Sunday, June 5, 2022

Book Review: 100 Great American Parks

Whoa boy.... I have had a really rough last... five days, I guess I'd say. It's just been a lot of awfulness with my health in general, but then I'm dealing that at the same time my mental health is taking a massive nosedive. You can imagine what that's feeling like and you'd likely be pretty spot on. I'm trying to keep my head above the water, but I'm really struggling.  

All that to say I am really behind in life in general, so be patient as I try to catch myself up. 

100 Great American Parks

National Geographic

Discover diverse and breathtaking natural landscapes in this beautifully illustrated collection of America’s 63 national parks, as well as 37 state, recreational, and city parks and green spaces.

Nowhere in the world is there a park system like America’s. The National Park System was the first in the world and is a collection of the country’s best national treasures. For Americans, these places are part of our cultural DNA. Filled with beautiful National Geographic photography, wisdom from experts, need-to-know travel information including the best scenic overlooks and hiking trails, and practical wildlife-spotting tips, this inspirational collection takes readers to all 63 national parks, as well as 37 state, recreational, and city parks and green spaces.
With a park in every state, this beautiful collection highlights the top experiences in stunning destinations from Yosemite and Sequoia to Biscayne and Mammoth Cave. You'll discover the beauty, diversity, surprises, and wonder of each park, including
  • The mountain peaks of the Tetons
  • Hawaii’s constantly erupting volcanoes
  • The crystal-clad underworld of Carlsbad Caverns
  • The steamy swamps and mangrove forests of the deep South
  • Hidden gems tucked in bustling cities like New York’s Central Park
And so much more!
One of my most favorite things to do is go on roadtrips. Coincidentally, one of my favorite things to do as a mom is bringing my kids to new places so they can see the country beyond our tiny little speck on the map. Not for nothing, we do live in a beautiful area that also has some opportunities and ultimately is a great place to raise a family. So while I don't regret settling down here, I do wish I had more chances as a kid to see other places because maybe I wouldn't have been afraid to leave our town, you know? So I really want my kids to see other places and maybe one will stick with them and they'll be excited to leave here and go on their own and thrive. 

Of course, if they stay here, I won't hate that either. But knowing what there is out there has always been a goal of mine as a mom. Bottom line- our family loves a good roadtrip. 

What better roadtrip to plan than one involving a state or national park, right? I am obsessed with National Geographic books in general, but their travel ones are always stunning and I always find myself filling the book with sticky notes as reminders of places I want to see as I plan our next family roadtrip. This book is going to be a huge asset because we do love a good park. 

This book is separated into five main parts: The West & The Pacific, Off the Mainland, The East & Mid-Atlantic, The South, and The Midwest & The Plains, which makes it really easy to go to wherever general area of the country you want to go. Of course, if you know right off which state you're going to, there is a chapter for Parks by State, which is mostly handy for me once I decide which state we're focusing on for that summer roadtrip. For instance, I am really thinking Indiana is going to be our destination this year, so the first thing I did was look for anything in Indiana. The first one I found was Indiana Dunes National Park, which I had written down on my initial itinerary ideas, but I know next to nothing about this place, let alone the fact there are even sand dunes in Indiana (I really thought this was mostly a beach thing). That page talks about the general history/overall view of the park, and some basic information such as size of the park, the best time to go, and some in-park accomodations. Interestingly, the Indiana Dunes is "fourth among US national parks for its biodiversity, home to more than 1100 plant species", so that's actually pretty cool. 

The following page talks about the Iown Effigy Mounds National Monument, which if you remember from last year, was one of the places we actually saw. (We also almost died during that hike while our then six-year old Penelope shamed all of us and reminded us that she had no problem with the hike, what the heck is wrong with US?! Fun times.) The Gateway Arch National Park is also featured, which was a highlight of the Strand Family Roadtrip to Missouri in 2019. Wisconsin only has one park listed, the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore (which is absolutely beautiful if you are ever here), but we hiked those ice caves one winter and we also tried to kayak once (and NEVER again). 

Overall, I really loved this book. It's full of amazing photographics that will inspire you to get in the car and go. Go off and make some family memories, this country is stunning and you need to see it. Thank you to TLC Book Tours and National Geographic for having me on this tour and sending me a copy for review. If you are itching for adventure, definitely pick this one up, or any of their travel books!

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