Get in touch with nature and visit these national parks

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John Clare/Courtesy

Chances are, with school fast approaching, you wish your summer vacation felt a little more like a vacation instead of a period sitting indoors watching Netflix and doing nothing. You want to go somewhere gorgeous and incredible but don’t want to spend money on plane tickets. The solution is to go visit a national park, a location filled with beautiful scenery and the potential for adventure. Here is a list of a few close national parks to spice up your summer vacation.

Yosemite

It is an iconic national park for a reason. If you want to go out and experience stunning nature, then you can’t go wrong here. From climbing the granite walls to hikes through the forests and cliffs, this is the place for having an adventure in a gorgeous area.

Alcatraz Island

If you don’t really want to go on a road trip away from the Bay Area and instead want to stay here, then this former prison may be the place for you. Though not technically a national park, it is run by the National Park Service and is still a worthwhile location. Not only does it show some interesting history, if you like that sort of thing, but it also gives beautiful views of San Francisco.

Joshua Tree

This national park down in Southern California shows off rocks and cacti as opposed to trees and ocean. However, this doesn’t make the landscape any less jaw-droppingly gorgeous. The heat during the summer can be a bit much, but the rock climbing is great, and through rock scrambling, you can have an adventure right off of your campsite.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon

These national parks are an alternative to Yosemite if you still want to see the Sierras but don’t want to deal with how crowded a popular park is. The feeling of seeing trees as tall as skyscrapers is indescribable and is an experience I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on.  

Channel Islands

If you are dreaming of a vacation more along the lines of island adventures in Hawaii, then the Channel Islands may be where you want to vacation. From kayaking around and through lava rock caves to keeping the adorable but infuriating island foxes from stealing your food (and probably poisoning themselves), it can be quite the adventure. It is also beautiful, like every national park, and will help you fall in love with these islands over the ones that are an expensive plane ticket away.

If you’re thinking about visiting a national park during these last days of summer vacation, then I highly recommend it. Whether it be camping for a couple of days or just a day visit, you can’t go wrong visiting one of these places. It doesn’t have to be one on this list — if you want to check out a national park, then go look for one. You’ll know you’re there when your jaw drops and stays hanging open.

Contact Zachariah Nash at [email protected] .