9 NATIONAL PARKS (NOT ONE OF THE MAJOR 59) YOU SHOULDN’T MISS

Did you know that there are 412 national park areas out there? A lot of people have a bucket list item of visiting the 59 main national parks like Yellowstone, Great Smoky Mountains, and Yosemite, but ever since learning that there are so many more, we’ve decided to upgrade that bucket list item to visiting all 412.

We are still a long way off, but we’re starting to chip away at the list. We’ve enjoyed exploring some of the lesser known parks because they are typically far less crowded and you can easily see most of them in a day or two. Here are 9 that we’ve visited that you shouldn’t miss.

 

White Sand Dunes National Monument, New Mexico

 

This is easily one of our favorites. Walk, hike, or sled on what seems to be endless rolling hills of white sand. It’s a great site for photographers and you can see more about our visit here.

Pro Tip: Avoid visiting in the summer, since it gets brutally hot.


Cabrillo National Monument, California

While living in San Diego for a year, we had a lot of fun exploring Cabrillo National Monument. You can go tide pooling, check out the lighthouse, or enjoy amazing views of the city.

 

Tide pooling at Cabrillo National Monument in California

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ONE RV ADVENTURE TO HAVE WITH YOUR KIDS IN EVERY STATE BEFORE THEY GROW UP

Image via Flickr/H. Micheal Miley

 

Alabama

Go to Space Camp. Rocket scientist Dr. Wernher von Braun wanted a place to inspire kids about space travel, and the result was Space Camp, where kids participate in simulated missions, experience what gravity feels like on the moon, and spin themselves silly on the multi-axis trainer.

 

Alaska

Go dogsledding. Whether you want to see the northern lights, explore Denali National Park or visit a glacier, get there by dogsled. The cold air in your face as you glide across the snow…there’s nothing else like it. Mush!

 

Arizona

Camp out in the Grand Canyon. But don’t stare at it for five minutes and then wonder, “Now what?” There are plenty of wonders waiting to be discovered inside the canyon. Climb down and explore, then spend the night under the stars at Mather Campground.

 

Arkansas

Dig for diamonds. Visit Crater of Diamonds State Park to find your own gemstones. It’s the only diamond-producing site in the world that is open to the public, so start digging!

 

California

 

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WANDERING THROUGH WYOMING

Maybe it’s because I have a slight obsession with crossing national parks and monuments off my to-see list. Maybe I’m just drawn to it like the characters in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. But there are some places you just really want to see for some inexplicable reason and for me, Devils Tower was such a place.

The problem is Devils Tower doesn’t lie on a main route and is a little out of the way in northeastern Wyoming. In the past, we just haven’t had time for the detour.

 

 

Not this time. We were going to see Devils Tower regardless if we had a campground reservation. I called a private campground and they told me they had one spot left. I asked if we would be able to see the monument from our campsite and she said she didn’t know. Hmm….

I knew from talking to other RVing friends that Bell Fourche campground offered incredible views but it was first-come first-served. We decided to take our chances. I’m so glad we did.

 

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PHOTOS FROM THE ROAD #2

Nathanael and his best friend, Nico, at the Colorado National Monument. She has had added so much joy to the trip. Many national parks don't allow pets on the trails so it's wise to check the park's website to see their pet policy before heading out.

Thing 2 and his best friend, Nico, at the Colorado National Monument. She has had added so much joy to the trip. Many national parks don’t allow pets on the trails so it’s wise to check the park’s website to see their pet policy before heading out.

You can't go to Yellowstone without getting a family photo in front of the sign. We had high expectations for Yellowstone, after all, it is the most famous and oldest National Park. It not only lived up but surpassed our expectations and we look forward to going back someday!

You can’t go to Yellowstone without getting a family photo in front of the sign. We had high expectations for Yellowstone, after all, it is the most famous and oldest National Park. It not only lived up but surpassed our expectations and we look forward to going back someday!

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