National Park Basics


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National Park Quick Tips

You are probably going to go camping sometime this summer. the chances of that happening are pretty good. When you go camping, you will probably visit a National Park of some kind. Many years ago you used to be able to pull into a campground, put up your tent and start enjoying the great outdoors. That isn't so true anymore. There are fees and reservations involved. My cousin is very tenacious when it comes to her families vacation time. She plans at least a year ahead. On the 1st of January she applies for reservations at their planned spot and pays any fees at that time. This is highly recommended. With the population growing the way it is and more people in general vacationing in the good ole U. S. of A. there is more competition for that perfect spot. Visit your intended vacation spots webpage to find all registration requirements including fees. Fees are so wide ranging I hesitate to include them in this article. Be aware of extra costs for rentals or even parking permits in addition to the use of the campsite.

Be sure to lookup what kind of campsite your are visiting. Is it a “primitive" campsite offering only the basics? The basics include a flat spot and a place to park your car. Or, is it a bit more accomodating offering electrical hookups, running water and an outhouse? You will need to know these ahead of time. You will WANT to know these ahead of time. Some campgrounds go even further and offer a bit more adventure in the form of canoe rentals and wash houses offering a little privacy and a hot shower. I prefer a hot shower every morning. Not a cold creek. Find out what time the campground closes. You don't want to leave for your spot on a Friday evening, expecting to get there at 10:00 or 11:00 and find out the campground closes the gate promptly at 10:00.

There are many campgrounds out there that have their own websites. Visiting the appropriate site will save you time, money, and a headache. For information on National Parks visit www.nps. gov and find all the information you need. For other campsites, use the search engines like,, or to find the individual campsite you intend to visit.

Once you are at your campsite and all set up. Be prepared to leave. No, not the campground, but your site. Go exploring. See nature at its finest. Go fishing and hiking. Spend time with the kids. Be prepared however for minor scrapes and bruises. They happen. Bee stings happen. Have a small medical kit with the basics. Put a weekends worth of prescription medication in your first aid kit as a backup. Last but not least. . . have fun outdoors!

Steve writes articles for several sites including


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