Amazing Parks for Weekend Adventures

Author: Alecia Pirulis

Dinosaur National Monument

After spending a few days of spring break at a nearby state park, I’m feeling rejuvenated enough to satisfy my spring fever and recharged enough to make it through to our regularly-scheduled summer vacation. The state park we camped at is less than a half an hour from my home – perfect for the quick weekend getaway or a day-long boating or hiking trip. One of my favorite things about living in the Atlanta area is the proximity of so many beautiful state parks – whether coastal, mountains, or historic. To be honest, I wasn’t looking at recreational opportunities when we moved here. We were focused on school systems and economic factors, but I’m glad I stumbled upon this great resource.

If you are considering a move, include the area’s park system in your search – especially nearby state and national parks. Even if it is just for a Saturday afternoon picnic, having these resources nearby can make all the difference in your quality of life.

California, for example, has an amazing park system. From the desert cliffs of Red Rock Canyon to the parks that house the magnificent Redwoods, visitors can satisfy everything from rock climbing to mountain biking to white-water rafting in these diverse parks.

Caving can be an exciting adventure. We once camped at Rickwood Caverns in Warrior, Alabama and I’d love to make it back there. Underground waterfalls, stalagmites and stalactites – it’s like being on another planet. Many are discovering the fun of spelunking (although I prefer my caves on the “commercial” side, complete with a tour guide). Cool, dark, and surprisingly beautiful, some of my favorite photos are from the deep recesses we explored on this camping trip.

Speaking of other-worldly beauty, Denali National Park is on my dream-vacations list. The majestic, snow-topped mountains, wildlife, glaciers, stunning cliffs, and cool springs and lakes have long called to me. This vast park and preserve (nearly 6 million acres) was established in 1917 and has a long history.

History comes alive in many state and national parks across the country. Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in Collinsville, Illinois (about 15 miles from St. Louis) is a great park for those interested in ancient civilizations, as it was a large city in AD 1250. Tubac Presidio State Historic Park in Tubac, Arizona contains remains of a Spanish settlement established in the 1700s.

If you are out in Colorado, be sure to visit Dinosaur National Monument. Dinosaur fossils, river rafting, hiking, horseback riding, and camping all combine to make this an unforgettable trip. Another unforgettable location is Yellowstone National Park, which extends into Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. Here you can visit Old Faithful and other geysers in this historic national treasure.

From the small, unassuming state parks to the enormous and famous, living near a park will give you the opportunity to escape the day-to-day and try things you might never have considered, from caving to white-water rafting to mountain climbing. Even if you just sit back and enjoy your surroundings or explore with your camera, you’ll have a nearby oasis where you can create memories and let your worries fall away – even if just for the weekend.