Mindful Travel Series: National Parks

It’s vacation season and you’ll want to make the most of this precious time. This year the Mindful Living Network is debuting a travel series, with each article featuring a different summer travel destination. This week we start our Mindful travel series with an American treasure: our national parks.

America’s first national park, Yellowstone, was established with the Congress Act of March 1, 1872. It created a national park movement that led to President Woodrow Wilson signing the Organic Act, establishing the National Park Service, on August 25, 1916. Today over 400 parks, monuments, and sites are cared for by the National Park Service, which has over 20,000 employees. The 100th year anniversary is this year, so there is a lot to celebrate. In fact, there are two men in particular who are taking advantage of what our parks have to offer in this milestone year.

Thirty-year-old Darius Nabors quit his job last year so that he and his friend, Trevor Kemp, could visit all 59 U.S. national parks in 59 weeks. Nabors’s inspiration for the travel adventure was his father, a former park ranger. With the fast pace of one park visit a week, the two should be done by August this year.

 

Do you want to start your own park travel adventure? Here are some Mindful tips. 

Choose the right parks

Which of our nation’s parks would you like to visit? You can try a local park to learn more about local history and your local environment. Or you can visit out-of-state parks. The Great Smoky Mountains, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Zion, and Glacier are some of the most visited national parks. You can also try visiting some of our nation’s most famous national landmarks, such as Grand Teton, Mount Rainier, Chimney Rock, and Devils Tower.

Consider your lodgings

When you visit a national park be sure to choose comfortable lodging for you and your family. You can try a nearby hotel or, if you truly want to connect with nature, you can try lodging on the grounds or camping. Be sure to make your arrangements in advance.

Know what to pack

While you’re in the national parks you’ll need the right tools. If you’re camping you’ll need sleeping bags, tents, camp-kitchen goods, flashlights, and other equipment. A first-aid kit and printed maps are also a must. And don’t forget to bring your camera, extra memory cards, and binoculars.

Get the kids involved

Many parks have junior ranger programs or young scientist programs. You can sign your kids up at your local park. For more kid-friendly tips, there’s the National Park Foundation, which lists 35 national park adventures for kids.

Use the visitor center

Even if you have maps and a ton a research, you should still stop by the visitor center. They will have up-to-date information about the conditions of the parks as well as current weather forecasts. You can also get personalized advice about what you should see or do.

Check out part two of this series here.