2016 National Parks Bucket List

Rocío LowerNPF Blog

Hikers balancing on a log

All this talk about #FindYourPark, #EncuentraTuParque, and the National Park Service Centennial is causing a lot of folks to have parks on the brain! Let’s face it: it’s a great problem to have.

With over 400 national parks across the system to choose from, there are countless experiences to be had, treks to make, and lessons to learn.

So how do you begin to tackle such a massive wish list of places to see and explore? For starters, you keep the list realistic. Add some things you can actually do, and some things you really want to do.

You ready to start brainstorming some new bucket list items? Let’s get started. 

Prepare yourself

Owners Guides
  • First things first: take a look at our free Owner’s Guide series that you can use as inspiration or to research your trip itineraries. These guides share everything from national parks near metropolitan areas, to places to stay, to lesser-known parks, to must-do hikes. They’re a great resource to have, so start there.
  • Next: make note of the fee-free days in 2016. In honor of the centennial year, the National Park Service is waiving admission on sixteen days of the year. So if you’re considering possible timelines, some of those days may be great times to hit the places on your bucket list.
  • Are you considering camping during your excursions? You’ll want to think through the logistics of having a functional culinary set up for overnight stays. We’ve got a list of cooking equipment and tips you’ll need for exercising your chef de cuisine skills at the campsite. And if you need some sweet treat ideas, we’ve got those too.
  • If you’re planning to travel with your pup, be sure to do your research ahead of time and ensure you’re taking Fido to a dog-friendly national park.
  • And depending on the type of excursion you’re planning, you may need to make reservations or request permits. These vary from park to park, especially if you’re planning on doing some backcountry hiking. The National Park Service website will be another great resource for you as well.  

Feed the wanderlust

Grand Canyon Hiker

Now comes the fun part – the part where you get to start letting your imagination run away with itself. Bookmark what moves you, investigate the options further, and start building out the list from there. Explore the selection and create a national parks bucket list worthy of doing in the centennial year!

You could…

Need some additional ideas? We got 99 more ways for you to find your park (o para encontrar tu parque!).

Share your adventures

Hiker Taking Photo

The national park bug is a contagious one – it’s one that’s never truly satiated because as soon as you get home from the last adventure, you’ll be itching to get back out there and explore some more! Help your friends and family catch the bug by sharing your favorite moments and memories online by using #FindYourPark and #EncuentraTuParque.

It’s going to be an epic year as we kick off the second century of the National Park Service. How will you celebrate? What items are you adding to your bucket list?

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