Exploring America’s National Parks

by Kristen Kellogg 

Today marks the 100th year anniversary of America’s National Parks. It’s been an educational week for me — I’ve been watching Nat Geo TV between film edits.

With all fifty-nine of America’s National Parks to see and explore, where does one even begin?

Not too long ago, I explored my very first National Park. You would think with all the traveling under my belt I would have been to a dozen or more by now, but I’ve spent so much of my time on long haul flights to faraway places saving closer to home and backyard adventures for later dates. I’ve still only been to three of the fifty eight parks. That shall soon change.

Back to my first of America’s National Park adventure…

I crossed two things off of my list on that first visit:

1. My first visit to one of America’s National Parks
2. My first time flying in a Seaplane

Dry Tortugas, Florida Keys, Florida National Parks

Dry Tortugas National Park is just 70 miles from Key West. This national park is not just about the destination, but so much in the journey getting there and back if you opt into the seaplane. We soared above transparent turquoise water with the pilot pointing out sharks swimming below, neighboring sailboats, and giving a general lay of the sea. Once you arrive, walking the fort is great, but make sure you bring a suit and save some time to sink underwater and snorkel the vibrant marine life.

The other two parks I’ve since explored were on a weeklong glamping and cycling adventure with Terra Glamping through Southern Utah.

cycling zion national park

photo by Justin Hackworth Photography

We spent an early morning riding through magnificent Zion National Park. I saw my first mountain goat in the wild on this adventure!

Number three on the list: Bryce Canyon. This place is dreamy with a capital D. The chalky oranges dressing the largest number of hoodos in the world make for dramatic landscape photography. Blanketed in snow, painted sunrise and sunsets, and underneath the luminous starry sky, at any season, Bryce is beautiful.

Bryce Canyon hike

I’ve got plenty more on my soon to explore list… like Glacier National Park, Acadia National Park, Everglades National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and Haleakala National Park to name a few (my travel friend Spencer has covered some serious National Park ground — you can read about his National Park adventures here).

So… where will you explore?

Lucky for you, you can get out and explore all of America’s National Parks for free this weekend, August 25th-August 28th. If you’re not around to run off into the wild this weekend, each April there’s a National Park week where you an go off and explore for free. Find other fee free days in 2016 here.


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