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Ten National Parks that I Want to Visit

road trip day 3 024

My family has traveled pretty extensively East of the Mississippi. Sure there are some regions that we’ve yet to explore, like the New England States, but other than that, I think we’ve visited every other state at least once.

We’re busy planning a trip west and along the way we’d like to spend time in some of the National Parks. I know we won’t have time to explore them all but if time and money were no object, here are ten that I’d love to visit.

Ten National Parks I want to Visit

1. The Gateway Arch, which is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial,  in St. Louis, Missouri

How could we not enter the West without visiting the Museum of Westward Expansion? This just seems like a logical stop to me.

2. Mt. Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota

For as long as I remember, I’ve wanted to see Mt. Rushmore. This is a definite stop, even if we have to drive out of our way to get there!

3. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho

Any park that spans three states is worthy of a vacation all on it’s own. Unfortunately we won’t have the luxury to fully explore Yellowstone this time around but we can’t travel out West and miss stepping foot in the very first National Park.  I haven’t even begun to plan this stop, but I know my family will want to see some of the hot springs and Old Faithful.  My boys probably wouldn’t be too disappointed if they saw a bear, bison or elk and as long as they weren’t too close, I’d be okay with that too.

4. The Badlands National Park, South Dakota

The Badlands have been recommended to me on more than one occasion and the pictures certainly look beautiful, though I’ve been told that they really don’t do the area justice. I guess it’s just one of those places that you have to see for yourself.

5. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

I didn’t even know such a beautiful picture perfect place existed until I participated in a post card exchange when my children were younger. We received a picture of a mountain reflected in a beautiful lake. Ahhh….how could we resist?

6. Mt. Rainier Glacier National Park, Washington

This stop is personal, a dear friend of ours that has since passed often spoke fondly of her visits to Mt. Rainier and encouraged us to visit if we ever had to the chance. This stop is for her, our dearly missed adopted grandmother.

7. Mt. St. Helen’s National Volcanic Monument, Washington

I was in 4th grade when this volcano blew its top. I still remember being envious when a classmates’ grandparent’s sent him a jar of ash. It’s time for me to go buy my own bottle of dust.

8. The Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

If we are able to make it to this National Park on this trip, I will be amazed for more reasons than one.

9. Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

If we do make it a bit South this time around, I don’t want to miss the opportunity to check out the cliff dwellings.

10. Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico

It seems that I keep adding and adding to our trip. See, that’s my problem. I just never know when to stop.

Have you been to any of these National Parks? I’d love to hear any tips that you have to offer or recommendations of other parks that you really loved- especially those in the Northwest.

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South Dakota Tourism

Monday 25th of April 2011

Glad to hear that Mount Rushmore and Badlands National Park are both on your list - they are both places that you have to see to believe, and that's what South Dakota is all about. Hopefully you can make it this way soon!

Katlyn RichterSouth Dakota Dept. Tourism Facebook - South Dakota Tourism

Tonya @ Live the Adventure

Friday 22nd of April 2011

Thanks for the tips! I love to glean tips from those that have 'gone before'! So glad you shared! :)


Friday 22nd of April 2011

10 Things for Visiting National Parks in the West

10. Get a National Parks Pass. Free entrance into parks and savings in the Gift Shops.9. Make sure if you have kids to inquire at each park about Junior Ranger Programs.8. While at Yellowstone you can check out Junior Science Kits where your kids can do some pretty cool experiments around Old Faithful.7. After Old Faithful head over to Hayden Valley near Sunset. This is where the Bison roam right next to the road. Amazing.6. Also while at Yellowstone make sure to visit the Canyon Area and see both the Upper and Lower Falls. You can stand right above the Upper Falls, and the roar of the rushing water is incredible.5. Badlands is definitely worth the stop. Make sure to find the Prairie Dog area.4. Mt. Rushmore was a little underwhelming for us in person. It is much smaller than every time you have seen it on television or in a movie. They do have a cool visitor center.3. If you find yourself in Southern Colorado make sure to make a trip to Great Sand Dunes National Park. It is a true natural wonder of our country.2. Mt. St. Helens is a must see as well. It is incredible to view the area from the visitor center and to be able to still see the physical impact of the eruption.1. Be sure to check out to see our thoughts on our travels to all 48 states this year.

Tonya @ Live the Adventure

Thursday 21st of April 2011

Any tips to share, Kim? :)

Tonya @ Live the Adventure

Thursday 21st of April 2011'll be sure to pack plenty of batteries and an extra memory card! Protection Status
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