Something New for 102

Katherine RivardNPF Blog
View of the Gardner River from Lava Creek Trail at Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park — Jacob W Frank/NPS

In 2018, celebrate the National Park Service’s 102nd birthday by seeking a new experience. With over 400 national parks dotting every state and territory, and just as many ways to explore them, there’s always the opportunity to try something new.

In fact, I even wrote a poem for you about it.

Discover something new for one-oh-two!
From a lesser-known park,
To the stars after dark,
Branch out on a #FindYourPark vacation,
For this NPS celebration!

Explore a Lesser-Known Park

From historical sites to undeveloped stretches of seashores, there are many national parks that you may not know. Many Cambridge, Massachusetts natives may be shocked to find the treasure-filled home of one of America’s greatest poets at Longfellow House Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site. For a completely different experience, head to the West Coast’s Channel Islands National Park, and you’ll find five islands covered in wildflowers and plants, all surrounded by the cold Pacific waters and their plentiful sea life. For a full listing of national parks by state, head to, or check out our free downloadable Owner’s Guide, “The Places Nobody Knows” for a short-list of ideas.

 Find an Under-The-Radar Path

Two backpackers hiking in an alpine meadow at Denali National Park & Preserve

The road less travelled in Denali National Park and Preserve

Alex Van Der Stuyf/NPS

Looking for a good hike? Pull a Robert Frost and take the road not taken! Consider following a trail that you haven’t traveled before or one that is less-traveled. Park rangers are great resources, so be sure to check with rangers at visitor centers for any suggestions from these experts. Just remember: No matter which path you choose to take, it’s always imperative to remain on marked paths rather than creating your own.

Try a New Experience

Green and red and yellow aurora borealis northern lights at Voyageurs National Park

The aurora borealis at Voyageurs National Park

National Park Service

Have you ever spent a quiet morning birding in Catoctin Mountain Park? Would you consider taking a yoga hike in Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument? Did you know that you can see the Aurora Borealis from Voyageurs National Park? Are you looking for new spots to scuba dive? Or maybe you just want to spend an afternoon picnicking or sketching? The variety of recreational opportunities available in our national parks is mind-boggling. Chances are, if you have an interest or hobby, you can try it in our national parks.

Experience Your Favorite Park in a New Way

A group of four guys backcountry camping at Mammoth Cave National Park

Backcountry camping at Mammoth Cave National Park

National Park Service

Even parks that you think you already know so well likely offer experiences that you haven’t yet explored. Mammoth Cave National Park is well-known for its incredible cave system, but the park also has excellent above ground recreational opportunities, including paddling and biking. History buffs may appreciate honoring the sacrifices of our military women and men along parks’ rivers and trails. Another great way to visit your go-to park is by checking for stargazing events and other night sky viewings.

Feeling excited to fall in love with our national parks all over again? There’s no better time than NPS’ birthday. Now it’s up to you to decide, how will you #FindYourPark/#EncuentraTuParque this year?


I'm wondering if a senior citizen can find any work helping to repair Yosemite. I've been to the park twice. It is one of the 35 parks I've been to, and of course, it is one of the more spectacular. I'm not in a position to donate much money, neither would I be good doing a lot of manual labor. However, I assume there are administrative things to be done with such an undertaking, as this must be. I am a former accountant, now retired, and would love to help in some way to reclaim Yosemite for our country.
you are right. I am also one of the "over the hill gang" think we have a lot to offer out of our heads, and not with a shovel or axe. can't let these land's go down hill and go away.

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