When planning your trip to a national park, you are most likely preparing for wild adventures and scenic views. It takes a tremendous amount of time and effort to execute a flawless trip. Going to new places, mapping out your route, and writing out the perfect itinerary can cause plenty of stress and anxiety around your upcoming trip.
If you have been in this situation before, you are definitely not alone. Here are some tips to help you get ready for your adventures!
1: Do your research
This seems obvious but a lot of people do not prepare at all for their trips to national parks. While going to visitors centers when you arrive can be helpful, knowing what your expectations are and what resources are available beforehand will be a huge help in achieving your goals. How long will you be exploring for? Are you going to do some hiking or seeing the sights? How long is the drive from each point on your journey? What is the weather like when you will be arriving? Ask yourself as many questions and find out as many answers as possible. Visit the national park’s website, read blogs about other peoples experiences, look up what trails there are or what activities can be done in the area. Once you have a general idea you can start building on your knowledge.
2: Plan but don’t be too strict
Once you have some understanding about the area and what you would like to do you can start creating an itinerary. Build a list of things you certainly can not miss while you are there. There are endless opportunities at national parks but try to narrow it down to three “must sees.” Once you have your list, write down a few alternatives in case you have spare time or if things fall short.
3: Travel light
Now you know the area, you have your to do list ready, now let's make sure you have all the essentials. Make sure you pack what you truly need, leaving some room in your travel case makes you feel lighter as you move and allows you to bring home treasures.
Batteries, chargers, water bottles, proper footwear, hiking poles, snacks, camera, hat, sun block, books, board games
4: Ready, set, go!
Alright, if you did your research, created a game plan, and packed what you needed, your travels should go smoothly! Remember...it's called an adventure for a reason! Have fun, be prepared for whatever comes your way, and enjoy every second of it.
The definition of recreation is an activity done for enjoyment when one is not working. Simply put, it’s fun! Recreation is a vital part of the human experience and can encompass pretty much anything that is not “work.” Unfortunately recreation is undervalued and a forgotten part of one’s routine. Visiting national parks and immersing oneself in nature is not just a good time, it is also good for your mind, body, and spirit. The science is beginning to show the true importance of these activities and the health benefits they produce.
Want a natural mood booster with no negative side effects? Take a trip to a national park!
Seeing pristine wilderness lifts your mood and revitalizes your mind while reducing the impacts of stress. These trips increase happiness, vitality, and serenity while decreasing feelings of sadness and loneliness particularly in 26-50 year olds.
Breathe in the air! It’s good for you. Most national parks have protections in place that keep the air clean and minimally polluted. The toxic chemicals that are introduced to our bodies daily in cities have harmful effects. Taking a trip to a place with fresh air can give your body a much needed break.
When was the last time you saw the Milky Way? Dark skies have been lost due to light pollution. National Parks might be some of the last places to witness the incredible sight. Seeing billions of stars reconnects you to the universe. Let your eyes readjust to darkness and get your circadian rhythm back in its natural state by rewilding yourself.
Visiting parks gives you access to wide open spaces to explore. With thousands of miles of trails it is easy to get physical activity in nature. The further you go the more you will see since wildlife is usually present where people are not. No matter your level of activity there is something for everyone to see and do so get outside and get moving.
Studies show that spending time in nature impacts your mental and physical health in a positive way. You don’t have to travel far to receive these free benefits from nature but feel free to go as far you need and reap the rewards.