Road Trip Nation: On The Road To Adventure

Summer has finally arrived, which means it’s time to hit the road in search of adventure.

Hyannis, Massachusetts © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Hyannis, Massachusetts © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

So get out there and make some memories as you travel this beautiful country of ours.

But before you go, there’s the planning. Don’t just hit the road. Choose right.

The road trip is one of North America’s grand traditions—a chance to travel and see things from ground level. And with thoughtful planning you’ll avoid the “are we there yet” blues often associated with family vacations.

Where to road trip? Here are four road trips that will awaken your senses and make you glad to be “on the road again…”

Highway 6, Cape Cod, Massachusetts 

Cape Cod is an arm-shaped peninsula located on the Easternmost portion of Massachusetts. It is a well-traveled tourist and vacation area, featuring miles and miles of beaches, natural attractions, historic sites, art galleries, restaurants, and a variety of campgrounds and RV parks.

Scenic Byway 12 travels through some of the most diverse, remote and ruggedly beautiful landscapes in the country. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Scenic Byway 12 travels through some of the most diverse, remote and ruggedly beautiful landscapes in the country. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Allocate some time to explore this charming 117-mile route that wends through Cape Cod. You will go through forests, past saltbox homes in colonial villages, tidal ponds, and eventually end up at the Provincetown harbor. Don’t miss the towering sand dunes and beaches.

Along the route you can enjoy a bike ride along the sandy shores or bask in the sun before finishing the day munching on a plate of delectable, fresh seafood. But be prepared to spend a lot of time on stops in quaint Cape Cod towns like Hyannis, Easton, Wellfleet, Truro. You will have good chowder. See sand dunes. Drink some craft beer. Hear the slapping Atlantic Ocean. Maybe buy some antiques. This is Americana.

Word of advice: stick with weekdays.

Scenic Byway 12, Utah

Highway 12 is one of the most scenic highways in America, receiving the designation of All American Road in 2002. The highway has two National Parks, Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef, at each end and many other scenic points in between.

The route goes for 124 miles at significant elevations (9,000 feet) through forested mountains to the amazing bald mountains in Boulder. From there the road begins following a narrow ridge along the red canyons of Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bryce Canyon National Parks.

The Green-backed Heron, the smallest Florida heron, is found along the Tamiami Trail. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The Green-backed Heron, the smallest Florida heron, is found along the Tamiami Trail. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Around each bend, there are surprises: eroded towers and ramparts, dense forests of aspen and fir, pinyon and sagebrush, rolling slickrock, variegated buttes and mesas, snaking canyons, and rock walls varnished with mineral stains.

Part of the challenge of a road trip on Scenic Byway 12 is deciding which of several beautiful side trips to take: Bryce Canyon National Park, Kodachrome Basin State Park, Escalante Petrified Forest State Park, Calf Creek Falls, Burr Trail, and Capitol Reef National Park.

Tamiami Trail, Florida

Take a scenic road trip through the Sunshine State, enjoying a route that connects historical Florida with its modern counterpart. A National Scenic Byway, the Tamiami Trail (U.S. Highway 41/State Road 90) is 264 miles of warm sunlight, salty breezes, and lush vegetation. The highway is described as the Beauty and the Beast of Florida roadways by the St. Petersburg Times, winding its way through the Florida Everglades, hammock oaks, and sandy pines.

Passing through Ruskin, Bradenton, Sarasota, Fort Myers, and Naples, the Tamiami Trail connects Tampa to Miami. It forms a portion of the northern boundary of Everglades National Park and provides access to Shark Valley Slough and observation tower. The road is the only way to access the Big Cypress National Preserve Visitor Center and Headquarters.

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Discover Okanagan Valley © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Now, let’s go RVing to the beautiful Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Osoyoos? Okanagan? Oh, and how do you pronounce that again?

The northern most point of the Sonora Desert is British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan Valley.

Located in the southern interior, the Okanagan is characterized by a dry, sunny climate, beautiful landscapes, and a series of lakes. The mountains are lined with ponderosa pine, which give way to cacti, tumbleweeds, and fragrant sage brush. An ever-changing panorama, the valley stretches over 150 miles from Osoyoos in the south to Vernon in the north.

