the 3 states makes visiting them both exciting and fun.
For example, a trip to Florida or California is not complete without visiting Walt Disney attractions. Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida and Disneyland in California are great places to include on your U.S. travel bucket list.
Another place that spells excitement and entertainment is Las Vegas. Known for its casinos, top-line entertainment, and fine dining, the city also hosts tours to places, such as the Grand Canyon or to the Hoover Dam. Therefore, you can take part in both memorable indoor and outdoor activities while visiting this popular tourist destination.
Keeping Travelers Safe
To ensure your safety, hotels and tourist sites and attractions encourage the use of face masks and social distancing. Hotels have taken added precautions, deep-cleaning rooms for clients so they comply with the guidelines set aside by the Centers for Disease Control or CDC.
If you have any COVID-19 type symptoms or you believe you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19, refrain from traveling until you feel better or stay at home at least 14 days before beginning a holiday. If you feel sick during your trip, postpone further activities until you feel better.
Visiting Disney World – What to Anticipate?
Because of the Pandemic, some changes have taken place at the Disney World amusement park. The primary restrictions, currently in place include the following:
You must wear a mask when visiting the park.
Make a reservation to visit Disney World using the Disney Park Pass Reservation System on the Disney World website.
The park has suspended Extra Magic Hours and Fast Passes currently (as of April 2021).
Firework displays and parades have been suspended (as of April 2021).
Some of the restaurants in the amusement park are temporarily closed.
You must have your temperature checked before entering the park.
Now that you know the current rules, you will know what to expect if you visit the park this summer. You will follow the same types of rules if you visit Disneyland in California.
Riding the Rides at Disney World – Wheelchair or ECV Visitors
If you have a mobility disability, you can refer to the Disney site to check which rides you can access if you use a wheelchair or ECV (electric convenience vehicle scooter). You can hire a wheelchair or ECV in any Disney park on a first-come, first-served basis.
Make Magic Kingdom Your First Choice
When it comes to touring the U.S., you should plan to spend several days at either Disney World or Disneyland. If you plan to see Disney World in Florida, make Magic Kingdom your park of choice if you have limited time. Not only does the park feature a fairytale castle, it is home to the famous Disney characters, Minnie and Mickey Mouse.
Do You Have Small Children? Plan a Visit to Fantasyland
If you have small children, visit Fantasyland, as they have the most rides for visitors in this age group. Be prepared to wait a while in line for popular rides, such as Winnie the Pooh and Peter Pan.
The Space Mountain Roller Coaster Ride
One of the most thrilling rides in the Magic Kingdom is Disney World’s Space Mountain – a high-speed roller coaster that operates in a dark environment with various twists and turns. However, you don’t have to worry about large drops or inversions – you simply will be flying through the “galaxy.”
If you want to wake up fast in the morning, this is the way to do it – no caffeine needed at all. The ride, which is featured inside, allows people in the queue to engage in interactive games while waiting to take the ride. Space Mountain is one of the best rides to ride if you plan to travel visit Disney World and travel through the Sunshine State.
Traveling Down Route 66
One of the iconic roads in the U.S., Route 66 offers quirky sites, retro neon signs, and world-famous museums. It also leads the traveler to spectacular national parks and unique and iconic landmarks. You simply cannot tour the U.S. in the summer without including Route 66 on your list itinerary.
The historic highway runs east-west across the central part of New Mexico, beside a path occupied by U.S. Interstate 40. Until 1937, the road covered a longer route by way of Los Lunas, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque in New Mexico. These areas now make up New Mexico State Road 6, Interstate 25 and U.S. 84.
Route 66 Attractions
Some of the places to see along Route 66 include the following attractions.
Cadillac Ranch – Amarillo, Texas
Just a quick 15-minute drive from Amarillo, Texas, Cadillac Ranch is one of the more unusual sites along Route 66. Planted in the red Texan dessert, 10 half-buried graffiti-painted Cadillacs sit nose-first into the ground. Visitors can create their own artwork by spray painting one of the cars.
