When Nature Calls: Visiting National Parks

Travel & Camping tips

Traveling to National Parks has become such an obsession of ours that we try to see at least one new park every year.  In the past two years we've done camping trips to both Yosemite and Joshua Tree, while a trip to Zion National Park is fast approaching this fall. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service- what better time to pack your backpack and head out into nature?! Here are some of our tips if you are traveling to a National Park...

If camping, reserve your campsite six months in advance:  National Parks that take reservations usually have their campsites open up six months in advance, and the good ones get swooped up FAST.  If you have a trip planned more than six months out, do a little research about some of the better spots and snatch one of those good sites.  Reservations can be made here. Many parks have campgrounds that are first come, first serve. When we are traveling 6+ hours by plane and many more hours by car to get there, we prefer to make reservations. If your schedule is a little more flexible then consider one of the first come, first serve spots.

Pack smart: A good pair of hiking shoes, dark clothing (hides the dirt), a hat, extra pairs of socks, and lightweight layers can go a long way.  The temperature can fluctuate A LOT at many of the west coast parks (for example: Yosemite on Friday was 54 degrees at 6 am & 85 degrees at 1 pm) so lightweight layers that you can easily shed midway through the morning hikes are a must.

Plan for early mornings and early nights:  Watching the sunrise while camping at a National Park is a must.  The colors are like nothing that can be described.  As for the night it gets dark fast- a fire and star gazing is the perfect way to cap off the day.

Familiarize yourself with the park you're visiting:  While some things about National Parks are the same (amazing views, fun camping, great hikes, tons of nature, etc) each one is very unique. Yosemite has bear lockers to keep your food in while Joshua Tree only takes reservations for a few camp sites, all the others are first come first serve.  For a snapshot of the National Park you plan on visiting this website is very helpful.  For camping reservations and info check out this website

Bonus, some of our favorite camping gadgets:
Jetboil personal water boiling system
Great campfire chair


What's your favorite National Park? Let us know in the comment section below!

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