Nowadays everyone’s talking about staycations. This reminded me of the wonderful vacations my parents took me on even when we had to watch every penny. How’d we do it? By visiting our National Parks and State Parks (and camping, but that’s a whole ‘nother story). Most parks have entrance fees for an entire passenger car that are cheaper than an individual ticket to Disney World.
Starting in the winter my parents would send away for scads of pamphlets and maps of parks like the Grand Canyon, the Petrified Forest, and Slide Rock State Park. Planning early is still a good idea but now it’s even easier. All you have to do is go to www.nps.gov. From there you can learn about every national park in the country. They have a great search tool on that front page. Just click on the state you’re interested in visiting and you’ll get a list of all the parks in that state. But what if you know the name of a park but not what state it’s in? No problem. Click on the “Advanced SearchTool and Map.” From there scroll below the map and you’ll see a great browser tool that will let you pick your park by name, location, preferred activity, or even topic (like mountains or volcanoes or coral reefs).
But what about state parks? Well, if there’s a site out there that pulls all state parks under one “roof” I haven’t found it yet, but putting “state parks (insert the state name of your choice)” into Google does a terrific job of pulling up each state’s website.
And, if you’re at Central Library stop by and take a look at some of the books and pamphlets the National Parks Service still puts out. We have a whole series of pamphlets on the Blue Ridge Parkway trails. Just ask one of us about Call # I 29.149. Or if you’re interested in the historic details of sites, you might want to take a look in our I 29.88 area. Those are historic structure and site reports on places like Fire Island Lighthouse, the Eleanor Roosevelt Historic Site, and Antietam National Battlefield.