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Unassuming from afar, yet quite strikingly incredible close-up, Mount Roraima on the Venezuela-Brazil-Guyana border is a destination that deserves it’s own travel itinerary. The tepuy, or tabletop mountain, is nearly 9,000 feet high and sits inside Canaima National Park (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Read more
Who said desert oases don’t exist? Lençois Maranhenses National Park is the only desert in the world with thousands of crystal clear fresh water lagoons. During the first half of the year, the sand dunes fill with water from the extensive rainy season. Then, during the dry season many of them disappear. Covering over 383,000 acres in the Maranhão State of Brazil, sand from riverbeds has contributed to the formation of the park over the past several thousand years. Read more
Nature lovers and avid gardeners will definitely delight in this amazing natural sight: The Valley of Flowers National Park high in West Himalaya, India. The park, nestled between snow-capped peaks, is blanketed in beautiful alpine flowers. The central valley of the park occupies around three square miles, and the lowest part sits at around 11,000 feet above sea level. It is inhabited by countless threatened species (like the snow leopard) and unique plant life. Read more
I’ve often said that visiting a U.S. National Park in the off-season is something that any park aficionado should consider. After all, there are few things better than natural splendor sans the crowds, right? Well, perhaps there’s one thing that’s better: visiting a U.S. National Park just as it opens. As spring slowly creeps up on us, the first shoulder season of park visitation is beginning, and it’s an excellent time to beat the masses to the parks you’ve had on your bucket list. Let’s take a look at a few that are opening their gates soon, or are transitioning from partly operational to fully functioning. Read more
The recent headlines over the hantavirus outbreak at Yosemite National Park in California keep getting grimmer. On Thursday, news broke of the third fatality from the rare, rodent-borne illness, which has been linked to some tent cabins at the park’s popular Curry Village.
In addition, park officials also confirmed that the eighth confirmed case of hantavirus linked to the park in recent weeks, which was a mild case and did not require hospitalization, likely occurred not in Curry Village but at one of the park’s high country camps. As a result, Yosemite officials are notifying about 12,000 additional people who stayed in the park’s High Sierra camps this summer, said Kari Cobb, public affairs officer for Yosemite National Park.
So far, park officials have sent more than 3,000 e-mails and letters to people who reserved cabins in Curry Village over the summer and have posted and shared links to FAQs and safety tips about the virus. In addition, various health agencies working on the outbreak, including the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, have taken to Twitter and other social media to help get the word out about the outbreak. Meanwhile, all 91 of the “signature” cabin tents at Curry Village, where the majority of infections are believed to have occurred due to a design flaw in the tents that allowed mice inside, are closed indefinitely, Cobb said.
Still, even with all the efforts dedicated to controlling the outbreak, the situation also underscores an important reminder for any travelers who enjoy the wilderness: that as safe and regulated as national parks are, nature always has the upper hand. Read more
Memorial Day marks the start of summer in most of our minds (if not officially on our calendars). For many of us, it means the first trip to the beach, a road trip adventure, or a weekend in the country. For others, however, it’s just a long weekend away from the office with no getaway plans. That doesn’t mean that that those folks don’t have travel on their minds, however. Now, I’m not advocating calling something a “staycation;” I’m just suggesting that you use Memorial Day weekend to plot, scheme, and organize a trip that you can take sometime this summer. Use the holiday as your launchpad and start your own countdown to the trip that you deserve.
There’s no right or wrong way to travel. Love your RV? Plan an epic drive through to a national park. Prefer more luxury on your trips? Find a deal on a hotel that will cater to your every need. Summer is perfect for adventure and Memorial Day weekend is the right time to get yourself ready. Read more
Itching for a nature getaway this spring? I know we are! Explore the outdoors and shack up in a log cabin in Utah’s Zion National Park. Set just outside of Mount Zion National Park, the Zion Ponderosa in Mount Carmel, Utah, offers simple (but air-conditioned) log-cabin accommodations. The major draw here is the arresting setting among sandstone cliffs and canyons, and the outdoor amenities, from tennis courts and a pool to horseback riding and rock climbing.
THE VALUE: Save 40 percent on weekday rates in a cabin suite that can sleep up to six. Plus, receive a 30 percent discount when purchasing 10 or more activity vouchers.
THE CATCH: Blackout dates include April 21 to 25.
THE DETAILS: Rates start from $159 a night before the discount through May 21. Call 800-239-5444 and mention code SLTM2011. zionponderosa.com
WE’VE GOT MORE: Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find hot hotel deals for your trip.
Outdoorsy types, as well as anybody on staff for the National Park Service, breathed a sigh of relief when last week’s much-hyped government shutdown was averted in time to save National Park Week.
It will take place as planned from April 16 to 24, with waived entry fees to more than 100 parks and monuments that normally charge, as well as hundreds of activities that would have been canceled had a budget compromise not been reached. A shutdown also would have spelled economic disaster for the communities that rely on national parks to help fuel their economies; in fact, the National Parks Conservation Association estimated a potential loss of $30 million.
So why not look at a visit to one the country’s 394 spectacular national parks next week as your civic duty, in addition to stoking your adventurous spirit? Here, I’ve picked out a few highlights from the extensive offerings.
The Luxury Sanctuary Retreats brings upscale camping to a whole new level at the Sanctuary Swala and Sanctuary Kusini camps, where decked-out tents (12 at each site) come with en suite bathrooms and butler service. Located inside Tarangire National Park, Swala sits near a watering hole popular with lions and elephants, while Kusini overlooks the plains of Serengeti National Park, where zebras, cheetahs, and cape buffalo roam. All meals and game drives are included at both camps. Read more
Poor Delaware. It’s the only U.S. state without a national park, which makes it sort of ironic that seven-time Delaware senator turned Vice President Joe Biden was championing restoration of the national parks during visits to the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone last month. And that fun fact brings to mind that even though summer’s more than half over, there’s still time for you and your family to visit a national park – and to champion one, too.
Spend a minute with this map and you’ll not only discover national parks that you never knew existed but you’ll also find that one or more of them are closer to home than you realized: There are 392 national park areas, including battlefields, monuments, seashores, lakeshores, rivers, trails, and other historical, military, and recreation sites.
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