If you’re not familiar with this pocket of British Columbia, then think, peaches and beaches, wine-tasting, foodie-filled, great outdoor experience and fun in this, Canada’s only desert.

The pairing of some stellar Okanagan Valley wines is all part of the experience.

And that’s the beauty of the Okanagan Valley region, and Osoyoos in particular. Grapes grow alongside desert-like dunes; low-lying golf course greens huddle between mountain peaks.

Worth Pondering…

Free again! All it takes is a clean windshield and a full tank of gas, and you feel a terrible craving to be “on the road again”. Let’s see what’s over the next hill complex. Is that Willie Nelson singing. For real, there’s the music of this friendly engine pushing you along with the lyrics of the road.

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Deer Tick Infestation closes Massachusetts Campsites

The busy summer season is over, and usually by this time the officials at Nickerson State Park on Cape Cod close one of their seven camping areas, but this year they are closing three of their campsites.

Diagram of the relative sizes of tick species at various life stages. (Credit: tbdalliance.org)

Instead of a lack of campers, it’s an infestation of Deer Ticks which is the reason. These pests are the carriers of Lyme disease.

Department of Conservation and Recreation officials note while they closed the three campsites that were closest to the problem areas, people can camp in other parts of the state park, they just need to dress appropriately and check each other for ticks when they leave, reports WBUR in a special series, “Living with Lyme.”

It’s a concern that swept this state park after nymph and larvae-stage ticks were found here this summer.

“What people were finding at Nickerson is, they’re finding like hundreds of these larvae on their little kids,” Cape’s Deer Tick Program Coordinator Larry Dapsis told NECN.

Dapsis said there were several factors that made this season worse than a typical year.
“There were so many days above freezing last winter the ticks had many, many opportunities to get a blood meal and lay eggs and so we have probably had a ‘kagillion’ more eggs than normal that were laid and are hatching out now.”

A small acorn crop last fall meant the tick’s favorite meal, mice, weren’t out as often feeding in the woods, Dapsis added.

Stages of the life cycle of a deer tick. (Credit: canlyme.com)

“So with fewer mice that meant the ticks were out there for a longer period of time so it increased the probability that they were going to encounter an alternate host like a person.”

“A disease like Lyme disease, the transmission is not immediate, it takes at least 24-48 hours of attachment before the risk of getting the transmission goes up considerably.”

DCR officials say they moved anyone who was supposed to be camping in any one of the three affected campsites and they gave refunds to any campers who didn’t want to move.

“It’s an unavoidable risk in this area,” Kevin McNamara told NECN.

Kevin and Lisa McNamara live right next to Nickerson State Park in Brewster, Massachusetts. They say they know the deer ticks have been prevalent this year and they understand the state’s decision to shut down nearly half of the park’s campsites to try to protect people from tick-born illnesses.

Lisa McMamara said, “Actually I think it was wise, just having a son who was so ill with Lyme disease.”

She says the symptoms were devastating. “Oh my gosh, high fever, aches, I mean literally couldn’t get out of bed.”

Trust Your Instincts and Protect Yourself (Courtesy of Time For Lyme, Inc., affiliate of Lyme Disease Association, Inc, Greenwich, Connecticut.)

Protect yourself. Check yourself, family members, and pets for ticks daily. Remember that ticks are carried by deer, mice, birds and other small animals. Nymphal ticks are the size of a poppy seed in early spring and are particularly hard to find. They are active above 35 degrees. You can be reinfected repeatedly each time you are bitten by a tick.

Observe. A person infected with Lyme disease can exhibit symptoms within days of exposure, but symptoms may appear weeks, months, or even years after the bite.

Treatable. Lyme disease in its initial stage is often easily treatable; however, delayed diagnosis or inadequate treatment can lead to serious brain, heart, or joint problems.

To remove, grasp the tick with fine-tipped tweezers and pull upward with steady, even pressure. (Credit: cdc.gov)

Examine/evaluate. Early symptoms can include headache, stiff neck, numbness, tingling, fatigue, swollen glands, and migratory pains that may come and go. Late stage symptoms are generally multi-systemic and can be very serious.

