Why Your Next Vacation Should Be at a National Park

August 25, 2016

Today, August 25, 2016 is the one hundredth birthday of the National Park System. To celebrate, I want to convince you to take your next vacation/road trip/ day off to a National Park.

For the past three summers, my family and I have ventured off to National Parks. In 2014, we went to Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona and Zion National Park in Utah. In 2015, we went to Yosemite National Park in California and Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. And this summer, we went to Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

These last three summers spent at campgrounds and insufficiently air-conditioned cabins, I bonded with my family like never before. I saw some of the most beautiful waterfalls, geysers, and forests, I stared down some of the most frightening cliffs and canyons, and most importantly, I have made memories that will last a lifetime.

National Parks are underappreciated and certainly underfunded. These parks contain some of the most breath-taking views in the world, yet many kids would rather run around their neighborhood playing Pokémon Go. National Parks take one out of their comfort zone by putting them in a place with no cell service or Wi-Fi (or otherwise known as nature.)  When everyone has their phones down, the kids can’t play games or check social media, Dad can’t make work calls, and Mom can’t check Facebook to see new recipes. With everyone phoneless, one is able to truly bond with their family. This is an important feat, as in today’s world it is nearly impossible to connect with loved ones amidst hectic lives at home.

National Parks help one face his or her fears and do some of the coolest things imaginable. While at the Grand Canyon in 2014, my family decided to ride mules into the canyon. At first this seemed like a carefree, sit-back-and-relax type of ride, but we soon realized the pathway was about three feet wide with a drop-off of a couple hundred feet to our left the entire time. My Mother, being quite afraid of heights, was initially very fearful of the mule riding. But, nonetheless, she was able to conquer her fear eventually, as we rode further down the narrow path. Once in a lifetime experiences like this not only make memories, but can aid in conquering one’s fears.

Unfortunately, our dog Oakley was not able to come on our trips, but there was no shortage of animals to fill the void. In Zion National Park, we saw Desert Tortoises, rattlesnakes, lizards, big horn sheep, mule deer, and rock squirrels. Unfortunately, in Yellowstone, we were not able to see any Grizzly or Black Bears, but instead found some wolves through a telescope. Nonetheless, the National Parks have some of the most incredible, yet endangered animals in the world.

To see some of the wildlife, stepping out of your car and venturing into the wilderness may be necessary. Activities in National Parks are a great way to explore the land around you. In Grand Teton National Park, my family went white water rafting and we rode ATV’s. On the Snake River we saw Bald Eagle’s perched in trees, as we rowed past; on a path in the middle of nowhere we rode our ATV’s right up to a giant Moose. All-terrain vehicles aside, hiking is a great medium of exploring the parks. Hiking up and down mountains has brought me to some picture-perfect views and has also gotten me in shape for the upcoming East Ice Hockey season.

By now, you should be convinced…you can’t go wrong by taking a trip to a National Park. Lace up your hiking boots and fill up your water pack, it’s time to go out and explore the amazing National Parks!

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    grandmom and grandpopAug 27, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    Dear Jared:
    One of your best articles, if not the best. The pictures were also amazing.
    We loved, loved, loved It.