Celebrating America’s National Parks
America is celebrating 100 years of its National Parks this year so why not make 2016 the year to walk on your wild side? While most of us aren’t as wild as what Steppenwolf’s classic song ‘Born to Be Wild’ conjures up, we all have a bit of wild side that wants to get out into the great wide open. Take your adventure on the road to explore our National Parks, Monuments, Preserves, Seashores, Historic Sites, Battlefields, Recreation Areas and more on these popular drives.
- ‘Get Your Kicks’ – Route 66
Established in 1926, covering nearly 2,500 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica, Route 66 was removed from the US Highway System in 1985 after it was replaced by the Interstate Highway System. Fortunately, in 2008 the World Monuments Fund added Route 66 to the World Monuments Watch to preserve as many of the sites along the route as possible, such as gas stations, motels, cafés, trading posts and drive-in movie theaters.
Some states have kept the Route 66 designation for parts of the highway. Probably the best state to relive the glory days of Route 66 is in Arizona, where a long segment of Route 66 in Arizona from Seligman to Kingman, Arizona. Why not combine this legendary stretch of Route 66 along with a visit to the Grand Canyon, Sedona and other parks and destinations in Arizona and California.
- ‘Rocky Mountain High’ – Highway 89
Running north-south for over 1,200 miles, it’s called the National Park Highway with good reason. It links seven National Parks: Saguaro in Arizona, Grand Canyon, Arizona, Zion in Utah, Bryce Canyon, Utah, Grand Teton of Wyoming, Yellowstone in both Wyoming and Montana, and Glacier Park in Montana. Want more to explore? Highway 89 also provides access to 14 other destinations managed by the National Park Service.
- ‘California Dreamin’ – Highway 1
California State Highway 1, also known as the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) in certain stretches, is famous for running along some of the most beautiful coastlines in the USA, leading to its designation as an All-American Road. Just a few of the natural and manmade attractions you’ll find along or near Highway 1 and Highway 101 include Redwood National Park, Avenue of the Giants, Mendocino, Point Reyes National Seashore, the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Monterey and Carmel, Pinnacles National Park, Big Sur, the Hearst Castle and Santa Barbara.
Maybe you would like to include Yosemite National Park. Have more time and feeling adventurous? Be sure to add the southern Oregon coastline to your drive and a visit to Crater Lake National Park. Want even more natural beauty? Then please include Mt. Rainier and the Olympic National Parks in Washington.
Enjoy the best of the Canyonlands as you discover Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in Utah, followed by Mesa Valley National Park, Monument Valley, and finally the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Examine the multi-coloured rocks from different eras and be in awe of the panoramic views from the South Rim. Observe grizzly bears and gray wolves with an expert naturalist at the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center in Yellowstone National Park or venture into the National Elk Refuge for a winter sleigh ride to view wild elk in the winter habitat at the base of the Grand Tetons. Stay in some of the Old West’s authentic accommodations, such as the ones in Big Sky, Montana, and experience horseback riding, whitewater rafting, and real life horse wranglers. There are so many fun activities here for the whole family to enjoy.
Whatever your adventure, remember Lake Zurich Travel can help make a good vacation GREAT!
Sue Shimkus, with Lake Zurich Travel and Lakeside Travel Advisors Wauconda, has been planning adventures for over 40 years. Visit online at LZTravel.com for all your vacation needs.