How well do you know the US national parks? There are over 400 national park sites in the United States. They span across more than 84 million acres in each state and extend into the territories, including parks in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam. Here at Intervine we LOVE being in the outdoors and where possible on our own! By visiting the parks on this blog you too can experience this.
1 - Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota.” A Park of Water, Islands, and Horizons”.
Things to do: Birdwatching, Camping, Stargazing, Fishing and Hiking.
Voyageurs National Park is free to enter. The park shares its northern boundary with Canada and lies just west of the Boundary Water Canoe Area Wilderness. The park visitor centers are accessible by car but in order to truly experience the park, one must leave their vehicle behind and access the park by boat. With almost half the park being water and with more than 500 islands and 655 miles of undeveloped shoreline, Voyageurs is a maze of interconnected water highways. Plan ahead before coming to this water-based park by bringing your own watercraft, reserving a watercraft, or taking a park ranger boat tour.
Regardless of your main reason for visiting this park the Northern lights HAS to be one of the things you should try and see here. The best time of year for this is around the start of Spring and Fall, it’s been estimated that the northern lights can be seen 200 times per year in Northern Minnesota! What are you waiting for…
2. Dry Tortugas National Park, Florida. Historic fort, incredibly clear water and abundance of marine life.
Things to do; Snorkeling, Diving, Camping, Paddlesports, Fishing, Paddlesports.
This offshore treasure is located roughly 70 miles from Key West boasting secluded beaches and a 19th century fort, Fort Jefferson. There are several options to get here from Ferry (3 hours) to Chartered SeaPlane (40 minutes). There is a park entry fee of $15 which covers you for 7 days. Most transportation costs will include this. The nightly fee of $15 per camping site is collected through a self-service fee area that is located in the campground. Under 16’s are free. Once you have your tent set up you have lots of options to keep you busy, learning about the history of this secluded gem, exploring the beaches and getting your water game on. Our favorite part of this trip was watching the sunrise over the Florida Bay.
3. Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Utah. Almost one million acres of public land.
Things to do; Backpacking, Cycling, Horseback riding, Photography, Rock climbing, Stargazing.
Entry fees here are very reasonable. 7 day entry fees are, vehicles - $30 (15 capacity or less) or $15 per person for cyclists and hikers alike. Sheer vastness is what is on offer here in one of Utah’s crown jewels. The 3 main focus points are Grand Staircase, Kaiparowits, and Escalante Canyon. Grand Staircase–Escalante is huge and wild. I highly recommend stopping at one of the visitor centers on the monument’s two main paved highways to get oriented. You’ll find them in the towns of Kanab and Big Water (Highway 89) and in Escalante and Cannonville (Highway 12). Just driving these highways is astoundingly scenic. For the more adventurous you can take your own path here with wild camping and views to die for in abundance. Don’t forget your camera.
4. Cumberland Island national seashore, Georgia. Where Nature and History Meet.
Things to do; Hiking, Boating/Kayaking, Biking, Fishing, Photography and Star gazing.
Once you have arrived in St Marys and purchased your Ferry ticket ($15 each way) you will need your 7 day park entry ticket ($10), 45 mins after which you will arrive on Cumberland Island. Get yourself set up on one of the many campsites, we recommend Sea Camp Campground (be sure to make reservations!). Now you are ready to enjoy the 9800+ acres of wild maritime forest and undeveloped beaches. With so much wilderness on offer you will have to make the tough choice on how to spend your time. Hiking on the 50+ miles of trails (head north for the brave), swimming in the warm blue ocean on 17 miles of beach, photographing the wildlife and outstanding scenery or simply relaxing in the hammock.
5. Wrangell-St Elias national park and preserve, Alaska America's Largest National Park.
Things to do; Backpacking, Mountaineering, Floating and Boating, Fishing, Day hiking.
Wrangell St. Elias is a vast national park that rises from the ocean all the way up to 18,008 ft. At 13.2 million acres, the park is the same size as Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, and Switzerland combined! There is no entry fee here making it probably the best value for money National Park in the world. From the park entry, take it easy on the road. It is one way in and one way out and not the nicest of roads here in the summer let alone other seasons. Come here for your own reasons but enjoy dissolving into the vastness of glaciers, mountains, rivers, wildlife or simply watch the weather. There is nothing like the feeling of being remote and here you can easily lose yourself in all nature has to offer.
Don’t forget your camping essentials; Tent, Knife, Torch, Stove, Batteries, Food and Fresh water! Below are some of our equipment picks...
Tent - There are some things you can cut corners on, your tent should not be one of them. This is a great home on the move.
Light - I have always found a headlamp invaluable camping. Free hands, plenty of light, easy to pack and travel with.
Knife - The Swiss army knife. I NEVER camp or travel without one of these. Multi use, lightweight and built by the Swiss.
Batteries - Spare batteries are a godsend in the wild. Don’t get stuck in the dark.
Thank you for reading. As always, take everything home you take to any of these National Parks.