This week’s blog will be relatively short and sweet. I have several new series I want to start for this next year and this is among them. I have my official bucket list, but I also have an ongoing list of things that I’d like to do on my off time. They may not be life changing, but they make my life whole. Some examples may include trying that new deli that everyone’s been talking about, visiting a local travel destination I saw on my Instagram Explore feed, or going to a unique new bar that has crafty spirits. So, I always have new things that I want to try out. When I wrote my “What to do in Ohio” blog, I was blown away by all of the things that my friends shared that I’ve never done or places I’ve never seen in Ohio. My ‘to-do’ list for Ohio got a whole lot longer. To get to the point of all of this, I was writing the Ohio blog and I was typing out the words ‘Cuyahoga Valley State Park…’ hmm, that sounds wrong. This, literally one week ago, was when I discovered there was a National Park within 45 minutes of where I live and I didn’t even know it! We literally traveled all over our beautiful country in search of every National Park we could hit on the way, meanwhile not ever going to Cuyahoga Valley National park; but worse, not even knowing it was a National Park. This is when I filed away another new ‘to-do’ list in the old noggin. My newest ‘to-do’ list is to try and see every National Park that United States has to offer. This is also the start of a new series I’d like to host where, after I go to each National Park, I write a blog covering the trails, transportation, parking, traffic, hikes, etc. To start the newest series off, I’d like to list, by state, every National Park that U.S.A. has to offer.
There are 59 National Parks in the United States. Although these National Parks are unbelievably beautiful and incredible sites to see, I don’t want this to limit anyone in what states to visit based off of this list. The National Parks don’t include National monuments, National Historic sites, National Battlefields, National Preserves, etc. which can be just as amazing of a site as a National Park. For instance, Mt. Rushmore is actually a National Memorial but I have to say it was quite an amazing site to see! I’m not all that well at geography of the world and knowing “what’s where,” which is why this blog post is excellent for me to write as I can educate myself on where all of the National Parks are located. As I’m writing it, I’m already learning things such as New York has no National Parks, along with many other states including Alabama, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. This is obviously not to say that these states don’t have amazing things to offer other than National Parks, but for the sake of this series, I’m only going to be covering official National Parks. California is the state with the highest number of National Parks with Alaska following closely behind.
If you’re looking to hit several National Parks within a year, I would strongly suggest you consider buying the America the Beautiful pass. It’s an annual pass, costing $80, available to everyone. This pass gets you into all of the National Parks and applies to two people or two pass owners. Depending on the National Park, they go ‘by car’ or ‘by person,’ so sometimes the pass will apply to more than 2 people. For a lot of the bigger parks (Yosemite, Yellowstone), the general admission is pretty costly, so if you’re planning to go to several in one year, I would plan ahead and figure out admission costs before you go in order to figure out which option would be more affordable: pass or no pass. We went to eleven of the parks during our road trip and we definitely saved money by buying the America the Beautiful Pass. There are also other passes you can buy besides the America the Beautiful Pass including the Senior Pass, Volunteer Pass, Annual 4th Grade Pass, Access Pass, and the free Annual Pass for U.S. Military. The National Parks also host many days that are free for tourists including the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15), the first day of National Park week (April 21), National Public Lands Day (September 22), and Veteran’s Day (November 11). Although there are beautiful places to see besides the National Parks, I believe the government conserved these places for a reason and I think it’s important to see them while they are still there (i.e. Yellowstone could erupt any moment of the day). If you’re like me, you’ll certainly be adding these parks to your ‘to-do’ list, too. Without further ado:
U.S.A. National Parks, Listed by State:
I’ve got 12 down and 47 to go. How many have you seen? And how many do you have to go? Good luck out there and thanks for reading!