America's National Parks
This is your land. Americans have access to more than 84 million acres of protected areas that showcase the magnificent beauty, historic past and sacred wilderness of the country. There are a total of 398 park areas, including 59 U.S. national parks. Some of the most popular parks are Acadia and Mount Desert Island (Maine), Everglades (Florida), Glacier (Montana), Grand Canyon (Arizona), Yellowstone (Wyoming), Volcanoes (Hawaii), Great Smoky Mountains (Tennessee/North Carolina) and, of course, the spectacular Canyonlands, one of five national parks in Utah.
Canyonlands' popularity is rooted in the beauty of this desert wonderland. Spectacular colors burst from the odd rock formations. Spires and arches emerge randomly from the ground and twist into an intriguing array of shapes. Hikers, mountain bikers and backpackers find the landscape perfect for exploring. The Colorado and Green rivers, which carved two large canyons in the park, entice sun-soaked tubers and kayakers to float leisurely down the calm stretches of the waterway. And when the rivers converge, powerful rapids beckon adventurous white water rafters.
Although the nation's capital evokes thoughts of politics, memorials and monuments, there's actually a great deal more to this fascinating city.
To check these commemorative sites off your bucket list, stroll the National Mall and Memorial Parks. You'll find this greenway loaded with historic treasures, including memorials to Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Martin Luther King Jr., as well as remembrances for veterans of Vietnam, World War II, Korea and the Civil War. The Washington Monument also is in this area. While there, explore the National Museum of American History. It's full of fun, family-friendly exhibits and an IMAX theater. Another popular attraction is the National Air and Space Museum.
After visiting the iconic sites, check out everything else the District has to offer. At the National Zoo, playful pandas are popular residents, as are elephants, lions and giant salamanders. And there aren't many truly impressive Gothic cathedrals in the United States, which means the National Cathedral is worth a stop. It's been used for presidential state funerals and Sept. 11 memorial services.
For the sleuth in you, stop by the super-cool International Spy Museum. Not only will you find James Bond's Aston Martin, but also the serious toys used by the CIA, FBI and KGB. And at the U.S. Naval Observatory, you can view the heavens through the world's most powerful telescopes.
For a serene break, stroll through the jungle at the United States Botanic Garden for an up-close look at some of the world's most stunning orchids, or enjoy engaging entertainment at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts Center or Wolf Trap Farm Park.