The Painted Desert – Indian Wells, California
Another “painted” site along Route 66, the Painted Desert is known for its kaleidoscopic colors. This part of northern Arizona features rocks in various hues – from varying pinks and oranges to deep lavenders and shades of gray. Take time, at sunset, during your Route 66 adventure, to view the fiery colors over the Painted Desert.
Visiting the Mile Bottle Grocery in Oklahoma City
On top of the Milk Bottle Grocery in Oklahoma City sits a giant milk bottle – a strong clue that you have reached another classic landmark along Route 66. While the building served as a milk store and grocery store in the old day, it is now a Vietnamese cafe. If you don’t have time to eat banh mi or drink iced coffee, you can always take a picture of the unique landmark.
The Route 66 Hall of Fame Museum in Pontiac, Illinois
100 miles from the beginning point of Route 66 sits the Route 66 Hall of Fame Museum – home to thousands of memorabilia and artefacts – all depicting the glory days and history of the Mother Road. Learn more about the route, when it was considered one of the most important roads of the day. Don’t travel down the length of the highway without visiting the museum first.
Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles, California
An endpoint for Route 66, Santa Monica Pier serves as the place where the “End of the Trail” sign appears for the roadway. The pier features a large wheel set against a sandy and sweeping beach and a backdrop of the Pacific Ocean. The pier, which is also home to an amusement park and carousel, features free walking tours that allow you to explore the area’s history.
Seeing the U.S. National Parks
Part of your American touring experience should include a visit to one or more of the country’s national parks. By purchasing an America the Beautiful Pass, you can do just that. You can find out more about a pass purchase by following this link. Doing so will make it easier to plan visits to specific national parks.
Visiting the Grand Canyon
One of the great attractions you don’t want to miss when touring America is the Grand Canyon. Located north of Flagstaff, Arizona, the Grand Canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and the fourth most visited park in the U.S. National Park System (NPS).
You can enter the park at the South Rim or travel to the South Rim by train. To take a train ride, you need to begin in Williams, Arizona at the depot. The heritage railroad, the Grand Canyon Railway, transports passengers to the Canyon’s South Rim and Grand Canyon Village. The ride covers 64 miles. Completed in September 1901, the track was built by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.
Grand Canyon Park is now 102 years old (as of 2021). It celebrated its birthday in February 2019. The length of the canyon runs 277 miles or 446 kilometers long and spans 18 miles or 29 kilometers wide. The depth of the ravine falls to 7,000 feet or 1,857 meters.
Staying Cool in the Summertime
If you visit the South Rim of the Canyon in the summer, it can get blazing hot. Therefore, you need to make sure you drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and take the air-conditioned shuttles running through Grand Canyon Village to visit the sites and attractions.
Hiking in the Park during the Summer
If you plan to hike, you need to be in good physical shape, and again, keep plenty of water handy. The Angel Trail, a popular hiking trail in the park, does not offer much shade, so you need to keep this in mind if you do any hiking at all.
Grand Canyon Park Lodging
You can see some historical and unique attractions when you visit Grand Canyon Village as well as stay in some comfortable lodgings. Bright Angel Lodge, El Tovar Hotel, and Yavapai Lodge all get high marks when it comes to staying in the park.
Grand Canyon Village highlights some of the best scenic overlooks in Grand Canyon National Park, one of the best being Yavapai Point. To begin your adventure in the village, start at the visitor center where you can pick up a self-guided walking tour brochure.
Village Sites and Attractions
You can refer to the brochure for more information about the canyon, its history, and the village’s historic sites. Some of these attractions include Hopi House, Lookout Studio, and Kolb House. Learn how the village sprang up around the railway in 1901. You can access the village or travel away from the South Rim by train via the Grand Canyon Railway Depot.
California National Parks
Besides the Grand Canyon, you may want to plan a trip to one of the national parks, this summer, in California. In fact, if you want to see national parks, California is the go-to place for the activity. The state is home to 28 national parks, more than any other state in the U.S.
Yosemite National Park
The most popular national park in California and the U.S. is Yosemite National Park, known for its geothermal springs and activity. Located in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range, the park is famed for its ancient and giant sequoia trees and the granite rock formations of Half Dome and El Capitan.
