It’s National Parks Week this week, and we are celebrating. Of course, you can always enjoy nature simply by walking out your front door and looking for ants and dandelions. But there’s something special about being in a National Park.
America’s National Parks are so much more than another place to camp. When you enter one, whether its for the day or for a week, it’s hard not to get overwhelmed by the beauty. From Arches’ impossible rock sculptures to Acadia’s serene beauty, our National Parks help to preserve the heart of America.
Growing up, we stayed at National Parks as often as possible on our camping adventures. I have fond memories of making friends in nearby campsites, comparing where we’ve been and where we were headed to next. I rolled my eyes as our parents dragged us to yet another ranger-led talk, even if I was secretly excited to learn the history, legends, and hidden secrets about the park.
Now, of course, I’ve learned to appreciate the ranger talk. On our honeymoon to Yellowstone, my husband and I stumbled on a ranger-led walk through the geysers. The ranger timed it perfectly so we came upon a geyser erupting right as the sun began to set, creating a perfect rainbow.
And I’ve also learned to appreciate the fact that these parks are not just exciting places to visit, they are an important part of our communal heritage. We are all public land owners, and it’s our job to love and care for these beautiful places.
Some of our favorite swag
So this week, the National Park Foundation is celebrating our National Parks. Of course, the best way to join in the celebration is to head to one of these amazing places. But if you can’t this week, here’s some ideas that can help you learn about the National Parks, remember past trips you’ve taken, or help get you excited about your next one!
Junior Ranger Activity Book from National Geographic Hopefully you can keep your backseat explorers happy (and quiet) on the drive to the campground with this Junior Ranger themed activity book.
Junior Ranger Badges Speaking of the Junior Ranger program, did you know that your kids can earn badges from home? If you are looking for away to feed your family’s curiosity about the outdoors, even when you can’t travel, this is a great opportunity. My little Junior Rangers have taken their pledges very seriously, and are proud to show off their badges.
Trekking the National Parks Game. It’s $$, BUT use code NPWEEK40 at checkout for 40% off for National Parks week.
Limited Edition Hydroflask Bottles. Now available for Yellowstone, Joshua Tree, Olympic, Grand Canyon & Great Smoky Mountains. These are a great way to reduce your impact on the environment, and also support the National Park Foundation.
Pendleton Blanket These blankets are definitely pricey, but also amazingly soft and beautiful. My sister gave us one as a wedding present, and we have many fond memories of snuggling newborn babies on cold winter nights in our Glacier blanket. If you are looking for a perfect wedding, retirement, or housewarming present, this is a really beautiful choice. And part of the proceeds go to the National Parks Foundation.
Sunday Afternoons Half Dome hat Sunday Afternoons’ artist series celebrates diverse and amazing artists in their trucker hats. This Half Dome inspired one is perfect for Yosemite lovers.
The National Parks of the USA book is gorgeous, a 2019 Outstanding Science Trade Book for Students: K–12 (National Science Teachers Association and the Children’s Book Council) and is full of maps, information and inspiration to get kids outside.
We also love this beautiful board book love this beautiful board book for babies and toddlers.
Rumpl blankets has a whole collection of National Parks blankets. The Rocky Mountain National Park one is shown below. I love these blankets because they pack up easily, are perfect for in the car or camping and help us celebrate our Parks!
If you want the insider scoop on Yellowstone or the Grand Tetons, be sure to check out some of Amelia’s posts from their time there:
- Top Ten Things to do in Yellowstone and Grand Tetons Parks with Kids
- Floating the Yellowstone with Kids
- Beyond Old Faithful: Tips to Seeing Yellowstone
Whether you are celebrating National Park weeks by learning about them from afar, reminiscing about your favorite trip, or planning your next one, we hope you will take a moment to simply appreciate all these places have to offer.
About Team Member Jackie: Jackie is a writer and a mom of a five year old, three year old and a baby living in Helena, MT. She thought that hiking might help tame her children’s wild spirits, and co-leads a Hike it Baby branch. All that hiking only made her crew wilder, but in a good way. Before kids she enjoyed reading, knitting and baking, but now she enjoys making it to bedtime. Photo below shows just how hard it is to get a family photo with EVERYONE these days. Husband behind the camera!
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