A Handy Guide to Celebrating our National Parks (Happy 100th!)

There’s a lot of buzz this week in commemoration of the National Park Centennial, and for good reason.

With 59 national parks (who knew?!) spanning 27 states there’s something for everyone to enjoy in visiting any of these national treasures.

Below is a roundup of the top five parks, according to National Geographic.

  • The Great Smoky Mountains – with more than 300 million visits in 2015, this vast park ranges more than 500,000 acres and has more than 800 miles of hiking.
  • The Grand Canyon– one of the largest canyons on earth, the Grand Canyon is more than 200 miles of nature’s beauty. We recommend flying to Las Vegas and renting a car for a fun, scenic (and totally doable) four-hour road trip.
  • Rocky Mountains – Another mountainous range, the Rocky Mountains in Colorado have more than 100 lakes and countless streams that are sure to provide a refreshing break from hiking.
  • Yosemite – One of the eight California state parks that is in the national park system, Yosemite offers spectacular views, plenty of hiking and wildlife viewing.  Consider flying to Oakland and renting a car for the two + hour drive.
  • Yellowstone – According to National Geographic, Yellowstone is the very first national park.  This quintessential spot features plenty of wildlife (hello, bison!), lakes, forests and geysers.   Insider tip: Rumor has it that Arrowleaf ice cream in West Yellowstone makes quite the rewarding treat for park visitors.

With gas prices still low, and the crowds starting to dwindle, it’s never been a better time to squeeze in that final summer road trip and check out one (or a few) of these iconic national spots!

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