Visit the Ansel Adams Gallery to view the photographer’s black-and-white images of the area’s landscape and check out the restaurants, lodging, and shopping in the park’s Yosemite Village.
Acadia National Park
If your summer travels take you to the East Coast of the U.S., you might want to include a visit to Acadia National Park. Do you want to avoid the crowds and enjoy pleasant weather? If so, book travel to the park just past the summer season, or 2 weeks past Labor Day. You might consider this part of your summer tour as your last “summer” excursion for the year.
The park, which covers 47,000 acres next to the Atlantic, sits primarily on Mount Desert Island in Maine. The landscape is defined by woodlands, granite peaks, such as Cadillac Mountain, and rocky shores. Cadillac Mountain represents the highest point in the U.S. on the East Coast. Wildlife in the park include bears, moose, seabirds, and marine animals, such as whales. A gateway to the park is the town of Bar Harbor, a bayside town that features popular shops and eateries.
Planning a Trip to Chicago
The Windy City, or Chicago, is always a welcome big U.S. city to visit in the summer, given its lake breezes and high-rise views. Located along Lake Michigan, the city, which is home to 2.7 million people, stands out as the place to go to enjoy art, shopping, and outdoor activities, such as biking, walking, and boating.
The third-largest city in the U.S., Chicago has been described in myriad ways during its history. During the World’s Columbian Exposition, or the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Chicago was known as a City of Industry. Later, during prohibition, mobsters, like Al Capone, turned Chicagoland into a nefarious playground with bootlegging being one of the main activities.
Enjoying the City Sights
While enjoying the city sights, you might consider taking a Chicago Architecture River Cruise or pass the hours looking at the scenery at Chicago’s Millennium Park. To see a bird’s-eye view of the city, head toward Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower).
You can also see some great city views at the John Hancock Center’s 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck. The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago also offers engaging and fun-family activities. Naturally, you cannot visit Chi-Town without eating a deep-dish pizza as well.
A Quintessential Family Vacation – North Carolina’s Outer Banks
If you are seeking the quintessential family vacation, you should set your sights on visiting the Outer Banks of North Carolina. These barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina separate the Atlantic Ocean from the U.S. Mainland. The open-sea beaches, shipwreck diving, and state parks, make the Outer Banks a truly fun place to go when traveling.
Hatteras Island and Cape Hatteras National Seashore in eastern North Carolina make up the Outer Banks area. The history of the locale is replete with pirate lore and stories of shipwrecks. Roanoke Island lies close to the Outer Banks in Albemarle Sound, between the Outer Banks and the U.S. Mainland. The island is the place where Sir Walter Raleigh established the first English Colony in the New World.
One of greatest mysteries of U.S. history, the colony on Roanoke Island was found abandoned in 1590, 5 years after it was first settled in August 1585.
While COVID-19 precautions should be rigorously followed, you do have plenty of choices for traveling the U.S. this summer. When you decide on a destination or route, check with the sites you plan to visit about any travel restrictions currently in place.
Narrowing Down Your Summer Travel Choices
You can narrow down your choices and the travel days by what you have set aside for a travel budget. When making summer plans to travel the U.S., you will need to answer the following questions:
Which accommodations should I choose if I plan to travel with my dog?
If traveling by RV, which campsites should I include on my travel itinerary?
Should I rent a car or use my own vehicle if I am traveling close to home?
When can I get the best deals on airline travel during the week?
What hotels are offering discounts or travel incentives?
Can I use my airline miles to reduce costs for traveling to specific locales?
Who should I contact about getting trip insurance if I plan to zip line or take part in extreme sports activities?
What gear should I carry when backpacking or visiting the backcountry of U.S. National Parks?
What are the luggage requirements for traveling by bus, train, or airplane?
What will I need to pack for the trip?
Always ask questions to make sure you have covered all your bases when it comes to trip planning and touring in the U.S. That way, you can enjoy a more carefree travel experience and travel almost worry-free.
The recent pandemic has not slowed down visitors to U.S. National Parks. You can get an annual pass (as of April 2021) and visit as many parks as you like in the National Park System (NPS).
