It’s clear to anyone that the ways we work and play have evolved in response to the global pandemic. In the United States, this means that national park visits are at all-time high.
There are more than 60 national parks across the United States, but this article is all about the glory of all of the parks in the west. From Hawaii to Alaska, western US parks offer a diversity of extraordinary experiences.
Get the Most Out of Your National Park Vacation: Four Tips
1. Enjoying National Parks is not limited to summer months only. Some parks, like Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, remain just as impressive throughout the year. In fact, some experiences are only available in fall or winter, like the vibrance of the autumn foliage colors in Montana to stargazing during the deep Alaskan winter.
2. Recreate at Great Outdoors responsibly: “observe wildlife rules…but with people!” says National Parks Service.
3. If you travel as a family, consider getting a National Park Annual Pass. The price might seem steep, but the entrance fees to the popular parks vary, so you are likely to get the cost’s worth in just a few visits.
4. If you are traveling as a group, consider renting a sprinter van to get you to your destination. Not only does taking one vehicle save you the cost of multiple parking passes, but it is also kinder to the planet — and isn’t that what a visit to a national park is all about? With Bus.com, you can even choose to rent a sprinter van without a driver, which can bring you additional monetary savings.
Use Bus.com’s intuitive planning tool to arrange drop-off and pick-up times, especially if you visit several parks, or plan to camp overnight. Contact Bus.com 24/7 support if you require to accommodate special needs or medical equipment.
And now to the fun part!
National Parks to Visit in the Western US
Here are just a few of our favorite National Parks in the Western United States. Most of them are family-friendly and excellent for hiking and camping.
Mount Rainier National Park – Washington
This national park hosts an active volcano that rises to around 14,000 feet. Summers offer a charming view of wildflower meadows in bloom with the background of glaciers. Mount Rainier National Park is open to camping, hiking, climbing, and mountaineering.
Olympic National Park – Washington
This park has it all: ocean beaches, a marine sanctuary with whales, mountains (including the famous Mt. Olympus), lakes, waterfalls, and the largest temperate rainforest in the US. The park is open for hiking and camping.
North Cascades National Park – Washington
The North Cascades National Park is one of the more secluded parks with glaciated peaks, mountain lakes, waterfalls, dams, and waterways. Hiking and boating along this park’s lakes and rivers can be fantastic for families with kids. This park has a free entrance.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park – Big Island of Hawaii
This national park looks like another planet, with wild shorelines, solidified lava flows, the Halema’uma’u Crater, and the Thurston Lava Tube. Mauna Loa is an active volcano – the largest on Earth’s land surface. With some luck, you get to observe glowing lava pouring into the ocean.
Crater Lake National Park – Oregon
This iconic lake with crystal-clear, gemstone-blue waters was formed after the eruption of Mt. Mazama and filled by the melting snow. This unique attraction alone gives this park a place on this list.
Redwood National and State Parks – California
Fern Canyon and Redwood is a chain of national and state parks that preserve the tallest trees on Earth. Tall Tree Grove is an impressive drive through trees with trunks wider than a car. Enderts beach offers a chance to see marine animals. There is no entrance fee, the park is family-friendly, and you can choose to camp or hike.
Yellowstone – Wyoming / Idaho / Montana
Yellowstone is famous for its active geothermal features like colorful hot springs and giant erupting geysers. However, the park also has many stunning waterfalls and a chance to observe bison, elk, and bears. Mind that Yellowstone is extremely popular: this park might be more crowded than others.
Arches National Park – Utah
The park is relatively small but displays over 2000 natural sandstone arches, like Delicate Arch and the Landscape Arch. Fiery Furnace is a thrilling journey through the erosion gaps created by weathering. The nearby city of Moab has lodging options.
Mesa Verde National Park – Colorado
This park combines natural and historical elements. Visitors can tour the dwellings of the Ancestral Pueblo indigenous tribes who lived in the area from 600 to 1300 CE.
Rocky Mountain National Park – Colorado
The Trail Ridge Road rises to 12,000 feet above sea level and presents stunning views. Encounters with wildlife are not uncommon. This park suits well for camping with children.
Grand Canyon National Park – Arizona
The Colorado River has carved its path over millions of years, creating one of the grandest natural features in the US. The park area is over 277 miles long, and 1 mile deep, so hiking down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon takes several days, some endurance, and equipment. If you have kids, ask your bus driver for a ride along the rim via Hermit Road and Desert View Drive to enjoy breathtaking views in comfort.
Yosemite – California
This vast park in the Sierra Nevada Mountains features Giant Sequoia trees of Mariposa Grove and Hetch Hetchy Valley with its untouched wilderness and roaring waterfalls. Like Yellowstone, this park is also immensely popular.
With the public shuttles being few and far between, a charter bus might be the optimal solution for all your National Park trip needs. Breathtaking and grand nature of the western US produces the most powerful internal experiences. Give yourself and your group a chance to focus on the unforgettable memories instead of worrying about navigating, driving, or taxi expenses.