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Category: National Parks

Our Alaska Family Vacation

Our Alaska Family Vacation

Taking an Alaska Family Vacation was on the top of our list for several years.  And now that it’s behind us (sadly), it was one of our all-time favorites!  The scenery and wildlife was amazing.  We saw moose, grizzly bears, caribou, calving glaciers, whales, seals, icebergs, the highest peak in North America and lots more.  A good portion of the vacation was on a cruise ship but we also spent a few nights just outside of Denali National Park which…

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Skyline Drive:

Skyline Drive:

Experience Shenandoah National Park! Skyline Drive is arguably one of the most scenic drives in the United States.  It’s also a great way to experience Shenandoah National Park. Shenandoah National Park encompasses over 311 square miles of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia.  You can drive the 105-mile Skyline Drive where there are 75 scenic overlooks (listed below).  There are day hikes for the beginner to expert hiker. How do you get there? Washington, DC:  Travel 72 miles west…

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Become a Junior Ranger!

Become a Junior Ranger!

Whichever National Park Service Ranger came up with the Junior Ranger program is a genius! It has not only provided the kid’s with some excitement, it’s made them pay attention on the trip, tours, and adventures through the park, as they fill out their pamphlet or worksheets to attain their mighty badge. These programs exist in most of the parks and are well worth pursuing if you have a full day or more to spend in the park. One of…

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Yosemite National Park:

Yosemite National Park:

If you had just 1 day Mariposa Grove – See the Giant Sequoias! Taking CA-41, we arrived early morning at the south entrance to Yosemite National Park near Mariposa Grove.  It was late June and there was already a short line of cars.  We parked near the Wawona Visitor Center and took the shuttle bus to see the Giant Sequoias! The Giant Sequoias are a national treasure and something that everyone should try to see if they’re able.  They stand…

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West Thumb Geyser Basin

West Thumb Geyser Basin

West Thumb Geyser Basin is located at the southern entrance of the lower loop. Located on the western banks of the enormous Lake Yellowstone, you can enjoy all of its geothermal features as you walk along the boardwalk loop and take in the backdrop of the lake and the Absaroka Mountains. The basin gets its name as the smallest and western-most finger of the hand-shaped Lake Yellowstone (OK…some park ranger had a vivid imagination). The West Thumb basin is actually…

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Uncle Toms Trail

Uncle Toms Trail

Uncle Tom’s Trail is a fun, but challenging hike that offers spectacular views of Lower Falls as you descend 328 steps and 500 feet into the canyon. The trail is named for pioneer, Tom Richardson, who developed the trail in 1898 that guided adventurous customers down ropes and ladders to the banks of the Yellowstone River where he prepared them a picnic lunch. We decided to do Uncle Toms Trail first thing in the morning. We left the Lake Yellowstone…

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Lamar Valley

Lamar Valley

Lamar Valley is often referred to as the “American Serengeti” and includes a diverse wildlife population of Elk, Grizzly Bears, Bison, and Wolves. The hills of Lamar are lower than those around Hayden Valley and the grassland seems to be vaster with less “lush” green vegetation. The famous Lamar Valley resident that lures in most visitors is the Gray Wolf. Wolf packs have been increasing in number and size and they are predominantly located in the Lamar area. It’s estimated…

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Yellowstone Lake Cruise

Yellowstone Lake Cruise

We opted to take the scenic Yellowstone Lake Cruise before dinner one night and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The boat, the Lake Queen, departed close-by to the Lake Hotel at the nearby marina. On the cruise, the Captain & Mate told us some great stories and even spotted a grizzly bear off in the distance running along the shore. Yellowstone Lake is immense! If you’ve never seen pictures of it, or read about it…think about this: It has 110 miles of…

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Old Faithful Inn

Old Faithful Inn

The Old Faithful Inn is the iconic home of the world-famous geyser and a must-see attraction of any Yellowstone vacation. The Inn was Designed by architect, Robert Reamer, and constructed in 1903 by a crew of more than 1,500 craftsman. With running water and electricity, it was one of the most luxurious park hotels in its day. When you walk into the lobby, you’ll be awestruck with its massive lodgepole pines and the larger-than-life lava stone fireplace. The Old Faithful…

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Norris Geyser Basin

Norris Geyser Basin

Norris Geyser Basin looks like the surface of the moon with far-stretching areas of steaming feature, no vegetation, and a white landscape. It is the oldest and hottest thermal area in Yellowstone National Park. It’s location is at the intersection of multiple faults, fractures, and fissures in the Earth’s crust. Located at the northwest part of the lower loop, Norris is 21 miles south of mammoth Hot Springs, 13 miles north of Madison (near west entrance); 29 miles north of…

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