• National Parks Week highlights appeal of natural treasures

    2013-04-23

    April 20 marked the beginning of National Parks Week in the United States, and aside from highlighting the considerable appeal of these natural treasures, the National Park Service also offered free admittance to each location between April 22 and 26. Even if you can't get to a national park this week, it is as good a time as any to plan your next trip to one of these beautiful destinations. There are many to choose from and some are quite famous - including the Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Parks. However, there are some that don't get quite as much attention, and you should consider making them part of your next United States travel plans.

    Arches National Park
    The Mountain West region is home to some of the most stunning landscapes in the country, and that is certainly the case at Utah's Arches National Park. Located just outside the city of Moab, this expansive park covers more than 76,600 acres and gets its name from the estimated 2,000 unique arch formations that pepper its landscape. Many of these breathtaking natural wonders will stand out as highlights of your trip, but the most famous of them all is Delicate Arch. A symbol of the state - it's even featured on the Utah license plate - watching the sunset from the formation will surely be a memorable experience. This symbol of the state is even featured on the Utah license plate, and is perhaps the greatest spot in the whole state to watch the sunset.

    Ozark National Scenic Riverways
    Located in southeastern Missouri, this park encompasses more than 80,000 acres and is especially popular among travelers looking to add some adventure to their trip. Many of its visitors opt to float down the Current and Jacks Fork Rivers in canoes, but the park has much more to offer. Perhaps most significantly, there are numerous caves worth exploring and the hiking trails are among the best in the country.

    Gulf Islands National Seashore
    The coastline may not fit with the popular image of a national park, but this piece of shore between Mississippi and Florida is among the most beautiful stretches of natural environment in the country. Aside from walking along the pristine beaches, there are many other ways to experience the park including hiking, boating and touring the historic forts located there. Not only that, but the park is home to an impressive diversity of marine wildlife.

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