National parks are America's great resource dedicated to recreation and preservation of land, plants and animals. Since Yellowstone became the first national park in 1872, other national parks have been created in twenty-five states across the United States.
When planning a national park vacation, it is sometimes difficult to decide where to go. There are the volcanoes of Hawaii, Denali Wilderness of Alaska, unique geysers in Yellowstone, spectacular scenery in Grand Teton, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Biscayne and many others.
Then there is the question of when to go. National parks are most frequented in the summer when campgrounds are often full and roads crowded. Plan a national park vacation in early spring and late fall to avoid crowds and enjoy the wildlife. Desert parks in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and California are most visited during the colder months since summers are very hot.
Many national parks have an entrance fee which can be paid when you enter the national park. Alternatively, you can purchase a National Park Pass which is valid for one year from the last day of the month it was first used. The NPP costs $50 and grants admission to everyone in a vehicle to any national park. The pass can be purchased online at www.nationalparks.org.
In addition to the entrance fee, national parks require you to obtain permits for certain activities such as fishing, which may cost extra. The best resource for finding out about permits is www.nps.gov.
Accommodations at national parks range from historic hotels to inns and campgrounds. Xanterra operates lodging at several popular parks and offers online reservations for quite a few properties. Visit www.xanterra.com for more information. Alternatively, go to www.nps.gov for national park lodging information as well as numerous other useful resources for planning your trip.