In our partnership with the National Park Foundation we’ve seen beautiful photos of so many popular parks our facebook fans have visited, and we want to explore the lesser-known spots as well. We found a few hidden gems to add to your bucket list and can’t wait to see your photos once you’ve been. Here are five of our favorites and why you should see them.
- Congaree National Park
South Carolina’s national treasure is known for its old growth bottomland hardwood forest—the largest intact in the southeast. View champion trees and diverse wildlife on both walking and canoe tours and even camp overnight or have a picnic with the whole family. This is South Carolina’s only national park, just designated in 2003.
- Haleakala National Park
Hawaii’s national park promises endangered species sightings, incomparable star-gazing and native rainforest wildlife. Choose from the coast or summit, or stay overnight to fit both in. Hike a bamboo forest, volcanic landscape, and rocky coastline then get up close and personal with the Milky Way. Discover wildlife native to the island among streams, waterfalls and beautiful beach.
- Pea Ridge National Military Park
Add history to your nature viewing at the most intact Civil War battlefield in the country. Take in the remnants of a battle that secured Missouri for the Union in 1862 with a theatre, bookstore and museum on site. Follow hiking or horse trails on self-guided tours available with audio or a smart phone app, view protected wildlife, and even bike or run the trails.
- Saguaro National Park
Saguaro’s namesake is the largest cactus on this continent, growing to the size of trees and living up to 250 years. Hiking one of the park’s five trails will reveal the state flower growing on these cacti, plus abundant wildflowers and distinct desert sunsets. A learning center and junior ranger programs provide educational opportunities in addition to guided wildlife viewing.
- Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Experience the setting that inspired President Roosevelt’s conservancy efforts with guided walking and horseback tours, interpretive centers and bookstores, and Roosevelt’s ranch and cabin. Camp and enjoy outdoor recreation including hiking, biking, kayaking and canoeing, fishing, and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter.
From the most visited to these hidden treasures, all of America’s 398 national parks belong to you, and with this great gift comes great responsibility. Visit www.nationalparks.org to find out how you can join the National Park Foundation in supporting and protecting these special places.
Review the parks you’ve visited at Best of the Road and post your favorite photos on our facebook page to have Rand McNally donate $1 to NPF.