Your Complete Guide To Visiting National Parks

There are over 420 national parks across the United States of America, with 62 of them dedicated to preserving the country's natural resources.

Each of these offers abundant opportunities for immersing yourself in nature's wonders on unforgettable camping trips.

So, if you're looking for answers to the question, 'which national park should I visit?'. Read on. 

Here's your guide to national parks in the USA and how to make the most of them. 

Visiting National Parks

You don't have to go camping when you visit one of our country's national parks, many of them offer alternative lodgings in the form of cabins, or nearby hotels.

However, you can't beat the feeling of rising to the early morning glow in a canvas tent, with all the sounds of nature around you or cooking your evening meal over a fire under blazing night skies.

Camping's by far the best way to truly immerse yourself in these gorgeous destinations. Here's how to make the most of your time in a national park:

Choose the Best Time of Year

Some parks close at certain times of the year, and you might not want to tackle the winter climate on your first camping trip, so do a little research before you head out.  

If you're looking for a tranquil escape, remember, summertime is peak season in the national parks. Rather opt for one of the transitional seasons when things are a little quieter unless you enjoy the buzz of having plenty of people around.

Of course, if you're traveling with kids, you'll need to take their schooling commitments into account too. Otherwise, the best time to enjoy the parks is in the late spring just before the summer crowds arrive.  

Get the Gear You Need in Advance

Make a list of everything you need and make sure you take it all with you. You don't want to waste time searching for a camping store in unfamiliar territory.

If you're not an experienced camper, it's a good idea to have a trial run at a nearby location before heading off to a distant destination. 

Book Ahead

Most national parks with campsites welcome unannounced arrivals but it's always best to book your spot in advance, especially during busier times. America's most visited parks like the Smoky Mountains and Grand Canyon parks can get booked up a year in advance.  

Avoid disappointment by booking your campsite as soon as you have your travel dates. When you book ahead, you'll have more time to stock up on everything you need, pack properly, research activities, and plan your stay. 

Plan Your Stay

Vacations always whizz by sooner than you think. You don't want to run out of time to make the most of all the great things to do during your stay. 

Make a list of all the activities you want to try and draw up an inventory for your trip. Remember, there are many trails, historic sites, and pastimes to enjoy in every national park. 

Chances are you'll discover that there's no way you fit it all into one trip, so planning helps you choose the activities best suited to your interests in advance.

Don't miss the chance to try some of the guided tours on offer, they're an excellent shortcut to discovering the best that your destination has to offer. There are also some handy apps you can use to fine-tune your stay, like the National Parks service apps as well as many other online offerings. 

National Park Guide to Activities

There's no shortage of ways to make the most of your stay in a national park. 

You can enjoy hiking and backpacking through mountains, forests, lush plains, or vast deserts, take a kayak down raging rivers, or paddle peacefully in gentle streams.

Do you prefer the joys of horseback riding? Head for the Great Smoky Mountains, Haleakala, Bryce Canyon, or Capitol Reef National parks to discover scenic trails through the countryside.

Fishermen love to try their luck in the abundant waters of Biscayne, Yellowstone, Great Smoky Mountains, Voyageurs, and Katmai national parks. 

Climbing's a popular pastime wherever the mountains reach up toward the sky, but the most popular places to scale the heights are Yosemite, Yellowstone, Zion, and Glacier national parks. 

Seasonal Activities

During the winter months, you can head for the hills in your snowshoes to take on some of the country's most exciting landscapes adorned in their winter finery. Acadia, Glacier, and Rocky Mountain national parks are some of the best places to try the challenges of cross country skiing. 

In the fall, the Great Smoky Mountains, Shenandoah, and the Rockies glow with brilliant hues of orange, red, and golden yellow. 

Wildlife and Wildflowers

Wildflowers and wildlife abound in our national parks. The valleys of the Rocky Mountain and Glacier National Park flourish with wildflowers, while Death Valley National Park features stunning rare blooms for the botanical enthusiast to tick off their list.

The bigger parks provide opportunities to catch up with large mammals and well-known birds. Yet, you shouldn't neglect the opportunity to enjoy some of the little guys who are at home in every park too. Squirrels, wood rats, and rabbits are delightful campground visitors across the board. 

All national parks offer abundant opportunities for photography whether you're a selfie-enthusiast or traveling with all the latest high-tech gear. From mountains to lakesides, and ocean shores, you'll never run out of things to focus on in our national parks.

Now's the Time to Get Moving

From sea to shining sea, America offers endless opportunities to indulge in nature's bounty. Make the most of it with the best camping gear from Big Sky Canvas. 

Browse our product range for all your camping essentials or read our blog for more information. 

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Net Orders Checkout

Item Price Qty Total
Subtotal $0.00

Shipping Address

Shipping Methods