Could the National Parks be Calling Your Name?

Could the National Parks be Calling Your Name?

You don’t have to travel the world to see astounding sights. The United States is full of diverse natural beauty, from sprawling desert landscapes to towering mountain peaks. There are 59 National Parks in the U.S., each with its own reason to visit. And what better way to visit the National Parks than in an RV? Road tripping in an RV is fun, affordable, and convenient, whether you own an RV or are renting one from a site like RVshare.

Of course, the country’s most famous National Parks, like Yosemite and the Grand Canyon, are bound to be on any traveler’s list. But there are many more hidden gems out there – parks that are not as popular but just as impressive. So, if you’re planning next year’s RV trip, be sure to include a few of these lesser-known National Parks.

Carlsbad Caverns – New Mexico

A massive cave system of underground oddities awaits visitors of Carlsbad Caverns. Located in New Mexico, the Carlsbad Caverns National Park features the deepest cave in America. With 119 separate chambers to explore, you’ll be spending plenty of time immersed in the strange underground world. Above ground, the surrounding desert offers an equally unique experience. As the largest and wettest desert in North America, the Chihuahuan Desert has a rich ecosystem with more than 900 species of plants, 67 species of mammals, and hundreds of birds, reptiles, and insects. There’s plenty to do at the park, like hiking the backcountry, taking a guided tour of the caves, watching thousands of bats emerge from the caves at night, or just lying back and looking at the night sky. If you’re traveling in an RV, there are several campgrounds just a few miles from the Park’s entrance in the bordering town of White’s City.

Crater Lake – Oregon

To say Crater Lake is highly photogenic is an understatement. Its crystal-clear waters reflect the surrounding mountains fed by rain and snow, rather than a river, which is what makes the lake so pristine. It’s also what makes the lake so cold. Even in the dead heat of summer, the lake tends to stay around 50 degrees. And yes, it is possible to swim in Crater Lake, as long as you access it from the Cleetwood Cover Trail. Fishing is a popular activity here; the lake is stocked with Kokanee Salmon, while nearby streams are home to several species of trout. There are two campgrounds within the park, but only one (Mazama Campground) allows overnight RV parking.

Shenandoah – Virginia

Home to what is arguably the most scenic drive in the world, Shenandoah National Park is a road tripper’s dream. Skyline Drive is a 105-mile road that winds through Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains with plenty of places to stop (75, to be exact) and take in the view. Hikers love this park too, as there are roughly 500 miles of hiking trails for all experience levels. One of the best things about the park is its perpetual beauty through all seasons. From the crimson red and rust orange leaves of autumn to the snow-covered treetops and icy waterfalls of winter, each season brings new sights and new photo opportunities. Whether it’s chasing waterfalls, hiking the Appalachian Trail, or cruising down Skyline Drive, there’s never a shortage of outdoorsy things to do in Shenandoah. There are three campgrounds that offer RV parking, as well as plenty of spots for tent camping.

Glacier – Montana

If you’re looking for a change of scenery, you can get your fix at Glacier National Park. The park is full of diverse ecosystems and natural landmarks, like snowy mountains, brilliant blue lakes and streams, and ancient forests. There are more than 700 miles of hiking trails winding through the park’s many different habitats. Several of the wetland areas feature rare plants and animals. Visitors can enjoy fishing, swimming, and hiking throughout the park. Of course, if you’re not the active type, you can take a guided boat tour or relax in one of the many famous lodges. There are 13 campgrounds in the park, many of which allow RV camping on a first-come-first-served basis.

Mesa Verde – Colorado

Mesa Verde takes you on a walk back through cultural history. Once home to Pueblo people who lived along the cliffside, the park features roughly 5,000 archeological sites for you to explore. The cliffside dwellings are more than 800 years old and vary in size. From small, one-room storage structures to the massive, 150-room Cliff Palace, Mesa Verde is a glimpse into life in 12th-century North America. Aside from visiting the sites and local museum, the park also offers plenty of hiking trails and wildlife observation. Morefield Campground is just inside the park and has 267 sites for tents and RVs.

Congaree – South Carolina

Congaree is one of the oldest and largest floodplain forests in the eastern United States. Here, you’ll walk among towering trees, which are some of the tallest on this side of the continent. The floodplain is fed by the Congaree and Wateree Rivers, creating a perfect habitat for aquatic and semi-aquatic life. An elevated boardwalk allows for a comfortable stroll and observation of the abundant wildlife. Other activities include fishing, kayaking, and guided tours. Since the park includes protected wetlands, RV camping is not allowed. However, there are several RV parks and boondocking spots nearby.

Getting Back to Nature with National Parks

No matter which National Park you choose, you’ll find yourself in some of the country’s most beautiful lands. After all, they wouldn’t be protected parks if they weren’t special in some way! There are National Parks in 27 states, so you don’t have to travel far for a quiet respite. Whether you’re planning a weekend road trip or a month-long tour of the national parks, an RV will get you there in comfort. Have you visited any of the parks on this list? Share your thoughts in the comments!