National parks are popular destinations for hiking, paddling, wildlife-spotting, and museums, but foodie meccas they are not—usually. Unless of course you visit Hot Springs National Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas, a tiny park unlike anything else in the National Park Service, and one that’s sure to change your idea of dining and drinking at national parks.
Whether you’re seeking solace and solitude, space for healing and reflection, or just a little “leg room” after months of social distancing, the parks are ready to welcome us back with open arms. Thankfully, the Midwest national parks offer all of us an opportunity to find some comfort and quiet space to continue the conversations we’re only just beginning.
While visiting the parks with children is a lot different than an all adult trip, the experiences, memories, and chance to take in national parks through a child’s eyes are immeasurable. It can be intimidating to plan a family trip to a national park, but I look forward to sharing many lessons learned.
The Intermountain Region is home to a staggering 20 national parks. These lands, once belonging to indigenous people, all yield a different experience. From the Canadian border to the Mexican border, these parks invite exploration.
The Midwest Region spans 11 different states and 57 of the more than 400 different units in the NPS. Of those 57 units, nine have the official national park designation. Among these, you’ll find one of our newest, one of our oldest, and one of the least visited national parks in the National Park Service.
Alaska is big, wild, and powerful. The state boasts some of the most beautiful and remote national parks in the country, each with its own unique characteristics. I’ve lived in Alaska on-and-off for seven years, and it’s my pleasure to introduce you.
The Passport to Your National Parks, in all its simplicity, represents the ultimate American bucket list for adventurers and nature-lovers, and it’s shocking this thing isn’t more ubiquitous than it is.
At its core, a national park is a place that’s been set aside for conservation and preservation. These are often places of iconic natural beauty, like Yosemite and Grand Canyon, but national parks can also be in urban areas, historic battlefields, and beyond. You might be surprised by the breadth of parks, and the fact that there might be one in your own backyard.
My favorite thing about our national parks is the widespread community they foster, and all the different ways they impart a sense of awe and inspiration in all of us. And speaking of being inspired, a great example of this is Christine Cikowski, a chef in Chicago who has been a personal source of inspiration for me for years. I’ve long been a fan of her cooking, and I love that she loves national parks as much as we do.
From famed towns like Salem, Massachusetts, and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to the world-renowned monuments of New York City and equally famed shores of Acadia National Park, the Northeast Region boasts some of the country’s most essential sights in the National Park Service, and as a New Hampshire native, they’ll always hold a special place in my heart, no matter where I happen to be roving.