National Parks Vacation Guide
A vacation to a national park is full of wonders ready to be enjoyed. For a nature-lover, adventurer, or any traveler that wants to be close to nature, National Parks offer an incredible way to explore a new region and learn more about the local culture while having fun. Whether you're interested in beaches, rainforests, sand dunes, deserts or mountains, there is a National Park for you. The national parks can offer great outdoor activities: hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, fishing, and the list goes on.
There are many different national parks where you can go on your next vacation and be close to nature. A couple of the most popular national parks, such as Zion with its stunning scenic drive, or Yosemite & it's abundant wildlife, are excellent options for your next journey. You can undoubtedly count on Hotwire as your travel companion for the best hotel deals & national park vacations. Need some hints to start your national park trip? Check out these tips.
Great Smoky Montains
The Smokey Mountains are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most biodiverse areas in the world. Take Cades Cove, a verdant valley surrounded by mountains on all sides. You'll find a museum, a 5-mile hike to Abrams Falls, plentiful wildlife, campgrounds, bike rentals, and spectacular foliage in fall. In the Smokies, you'll be up close with the wildflowers in spring, fantastic mountain vistas in winter, fall foliage in the autumn, and record-size trees in summer. And what's better at the end of a long hike than a stream or a waterfall? The tallest and probably most exciting is Ramsay Cascades.
In Tennessee, take Highway 321 east of Gatlinburg to the Greenbrier entrance to the park. Follow the signs to the Ramsay Cascades trailhead. But if you are not that adventurous, an auto tour like the Cosby-Big Creek-Cataloochee Tour is a great option. This 11-mile tour passes historic schools, old homes, and churches on the North Carolina side of the Smokey Mountain National Park. In the winter, snow sports are a popular activity, and you have to plan because they are short season compared to other mountains. You can hit the slopes at places like Cataloochee.
The Rocky Mountain are known for its gorgeous scenery. Also called the "Rockies," this western North American mountain range is known for its beautiful wilderness with lots of trees and big game. It's also known for rapidly changing weather, so wearing layers all year round is not a bad idea. You can go on your next vacation to the Rockies and take advantage of many recreational activities like hiking, fishing, boating, rafting, and camping. But in the winter it’s all about the snow sports.
The most popular destinations are Telluride, Vail, Aspen in Colorado, Park City and Snowbird in Utah, Sun Valley in Idaho, and Lake Tahoe in California. You can ski anywhere and stay at the best cheap hotels near the Rockies. Prospecting has always been the best reason to go to the Rockies. Talk about a rich wilderness vacation!
The Appalachians stretch through Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, and North Carolina. And you will find a massive amount of activities to do and see in every state. The winter months are a prime time for snow sports like skiing and snowboarding. West Virginia's premier location is Snowshoe, one of the East's best. Not only is it stunning, but it's also excellent for any ski level, child, or adult.
Choices in North Carolina include Beech Mountain, Cataloochee, and Hawksnest. Families looking to hang out safe away from the snow might enjoy the bed-and-breakfast charm found at the Tennessee Iron Mountain Inn. You'll stay in a log cabin in luxurious bedrooms and enjoy breakfasts, afternoon refreshments, and the bottomless chocolate-chip cookie jar. During spring and summer, see a lot of action on the Appalachian Trail. The rolling hills of the Shenandoah National Park (the season is from mid-to-late October when the fall foliage peaks) and the Blue Ridge Mountains are an excellent option for less-experienced hikers. Biking is also a favorite outdoor sport, and there are plenty of trails and roads along Skyline Drive, the Blue Ridge Parkway, or on the 11-mile Cades Cove Loop.
If you're in Winchester, Virginia, and want to explore something different, you can go to the Dinosaur Land, where life-size recreations of the prehistoric critters are on display, and Route 11 Potato Chips--they have a factory tour with delicious free samples at the end.
In Tennessee, history buffs might love the Museum of Appalachia, the nation's largest pioneer museum with about 30 buildings and half a million items. You'll find them 16 miles north of Knoxville in Norris. And how about a coal museum where you can learn more about coal and the Coal Creek Wars at the Coal Mine Museum in Lake City.
So get ready for your next vacation to the mountains. And you can count on Hotwire as your travel companion to offer you the best hotel deals to make your next trip unforgettable.