Hidden Adventures for the Budget Conscious
by Amy Lignor
It is a fact: There is never any money for travel. We all have those bills that just keep coming. In fact, there are some months it seems like they are coming even faster than the month before. But everyone – every person, every family, every parent – wants to go on vacation, They want – actually, they need – to get away from it all for a while and have a little fun in order to cut down on the anxiety and celebrate life for a time. So…what to do? Well…there are places in the U.S. that were strictly put in the U.S. for the budget conscious traveler. They are not only stunning places to visit, but they are also free. Why, you ask? Because we are talking about the conglomeration of U.S. National Parks that are out there and all the unique, FREE activities and events they have to offer.
This is not just about walking trails, by the way. Take for instance Katmai National Park in the stunning vista of Alaska. Here, there is a population of 2,000+ grizzly bears, and at the National Park, you can delve into bear-watching that is truly cool. There is an area called Brooks Camp that gives you and the family the perfect “perch” where you can safely watch these bears fish, have fun and more, with peak viewing times being in July and September.
If heading East, you and the family will love the EarthCache Hunt held in Acadia National Park located in the state of Maine. A very cool “hunt” that offers people hidden clues that actually teach everyone about the amazing surroundings. For four to six hours families can search for the “cache” and have a great time!
Now many people head to the Great Smoky Mountains already, but you should be made aware of the fact that at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the fireflies put on an amazing show for visitors. Even Walt Disney couldn’t make something like this synchronized light show that occurs for roughly two weeks in late May to mid-June.
California’s Death Valley National Park is extremely awesome for those who are into the “dino” craze. Paleontology tours led by experienced rangers are offered to the visitors, providing them with a tour of fossilized animal tracks in parts of the Park that are usually off-limits. This is one of those activities for real hikers or those who love to exercise, seeing as that it is a seven mile round trip hike that includes new canyons to explore, moonlit sand dunes and so much more.
For a shorter hike, head to Big Bend National Park in Texas. Here, next to the Rio Grande, you can relax in hot springs, with dissolved mineral salts in the water that, according to many, have healing powers. Visitors can take a jaunt in the 105-degree pool in the foundation of an old bathhouse on the north bank of the Rio Grande, enjoy the scenery, and even walk Hot Springs Road which leads straight to the Hot Springs Historic District.
As a person who dwells in this stunning state, I can vouch for the coolness of Carlsbad Caverns State Park in New Mexico. On summer nights visitors are mesmerized by the thousands of bats that take to the sky. (Vampire lovers, this is the place for you!)
In Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, you and the family can head out with a ranger for a three-hour tour. Not like Gilligan’s Island, however; you will return from this tour. But only after seeing stunning landscape as well as a slew of wildlife. Ten cars are allowed at one time and is offered on a daily basis in September.
Last, but not least, if you want the water, a true “quest” can be had in Cuyahoga Valley National Park in the state of Ohio. Starting in April and ending in November, you take this canal quest that allows you to follow rhyming clues that will lead you to a hidden box. Each and every “quest” is designed to help you learn about and admire the natural and cultural gems of the Canalway, with each treasure hunt being unique and telling its own story of a particular spot located along the canals.
So when looking at the bills and shaking your head wondering HOW you’re going to be able to at least take a break for a while, think long and hard about heading to one of these National Parks. Most all of the parks across this beautiful country of ours are absolutely free, while offers require only a minimum charge. And even when it comes to those, most offer several free entrance days for you to enjoy.
But no matter which park you choose to visit, you will be granted a memorable vacation that’s a whole lot of fun for you and the family!
Soure: GIG News