Taking Pandemic Precautions
The CDC notes being physically active keeps the mind and body healthy. Therefore, visiting the parks and hiking the trails are great ways to get some fresh air and to relieve anxiety. Park rangers are now on duty to uphold the regulations and rules and help visitors, as needed.
When visiting any of the parks, you will need to wear a face mask in federal buildings and other facilities, such as the park’s visitor centers, museums, or inside historic sites. When outdoors, the masks must be worn if physical distancing cannot be maintained.
For everyone’s health and well-being, choose to visit a park at another time if you exhibit any of the following symptoms:
COVID-like symptoms, such as a fever, respiratory difficulties, dry cough, or the loss of smell or taste.
You have had close contact with a person who has been diagnosed or is suspected as having COVID-19 during the past 14 days.
You have been self-quarantining, worried that you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.
An Overview of the National Park System
You can visit more than 420 national U.S. parks, but 63 of the national parks stand out as the most popular – hosting millions of visitors each year. Each of the parks has its own special character and attractions. However, Congress has chosen 63 of the parks as being especially important.
Before visiting the parks, you need to know some of the rules. For example, you should not leave any trace of litter when you picnic in a park. Pick up after yourself, clean up food crumbs, and stay on the maintained trails. Following these basic park rules will help keep the park pristine and keep the ecosystem in balance.
Do not approach the wild animals in a park nor feed them. Animals in these settings may be dangerous. Therefore, it’s best to leave them alone in their natural surroundings. Respect their domain. Keep your distance. (Practice wildlife distancing.) Also, do not take pinecones or rocks from the parks as souvenirs.
Planning for a Park Visit
Before you tour national parks, you should plan ahead. That means you should know when to expect crowds and should reserve your lodgings before your trip. Know where you want to go and what you will be doing when you visit a park. Research trails and get the appropriate permits for exploring the backcountry.
The America the Beautiful Pass
Your entry into each park is the America the Beautiful Pass. While national parks generally charge an entrance fee, buying the America the Beautiful Pass will waive the fee and allow you to visit the parks as many times as you like. Also, you can get some passes on a complimentary basis. To check out the options for the pass, click on this link.
If you plan to visit a specific state, check that state’s national parks before you go on your trip. Most of the popular state parks are found in the western quadrant of the U.S., especially in Arizona (home to the Grand Canyon), Utah (home of Zion National Park), California, Wyoming, and Colorado.
However, the state of Tennessee, located in the eastern U.S., is home to the most popular national park, the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Another popular attraction in the state is the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, part of a trail system that extends from the state of Georgia in the south to the northern U.S., or Maine.
Planning a Visit to Tennessee
If you plan to tour the National Park System (NPS), Tennessee is a good place to start. You can also visit other less-known parks and sites in the state, such as the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park, the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, the Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail, or the Stones River National Battlefield.
Grand Canyon National Park – A One-of-a-Kind Destination
You cannot visit the National Parks in the U.S. without including Grand Canyon National Park, located in Arizona, on your bucket list. The iconic park is just as symbolic as the Statue of Liberty in New York. One of the world’s seven natural wonders, the park is home to paleolithic and rocky gems.
Grand Canyon Stats
In 2019, Grand Canyon Park celebrated its 100th birthday. The canyon in the park spans 277 miles (446 km) in length and 18 miles or 29 km wide. It plunges to a depth of approximately 7,000 feet or 1,857 meters.
The Colorado River runs through the park, home to the oldest rock layers in the world, estimated to be around 2 billion years old. The highest point in the park, the Desert View Watchtower, located on the South Rim, stands 7,522 feet or 2,293 meters above sea level.
Even though the average width of the canyon is about 10 miles (16 km), it takes about 5 hours driving time (215 miles or 345 km) to go from the park’s South Rim to North Rim.
The landscape and terrain of the Grand Canyon is unlike any other site or scenic attraction you will ever see.
You can visit the Grand Canyon anytime. However, temperatures in the summer can reach in the 3 figures when measured in Fahrenheit. Also, the elevations, when hiking the South Rim, can vary – with a rainstorm and colder temperatures often occurring in a lower elevation while it may be bright, hot, and sunny in an upper tier of the park.