Co-infection. A single tick bite can transmit more than 1 tick-borne illness, such as babesiosis, anaplasmosis, or tulermia.

Youngsters. Children ages 5-12 are at the highest risk for being bitten by ticks because they often play in tick habitats. Children often find it difficult to explain the subtleties of how they are feeling, and may often appear well and remain physically active.

Obvious. A person may have Lyme disease without presenting the most obvious and “classic” symptoms such as bull’s eye rash, flu, joint pain, or swelling.

Understand. There are over 100 strains of Lyme disease in the United States; therefore, length and choice of antibiotic treatment vary greatly. Standard treatment of 2-3 weeks may be insufficient.

Recurring. Many people who suffer from Lyme disease experience symptoms that come and go over time.

Symptoms. The symptoms of Lyme disease, (also known as the Great Imitator) may mimic those of multiple sclerosis, lupus, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, mononucleosis, Alzheimers, Guillian-Barre Syndrome, ALS, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson ’s disease, ADD, or ADHD, GERD, or many other diseases.

Lyme disease can affect behavioral and cognitive functioning. Memory loss, attention deficit and processing problems, mental confusion, slurred speech, disorientation, irritability, depression, anxiety, and learning problems have all been reported as a result of Lyme disease.

Worth Pondering…

What people were finding at Nickerson is, they’re finding like hundreds of these larvae on their little kids.

— Larry Dapsis, Cape’s Deer Tick Program Coordinator

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50 Amazing Places to RV

You might have seen it on a shelf and thought, “I should pick that up.”

The 17th-Century English Village is a re-creation of the small farming and maritime community built by the Pilgrims* along the shore of Plymouth Harbor. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The 17th-Century English Village is a re-creation of the small farming and maritime community built by the Pilgrims* along the shore of Plymouth Harbor. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It’s the national bestseller, “1,000 Places to See Before You Die.”

Sometimes the best adventures are those in your own backyard.

Here, in alphabetical order, are 50 things to do or see in your RV before you die:

Plimoth Plantation, Massachusetts

A living history museum in Plymouth, Plimoth Plantation depicts the original settlement of the Plymouth Colony established in the 17th century by English colonists. Visitors relive the past by experiencing a living museum that showcases the distinct lives of two cultures that came together during the 1600s.

The interaction between guests and the current day Wampanoag and people playing the part of the original English colonists, provides keen insight into life in Plymouth during the times of early colonial life, and uneasy, yet respectful, relationship that existed between the colonists and the native Wampanoag.

Quartzsite, Arizona

A dusty destination in the middle of nowhere—but, come January, the little town of Quartzsite transforms into the vendor capital of the world and becomes the largest gathering of RVs and RVers on the planet.

This sleepy Arizona town has become famous for luring snowbirds who like to browse amid RVs and RV products, gems and minerals, crafts and hobby items—and the “mother of all swap meets.”

Continue reading →

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

A mere two-hour drive from Denver, Trail Ridge Road takes visitors into the heart of Rocky Mountain National Park, traversing a ridge above 11,000 feet for 10 miles. Along the way, tiny tundra flowers and other wild blooms contrast with sweeping vistas of towering summits; 78 of them exceed 12,000 feet. Alpine lakes reflect the grandeur.

On a one-day blitz from the East Entrance, drive Trail Ridge Road as far as Farview Curve for the classic overview of the park’s mountains, valleys, and tundra, then double back and take Bear Lake Road to see a collection of scenic lakes

Saguaro National Park, Arizona

An Arizona highlight is a visit to Saguaro National Park near Tucson—the only place in the United States where unique “man-shaped” saguaro cacti grow. The towering saguaros which can grow up to 50 feet in height are the highlight of this national park, of course.

Tucson, Arizona is home to North America’s largest Cacti. The Giant Saguaro is the universal symbol of the American West. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The scenery is spectacular and captures the beauty that is so unique to the region. Saguaro National Park is divided into two segments in Tucson: Saguaro East (Rincon Mountain District) and Saguaro West (Tucson Mountain District).

