May 2, 2017

How to Organize Your Next National Park Trip


National Wildlife Week approaches, and the time is right to get out and enjoy the natural beauty our planet has to offer. And what better way to soak up the splendor than by visiting one of America’s national parks? Organizing a park trip doesn’t have to be a chore — in fact, with a little pre-planning and some help from Metropolitan Shuttle, your next road trip could be a breeze. Here are a few tips to get you started on your next great national park adventure!

Pick a Park

Your first step will probably be to pick a national park to visit! Of course, you can’t go wrong with the “greats,” like Yellowstone, Glacier, Yosemite or the Grand Canyon. But you might also consider something off the beaten path. Some of the lesser-known and underrated national parks include:

  • Great Basin National Park, Nevada, located in White Pine County, only four hours from Las Vegas.
  • Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida, a diverse natural area with twelve campgrounds. A ninety-minute bus ride from Miami.
  • Mojave National Preserve, California, three hours out of Los Angeles, where visitors can see lava beds and Joshua Tree forests.
  • Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, Arizona. A little over two hours away by bus from Phoenix.
  • North Cascades National Park, Washington. Breathtaking views of mountain peaks, only two hours away from Seattle.

Get a Guide

Once you’ve chosen a destination, check out the park’s official website to see if they have a downloadable guide or planning brochure. A little research can do wonders to enrich your trip. It can be a big help to know about park fees, hours, accessibility, lodging options, and any activities you might want to take part in. If you can’t find an official guide, try travel sites for reviews and tips from those who have been there, or check in with the National Park Service.

Plan and Plot

Now it’s time to assemble your attack plan… for fun! Do you want a relaxing weekend savoring the views from the porch of a rented cottage, or afternoons of kayaking and hiking adventure? Do you want to get up close and personal with wildlife, or take a leisurely walking tour through a nature museum? Mule rides or mojitos? Figure out how you’d like to budget your time and figure out what you absolutely can’t miss. You can improvise the rest later. Online mapping services and apps can come in handy here.

Choose Your Transportation

The road trip is a time-honored part of any national park vacation. Sure, you could bundle the family into the SUV or wait in line at the airport, as tradition warrants. But consider a minibus or a coach bus from Metropolitan Shuttle as a safe, luxurious alternative to taking friends or extended family on a trip to the great outdoors. We specialize in planning and scheduling trips for groups of any size, including yours — and chances are we have a vehicle that’s just your size, with comfortable seating, wi-fi, and a trained professional doing the driving.

Reserve Early

Depending on the time of year, you may want to book lodging at your park of choice from months to a year in advance (yet another reason to give those lesser-known national parks a second look). No one relishes the thought of second-rate lodging at the end of the day, so make sure to do a little homework and book early if possible.

Rules and Conditions Apply

No matter where you choose to vacation, it’s always a good idea to know the rules and regulations. Many national parks do not allow dogs, for example (leashed or not), and other parks have specific rules, hours, and other guidelines that visitors are expected to follow. While spring and summer are a beautiful time to visit most national parks, some park features may be seasonal. Check in with your park ranger when you get there!

Eager to start your national park adventure? So are we! Grab your camping gear and call us at 1-866-556-3545, or contact us for a free quote today.

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