National Parks in the Pacific West Region Kickstarted the Ultimate Bucket List
Spanning six states and two U.S. territories, the Pacific West region houses some of the most beautiful National Park Service sites in this country. Totaling 63 NPS sites from all NPS designations, including more than a quarter of the major national parks, the region has so many parks, and so many places to add to your bucket list! Here’s the list of all the states and territories within the Pacific West region, along with their associated NPS sites:
American Samoa: 1 NPS site
California: 28 NPS sites
Guam: 1 NPS site
Hawaii: 8 NPS sites
Idaho: 5 NPS sites
Nevada: 3 NPS sites
Oregon: 4 NPS sites
Washington: 13 NPS sites
National Park of American Samoa is by far the farthest I’ve travelled for a national park, alongside Virgin Islands National Park/Photo courtesy of Linda Mohammad
Of all the 63 NPS sites that reside here, I’ve been fortunate to visit 51 of them in the last four years. My bucket list journey started in my current home state of California back in April 2016. A few months prior to that, I was browsing the Visit California magazine where an article headline “California National Parks List” caught my eye. Being a big fan of lists (and checking them twice!), I looked up the full article online and that moment quickly evolved into a bucket list for 2016. I started with California’s nine major national parks and completed them all by September that year.
I thought to myself, “What’s next?” That question was answered with another question. Why stop at the nine major national parks? Why not continue and experience all 28 of the NPS sites in California? My friends, that’s exactly what I did and accomplished at the end of November. The journey didn’t stop there, and my bucket list quickly grew into bigger goals to experience all 62 major national parks (accomplished this last year!) across the country, and hopefully someday to visit all 400+ NPS sites.
One of my favorite small parks is John Day Fossil Beds National Monument in eastern Oregon. Who knew volcanic ash could be so beautiful?/Photo by Linda Mohammad
Most of my national park adventures took place over weekends and a few of them were done during longer holiday weekends or vacation time. Since I live two hours north of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), it was convenient for finding affordable tickets to major airports around this region. Besides flying to some of the farther states and destinations across the Pacific Ocean, my trips also include some Amtrak train rides and road trips by personal and rental cars, as well as being a backseat driver with accompanying friends.
I usually traveled solo at the beginning of my bucket list journey, so often times I opted to car camp at park campgrounds or sleep in the car whenever I didn’t feel like pitching a tent. Staying at park campgrounds helps lower the trip cost, as they cost between $15 to $25 per night. The cost for rental cars, on the other hand, varies based on the arrival airport, as well as the duration of the trip.
I’m looking forward to share more about these parks and my time there in my next posts!
Header photo: Death Valley National Park, the park that kicked off my California national park bucket list in 2016/Photo by Linda Mohammad
Linda Mohammad, also known as The Bucket List Traveler, is originally from Malaysia, but now calls California home. What started as a bucket list goal to experience all California national parks turned into a bigger bucket list to see all 62 America’s major national parks, which she accomplished in 2019. As a weekend warrior, she’s passionate about energizing park lovers while planning visits to public lands.