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Old 03-08-2013, 08:25 AM   #21
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Sounds wonderful to me! Our two favorites, so far (we've been to about 10), are Yosemite (as expected) and Acadia (an unexpected surprise!), but there are so many wonderful Natl Parks you can hardly go wrong with any of them. Mesa Verde was fascinating too.
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Old 03-09-2013, 08:36 PM   #22
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Thanks for Most Scenic Drives tip. Definitely ordering it.
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Old 03-09-2013, 10:22 PM   #23
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Between April and October last year we visited 10 NP's in our Prius, driving ~8k miles. I think the annual pass cost $80.

We had a fantastic time and look forward to visiting more, as well as revisiting some.
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Old 03-09-2013, 10:51 PM   #24
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If you are over 60 make sure to get the $25 lifetime National Parks pass. It is good for you and up to three others in any vehicle you arrive in.

Close. A lifetime "Senior Pass" is now available for anyone 62 (or better) for $10 (when proof of age is presented at a Park entrance) or $20 by mail.
U.S. National Park ServiceAmerica the Beautiful

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Old 03-10-2013, 08:48 AM   #25
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Close. A lifetime "Senior Pass" is now available for anyone 62 (or better) for $10 (when proof of age is presented at a Park entrance) or $20 by mail.
U.S. National Park ServiceAmerica the Beautiful

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These posts got me motivated to go to a National Memorial/Preserve yesterday and take a short hike since it is only a few miles away. I've been here 30 years and never thought to visit. We will be visiting there again soon to hike a few more trails and maybe a picnic. While there they had the lifetime senior passes for sale so I bought one for the $10 in anticipation of taking some trips soon.

And thank you audreyh1 for the "Scenic Drives" link.

Cheers!
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Old 03-10-2013, 10:28 AM   #26
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Great idea to visit National Parks! Our general approach is to spend at least 3 days in or near a park. For some locations that doesn't make sense but it's a rule of thumb for us. We try to avoid seeing too many in a short period of time for reasons mentioned above.

We really enjoyed our recent visit to Big Bend National Park and the surrounding area in far west Texas. We spent five days in the park and over a week in the general area. It was wonderful. In general, not many people attend the park (compared to Yellowstone for instance) but there are times when it's crowded so plan ahead. The winter months are a great time to visit.
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Old 03-10-2013, 01:38 PM   #27
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I am planning on hitting a lot of National and State parks this year. For backpacking I far prefer wilderness areas. The wilderness areas are beautiful, under populated and have very few regulations (fill out a short form at the trailhead and pitch your tent pretty much anywhere as long as you are 100 feet from the trails and any bodies of water).
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Old 03-10-2013, 03:48 PM   #28
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We have been to most of the national parks from Acadia National Park in Maine, to Olympic National Park in Washington state, to Big Bend in Texas, and to the Everglades National Park in Florida. Gettysburg and Vicksburg National Military parks are also must-sees. Those epic battles were 150 years ago in July, 2013.

We did it with several trips over several years. We prioritized the parks we wanted to see first, like the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Sequoia and made various trips to see them and other parks in the areas.

Personally, I can only stand so many ranger talks at a time.
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Old 03-10-2013, 05:53 PM   #29
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I've found that National Parks are crowded around the parking and visitor centers, but if you can hike a couple hundred yards off the main drag you practically have the place to yourself.
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Old 03-10-2013, 07:16 PM   #30
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Thank you for the link to "The Most Senic Drives in America", I purchased the kindle version of it. DW and I drove from Florida to the Grand Canyon NP last summer. We also stopped at Tuskegee Airman NP in Alabama, the Petrified Forrest NP in Arizona.
We have camped at Shenandoah NP, in Virginia, several times (in prior years). This is my favorite.
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Old 03-10-2013, 07:22 PM   #31
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I've found that National Parks are crowded around the parking and visitor centers, but if you can hike a couple hundred yards off the main drag you practically have the place to yourself.
Exactly our experience.
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Sequester may result in Park closures
Old 03-10-2013, 10:41 PM   #32
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Sequester may result in Park closures

I recently visited the Everglades N.P. in Florida. Our guide thanked us for visiting and mentioned that it's likely that attendance at the National Parks will be used to determine which parks remain open and which may close (due to a lack of visitors).

So,if you like certain National Parks which may not be the ones that are the most popular, please consider visiting them soon to help keep them open.

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Old 03-11-2013, 02:42 PM   #33
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One more thing - many State Parks are much more beautiful than some National Parks.
Actually, I was more impressed by Watkins Glenn State Park than by any National Park east of MS.
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:24 AM   #34
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One more thing - many State Parks are much more beautiful than some National Parks.
Actually, I was more impressed by Watkins Glenn State Park than by any National Park east of MS.
I agree, I live in MA and we have lots of nice SP but few NP's. Since we are not in a rush I am hoping to use guides and ask them where the other interesting places are.

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Old 03-12-2013, 11:25 AM   #35
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We are also looking to get Folding bikes to take along with us. On planes(checked w/carry case), rental cars and to just have in the back of the car.

Folding Bikes by Citizen Bike
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:30 PM   #36
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We are also looking to get Folding bikes to take along with us. On planes(checked w/carry case), rental cars and to just have in the back of the car.

Folding Bikes by Citizen Bike
Great idea and thanks for the link. I think I'll get one to throw in the back of my van.
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:39 AM   #37
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My wife and I discussed our bucket list and number 1 was visiting every national park in the USA. Put Two kayaks on the roof of our Prius and bikes on a rear hitch and go.

Has anyone done this? Do you know of a good tour book that would cover this?

If you do this, please write a book about it. I'll need it in the future as I want to do something like this too. So far I've only been to 6 of the National Parks, but will add 2 more this summer as I'm heading up to Yellowstone and Grand Tetons...
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Old 04-01-2013, 02:35 AM   #38
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May not be dedicated to national parks but a great resource non the less. .
I ordered the brochure and they sent me a 300 page travel the USA book

America's Byways®: National Scenic Byways Online
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:58 PM   #39
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This website might be of interest to you...

News - ParkStamps.org - Home of the National Park Travelers Club
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Old 04-03-2013, 03:33 PM   #40
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We just knocked another Nat'l park off our bucket list last weekend - Death Valley.
Very cool. (not literally, figuratively.)

We've made it a goal to visit Nat'l Parks on family vacations on years we don't go abroad. Last year we did Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton... with several historic sites included on the tour. My kids are young enough to get their Jr. Ranger badges - so they've got quite a collection going.
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