The National Park Service is once again partnering with the National Park Foundation – the official charity of America’s national parks – to present National Park Week from April 15 – 23, 2017. To celebrate, find the park that’s right for you, from classic mountain parks to overlooked vacation destination like the desert and coast.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
What better way to celebrate National Park Week than by planning a weekend trip to the country’s most visited national park? Even better, you’ll have the chance to do some good while having fun in one of the most jaw-dropping landscapes of the U.S. The Smoky Mountains of Tennessee went through a hard time following last year’s wild fire, but is still open for business as one of the best Colorado destinations and is recovering quickly. All the major Smoky Mountain attractions were spared, keeping all the fun this mountain town has to offer in-tact. This includes miles of hiking trails through Great Smoky Mountains National Park. While admiring the beauty and resilience of the area, you can also lend a hand through local relief organizations like Volunteer Tennessee East, Volunteers in Parks Program and Trails Forever.
After a day spent exploring the great outdoors, stay at one of your own cabin rentals in Tennessee. Smoky Mountain cabins are fully-equipped kitchens, bedrooms and large living areas, you can relax and feel at home. Some cabins even have hot tubs, fireplaces, theater rooms and game rooms.
Cape Hatteras National Seashore
If you’re more of a beach lover, head to this national seashore in North Carolina’s Outer Banks. This alternative park destination is shaped by water, wind and storms. The islands are ever-changing and its plants and wildlife are continuously adapting. Take in the beauty on the beach or visit the historic Cape Hatteras Lighthouse – it’s the tallest brick lighthouse in North America. The seashore has some of the darkest night skies east of the Mississippi River, making it a perfect spot for stargazing.
Find a Cape Hatteras rental home on the island so you can take in the over 70 miles of pristine, protected seashore. Many homes feature private pools, sundecks and balconies so you can soak up the views – along with conveniences like kitchens, bedrooms and living rooms. Find a pet-friendly beach house so you can bring along Fido – Cape Hatteras National Seashore welcomes leashed pets!
Joshua Tree National Park
This national park features the combination of two distinct ecosystems: the Mojave and the Colorado deserts. When you visit this park destination, you’ll find a wide variety of wildlife, dark night skies, a rich cultural history and unique geologic features within its nearly 800,000 acres. Cacti and fan palm oases dot the park, along with twisted rocks and exposed granite monoliths. You’ll definitely want to see the park namesake Joshua tree, with its twisted, spiky branches. There is a lot to do in the park, from short nature walks and different ranger-led tours to more strenuous backpacking trips and rock climbing.
Strike the right balance between nature and modern comforts by renting a Palm Springs vacation home. From midcentury modern designs to luxury amenities, find a pad that fits your crew. Most homes feature a private pool for cooling dips. Inside, you’ll find kitchens, bedrooms, living areas and dens can help you relax after a day exploring the desert.