Q&A With Travel Channel’s 50/50 Host Samantha Brown

October 3, 2015NPF Blog

Over the last 15 years, Travel Channel host Samantha Brown has traveled around the world visiting over 240 cities in 65 countries and 32 of the United States. In her new series, “50/50,” premiering on Travel Channel on Sunday, October 4, Brown and co-host Chris Grundy offer unsuspecting people the chance to take an unforgettable 2-day vacation worth $50,000. The only catch? They have to leave immediately.

Photo of Sam Brown of the Travel Channel leaning against car

With all that travel perspective, we were excited to chat with Ms. Brown, a Brooklyn resident, and get her personal take on America’s national parks.

What was your first national park experience?
The southern rim of Grand Canyon National Park!

Stunning photo of Grand Canyon National Park on a sunny day, Sam Brown's first National Park

How’d you find your park?
I remember seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time and just being awestruck by its enormity and power. Before I made it there, I had traveled all over Europe where it’s pointed out all the time that America, as a country, is so young. But when you look down into the canyon you realize: this land is billions of years old and there’s a strength and fortitude in our lands that we as people have inherited. Let’s just say it was an emotional moment!

What is your favorite national park you’ve visited so far?
The Grand Canyon, I have now been there many times and have hiked down into the canyon, as well as done a 7-day rafting tour through it.

The Grand Canyon is my first love, but during a shoot near Yellowstone National Park I had two free hours to actually go into the park. I thought it would be one of those quick in-and-out experiences. During those two hours I saw buffalo grazing, eagles flying over their nest, a herd of some other animal (sorry, I’m a city girl), bubbling glacier pots, and took a short break on the river to watch a fly fisherman move like poetry. Again, let’s just say it was emotional moving experience!

What is the most unique experience you’ve had in a national park?
While filming my new show, “50/50,” in Grand Teton National Park, we mountain climbed to a grassy area where a well-known chef prepared us an amazing lunch using only local ingredients. From our lunch spot, we had a view of the towering peaks on one side and Jenny Lake on the other.

Which national park are you most excited to visit in the future?
I really, REALLY want to visit Gettysburg National Military Park. When I should’ve been learning about the Civil War in Junior High, I was much more interested in boys. Now I’m more interested in history…  

Photo of Gettysburg National Monument cannon, with setting sunset behind

What tips do you have for planning a trip to national parks?
Make sure to pick up the Junior Ranger Activity Guides available at every park that help children to be curious and actively engage in the park that you are visiting. If you do most of it correctly you get a certificate and a patch! Who doesn’t want a patch?

I would also try to visit the parks in the shoulder or off-season. Crowds are gone, the light is different. I don’t think you should limit yourself to the summer.

Do you have any tips for visiting national parks as a group or family?
People always ask me what are good destination ideas for multigenerational family trips and my number 1 is always a national park. These special places resonate so strongly across all generations and it’s so important that we pass down and inherit memories of travel. 

Photo credit: Samantha Brown courtesy of the Travel Channel

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