U.S. national parks are one of the most sought-after and beloved destinations. They are diverse given the beautiful landscapes, lakes, beaches, geysers, mountains, and stunning wildlife thriving in them. The U.S. houses as many as 61 national parks and 418 national park sites. Hence your vacation details will depend on where you are heading next.
You can spend a gala time in every season by paying a visit to any one of them. Millions flock to some of the most popular parks, namely Yosemite, Yellowstone, Rocky Mountain, and Grand Canyon National Parks. However, if you are visiting the parks in 2021, you will need to do the following.
1. Choose a park
The very first step is to select a National Park you desire to go to! Several factors help you decide. What activities do you want? How far can you travel? Are the children coming with you? What sort of landscape did you wish to view? The N.P. Service has excellent online tools to assist you to find a park nearby you.
Decide on how you will get there. We recommend road tripping if you plan to camp at an N.P. Traveling in your vehicle is logistically a lot easier. Also, we recommend considering the time of year as during peak season you won’t find any wildlife, but the weather will be great.
2. Use Park maps
If you are outside the service area, the GPS on your phone will not work. Also, some parts of a National Park may not have a strong signal, especially if you are out on the trails. Hence, it would be best to use the old-fashioned, good paper map of all national parks. These maps can be found in any visitor center wherever your trip to the U.S.
3. Be informed of the regulations.
It is always pivotal to comprehend a park’s regulations that you are going to visit. Some parks have restrictions and fees about how many people can camp there and the camping type permitted. Do make sure you know about the regulations through the regulation section of a National Park’s website.
This year, however, knowing the regulations also includes swearing by the COVID regulations in each park. Go through the COVID regulations on each park’s website to avoid issues later and stay updated regarding any changes in policies.
4. Check weather
Weather is an essential determinant of our trips. The weather plays a crucial role in our planning, from what we bring to where we stay to what activities we will engage in. Thus, the National Weather Service website is the best website to check for the weather.
This website lets you stay updated with accurate information for trippers of all kinds. The Joshua NP, for instance, has a more temperate climate. Other NPS like Rocky Mountain and Olympic National Parks are snowy. Check the night and daytime temperatures if you plan to camp, especially during early summer or spring.
5. Do not be glued to the camera.
Yes, we understand that getting perfect shots for the gram is essential because how else will you flaunt your visit to your friends! But remember that while you are glued to the camera for snapping stunning photos, you can forget to unplug. We recommend looking up from the mobile screen and reveling in the beauty of the park.
6. Do not interact improperly with wildlife.
You can spot the most spectacular and incredible wildlife in the National Parks. No other place will let you witness the big cats, coyotes, wolves, elks, bears, or bison. However, keep in mind that there is a wrong and proper way to deal with animals. We suggest giving animals their space so that you do not end up threatening them. To have a safe visit, follow the N.P.’s rules in entirety.
7. Do not miss watching the sunrise.
The best part of camping outdoors in an N.P. is watching the sunrise. Most people sleep until noon and miss this beautiful scene. Of course, you must have seen multiple sunrise(s) in various cities but ignoring it in an N.P. is such a shame.
8. Fill up the gas tank
NPS in the U.S. is not easy to reach. Hence, the last thing to get caught up is running low on gas. Remember that areas in an N.P. include hundreds and thousands of acres of protected land. Hence, you may not get a pump station close by. Thus, be sure to fill your tank and carry extra tanks if possible.
9. Do not go off the trail.
The top priority is to stay safe. You cannot behave as some over-smart hiker and get lost in the national parks. Remember that going off-trail can lead to injuries or even death. Try to go easy on your wilderness skills.
In general, follow a map, get a trail guide, and stick to a designated trail to stay safe when traveling to a U.S. national park. We recommend paying attention to the warning barriers and signs so that you keep away from hazardous areas.