Always Check the Weather First if You Plan to Hike
If you do plan a hike in a national park, always check the weather first. Also, always carry plenty of water to stay well-hydrated. You don’t always have access to a plentiful water supply. Give loved ones itineraries of where you plan to hike and when you will be hiking the trails.
California: Home to the Most National Parks in the U.S.
Seeing the Redwood Tree
A redwood tree is a superlative – the tallest, oldest, and most massive tree of all forest trees. The tree is simply awesome to view. California is one of the only places in the world to see the redwood tree – an iconic conifer of the Golden State.
Redwood groves flourish about 12 miles north of San Francisco, but a trip to Redwood National Park defies description. Redwoods actually represent 2 distinct but related species of trees. For example, coastal redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) highlight the tallest living trees on the planet. They can grow as high as 380 feet and span up to 18 feet across. You find the trees bordering the California coast from Oregon down to California’s Big Sur.
Giant Sequoias or redwoods (Sequoiadendron giganteum) are found only in the Sierra Nevada Mountain in California, near the eastern edge of the state. The trees, which rise over 300 feet tall spread as much as 30 feet across. The oldest of the trees have survived and have been in existence for over 3,000 years.
Because redwood forests are abundant in California, many of the state’s state parks have “redwood” in their names.
All of the national parks in California represent varying terrains, from the low deserts of the high Sierras to the lush green landscapes in the north.
Visiting San Francisco and Traveling South
You can easily spend one month just exploring national parks and historic sites in California. A good itinerary to follow begins in San Francisco. For example, once you fly into the city, you can explore sites, such as Golden Gate, Muir Woods, Point Reyes, and the Rosie the Riveter World War II Homefront.
If your journey in California takes you south to San Diego, you will want to visit the Joshua Tree National Park and the Cabrillo National Monument in San Diego. A visit to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, near Los Angeles, is also worth your time.
Visiting Channel Island National Park
If your journey leads you to Ventura, California, take time to visit Channel Island National Park (about an hour’s drive from Santa Monica) before journeying north to Kings Canyon and Sequoia National parks.
You should spend about 3 days in the Kings Canyon and Sequoia parks to take in the major sights. Another park to include on your California National Parks list is Pinnacles. Spend a day in the park before returning to San Francisco.
The Best National Parks to View Wildlife
If you like to view wildlife, some national parks provide better chances for viewing animals than others. Most wildlife come out at dawn and dusk, making these opportune times to view animals. Therefore, you can include wildlife viewing in your plans when camping or spending overnights in national parks. Just make sure you logistically keep your distance and bring equipment, such as binoculars, for safe viewing.
Big Bend National Park in Texas
One of the great national parks for viewing wildlife in Big Bend National Park, located in southwest Texas. The park, which features the entire Chisos mountain range and a large portion of the Chihuahuan Desert, is home to a large array of wildlife, including spectacular sites, such as the limestone cliffs of the Santa Elena Canyon and Langford Hot Springs, sitting near the Mexican border.
If you visit the montaine setting of the Chisos Basin, you can see animals, such as Mexican black bears or Bighorn sheep. In the landscapes that are more arid, you will find animals, such as coyotes, jackrabbits, mule deer, and javelinas.
Do you enjoy birding? If so, Big Bend National Park is one of the best places to engage in the activity. Hundreds of birds migrate over the area yearly. According to park officials, the park has more species of butterflies, bats, birds, scorpions, reptiles, ants, and cacti than any other place in the NPS.
Channel Islands National Park – Ventura, California
Channel Islands National Park in California has been called the Galapagos of North America – another great place to see wildlife in the NPS. The unique isles off the coast of southern California are teeming with endemic animals. You can also see marine animals migrating to warmer waters during boat rides in the area.
Some of the animals that make the Channel Islands home include the fox, a large variety of species of birds, humpback whales, dolphins, porpoises, foxes, seals, and sea lions. The Channel Islands fox and spotted skunk can only be found in the coastal park.
