And Your Favorite Vacation Activity Is…

National parks!

After beaches cruised through the Vacation Activities Bracket without much resistance, they finally met their match at the hands of the nation’s most beloved areas.

We’re sure you’re no strangers to national parks, but there still might be a lot you didn’t know about your favorite vacation destinations. Yes, they hold some of the nation’s most memorable and eye-catching natural wonders, but it goes much deeper than that. What is a country without its natural soil and inhabitants?

Cheetah in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, courtesy of member Robert H.

National parks protect the bare bones of a nation: its wildlife, its land and its cultural heritage. When you visit one of the many parks around the world, you’re not only getting a dose of eye candy, but you’re helping support the preservation of our indispensable planet.

The next time you travel to a national park with Global Discovery Vacations or otherwise, here are some facts and resources to help you appreciate your time among the splendor.


Colorful sulfuric springs at Yellowstone National Park. Courtesy of member Timothy P.

  • There are 59 national parks in the United States. When you count each unit in the National Park System (national monuments, shorelines, forests, etc.), the United States has 417 such parks.
  • Delaware, the first of the US’s 50 states, is the only state without a national park or a national monument. However, only about half the states have a national park.
  • Wrangell-St. Elias National Park (Alaska) spans more than eight million acres, making it the largest national park in the country. Hot Springs National Park (Arkansas) is the smallest of the parks, sitting at less than six thousand acres.
  • Yellowstone National Park was the world’s first national park. President Ulysses S. Grant signed the bill in 1872, securing the protection of two million acres of land.
  • Yellowstone sits on top of a massive volcano, which last erupted 174,000 years ago. Though scientists do not foresee it erupting in the next 10,000 years, an eruption would be catastrophic, spreading magma over an estimated 240 cubic miles.

Quotes About National Parks:


The Grand Canyon in all its glory. Courtesy of member Walter E.

Director of the National Park Service Stephen T. Mather:

“The parks do not belong to one state or to one section…. The Yosemite, the Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon are national properties in which every citizen has a vested interest; they belong as much to the man of Massachusetts, of Michigan, of Florida, as they do to the people of California, of Wyoming, and of Arizona.”

President Franklin D. Roosevelt:

“There is nothing so American as our national parks… The fundamental idea behind the parks…is that the country belongs to the people, that it is in process of making for the enrichment of the lives of all of us.”

Novelist Wallace Stegner:

“National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.”

Artist Robert Smithson:

“The scenic ideals that surround even our national parks are carriers of a nostalgia for heavenly bliss and eternal calmness.”

President Lyndon B. Johnson:

“If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them something more than the miracles of technology. We must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.”

National Park Online Resources

global discovery vacations great smoky mountains

“The breathtaking Smoky Mountains at sunset during our sixth wedding anniversary vacation to Gatlinburg, Tennessee.” – Joel P.

What’s your favorite memory from a national park? Let us know in the comments!

Corey is a writer from Overland Park, KS, and has been with Global Discovery Vacations since September 2013. Once a sportswriter, he traveled the country and became proficient in airport security line etiquette and leaving items in hotel rooms.