National Parks cover 84.6 million acres (3.4%) of the United States. Despite covering a significant land mass, it’s easy to overlook the National Parks when making travel plans. But, the truth is, there are 58 National Parks spanning 27 states, and each one is full of natural wonders just waiting to be explored. Whatever brings you to one of the National Parks, there is something for everyone to enjoy – especially seniors.
Why Seniors Should Vacation at a National Park
1. Budget-friendly travel
America the Beautiful, The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, allows seniors to explore the National Parks for a discounted rate. An annual pass is $20 (plus a $10 handling fee). A lifetime pass is $80 (also with a $10 handling fee). Both passes are available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents over the age of 62. The pass provides entrance to the pass owner and accompanying passengers in a single, private vehicle.
2. Easily accessible
With 58 National Parks spanning 27 states, there’s a good chance you won’t have to travel far to find one. California has the most parks, followed by Alaska, and then Utah. However, National Parks can be found throughout the country from Biscayne to Crater Lake, from South Dakota to Washington State. Travel across the country, or don’t. The choice is yours.
3. Stunning natural wonders
No matter which National Park you find yourself, there are stunning natural wonders. More than a forest, America’s National Parks have volcanoes, glaciers, caves, and snow-topped mountains. From fossilize trees in desert parks to ancient cliff dwellings out west, the National Parks showcase and protect some of our country’s natural and precious treasures.
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4. Find any climate, any time of year
Because the parks are spread throughout the country, you can escape your existing climate to find one you love. Escape summer desert heat for a cool Alaskan night, or run from the snow up north to the sea turtles down south. From tropical vacation to ice and snow, there’s a National Park with the climate you seek.
5. Educational opportunities
A trip to a National Park is a great opportunity for a family trip. Learn about nature, history, science, conservation – all while having fun. Some parks even offer tours with professional guides who can give you a unique insight into the park’s history and geology. Take a photography class or go on a fly-fishing tour. You are sure to learn something from the natural wonder of a National Park.
6. Adrenaline-pumping activities
Perfect for those seeking adventure, National Parks have adrenaline-pumping activities like whitewater rafting, rock climbing, sand boarding, and mountain biking. Climb Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming or scale Half Dome in Yosemite. If it’s adventure you seek, a National Park has it.
7. Health benefits
Research has shown a link between spending more time outside and better health. Health benefits of being outdoors include better cognition and decreased stress levels. In a 2016 survey, 75% of respondents said that spending time outside reduced their stress levels, 74% said it could benefit their mental wellness, and 63% believed it would help them live a longer life.
A vacation at a National Park gives you and your family the rare opportunity to totally unplug and go tech-free. With no interruptions, text messages, or wi-fi, your family can bond on a level that is not possible on other vacations.
9. Hiking for all levels
The National parks boast thousands of miles of hiking trails. No matter if you’re a beginner hiker or an experienced backpacker seeking adventure, there is a trail for you to explore the country’s natural wonder.
10. There’s something for everyone
Dubbed “America’s Backyard,” the National Parks have something for everyone. From young grandchildren to teenagers to adults and grandparents, there is something everyone will enjoy. Take a hike up a waterfall, cliff jump, or just relax with your family around a bonfire – whatever it is, it’s yours for the taking at a National Park.
Sound like the perfect vacation? Contact Travel by Leisure Care, the experts in senior travel, to get your trip planned!
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