Seeing Grizzly Bears in the Wild
One of the best national parks to see wild grizzlies is Denali National Park and Preserve. Located in Alaska, the park covers 6 million acres in Alaska’s interior wilderness. The main focal point of the park is Mt. McKinley (also called Denali) – the tallest peak in the U.S. The mountain stands at a height of 20,310 feet. Guests who visit the park regularly engage in summer activities, such as hiking, backpacking, biking, and mountaineering.
Besides grizzly bears, the park is also home to other animals not commonly found in other parts of the U.S., including arctic ground squirrels, golden eagles, and wolverines. In the autumn, you can see antlered moose while sandhill cranes, migrating across the park, fly overhead. During peak years, visitors can see large numbers of Canadian lynx and snowshoe hares. Dall sheep and gyrfalcons also inhabit the area.
Dry Tortugas National Park – Florida
Featuring a landscape completely different from the other parks that abound in wildlife, the Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida sits along the Gulf of Mexico, west of Key West Florida. It makes up 7 islands, including protected coral reefs. Fort Jefferson Loggerhead Key in the park features sea turtles and the park’s landmark lighthouse. Near Loggerhead Reef, the remains of an 1875 ship, the Windjammer Wreck, represents a popular dive site. Sooty terns, nest at Bush Key, a popular nesting site for all types of seabirds.
If you camp at the site, you will see hermit crabs, especially on the beaches at night. Hundreds of migrating birds fly over the park annually. One special note – Bush Key is closed to the public. Therefore, you need to bring binoculars if you wish to view the wildlife. The major species in the park include the above-mentioned hermit crabs, sea turtles, birds, and tropical fish.
Everglades National Park – South Florida
While visiting Florida, you may also want to visit Everglades National Park. Few parks in the U.S. have more wildlife than Everglades. Covering 1.5 million acres, the wetlands preserve sits on the south tip of Florida, and often is compared to a slow-moving and grassy river.
The park, which comprises mangroves, pine flatwoods, and sawgrass marshes, provides a home to hundreds of animal species. Endangered animals, such as the leatherback turtle, Florida panther, and West Indian manatee, live inside the park.
The Everglades is the only place in the world where you will see both crocodiles and alligators because of the park’s brackish waters. If you visit the Gulf Coast in the park, you will want to take a boat tour. During the journey, you can spot dolphins, manatees, and pelicans. Shark Valley, in the park, features alligators, herons, and egrets. A visit to Flamingo will give you the opportunity to see manatees, crocodiles, and, yes – flamingos.
The Everglades is also a base for wood storks, ibises, bobcats, freshwater turtles,, and armadillos. If you want to see the same animals in a less crowded location, visit nearby Big Cypress National Preserve. Located in Ochopee, Florida, the preserve sits about 45 miles west of Miami.
Glacier National Park – Montana
You cannot round out a list of popular national parks without including Glacier National Park in Montana. The wildlife sanctuary spans 1,583 square miles of wilderness in the Rocky Mountains, with the park’s glacier-hewn peaks running up to the Canadian border. The Going-to-the-Sun Road crosses the park, which features over 700 miles of hiking trails, with a path leading to the park’s beautiful Hidden Lake. Visitors in the park like to cycle, camp, and backpack.
If you trek trails in the park, you will see marmots, pika, and bears. The park features both black and brown bears as well as several ungulate (hooved) animal species, including elk, mountain goats, and bighorn sheep. Mountain lions also reside in the park, and show up from time to time.
Now Is a Good Time to Plan a Park Adventure
Now is a great opportunity to explore the National Parks in the U.S. By purchasing an America the Beautiful Pass, you can explore the National Park System in one of various locales. Whether you travel to Florida, the northeastern U.S., or escape to a park in the West, you will discover a world that takes you away from the stress, for a while, of everyday living. Set your sights on visiting the parks this coming summer and fall.
Top 10 National Parks – According to U.S. News and World Report
I’ve visited many places internationally, but haven’t explored much of the United States, so I was really looking forward to this trip! I’ve also never been on a group tour so I was ready to try a different type of travel experience to the Cayonlands with Trafalgar.
Mint Juleps, Fried Chicken, and Southern history were the items on my list to see with this trip. his past September I planned a trip with Insight Vacations for the Southern Elegance itinerary. I was so excited to go on a trip with my best friend as we had not had a girls trip in years.