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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Ormesher

From Soaking to Hiking: Our Top Picks for National Parks to Connect with Nature

Are you planning to visit America's National Parks but don't know which ones to visit?

With over 60 National Parks in America, choosing which ones to visit can feel like trying to choose a favorite child. But fear not, fellow nature lovers! We've narrowed it down to our top three favorites that stole our hearts.

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

To truly experience the Grand Canyon, we recommend taking an all-inclusive white-water raft trip. You can choose from 5-17 day trips, and you'll have plenty of options to personalize your experience.

Would you rather rough it or go glamping while on the river?

Do you want to paddle or have someone else maneuver the boat?

If you're like me, 50% princess and 50% explorer, the answers to those questions are easy. Glamping, please, with a side of someone else cooking!

Once you're on the boat, you'll spend your days floating down the river and seeing the Canyon from the bottom. This perspective will give you a real sense of scale for the canyon. Guides will point out rock formations and share the origin stories told by Native Americans indigenous to the area.

You won't go hungry during your trip because the guides will also be your chef. They'll provide delicious meals, such as steak with baked potatoes, shrimp cocktails, and chocolate cake.

As for bathroom facilities, there are plenty of "smile breaks" during the day, and a toilet with a view is never far away. It's truly an Instagramable experience!

As you drift off to sleep, make sure to take a glance at the sky. The view of the Milky Way is breathtaking! In fact, it was during a moment like this that Canopy of Stars was born.

Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas

Hot Springs National Park is where history and nature meet. Established as a reserve in 1832, it's the oldest of our national parks. There are over 26 miles of hiking trails through lush forests spread out over several locations, but the main draw is the hot springs.

While there are no outdoor soaking areas, there are two historic houses along Bathhouse Row that use the waters from the springs to indulge visitors. Our favorite was The Buckstaff Bathhouse, where you can experience traditional techniques prescribed by doctors in the early 1900s. Add a massage to your bath for the ultimate relaxation.

Because of the therapeutic qualities of the water, Hot Springs became a popular destination for the rich and famous, including many notorious gangsters. Visit the kitschy and informative Gangster Museum of America to learn all about how they lived side-by-side with the people of this quaint town while bootlegging and running illegal casinos.

Sequoia National Park, California

Sequoia National Park offers a unique connection with nature that's hard to describe. The park is home to giant sequoia trees that are centuries old, and hiking through them will make you feel small.

Arrive early and check in at the Visitor's Center to get a map and the daily activity guide.

Be sure to go on an afternoon hike with one of the Park Rangers. You might be lucky enough to see a momma and her two cubs off the trail. Camouflage is a real thing and it works! We would have missed them if the Park Ranger hadn't pointed them out to us.

The Big Trees Trail is a great introduction to the Sequoias. This trail is well-labeled and easy to follow, and it's paved, making it great for strollers or people who need accessible trails. Take a moment to pause and hug one of the giant Sequoias.

Feeling brave? Hike up to Moro Rock! You'll actually see this granite dome on your drive into the park. The out-and-back trail takes about 20 minutes to complete. Once you've reached the top, you'll have an expansive view of the area. If you're afraid of heights, you might want to skip this one or you may be found holding onto the bench instead of walking out to the edge. Not that I've got experience with that...

Enticing, aren’t they?

With 60 national parks, choosing the best one for you can be challenging. But don't worry, outdoor adventurer. When you book your vacation with Canopy of Stars Travel, you'll be confident that you're visiting the right park for you.

Just promise you’ll tell us why it's your new favorite when you get home.

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