Hidden Treasures in our Own Backyard

A few weeks ago I was in a group setting where we were asked what one item on our bucket list was. Probably 80% of people said to travel somewhere in Europe (Italy, Spain, Paris, etc.). Everyone seemed quite surprised when I said one of mine was to visit all 59 National Parks in the USA and one comment was made that they often forget how many cool places are in our own "backyard". We tend to forget how many great travel options are right at our finger tips. That certainly doesn't mean it's not worth exploring outside country boarders, there's a wide world of amazing out there, but there are so many unique and amazing places not far from home that we tend to take for granted. From canyons to mountains, to rivers, streams, and deserts, our country's parks offer so many unique settings that often you'll feel like you're in a whole other world. And with a lot of these places within driving distance offering cheap campgrounds, these trips can be far more affordable than other options. It's actually funny, when we took a closer look around on our last trip we noticed that the majority of visitors were in fact foreign. While we are so antsy to get out of our country, many people from Europe, China, etc. are anxious to come here and see what amazing options our states have to offer. Even on a local level if you're just looking for a quick get away we often overlook what is literally in our own backyard. We've taken to short 3-4 day weekend trips and have found some fantastic hidden gems not far from home. Even a half day trip to a park across town can make for a nice break in the monotony of life and let you explore a whole new spot. If you aren't sure where to start on finding a closer to home adventure check out your local library for books on our national parks, google things like "hiking trails in whatever city" or stop by a local outdoors store and ask around. Poll your friends on Facebook to find out their favorite spots or search some outdoor blogs (like this one or The Switchback Kids) for some ideas. Whatever suits your fancy from camping to hiking, to a beautiful lodge on a lake, we'd encourage you to take a look closer to home for your next big adventure!

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