Santa Fe, New Mexico

A combination of altitude, desert, and pueblos has produced a magical city that bears little resemblance to nearby Albuquerque or anywhere else for that matter.

Santa Fe is the United States’ longest continuously occupied state capital. Located high and dry in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, this well preserved center of Southwestern art and architecture attracts visitors with its galleries, cuisine, and play of light on its adobe buildings. Santa Fe is referred to as “the city different,” a city that honors its Native American, Hispanic, and Anglo heritages.

Continue reading →

Sedona, Arizona

Nestled within the red rocks, Sedona attracts four million new and returning visitors each year, making it the second-most-visited place in Arizona, after the Grand Canyon. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Nestled within the red rocks, Sedona attracts four million new and returning visitors each year, making it the second-most-visited place in Arizona, after the Grand Canyon. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Sedona is an Arizona destination not to be missed—a must-see wonders.

Sedona easily makes the “A” list of RV destinations in the U.S. due to its rugged western appeal and colorful rock formations. Tourists come from around the world to absorb the natural wonders of Red Rock Country and Sedona, its centerpiece.

Sedona’s mesmerizing red-rock country is unique to the world. The Sedona community offers so much—history, archeology, arts, culture, hiking, biking, off-road adventure, and spiritual and metaphysical meditations.

Continue reading →

Please Note: This is Part 7 of an 8-part series on 50 Places to RV Before You Die

Worth Pondering…

People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.

—Saint Augustine

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50 Spectacular RV Trips

You might have read it or flipped through it or seen it on a shelf and thought, “I should pick that up.”

A Blue Ridge Parkway experience is unlike any other, a slow-paced and relaxing drive revealing stunning long-range vistas and close-up views of the rugged mountains and pastoral landscapes of the Appalachian Highlands. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
A Blue Ridge Parkway experience is unlike any other, a slow-paced and relaxing drive revealing stunning long-range vistas and close-up views of the rugged mountains and pastoral landscapes of the Appalachian Highlands. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

It’s the national bestseller, “1,000 Places to See Before You Die.”

Sometimes the best adventures are those in your own backyard.

Here, in alphabetical order, are 50 things to do or see in your RV before you die:

Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina & Virginia

The Blue Ridge Parkway is a National Parkway and All-American Road noted for its scenic beauty.

Meandering 469 miles from Shenandoah National Park in the northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, the Parkway follows the Appalachian Mountains and boasts some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. It runs through the famous Blue Ridge Mountains, a major mountain chain that is part of the Appalachian Mountains.

Brenham Creamery Company, Texas

Blue Bell ice cream is an icon in Texas. I consider ice cream to be a food group—and there’s no better ice cream available than Blue Bell.

In 1907, the Brenham Creamery Company opened its doors to sell butter. By 1911, they had put together milk, cream, eggs, and fruit fresh from local farmers and were making a gallon or two of ice cream daily, packing it in a large wooden tub with ice and salt, and delivering it by horse and wagon to neighbors. By 1930, Blue Bell Creameries had been born, and today their ice cream is a true Texas favorite.

What makes an exceptionally good thing good? For the answer, visit “the little creamery” in Brenham—I think you’ll find out.

Continue reading →

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon's limestone has eroded into rock fins and spectacularly-shaped spires called hoodoos. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Bryce Canyon’s limestone has eroded into rock fins and spectacularly-shaped spires called hoodoos. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Bryce Canyon National Park is actually less of a canyon than it is a series of natural amphitheaters sunk into pink cliffs and filled with delicate red rock “hoodoos.”

Millions of years of wind, water, and geologic forces have shaped and etched the surreal landscape. The most brilliant hues of the park come alive with the rising and setting of the sun. Bryce is an unforgettable experience. The 37-mile scenic drive will also get you to key overlooks and vistas, such as Sunrise, Sunset, Rainbow, Yovimpa, and Inspiration Point.

Continue reading →

Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona

A comparatively little-known canyon, Canyon de Chelly has sheer sandstone walls rising up to 1,000 feet, scenic overlooks, well-preserved Anasazi ruins, and an insight into the present day life of the Navajo, who still inhabit and cultivate the valley floor.

