We’re all feeling the effects of our “new normal” and for many of us, vacations, family trips, and new adventures have to be put on hold as we all navigate this crisis together.
Just because you can’t visit your favorite national park in the short term, it doesn’t mean you have to put your bucket list down! Personal downtime may be the best time to think about all the things you’ll tick off your list once the quarantine period is fully over for everyone and to start planning how to book a stay and make those dreams a reality.
We all deserve a getaway, don’t we? Time to heal, reflect, and discover exciting new landscapes that can’t be found anywhere else. What does your bucket list look like? Where will you go and what will you discover once you’re able?
See a few of our favorite national park bucket list experiences!
Behold Rainbow Bridge
Rainbow Bridge is nearly as tall as the Statue of Liberty.
Known as one of the largest natural bridges in the world, located in South Lake Powell, Rainbow Bridge is a true sight to see. Considered sacred by Native Americans, Rainbow Bridge’s majesty makes this a clear national park bucket list contender. To truly understand the grandeur of this natural monument, the bridge stands at 290 feet from base to the top of the arch, and its span reaches 275 feet.The bridge is comprised of two types of sedimentary rocks — Navajo Sandstone and Kayenta Sandstone.
Rainbow Bridge can be reached by water or land. Courtesy docks have been set up 2 miles from the bridge on Lake Powell which lead to an easy trail making a quick trip up to the bridge. Private boats can access the bridge as well as private tours.
Hit the Rapids near Togwotee
Whitewater rafting trip on the Snake River.
The Snake River near Togwotee Mountain Lodge, north of Jackson Hole in Yellowstone, is an ideal location for white water rafting. Sands Whitewater Adventures should be added to your summer adventures bucket list. Starting with a safety briefing and life jacket suiting, 8- 14 people can join, paddle in hand on a 3.5 hour white water rafting journey.
The Bridger-Teton Region is famous for its beautiful scenery and rapids. All ages and skill levels will enjoy with rapids reaching up to Class III.
We’re Off to Meet the Wizard…Island
A breathtaking view of Wizard Island at Crater Lake.
One of our top-pick destination experiences can be found at Crater Lake National Park — the deepest lake in the U.S. located in Crater Lake, OR — specifically, Wizard Island! Guests can reach the island via theWizard Island boat tours, which includes a trip around the lake’s perimeter to take in the beautiful, secluded waterways and a 3 hour stop on Wizard Island. While on the island, guests can hike the Wizard Island Summit Trail, which is less than a mile round-trip leading to the 90-foot deep crater summit.
While visiting Crater Lake, there are lodging options for all adventure levels, including campgrounds, cabins, and the Crater Lake Lodge.
Get Wild in the Denali Tundra
Denali, the highest mountain peak in North America.
If you’re looking to cool things down, Denali is the place. Absolutely untouched, serene beauty, stretching out over miles and miles, and fun activities for the whole family await!
The Tundra Wilderness Tour is a truly unforgettable experience. Because private traffic isn’t allowed in the park, a guided bus tour is truly the best way to experience the park. This motorcoach tour gives views of the Denali tundra wilderness you won’t find anywhere else, including stops at Polychrome Pass and the Toklat River. The tour ends 63 miles into the park at the Stoney River overlook, with majestic views of Denali when the weather permits. Most of our adventurers love the close-up, protected view of rugged nature, and a number of forest animals, from bears to sheep, caribou to moose, and for the lucky, wild wolves.
We also recommend Denali Park Village for your stay. We’ll offer special deals at many of our national park hotels as bookings start to open, so make sure to check often!
Get Up Close and Personal With the Whales
Humpback Whale breaches water during whale watching tour.
Located right on the border of Canada’s Yukon Territories, Glacier Bay gets its name honestly. With icy waters and majestic, snow-covered peaks, there’s always something to do and see in this park. While the main event is the full-day Glacier Bay Boat Tour to see the glaciers, typically park visitor’s flights don’t leave until the following afternoon which provides time to enjoy one of our favorite activities, a half-day whale watching tour before departing the park No need to worry about time to fit it in, guests can check out of Glacier Bay Lodge prior to leaving for the tour and the lodge’s staff will have your luggage waiting for you at the airport.
What can beat the cool, crisp air, listening to whale songs, and a hot cup of cocoa on the deck of the tour cruiser? Whales jumping, wild polar animals such as sea otters and porpoises and land animals like puffins and grizzlies make this trip a natural wonder-filled delight for new and seasoned travelers alike.
Travel Back to the Past at Mesa Verde
The Ancestral Puebloans created what are some of the most well-preserved, historic room dwelling sites in the Americas. Puebloans carved often high, steep sandstone dwellings into rock faces, some of which are only accessible by ladder.
Some of the largest dwellings at Mesa Verde have up to 170 rooms. While visiting the structures, you can stay at the Far View Lodge, conveniently located atop the mesa, just minutes from the park’s sights, or explore the featured amenities at cozy Morefield campground.
In the Mood for Hot Springs?
Taking a dip in the Sol Duc Hot Springs.
Hot springs are the perfect way to cap off a vigorous hike through the forest. The Sol Duc Hot Springs are visited by travelers, who enjoy soaking for hours deep within the lush rainforest of Olympic National Park.
Sol Duc offers different pools at different temperatures — some mineral, some freshwater — for a sublime soak that can’t be beaten. Hot springs visits between Sol Duc River dips are favorite pastimes of many Sol Duc visitors.
One of our Nation’s most iconic National Parks, Yosemite National Park has something to offer travelers of all fitness levels. If you’re interested in rock climbing, you’ll be in for quite a treat. As the only authorized climbing guides in Yosemite, Yosemite Mountaineering School’s guided climbs offer a little something for climbers of all skill levels and are better when paired with a comforting stay at a property like the Ahwahnee or Yosemite Valley Lodge. For those who would rather watch the action from afar, be sure to pack some binoculars in order to view world-class climbers making their way up the steep face of El Capitan.
Catch Air in Lake Tahoe
Ever wonder what it feels like to fly? Parasailing, in Lake Tahoe is about as close to human flight as you can get. With captivating views from 500 feet above the water, this exhilarating experience is a must add to your travel bucket list.
Located on Lake Tahoe’s Zephyr Cove, this parasailing experience starts and ends dry. This means all launches and landings happen on the boat and not in the water. All tours are led by an experienced and licensed captain and crew and they will talk you through the entire experience. These tours aren’t just for height seekers. Guests can also watch from the boat if they aren’t ready to take flight.
Zoom Through the Snow in the Tetons
If winter activities are more your speed, then speeding through the Tetons on a snowmobile is calling your name. Whether you are looking for a more leisurely journey or are down for a more adventurous ride, the Teton range has over 600 miles of trails to explore and even some off-trail routes.
Teton Tour Company offers, guides, equipment, and tours for your snowmobiling trip. Chances are while your taking in the breathtaking scenery of Tetons, you may get to see it’s wildlife too.
Dream Now. Visit Later.
No matter where your bucket list takes you, it’s possible to turn today’s bucket list dreams into tomorrow’s travel plans. Whether you’re looking for island tours where you can view exotic animals or a relaxing, family-friendly dip in Sol Duc Hot Springs, our nation’s national parks have something truly special to offer — and all the sights and amenities are yours for the taking!