If you live in the United States, you know that the nation has a varied and fantastic array of national parks set aside for public use.
Because they’re designated “public” doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay to use them, but entrance fees are reasonable.
To make them more reasonable, you can buy a pass that lasts for a full year from the day you buy it. If you go to more than one national park in a year’s time, that will save you money.
A pass can be signed by two people, which in reality makes it possible for two people to use the same pass.
The pass includes any passengers in a noncommercial vehicle when entering a park. There are some sites that require per person fees, but if you have a pass, up to three people can enter on it.
Kids under 15 are always free at any park in the US, so it’s a win-win situation for a family outing. Mapquest lists all 58 national parks in the US on one page, with links to information and location for each one.
Besides these parks, there are national forests with recreation areas consisting mainly of picnic and camping areas and hiking trails.
Then there are the “tourist traps,” towns and areas that cater to the tourist or casual, local visitor. They can be a lot of fun because they often have special celebrations or themes.
For instance, Estes Park in Colorado, a well known tourist town, has an excellent and colorful, if cold, Christmas parade, a full blown yarn and crafts festival where you can learn to spin yarn, eat barbecued lamb and meet llamas and other creatures, and a summer music festival that features professional musicians from all over.
Other tourist destinations include national treasures, of which there are probably some near you.
They include national monuments, archeological finds, museums, old school houses and other buildings as well as entire communities which have been preserved to serve as reminders of our history. To find them, go to Google and type in the name of your town or state and the term “national treasures.”
The destinations are almost unlimited just in the contiguous USA, but if you include Alaska and Hawaii, the chances of you seeing it all are pretty small.
Since the US is a huge nation with many climates and geographical differences, you can choose from cool mountain forests to glaringly bright deserts, from bison grazing under prairie skies to dizzying traffic under skyscrapers and everything in between.
Go skiing, go surfing, go horseback riding, leave the kids with a babysitter and go night clubbing. Going a few hundred miles from home can be an experience so different from what you are used to, that you will feel as if you are in a different world.
Use a search engine to find tourist towns, national parks and more near you or wherever you want to go. Include the entire family in the planning, then set out to see the USA. There’s a lot to see out there!