The northernmost and southernmost edges are accessible from paved roads—the North and South Rim drives. The South Rim Drive offers the most dramatic vistas, ending at the most spectacular viewpoint, the overlook of Spider Rocks—twin 800 foot towers of rock isolated from the canyon walls and a site of special significance for the Navajo.

Continue reading →

Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Canyonlands National Park covers a vast area of rock wilderness in southeastern Utah. Over millions of years, the rivers and their small tributaries have carved the flat sandstone rock layers into many amazing forms with a wide range of colors.

The 530 square miles of the park contain countless canyons, arches, spires, buttes, mesas, and a myriad of other spectacular rock formations.

The Island in the Sky region of Canyonlands is a wide high plateau with commanding views across many miles of deep canyons in all directions. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
The Island in the Sky region of Canyonlands is a wide high plateau with commanding views across many miles of deep canyons in all directions. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The sheer unbridgeable canyons of the Green and Colorado rivers divide Canyonlands into three distinct sections—Island in the Sky, The Needles, and The Maze—which differ in the types of landscape found there, the number of visitors and the available facilities.

Continue reading →

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Cape Cod juts out from Massachusetts, extending 70 miles into the Atlantic Ocean. The Cape and the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard offer miles of glorious ocean beaches, quaint villages, art galleries, outdoor recreation including biking, hiking, and golf. Lighthouses, grassy dunes, whales, salt marshes, seafood, cottages, resorts, shopping, restaurants, clam bakes, pubs, galleries and, oh, yes, a little nature and history.

Each island town has its own personality, but they all share a relaxed way of living, clean saltwater air, and a sense that you’ve discovered a place where time might occasionally truly stand still.

Please Note: This is Part 2 of an 8-part series on 50 Places to RV Before You Die

Worth Pondering…

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the places and moments that take our breath away.
—George Carlin

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2011 Top 10 Great Streets in America

The Great Streets designation is part of the American Planning Association (APA) Great Places in America program, which began in 2007 and recognizes unique and exemplary streets, neighborhoods, and public spaces each year.

Santa Monica Boulevard, West Hollywood, California

Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. (Credit: panoramio.com)

There was a time, not too long ago, where “you took your life in your hands just to cross Santa Monica Boulevard,” said Jeff Prang, a member of the West Hollywood City Council. Today, this reconstructed main street embraces pedestrians, linking them to neighborhoods, landmarks, and traditions.

U Street N.W., Washington, District of Columbia

In 2009 when president-elect Barack Obama ordered a chili half-smoke at the famous Ben’s Chili Bowl along U Street N.W., crowds flocked to the legendary eatery and the street it has anchored since 1958. U Street has gone through difficult times. Today the street is pulsing again with the music, businesses and life.

Front Street, Lahaina, Hawaii

Front Street packs in everything that makes Lahaina, Lahaina: wooden storefronts, second-story balconies, public parks, art galleries, eateries, residential quarters, whale-watching tourists, divine views of the majestic West Maui Mountains, Lahaina Harbor and island of Lanai, and an archeological site dating to the year 700.

Main Street, Galena, Illinois

Once known as a great place to discover antiques, Galena and the surrounding rural communities in Jo Daviess County have grown into a haven for craft artisans, outdoor sports enthusiasts and nature lovers. (Credit: loghome.com)

Its alignment shaped by steep hills rising up from the banks of the Galena River, Main Street presents a nearly unbroken line of 140 buildings from the 19th century that help Galena live up to its reputation as “the town time forgot.” A destination for more than a million visitors each year, only cosmetic changes have affected the three- to four-story buildings that were reconstructed along Main Street following fires in the 1850s.

Main Street, Nantucket, Massachusetts

Round, uneven cobblestones pavers bring an immediate sense of history and intimacy to Main Street. Church spires, tree-shaded Greek Revival mansions, and the town’s waterfront frame the views up and down the street. More than two dozen sidewalk benches, located next to the “Hub” and the local drug store, invite residents and visitors alike to sit and visit, watch the comings and goings of downtown Nantucket.

