I write a lot about the National Parks on this site. One of the reasons I started blogging about the U.S. is to encourage travelers to get excited about the beautiful destinations right in their own backyard. I’m always surprised by how few National Parks the people I meet have visited—they are the country’s most incredible places, and thanks to the size of the U.S., they are wildly diverse. I got to see many of them myself as kid during summer road trips with my family. I have a vivid memory of looking out over the Grand Canyon with my parents and brother, and feeling a true sense of awe for the first time in my life. It’s a trip I recommend every family take and there’s no better time for it. This Saturday marks the beginning of National Park Week, when over 100 parks that usually charge admission will be free to visitors. To help plan your trip, check out Mapquest’s brand new guides to the parks with photos, video, and all the info you’ll need to get started. And, if you like the handiness of mobile technology, check out Chimani’s national park apps, which they’re giving away free downloads of this week.
Here are a few pictures of some of my favorite parks (and here’s a link to the complete list of parks). What are some of your favorites?