I’m a big supporter of national parks and try to discover as many in the area I live or visit so I am super excited to share this list of options with you on the west coast at least for your spring and summer travel consideration!
1. Denali Park Village reopens May 13: The popular Tundra Wilderness Tours resume June 1, a comfortable ride via motor coach 62 miles deep into the Denali National Park to Stony Hill Overlook with a view of Denali from base to summit, narrated history of Park Road, and opportunities for sighting Dall sheep, moose, caribou, wolves and grizzly bears. I would be excited to sight the big five of America’s last frontier.
2. Glacier Bay National Park and Glacier Bay Lodge reopens May 26: Visit early to get the best views of tide water glaciers, the most abundant and most impressive hanging glaciers in the state and humpback whales. Flightseeing, offering a bird’s-eye view of the land via seaplane, is also very popular. I’ve experienced a flightseeing trip before albeit not at this location but I highly recommend the opportunity to do it here if you can!
3. If you are up for a west coast road trip then driving from the Sierras to the Sea is a "bucket list" agenda exploring the "Best of the West" - from the shorelines of Zephyr Cove Resort in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, to the giant Sequoias, sheer cliffs and waterfalls of Yosemite National Park, California, ending along the coastal beaches of the Monterey Peninsula’s California State Parks at Asilomar with wildlife spotting and complimentary ranger tours.
4. There are a few upcoming national holidays to plan your visit around as well: World Wildlife Day is March 3 and you can visit Asilomar, among North America's Top 5 birding destinations offering a tranquil environment for birders. National Day of Unplugging is March 9 and Washington's Olympic National Park and Forests, considered one of "the quietest places on Earth," provides the setting for a technology-free couples' rendezvous or family getaway. Of course, National Park Week is April 21-29 and on April 21, the first day of National Park Week, the National Park Service offers free admission to more than 400 national parks around the country.
5. If you are planning ahead for popular Spring Break destinations for families then you might want to make a trip to Lake Quinault Lodge in the Olympic National Park where you ca reconnect with nature, explore deep into the rainforest, and view native wildlife while bonding with family or head for Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort at Olympic National Park (Washington) which reopens March 23 with significant renovations completed in time for adventurous spring reprieves. Another option is Wilderness River Adventures and Glen Canyon Rafting (Page, Arizona) where they are now booking online for half-day family-friendly float trips beginning March 1, and full-day adventures starting May 4.
6. Lovebirds rejoice! If you have a wedding you are planning for then the time for romantic spring shoreline weddings begin soon at Zephyr Cove Resort and Marina Nevada, where the crystal waters of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada mountain range elevate the backdrop for one-of-a-kind nuptials.
7. You probably did not know this – A new houseboating 101 course begins April 6 at the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area/Lake Powell where prospective "captains" learn to navigate the open waters that straddle the Arizona/Utah border, with expert-led instruction from steering to shoring. One of the top houseboating destinations in the country, Lake Powell is home to 96 canyons, 2,000 miles of shoreline and 186 miles of open water for visitors to explore. That sounds like a unique experience I’d sign up for!
8. For a "bucket list" adventure with a little bit more of a historic slant, Mesa Verde National Park (Colorado) Far View Lodge provides a great location when it reopens April 12. A one-of-a-kind food experience, the Metate Room has regionally inspired dishes with an award-winning chef, while 4,700 archaeological sites dig deep into the lives of the ancient Puebloan peoples that called Mesa Verde home for 700 years.
9. Last bit not least, if you are traveling with four-legged friends then the Cabins at Zephyr Cove Resort at Lake Tahoe, Nevada, and Lake Quinault Lodge's Boathouse at Olympic National Park are pet-friendly - so bring your furry family members along for a fun spring or summer outing – I am sure they will be happy they could tag along.
Recommendation: Remember to check the national parks websites please to confirm when they are open for the season and any specific weather conditions or unplanned closures to be aware of during the dates and time you are planning to be there.
Have you visited any of these national parks? I have a few I am eyeing at the moment but let me know what your experience was in the comments below or which ones you are planning on visiting this year.
*Assistance for copy provided by Bridges Media Group, image credits: Aramark*