October 4, 2010

Take a nature park vacation: 5 recommended hot-spots

Filed under: National Parks — www.urbanreturns.com @ 5:20 am

When the crowded city streets start getting you down, it’s usually a signal for a change of scenery. You won’t find any more beautiful than in one of America’s national parks. These bastions of wild beauty serve as reminders that man cannot survive on broadband alone.

Acadia (Maine): Located off of Maine’s coast on the island of Mount Desert and on surrounding islands and the mainland, totaling over 47,000 acres. The reserve includes Cadillac Mountainone of the earliest spots to see sunrise in the U.S. Trust usit’s worth getting up early.

Denali (Alaska): This Alaskan park is named for the Athabaskan name for Mount McKinley, which means “the high one.” You can see an abundance of living wildlife and a number of historic sites which point to the park’s millennia-long past. Fossils of wading birds and theropods (bipedal dinosaurs) have been found in the area.

Great Smoky Mountains (Tennessee/North Carolina): This park’s entrances are located in Cherokee, North Carolina and Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The Appalachian Trail winds through the park (overall, there are 850 miles of trails), which includes a startling two black bears per square mile.

Hot Springs (Arkansas): Hot Springs is both the oldest (founded 1832) and smallest (only 5,550 acres) federal reserve in America. Enjoy one of the historic bath-houses or bathe at a hospitable hotel, and watch your troubles float away. Don’t let the fact that people have been doing the same thing since the 1820s deter you.

Olympic (Washington): Seattle is known for its rain, but its Washington’s Olympic Park which boasts the highest annual average on the American mainland (150 inches). This precipitation makes for a temperate rainforest habitat and is home to many native Pacific Northwest wildlife species (like the Roosevelt elk and Olympic marmot), making for a one-of-a-kind visit.

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