They call it “America’s best idea”. In 1916, America created the world’s first protected National Park. It was an idea that would take off around the world, and dramatically impact the United States. For any traveller wanting to experience the beauty of the great outdoors, this decision has made America one of the greatest countries to travel in the world.
There are 59 protected areas called National Parks in the United Sates. To be selected as a National Park, an area must have natural beauty, unique geological features, unusual ecosystems and recreational opportunities (but they don’t necessarily have to have all of these).
The first was Yellowstone National Park, which straddles the borders of Montana and northern Wyoming. The park was signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1872. 44 years later, the National Parks Service was established “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and wildlife therein, and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”
America is a great country to drive around, and the National Parks are built (for better or worse) to cater for this. Some of the most beautiful roads in the world can be found inside the country’s network of parks. The campground we stayed in were mostly superb, ranging from remote walk-in campgrounds through to serviced yet secluded campgrounds with hot showers and well stocked general stores.
A lot of people visit the US for famous cities like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, but to miss the parks would be a terrible shame. This year we spent close to 60 nights camping around the US as we made a way to a few of the country’s most spectacular parks.
- Acadia National Park, Maine
- Olympic National Park, Washington
- Mt Rainer National Park, Washington
- Glacier National Park, Montana
- Yellowstone National Park, Montana and Wyoming
- Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
- Arches National Park, Utah
- Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Added to that:
- Mt Hood National Forrest, Oregon
- Cape Cod National Sea Shore, Massachusetts
- Mohawk Trail State Forrest, Massachusetts
- Mt Greylock State Park, Massachusetts
- Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah
We’ll be posting about all of these places in the coming months.