Friday, February 5, 2021

Book Review: Guide to National Parks and Secrets of the National Parks

If you know me at all you know that I love a good road trip! I love traveling in general, but I love seeing the ultimate tourist attractions, and what could possibly be more of a tourist attraction than the National Parks of the United States? Let's talk about some books that you need when you plan your next trip. 

Guide to the National Parks of the United States

Secrets of the National Parks

Guide to the National Parks of the United States: There's simply no better getaway in the United States than a visit to one of the country's 62 national parks from Alaska to the Virgin Islands, from Maine to America Samoa. Profiled in this all-new ninth edition of National Geographic's enduring and informative guide, you'll find expert travel advice, candid tips for hiking and wildlife spotting, and detailed maps to help navigate your way through America's great outdoors.  Updated throughout with the latest information from park rangers and National Geographic's own acclaimed travel writers, this fully revised and comprehensive guidebook includes the newest additions to the United States park system-Indiana Dunes, White Sands, and Gateway Arch national parks. Whether you're looking to explore the underground world of Mammoth Caves or make your way through the mangroves of Everglades National Park, you'll find a destination that suits your needs, and inspiration to plan your next wild adventure. In addition to park details and descriptions, this sparkling new edition features week-long regional road trip itineraries s so you can visit multiple parks in one vacation. Filled with more than 300 dazzling photographs and 80 full-color maps, this inspiring book reveals the best the United States has to offer-right in its own backyard.

Secrets of the National Parks: The iconic landmarks in America''s national parks draw hundreds of millions of visitors every year, from Yosemite''s famous Half Dome to Yellowstone''s Old Faithful. But beyond these well-known wonders lies a world of hidden treasures--if you know where to look. This exceptional guide reveals these lesser-known gems, along with insider knowledge about the parks'' main attractions. With vital tips from rangers, experts, and travelers, readers can have Acadia''s massively popular Sand Beach and Jordan pond to themselves, or be one of the 10 percent of Grand Canyon visitors who go beyond the rim. Fully updated and redesigned to include the newest national parks and featuring expert advice from rangers, park managers, frequent visitors, and locals, this authoritative book will help you get out of the parking lot and off the beaten path to find interesting outlooks, challenging hikes, wildlife watching, and more. With brand-new entries for Pinnacles National Park, Gateway Arch, Indiana Dunes National Park, and Denali National Park and Preserve, this book will be your go-to guide on road trips, camping getaways, and day hikes, allowing you to enjoy the rich opportunity in the country''s vaunted national parks.
I am going to review these both at the same time because they really work best as a team, depending on what kind of trip you have time to plan. I suggest using Guide to when you are planning out your trip, but using Secrets of if you think you may have some extra time to explore a little more. 

I don't think I have to tell you that both books are full of incredible pictures that will make you pack up the car right now, it's what we've come to expect from National Geographic and boy, do they deliver. The biggest complaint I have with a lot of travel books is how they are organized, they often make it really hard to plan a trip because the sections you need are often at different parts of the book and you spend more time bouncing around the book than you do actually on the road. Thankfully both books are very well organized and done by region, then by park. I found that incredibly helpful. 

ESPECIALLY helpful? In the Guide book it gives information about campgrounds/lodging, entrance fees (because who wants to be surprised by those), excursions (added extras nearby that might add to your experience, like monuments, for example), and if you'll be able to get more than one park in the same trip. 

Each park area has a detailed map and so much information that you will have no problem organizing a trip, even on short notice. In 2019, our family visited Missouri with the purpose of seeing the Gateway Arch. I knew little to nothing about the area and spent hours researching and you know what? Our trip was terrible because the information we found online wasn't actually helpful at all. Had I used this book I could have saved us a ridiculously out of the way walk because I could have used this map, and I could have found some other things to do. The closest park to me in the book is probably Voyageurs National Park, in the northern part of Minnesota. I've actually never been there because I've always been told that's a trip you plan for, and thankfully this book just might get us there! In the "How to Visit" section is says to plan for at least a two day trip, and if I'm not bringing or renting a boat, I need to look into ranger-led boat tours. Let's be honest though, I should look into that regardless otherwise our family will get lost. It's basically a guarantee. It tells me the best time to visit the park and great information about the visitor centers. It's everything you need to know when planning. If I pull out my Secrets book it tells me how to avoid crowds on the waterways and other tips to make the trip a little extra fun. Lots of parks have gorgeous driving loops and you can find information about each one throughout the book. 

Overall? I know it seems dorky, but both of these were 5 star for me. I have a hard time knocking any points off of a National Geographic book in general, because I learn so much from them. These are the books I have out on a table and someone always ends up paging through it, too. If you are trying to plan out a summer trip, whether for pleasure or educational, these are a couple of great books to pick up. 

Thank you to TLC Book Tours and National Geographic for having me on this tour, but also sending me books for review. I'm already looking at some places in Michigan since it's not too far from us, but far enough to feel like a vacation. Stay tuned for our travels!

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1 comment:

Why Girls Are Weird said...

These would be AWESOME books to own!