The national parks of America call to European travellers and North American road trippers alike for one reason or another. Whether you’re after Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone or another spectacular site, you’ll want to be privy to the ins and outs of national park camping. As such, we’re here to shed some light on just what you need to know before jetting to America with a tent in tow.
Reserve Your Spot
There are a few reasons why it’s so important to reserve your spot. For one, American National Parks can often be busy places, so you’ll want to ensure you’ll actually have a cabin to sleep in or a place to lay your tent before making the long trek there. Moreover, each park often has unique rules for how long you can stay and where you can do so, so it’s best to cover all the bases ahead of time to avoid hiccups.
For instance, Acadia National Park does not allow backcountry camping, a popular and primitive method of roughing it. This is simply to protect traffic and wildlife due to the small size of the park. Additionally, Yosemite National Park is so popular that visitors can only stay a total of 30 days per year in the park. You’ll want to make sure the rangers know you haven’t overstayed your welcome.
Be Keen On Health and Safety
Whether you’re travelling alone or with a family, it’s important to be aware of the unique health and safety risks of the regions you’re visiting. Some of the American national parks are extremely high in altitude (think Alaska’s Glacier Bay and Colorado’s Rocky Mountains). Altitude sickness can and does happen, so be sure to have the right provisions to deal with it if it comes. Climb slowly, stay hydrated and enjoy the view.
If you’re planning on canyoneering at places like Zion or Arches National Park, check the weather. Flash floods occur yearly within the canyon walls, and you definitely don’t want to be in their confines when they hit. So long as you know your limits and listen to the guides, you’ll be just fine.
Learn Your American National Park History
Everyone knows that the history of the USA is unique and multifaceted. Even its great outdoors are still subject to the legacy of American revolutions. When travelling to a national park, you’ll get to enjoy firsthand lands where bears and mountain lions still roam, and where bison and native peoples once did.
Once you pick a national park to camp in, do a bit of digging and learn about the history of the area. From the Athabascan tribes native to the Denali region in Alaska to the Cherokee Indians of the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, the land is rich with knowledge of peoples past and present. You’ll surely appreciate your camping explorations much more if you do your reading.
Start Browsing for Your Campsite
Now that you’re all set to explore one (or many) of America’s national parks, it’s time to get browsing to find the right campsite for you and your crew. Camping in American won’t disappoint even the most experienced traveller.