Exploring our National Parks

America has many beautiful national parks.  Unfortunately, they are spread all over the country and if you want to visit them, you have to be prepared for a very long drive or spend thousands of dollars on rental cars and air lines – unless you have a flying car!

Several years ago, my husband and I decided to take a few such trips, but didn’t want to deal with commercial flights and rental cars, so our only other choice at the time was to drive.  In total, we spent about 2-1/2 months driving around the country and while it was great to visit those parks, we had to drive thousands of miles to do it.

In California we visited Yosemite and Redwoods;  Oregon: Crater Lake;  Washington: Mt. Ranier and Olympic;   Alaska:  Denali,  Montana:  Glacier and Yellowstone, which is also partly in Idaho and Wyoming;  South Dakota:  Mt Rushmore;   Wyoming:  Grand Teton;   Utah:  Bryce Canyon and Zion.  We also went to Banff and Waterton Lakes in Canada.

In the eastern part of the country, it was Maine: Acadia Park;  New Hampshire: Flume Gorge,  New York: Mt. Vernon and Jamestown;  Pennsylvania: Gettysburg;  Virginia: Arlington and Monticello;  the Great Smokey Mountains;   Mississippi: Vicksburg;  New Mexico: Carlsbad Caverns and Arizona:  the Grand Canyon.

Of all the parks we visited, I have to say that my top picks were Denali, the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone, for different reasons.  Denali is probably number one in size, grandeur and the wildest, but it’s not very accessible.  The Grand Canyon is also beautiful and gigantic, with wonderful grandeur, but accessible only along part of its edge.  Yellowstone is very large, wild and extremely beautiful and you can drive all around in it, often coming close to wild buffalo.  It’s really hard to choose my absolute number one pick.  I’d like to know which national park others would place at the very top.

I know that there are airports near the following national parks:  Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Crater Lake, Redwoods, Mt. Rushmore, Grand Teton and Yellowstone and there may be others.  There are also many smaller national parks and monuments around the country that are worth seeing.   It would be fun to take another trip and see them, but if I ever go again, I want it to be in a Switchblade!

-Marcia Winborne-Graven

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