Choose the perfect national park for your family vacation

There are so many choices that are crucial to choosing a vacation destination. When it comes to more than just you and your friend or partner, it seems to get even more complicated. Small and even family vacations should not make you drink or rip your hair out. These are just a few tips to help you make your choices a bit less stressful.

The first and simplest question that you can ask yourself is what you and the people you are going to be with are happy to do. Are you an outdoor type, an indoor type or a combination? Are you all athletic or in good shape? Do you like hot weather, mild or cold seasons? Is sightseeing on your agenda or are you just an activity-oriented type? Do you like to rough it? Do you want more camping, fishing, hiking, climbing, horseback riding, bird watching, wildlife observation, history, learning how some of the unique formations in the park have arisen, snorkeling, swimming, diving, sailing, boating? Kayaking, whitewater rafting, photography, hunting or simply lazing in beautiful places?

Next, you need to consider how much time you need to spend and how much time you will have. There are so many national parks and monuments that are relatively close to people, that it is not expensive to go there. Some of the exciting wilderness areas in Alaska can be expensive, but if you have the money and enjoy nature, it's definitely worth making an incredible experience that you will not soon forget.

Apart from that, only the choice of your destination remains. Keep in mind that almost every area offers low-cost travel options and moves from there to more expensive ones. Just because you go to a national park does not mean you have to put up with it. There are many opportunities for hiking, climbing, fishing, water sports, etc., where you do not have to sit around a campfire and enjoy nature, if that's not your style.

Camping is generally considered to be the cheapest type of vacation after you make your first investment in camping gear. This can be a decent amount, but keep in mind that the equipment usually lasts for several years. It is generally true that the camping fees in the parks are cheaper than an average hotel room. And if you own a mobile home, you can camp comfortably. Most campsites are in beautiful surroundings and provide easy access to the park's highlights. There are very few parks where there are no campsites. When you camp, you usually cook your own food, which also saves you money. And no, you do not have to eat hotdogs all week, unless you love that!

If you live in the Midwest, there are plenty of parking options within driving distances that can not be more than twelve hours or less, depending on where you live. Of course, you can always choose where you want to fly, but some parks are a bit removed from the nearest airport. Driving a car gives you the luxury of carrying everything you need for a comfortable stay.

My favorite pick for the Midwest is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This is undoubtedly one of the best all-round parks for the family. It falls into the states of Tennessee and North Carolina. You can choose to hack on the Appalachian Trail, camp on a campsite or in the wilderness, or stay in luxury suites or budget hotels near Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, TN. And speaking of Pigeon Forge, you have Dollywood and all the countless attractions that they offer in the area. On the North Carolina side, there are more campgrounds, the city of Cherokee with several Indian souvenirs and museums, white water rafting and fly fishing (the last two are actually offered in both states). The mountains are beautiful and are great for photo shoots. For more information, visit our Great Smoky Mountain website.

Another good option is Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and State Park. They also have camping and wildlife viewing, especially bird watching. On a unique coast, you can walk the beach or swim in Lake Michigan. You even have areas where you can bring your own horses and ride. For those of you who love sightseeing and history, you can visit the five houses of the 1933 World's Fair, or attend the gathering in Calumic in early May, where fur traders and voyageurs from the Eastern Forest Indians and the Western Great Lakes re-enact life like along the river Calumet from 1730 to 1830.

If you enjoy boating, there are several places in the Midwest, but the two northern ones are the Voyageurs National Park and the Isle Royale National Park. Voyageurs is in Minnesota and Isle Royale is off the north shore of Michigan in Lake Superior. Both offer great wilderness adventures as well as canoeing, kayaking, motor boating and fishing. Voyageurs is considered a water park, which means you need to take the boat to the actual park, but it's only a short drive. There are camping or lodges that can help you to equip yourself. So you can boating on the waterways and find the great fishing spots. Isle Royale is a long boat ride or a short "puddle sweater" flight. There is only camping in the wild, but there is also a lodge for those who only enjoy day hikes and some comfort. There are kayaking, fishing, backpacking and wildlife. The longest running research program deals with wolves and elks, diving and shipwrecks. It is truly a unique ecosystem to watch.

The west of the USA has much more to offer in national parks. The most famous is Yellowstone, where you can see Old Faithful and many other geothermal wonders and one of the few places in the lower 48 where you can observe grizzly bears up close. You will also see bison nearby, so be careful. It is on the border between Wyoming and Montana. There are numerous ranches and lodges to stay in or camp in the park. There are also great opportunities for fly fishing, kayaking, rock climbing and backpacking. Another highlight is the Grand Canyon National Park. This is located in Arizona, again on the border between Arizona and Nevada, but also near the southern border with Utah. It is part of the Grand Staircase, an immense series of sedimentary strata that runs south from Bryce Canyon National Park through Zion National Park (both in Utah) and ends at the Grand Canyon. There are camping, backpacking, day hikes, white water rafting and many photography opportunities.

Other great parks in the west (though they are all great places to visit) are Yosemite, Channel Islands, Redwood, Arches, Olympia, Grand Teton, Canyonlands, Rocky Mountain, Gunnison Black Canyon, Mesa Verde, Crater Lake Mt. Rainier and Sequoia. All these activities are very widespread and are suitable for vacationers & # 39; Needs and wishes. Please visit our individual park pages for more information on each of these great parks.

The eastern United States also offers great opportunities for a vacation. Maine's Acadia National Park offers unsurpassed views of the northern sea and cliffs that you will not find in other parks. There are also fishing, island exploration, hiking and beautiful gardens to admire. Further east is the Shenandoah National Park in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. The 101-mile Appalachian Trail crosses the park and offers numerous hiking and backpacking opportunities. There is also camping, fishing, bird watching and horseback riding.

In Florida, there are three national parks and a nature reserve, of which the most famous is Everglades. Everglades is so much more than what you have seen on TV. The wildlife is phenomenal and makes it easy to take some great animal and bird pictures. There is also camping in the wild (watch out for alligators!) Canoeing, fishing, airboat rides, hiking and rare as well as beautiful flora. Located just off the Everglades, Big Cypress National Preserve is also very similar to cypress, mangrove and endangered species like the peregrine falcon and the Florida panther. Activities include fishing, cycling, canoeing, hiking and hunting. Biscayne National Park is located on the eastern tip of South Florida. The third longest coral reef area in the world offers snorkeling, diving, sailing, swimming, fishing, canoeing and kayaking, making it a popular national park holiday for family vacations or adventurous outdoor vacations. The Dry Tortugas National Park is a unique park that preserves Fort Jefferson, built and never completed during the Civil War, and terns and turtle nesting sites. You can snorkel in Key West, fish in saltwater, swim, lighthouses, boat trips, beach camping, boating, diving, bird watching and underwater photography of some of the best coral reefs and marine habitats of the South enjoy Florida.

I would like to reiterate that this was just an overview of some of the stunning parks that can be seen in our national park system. I urge you to take a look around our website and read some of the park pages of the areas you would like to visit to find the perfect place for a wonderful holiday full of experiences. Memories and remarkable Photos. Much of the research has already been done for you. Dive in! With the National Parks, your options are truly endless.

Corie Marks