Washington Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri

Once mostly vacant and deteriorating, Washington Avenue today has reversed decades of urban decline to become one of St. Louis’s most popular districts. A virtual museum of late 19th and early 20th century warehouse architecture clad in brick, stone, and terra cotta, this monumental corridor imparts one of St. Louis’s most cohesive vistas.

Market Street and Market Square, Portsmouth, New Hampshire

A public lottery held in 1762 paid for paving the Market Square in Portsmouth. In the 250 years since, the square and three streets originating from it—Market Street, Pleasant Street, and Congress Street—have remained the hub of downtown commerce and community life year-round.

Davis Street, Culpeper, Virginia

When a bypass for U.S. Route 29 took travelers out of downtown Culpeper in the 1960s, businesses in the 200-year-old town closed, and crime plagued streets originally surveyed by a young George Washington. When Norfolk Southern prepared to demolish part of the historic train depot in 1985, residents and downtown business owners joined together to save the building. The effort led to a much larger revitalization effort that saw quick results: in 1993 Culpeper was named one of “America’s Top 10 Small Towns.”

King Street, Alexandria, Virginia

Historic, vibrant, and eclectic, King Street has been enhanced by active planning and implementation through its evolution from an 18th century colonial seaport and 19th century center of trade to a center of 21st century commerce and tourism. Planning and preservation have ensured that King Street, part of the “Old and Historic District” in Alexandria’s “Old Town” neighborhood, balances the past with the present.

Downtown Woodstock Streetscape, Woodstock, Vermont

The American Planning Association just named the downtown Woodstock streetscape one of the top ten great streets in America. (Credit: thebluehorseinn.com)

Downtown Woodstock’s four principal streets—Central, Elm, North Park, and South Park—bring together scenic mountain skylines, early 19th century New England architecture, the center of community life, and 250 years of history.

Details

American Planning Association (APA)

The American Planning Association (APA) is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities.

Website: planning.org

Note: This is the last of a three-part series on the American Planning Association (APA) Great Places in America program.

Part 1: 2011 Top 10 Great Public Spaces in America

Part 2: 2011 Top 10 Great Neighborhoods in America

Worth Pondering…
Whether you stay six weeks, six months, or six years, always leave it better than you found it.

—Jim Rohn Enhance

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10 Ways for Kids to Play in America’s National Parks

With 395 parks across the country consisting of over 84 million acres, there are endless adventures custom-made for kids of all ages in America’s national parks. In honor of National Public Lands Day tomorrow (September 24), when national parks across the country will waive their entrance fees, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation have unveiled ten great ways for kids to get out and play in America’s national parks.

Kicking things off tomorrow, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation will welcome Nickelodeon and their 8th annual Worldwide Day of Play to Washington, D.C.’s President’s Park. Located next to the White House, President’s Park will be home to the largest Worldwide Day of Play to date, with an entire day of activities and games—encouraging kids to get up, get out, and get to a national park! In that spirit, Nickelodeon’s television networks and websites will go off-air and offline from 12 noon to 3 p.m. EDT as a signal to kids and families nationwide to get active.

Whether it is this weekend or any weekend, America’s national parks offer endless activities the whole family can enjoy. This National Public Lands Day, the National Park Service and National Park Foundation invite everyone to go out and play.

Following are ten fun-packed national park adventures for kids and their families:

Maine: Acadia National Park

Sea-life bingo keeps youngsters excited tallying green sea urchins, orange sea stars, and other curious marine creatures that reside in tide pools that surface at low tide. Watch for harbor seals farther out in the water.

Florida: Biscayne National Park

Families visiting Biscayne between December and April can sign up to attend “Family Fun Fest”—a day-long program held on the second Sunday of those months and focused on activities tied to the park’s diverse resources.

Massachusetts: Cape Cod National Seashore

Cycling is one of the best ways to get around the Cape thanks to its paved rail trail, which leads through the woods, pass kettle ponds created by retreating glaciers, and to spurs leading to Coast Guard, Marconi, and Le Count Hollow beaches.

Wyoming: Grand Teton National Park

Teens looking for a challenge can measure themselves against the Tetons, thanks to climbing schools where world-class guides will teach them the basics and lead them to the summit of 13,770-foot Grand Teton.

