Our Favorite National Parks

Jul 2, 2024

With over 60 National Parks throughout America, determining the best ones to visit can be difficult. Sometimes it just comes down to that certain something … a connection. To a tree or animal. To a sunrise or the sound of a bubbling brook. Or even a feeling.

We made those connections at these, our favorite National Parks and hope you’ll fall in love with them too.

The best way to experience the park is by taking an all-inclusive, white-water raft trip. Trips can run anywhere from 5 to 17 days with lots of options from which to choose. For example, would you like to go through the entire canyon or just part of it? Do you prefer to paddle your way through, or would you rather have someone else maneuvering the boat?

After getting on to your boat, you will spend your days floating the river and seeing the Canyon from the bottom. From this vantage point, you get a real sense of scale for the canyon. Guides will point out rock formations and share the origin stories told by Native Americans indigenous to the area.

You’ll never go hungry because the guides will also be your chef during your trip. Breakfast? “Order your eggs the way you want them and eat them how you get them,” was the joke shared with laughter as they took our orders. Lunch was simpler. A make-your-own sandwich bar, fruit, chips and cookies. Dinner was when they went all out. Shrimp cocktail. Steak with baked potatoes. Chocolate cake.

Curious about the bathroom situation? I know I was. During the day, you’ll have plenty of “smile breaks” where dilution is the solution. For the second of your needs, a toilet with a view is never far away.

Before you close your eyes to go to sleep, be sure to take one last glance at the sky. Goodnight, moon.

This is where history and nature meet. The oldest of our national parks, Hot Springs was established as a reserve in 1832.

There are over 26 miles of hiking trails through lush forests spread out over several locations, but the main draw is the hot springs.

While there are no outdoor soaking areas, there are two historic houses along Bathhouse Row which use the waters from the springs to indulge visitors. Our favorite was The Buckstaff Bathhouse. Here you will experience the traditional techniques prescribed by doctors in the early 1900’s. Add a massage to your bath for the ultimate in relaxation.

Because of the therapeutic qualities of the water, Hot Springs became a popular destination for the rich and famous, including many notorious gangsters. Visit the kitschy and informative Gangster Museum of America to learn all about how they lived side-by-side with the people of this quaint town all while bootlegging and running illegal casinos.

We fell in love with this National Park because of a tiny feeling, or a feeling of being “tiny.”

Arrive early and check in at the Visitor’s Center. There you can get a map and the daily activity guide. We opted to go on an afternoon hike with one of the Park Rangers and were greatly rewarded. He pointed out a momma and her two cubs off the trail. We would have missed them if he wasn’t there to show us where to look. Camouflage is a real thing and it works!

The Big Trees Trail is a great introduction to the Sequoias. This trail is well labeled and easy to follow. It’s also great for strollers or people who need accessible trails as it is paved. Take a moment to pause and hug one of the giant Sequoias. There are few things in the world that will make you feel as small as this.

Feeling brave? Hike up to Moro Rock! You’ll actually see this granite dome on your drive into the park. The out-and-back trail will take about 20 minutes to complete. Once you have reached the top, you will have an expansive view of the area. Afraid of heights? You might want to skip this one or you may be found holding onto the bench instead of walking out to the edge.

Enticing, aren’t they?

When you’re ready to connect with our National Park, just let us know. We’re here for it! Just promise you’ll tell us which ones are your favorites and why.