ENP 14 National Park Week and Summer Travel Ideas
04/22/2019Photo: Michael MakieveBecky Lomax is the author of The Moon Guidebook USA National Parks - The Complete Guide To All 59 Parks. Just in time for National Parks Week, Danielle and Bryan talk with Becky about her favorite itineraries, tips for families planning summer trips, and her lifelong love affair with the National Park Service (NPS).
For summer travel, Becky recommends looking to the mountain parks because they can offer some cooler hiking, biking and scenic drives. Some favorites on the east coast include Acadia National Park, Shenandoah National Park, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Other popular options are Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Glacier National Park, and Rocky Mountain National Park.
Parks generally to avoid in the summer and save for cooler months include Saguaro National Park, Death Valley National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, and Big Bend National Park.
Photo: Katy Jensen
At Bryan’s request, Becky dreams up some wonderful road trip itineraries if you want to hit multiple destinations in one vacation.
Shenandoah and Great Smoky Mountains connected by the Blue Ridge Parkway
Yellowstone and Grand Tetons with either Glacier or Rocky Mountain
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park and Yosemite National Park
Olympic National Park, North Cascades National Park,and Mount Rainier National Park
To enjoy the beauty of the national parks without the crowds, visit lesser known destinations such as Crater Lake National Park in southern Oregon, Lassen Volcanic National Park in northern California, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Wind Cave National Park, and Theodore Roosevelt National Park. If you do find yourself in a crowded spot, remember to hit the trails early for the best experience.
Photo: Cynthia DearingBecky’s best recommendation is to take a deep dive into one park at a time. This approach cuts back on driving and gives you the time to go hiking, do some wildlife watching in the evening, to try fishing or kayaking or to swim in the lakes. As she says, "when you can sit in one park and have a whole plethora of experiences you go away essentially just loving that park because you've had such a rich, rich, full time there."
Photo: Cynthia Dearing
Discussion includes the following:
- National Park Week activities and free entry day - April 20th to the 28th (3:11)
- Reflections on National Junior Ranger Day (6:10)
- How to make the most of your family’s NPS vacation with suggested itineraries and lesser known parks (6:53)
- One of Becky’s early memories of backpacking as a child in Mount Rainier (15:41)
- Witnessing the effects of climate change and glaciers melting (18:48)
- Night Skies, the NPS program that protects nighttime views and one of Becky’s favorite park offerings (22:35)
- Becky’s favorite memories from Grand Canyon National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Kenai National Park, and Yellowstone National Park including a breathtaking moment with the Northern Lights reflecting off a glacier (26:06)