national park travel guide

National ParksSource:

Visiting national parks can be an exciting and memorable experience. With natural wonders, scenic vistas, and diverse wildlife, national parks offer something for everyone. However, planning a national park trip can be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time. This guide will help you prepare for your next national park adventure.

Choosing the Right National Park

Choosing The Right National ParkSource:

There are over 60 national parks in the United States, each with its own unique features and attractions. Before choosing a park, consider what activities you enjoy and what you want to see. If you’re a fan of hiking, Yellowstone National Park is a great choice, while Joshua Tree National Park is perfect for rock climbing and stargazing.

Another thing to consider is the time of year. Some parks are only accessible during certain months or have specific events that make them more enjoyable at certain times. For example, Acadia National Park is known for its beautiful fall foliage, while Glacier National Park is best visited in the summer when the Going-to-the-Sun Road is open.

Planning Your Trip

Planning Your TripSource:

Once you’ve chosen a national park, it’s time to plan the details of your trip. Start by deciding how long you want to stay and what type of accommodations you prefer. National parks offer a variety of lodging options, from campsites to luxury lodges.

Next, research the park’s activities and attractions. Decide which hikes or tours you want to take and make any necessary reservations. Some popular activities, such as backcountry camping or guided tours, require advanced planning.

Finally, consider transportation. Will you be driving to the park or flying? If you’re flying, you’ll need to rent a car or arrange for transportation to the park. If you’re driving, make sure to research the park’s roads and parking areas.

What to Pack

What To PackSource:

Packing for a national park trip can be tricky, especially if you’re not sure what to expect. Start by checking the park’s website for any specific guidelines or restrictions. For example, some parks do not allow pets or require bear-proof food containers.

It’s also important to dress appropriately for the weather and activities you have planned. Layers are key, as temperatures can vary throughout the day. Bring sturdy, comfortable shoes for hiking and consider bringing a hat and sunglasses for sun protection.

Other essential items include a water bottle, snacks, sunscreen, and insect repellent. If you’re planning on camping, make sure to bring a tent, sleeping bags, and cooking supplies.

Staying Safe

Staying SafeSource:

National parks are beautiful, but they can also be dangerous if you’re not prepared. Before heading out on a hike, make sure to research the trail and bring a map and compass. It’s also important to let someone know where you’re going and when you plan to return.

If you’re camping, be aware of wildlife and follow any guidelines for storing food and garbage. Never approach or feed wild animals, and make sure to keep a safe distance.

Finally, always follow the park’s rules and regulations. These are in place to protect the park’s natural resources and ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone.


Visiting a national park can be an unforgettable experience, but it’s important to plan ahead and stay safe. By choosing the right park, planning your trip, packing appropriately, and staying safe, you can make the most of your national park adventure.

FAQ Answer
What is the best time to visit a national park? The best time to visit a national park depends on the park and what you want to see. Some parks are best visited in the summer, while others are more enjoyable in the fall or spring. Check the park’s website for more information.
What should I pack for a national park trip? Essential items include comfortable shoes, layers, a water bottle, snacks, sunscreen, and insect repellent. If you’re camping, bring a tent, sleeping bags, and cooking supplies.
Are national parks safe? National parks can be dangerous if you’re not prepared. Always follow the park’s rules and regulations, let someone know where you’re going, and be aware of wildlife.