My family has traveled pretty extensively East of the Mississippi. Sure there are some regions that we’ve yet to explore, like the New England States, but other than that, I think we’ve visited every other state at least once.
It’s time that we venture West a bit and we’re hoping that 2011 is the year that dream will finally come true. We’re busy planning a trip to Seattle, Washington and along the way we’d like to spend time in some of the National Parks. I know we won’t have time to explore them all but if time and money were no object, here are ten that I’d love to visit.
1. The Gateway Arch, which is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, in St. Louis, Missouri
How could we not enter the West without visiting the Museum of Westward Expansion? This just seems like a logical stop to me.
2. Mt. Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota
For as long as I remember, I’ve wanted to see Mt. Rushmore. This is a definite stop, even if we have to drive out of our way to get there!
3. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho
Any park that spans three states is worthy of a vacation all on it’s own. Unfortunately we won’t have the luxury to fully explore Yellowstone this time around but we can’t travel out West and miss stepping foot in the very first National Park. I haven’t even begun to plan this stop, but I know my family will want to see some of the hot springs and Old Faithful. My boys probably wouldn’t be too disappointed if they saw a bear, bison or elk and as long as they weren’t too close, I’d be okay with that too.
4. The Badlands National Park, South Dakota
The Badlands have been recommended to me on more than one occasion and the pictures certainly look beautiful, though I’ve been told that they really don’t do the area justice. I guess it’s just one of those places that you have to see for yourself.
5. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
I didn’t even know such a beautiful picture perfect place existed until I participated in a post card exchange when my children were younger. We received a picture of a mountain reflected in a beautiful lake. Ahhh….how could we resist?
6. Mt. Rainier Glacier National Park, Washington
This stop is personal, a dear friend of ours that has since passed often spoke fondly of her visits to Mt. Rainier and encouraged us to visit if we ever had to the chance. This stop is for her, our dearly missed adopted grandmother.
7. Mt. St. Helen’s National Volcanic Monument, Washington
I was in 4th grade when this volcano blew its top. I still remember being envious when a classmates’ grandparent’s sent him a jar of ash. It’s time for me to go buy my own bottle of dust.
8. The Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
If we are able to make it to this National Park on this trip, I will be amazed for more reasons than one.
9. Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
If we do make it a bit South this time around, I don’t want to miss the opportunity to check out the cliff dwellings.
10. Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
It seems that I keep adding and adding to our trip. See, that’s my problem. I just never know when to stop.
Have you been to any of these National Parks? I’d love to hear any tips that you have to offer or recommendations of other parks that you really loved- especially those in the Northwest.
This post is linked to Oh Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday.