Happy National Park Week! If you are a regular reader here, then you already know that our family really enjoys the outdoors. We have been daydreaming about trips since the pandemic started, with National Parks at the top of our list. Billy and I have visited a few – Shenandoah (my favorite), Sequoia and Kings Canyon, Mackinac Island, Mammoth Cave, as well as a National Battlefield (Gettysburg), and a National Seashore (Chincoteague) Wyatt has yet to visit one; he has visited a National Lakeshore (Sleeping Bear Dunes), but not a National Park. Yet. And we have a few quick and easy National Park visits lined up for the summer – Cuyahoga Valley NP, Indiana Dunes NP, and a National Battlefield, River Raisin. But we have some pretty big bucket list parks on our list as well. This is my list – Billy and I have some crossover dream parks, but he has a few that are not on mine, and I have some not on his. But anyway, these are the parks on mine!
Acadia National Park, Maine:
Why I want to go: Puffins and whales! I realize I have to get on a boat to do this, and honestly I am terrified of boats, but to see a puffin I will jump onboard one in a second. Also, seriously how beautiful does Acadia look? Mountains, rocky coastlines, forests, all of that calls my name. I took a trip to Maine and the East Coast as a kid and I loved it. I have never forgotten it and have always wanted to go back.
Carlsbad Cavern National Park, NM:
Why I want to go: The bat flight of course!!! I would love to see the bats leaving for the night! The caverns themselves are tricky for our family; they are not wheelchair accessible in a lot of areas due to the steepness of the grading, but there are a few parts that we could visit if Wyatt needs his wheelchair long term. The bat flight is accessible though, and that is my main motivation for going.
Congaree National Park, South Carolina:
Why I want to go: Oo, the trees. So moody. So atmospheric. That old growth forest. The floodplains. And we can canoe right through it! As far as accessibility, canoeing is a good one. And there is a short boardwalk trail so bonus!
Zion National Park, Utah:
Why I want to go: The beauty. The sunsets. The stargazing. And it seems to be a very disability friendly national park, with lots of opportunities and ways to view this park. Billy and I drove across the country one time (in a Uhaul truck, helping a friend move to Vegas) and we didn’t get to spend any quality time visiting the western states that we drove through. We have lots of crazy stories about that trip, and it was fun, but we need a proper visit.
Yellowstone (particularly in winter!)
Why I want to go: It’s Yellowstone!! I want to visit in summer, but if I had to pick just one time to go, I would choose a trip in the winter. First, bears are hibernating. I don’t need to see bears. Especially after listening to the podcast National Park After Dark and all the bear episodes.. no thank you. I also think it would be breathtakingly beautiful! All the snow, everything so pristine and sparkly and magical. Exploring during the day via warm snowcoach, then going back to the lodge at night and being all cozy, looking out at the wilderness. Seriously, this would be a dream trip for me. Huge. I need to do it. A bonus – far less people. And dang it, we want to see wolves!
I would love to visit as many National Parks as possible, but right now, these are the big ones on my list.
What about you? I would love to hear about your trips to any of these parks, or any national park! Or your own bucket list!