Okay, I know you’re wondering why I titled this piece “National Parks – America’s Newest Destination.” The first national park, Yellowstone, was signed into law in 1872, and in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the “Organic Act” creating the National Park Service. So how can National Parks be a new destination? Maybe a better way to say it would have been, “America’s Most Revisited Destination Due to a Global Pandemic,” but that didn’t quite have the same ring to it!
While 2020 brought about much difficulty and unforeseen challenges, it also forced us to find good in new things, or things we had lost sight of. For me, that was the resurgence of interest and visitors to our National Parks. Instead of being cooped up, we found a way to get outside and be free, while being safe. I call it, “My 2020 Silver Lining.”
I grew up visiting National Parks. Our family would load up our cherry red Ford Thunderbird (and then later our baby blue Chevy Conversion Van) and hit the road. The Black Hills, Mount Rushmore, Yellowstone National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Carlsbad Caverns…the list goes on. I loved staring endlessly out the car window, watching the landscape evolve from corn fields to mountains to ocean. There was always something new to see and explore and my curiosity was always piqued.
While I have visited National Parks throughout my adult life, those trips pale in comparison to my visits during 2020. During the global pandemic, National Parks served as an escape; a place where I could safely leave the confines of my home or “bubble.” I looked at the mountains, the hills, the monuments, the flowers – EVERYTHING – with eyes wide open. I had a fresh, new perspective and an even greater appreciation for our National Park System. I wasn’t the only one…
National Park vacations and tours have soared over the last year, and I do not see an end to this trend anytime soon. Americans have rediscovered a love of our own backyard. We don’t have to travel internationally to explore great vistas. We have them right here!
Are you ready to pack your bags and go? Our team at FTM Travel can help plan your National Park visit! Whether a self-guided driving experience, a private tour, or group tour, we can plan your next adventure. So let’s get out and explore!
National Park Travel Tip: Have kids? The National Parks are perfect for family vacations! Be sure to check out the Junior Ranger Program to add a fun and educational component to your trip!