Colorado: Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve

Kids love to get sandy on the tallest sand dunes in North America. Rising to about 650 feet, these dunes in the heart of the park are perfect for skiing, sand-boarding, or just plain old rolling down.

California: Lassen Volcanic National Park

Budding geologists will be fascinated with Lassen Volcanic, as it can count all four major types of volcanoes—shield, plug, cinder cone, and composite. There’s even a Volcano Club kids can join to learn more about this volcanic landscape.

Kentucky: Mammoth Cave National Park

Let's Go RVing to Joshua Tree National Park, California. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A Mammoth Cave trip is built around a cave tour with the family, or three! Take the Violet City Lantern Tour to experience the passageways by flickering lamp light as many of its first visitors did, view the incredible flowstones on the Frozen Niagara Tour, or visit the Snowball Room with its ancient autographs inscribed with soot.

Washington: Olympic National Park

Kids can start the day with a snowball fight (on Hurricane Ridge) and end it soaking in warm springs (like those at Sol Duc Hot Springs).

Michigan: Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Winter isn’t the off-season here, as there are trails for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. And if there’s enough snow, kids and adults can even sled down the 100+ foot-Dune Climb.

Details

National Park Service

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 395 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities.

Website: nps.gov

National Park Foundation

You are the owner of 84 million acres of the world’s most treasured memorials, landscapes, ecosystems, and historic sites — all protected in America’s nearly 400 national parks. Chartered by Congress, the National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks. We work hand in hand with the National Park Service to connect you and all Americans to the parks, and to make sure that they are preserved for the generations who will follow.

Website: nationalparks.org

Worth Pondering…

National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.

—Wallace Stegner, 1983

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Explore Your Parks

The North Face is partnering with State Parks for the second annual Explore Your Parks (EYP) program. EYP has expanded to seven major cities this year. This program encourages people living in the San Francisco, Boston, New York, Washington DC, Denver, Portland, and Twin Cities areas to get outdoors and enjoy front-country, close-to-home recreation opportunities.

Customers can get a free day pass and activity guide to the parks in their area with any purchase of The North Face product at participating retailers. The program launched in May. There are limited number of passes and activity guides available.

FREE Park Pass with Purchase

Visit a participating retailer, purchase any The North Face product and receive a FREE State Park Day Pass. This one-of-a kind pass was created for this program and is valid for use in parks in your area. Details are available on back of the pass.

Activity Guide

These guides make it easy to find outdoor activities in your area. Discover the best places to hike, bike, climb, run, camp, paddle, play, and volunteer. The guide also includes five to 10 state parks coordinating with the activities, directions, and contact information. The activity guide is available at all participating retailers.

Interpretive Panels

State parks in each of the EYP markets will have interpretative signs with valuable information about how to best explore your parks. Look for the EYP logo!

Events

Get outdoors this summer and go for a hike. You never know what you might encounter on the trail. Pictured above White House Trail, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The North Face, National Parks Trust, American Hiking Society, Leave No Trace, and local partners in each market will join together to promote the importance of being active and getting outdoors with a special event in each of the market areas. The events will serve as an outreach to the community to get outdoors and truly explore their local parks. There will be ranger led hikes and other activities, snacks, speakers from The North Face, State Parks, and partners, as well as giveaways, including the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) Challenge information, activity guides, and free park passes.

June 4: Portland, Oregon

Stub Stewart State Park (Buxton, OR)
Oregon State Parks Day

June 18: Boston, Massachusetts

Neponset River Reservation (Boston, MA)
National Trails Day

August 1: Colorado

Barr Lake State Park (Brighton, CO)
Colorado Day

October 1: Minnesota

Fort Snelling State Park (St. Paul, MN)

October 8: New York

Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park (Yorktown Heights, NY)

October 15: San Francisco, California

Get outdoors this summer and go boating. Pictured above Elephant Butte State Park, New Mexico. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Mount Diablo State Park (Clayton, CA)

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Worth Pondering…
I only went for a walk, and finally concluded to stay till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.

—John Muir

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