July 25, 2022 2 min read

Tips to get you started:

  1. Choose the right time to visit the park you plan to explore- some parks aren’t open year-round. You will want to research park activities, the best time for wildlife spotting, or planning a family adventure.
  2. Plan at least six months in advance- popular park campsites fill up early, make reservations as soon as possible and purchase tickets for activities and events ahead of time.
  3. Make a list of everything you plan to do- most likely; you won’t have time to do everything. Pick what is important to you and your family. 
  4. Download some good apps- The Weather Channel and the National Parks Service app are good. 
  5. Plan a budget and stick to it- factor in the cost of lodging, food, activities, park passes, gear and equipment, camping essentials, souvenirs, etc. 
  6. Have a backup plan- if parks are too crowded, consider smaller parks in the area. Road accessibility may be a factor too. 
  7. Know the transportation options- busses and shuttles help minimize the impact of automobile congestion.
  8. Pack for the season- check weather reports and the forecast for your upcoming trip. 
  9. Use a checklist for food, gear, and supplies.
  10. Go to the visitors center when you first arrive- Park Rangers will have information on current road and weather conditions. They will provide details of road closures and hiking trail conditions as well. 
  11. Be aware of warning signs- take precautionary signs seriously to avoid injury and dangerous animal encounters.
  12. Leave no trace- check the National Parks Service for rules on minimizing campfire impacts, waste disposal, and other ways to practice good stewardship.

Although the research and preparation may seem daunting, the memories of your National Park visit will last a lifetime. 

Grab our National Park Bucket List Journal and start creating the trip of your dreams!