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Visit National & State Parks

Written by: Clay Miller

Yosemite National Park The Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Support the local and national tourism industry by visiting the fantastic national and state parks. You may be surprised on what they have to offer you and your family. Each one is rich with events, tours, lodging, entertainment and history. Many facilities are much cheaper than other more popular options for families like extravagant themed parks. The more visitors to the parks means more funds and a better future for the parks system.

National Parks

The mention of our national parks system often conjures up images of popular travel destinations like Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, or the Great Smoky Mountains. National parks are regarded as areas of great natural beauty that offer opportunities for hiking, camping, boating, and other outdoor recreational activities. In actuality, when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Organic Act in August of 1916, it was not the primary purpose of the National Park Service to provide recreational opportunities. The original intent was "to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."

Today, of the 390 units of the National Park System, only 58 are designated as "national parks." The classification system used by the National Park Service includes 18 other designations, including descriptive listings such as lakeshores, seashores, and battlefields, and others titles that can't be neatly categorized because of the diversity of resources within them. Whether your interest is history, geography, biology, zoology, archeology, or simply enjoying the great outdoors, the national park system definitely has something to captivate your interest. Find national parks near you.

Cumberland Falls in Kentucky General Butler State Resort Park

State Parks

There are more than 3,500 state parks in the United States. Many of these parks rival the more famous national parks in terms of beauty, cultural and historical significance, and natural resources, though many of these parks are not well known to the general public. Find state parks near you.

Teachers and students can take advantage of a variety of excellent educational resources available at our parks system, including opportunities to learn through the Parks as Classrooms Program and Teaching with Historic Places. Also, volunteering and seasonal or full-time jobs can provide valuable training and experience, and afford the chance to explore some of the most beautiful protected lands and wilderness areas that the country has to offer.

I personally just visited General Butler State Resort Park and had a great time. I even blogged about it here. I have visited it many times as well as E.P. "Tom" Sawyer State Park, Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, Pine Mountain State Resort Park, My Old Kentucky Home State Park, Taylorsville Lake State Park, Carter Caves State Resort Park, Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, Great Smoky Mountains National Park & Mammoth Cave National Park. I've loved visiting them all and I hope to visit more every year. I urge you and your family to visit national and state parks and see this beautiful country. Oh, and bring your camera.

Resources: About.com: National & State Parks, NPS.gov

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