US National Parks Photos

The National Park Service celebrated its 100-year anniversary last year and has garnered a lot of attention recently as the Alt National Park Service sprang up in response to the recent Presidential administration. All politics aside, these parks are a legacy that we must cherish and preserve at all costs.

Me at Denali (with Tee's skinny legs)

The National Park system includes 417 areas covering more than 84 million acres in every state, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. These areas include national parks, monuments, battlefields, military parks, historical parks, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation areas, scenic rivers and trails, and the White House.

9/12 - Amy, Lisa, Olivia, Jenny and I

Some of my earliest travel memories include trips to National Parks such as Badlands, Yellowstone and Grand Teton.  Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to visit over half of the 58 National Parks, which I keep track of here.  I plan to add another half-dozen to my list this year!  These are some of my favorite National Parks photos.

Double Arch

Arches National Park

Big Bend National Park

1997 - Me, Dono, Donna at black Canyon

Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park

9/12 - Jenny, me and Lisa at Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon National Park

Confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers - This is the point on the river where we had to stop and put PFD's on

Canyonlands National Park

Everglades National Park

Glacier National Park

Sunday 9/6

Grand Canyon National Park

Leigh Lake!

Grand Teton National Park

Glaciers on the Resurrection Bay cruise

Kenai Fjords National Park

Mesa Verde National Park

Rocky Mountain National Park

3.2.09 - Trail brushing in Saguaro National Park - Thunderbird Trail

Saguaro National Park

Theodore Roosevelt National Park - North Dakota

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

West Thumb Geyser Basin (YNP)

Yellowstone National Park

Zion National Park

I have favorite National Park photos, but I could never choose a favorite National Park. Zion, Grand Canyon and Big Bend are pretty high up there, though! There are still so many more to explore!

Wondering how you can help our National Parks?

  • Visit!
    • Plan your trip at NPS.gov.  Buy an annual pass for $80.  A great deal if you visit more than 3 parks in a year.
    • Have a 4th grader?  You can get a free pass through the Every Kid in a Park program.
    • Senior Citizens can get a reduced-fee lifetime pass
  • Volunteer!
  • Donate!
  • Vote and be heard!  Let your representatives know what is important to you.
  • Share this post!  🙂

Have you spent time in the US National Parks?  What was your favorite?

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Two Traveling Texans
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My All-Time Favorite Hotels

When I was in Cambodia, I fell in love with my hotel and started thinking about how many hotels I’ve stayed in and which ones were truly memorable.  I love staying in hotels, especially nice hotels, but there are definitely a few standouts that make the cut as my all-time favorite hotels.  Many of these aren’t even fancy, but there was something special about them that seared them into memory.

Le Meridien Angkor; Siem Reap, Cambodia

This is the hotel that spawned this list in the first place.  From the second I walked through the entrance and was greeted by a cool washcloth and cold juice, I was smitten.  A gorgeous oasis to retreat from the heat of Cambodia.  Beautifully designed pool and spa area, excellent service and good food, too!

Le Meridien Angkor

Le Meridien Angkor

Renaissance Carambola; St. Croix, US Virgin Islands

My mom and I stayed here two Christmas vacations in a row!  After a late night arrival, waking up to this ocean view was such a treat!  I love a hotel room with outdoor space, and these screened in porches were perfect, not to mention the hammocks and uncrowded beach. This place is a great destination for a quiet escape from the real world.  I know we’ll be back again!

Davis Bay

Hacienda la Jiminita; Quito, Ecuador

We stayed here before and after our Galapagos cruise, and it was so charming, especially the resident French bulldogs, Francois and Maya.  I wish we’d had more time to explore the grounds, but it was another whirlwind trip! This is a place I’d love to return with a pile of books and just relax.  (we know my trips are never relaxing, but maybe someday they will be!)

Casa de Hacienda "La Jimenita" - we spent the first two nights at this cute hacienda near the Quito airporthttp://hotelnuevoaeropuerto.com/

Breakfast at the hacienda - the food was delicious, and fresh squeezed fruit juice!

Flanigan’s Inn; Springdale, Utah

Oh, Flanigan’s!  Someone on a backpacking forum recommended this place for its proximity to Zion National Park and I visited with my friends in 2008.  I then spent the next 8 years dreaming of a return until I finally made it back in 2016 after my Grand Canyon rafting trip.  On the 2nd visit, I also got to experience the spa and the hilltop labyrinth, which was pretty cool.  Honestly, I think there’s something in the air here that just captivates me.

Flanigan's in Springdale, UT - awesome place to stay!(Photo Credit:  Amy)

The pool at Flanigan's - I love that view!

Redstone Inn; Redstone, Colorado

We’ve been visiting the Redstone area for many summers, and in 2005, my mom, sister and I decided to fly out for Christmas at the Redstone Inn.  What a treat, and I think this started the Christmas travel tradition for us.  We had all our meals in the gorgeous lodge, enjoyed stunning views of the night skies from the hot tub, and even a horse-drawn sleigh ride to nearby Redstone Castle.  What an experience!

redinnsnow

Photo Credit: Aspen Valley Film

Christmas Eve sleigh ride at the Redstone Inn

Freestone Inn; Mazama, Washington

My sister and I stayed here on a trip to Washington State, after seeing Dave Matthews Band at the Gorge.   The cabin-like rooms each had their own patio, the lodge was gorgeous, the location remote. I would love to come back here sometime.

Lake outside our deck at Freestone Inn

Heaton’s Guest House; Dingle, Ireland

I don’t even have a photo of Heaton’s, but the Dingle Peninsula was just stunning.  I think we only stayed at Heaton’s 1 night, on a whirlwind trip across Ireland, but it had the perfect location near town right on the water.  I remember saying it would be the perfect place to come back and just relax with a bunch of books.  It’s been 13 years, and I haven’t made it back there yet 🙁

Honorable Mention:

Indian Lodge at Davis Mountains State Park, Texas

This place looked so great, and I really, really want to go back and give it a proper visit.  Unfortunately, when I visited I came down with a cold/flu and spent pretty much the entire time in bed.

Sunset from Skyline Drive(BW)

Far View Lodge at Mesa Verde National Park

I guess I have a thing for lodges?!  This was a short visit on a road trip to Utah and Colorado.  Super cute rooms, good food at the restaurant and of course, stunning scenery and history.

Mesa Verde - my last National park of the trip, and where I would meet my mom.

I have a feeling I will be adding a few more to this list soon!  Any suggestions?

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Favorite Hotels

 

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