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new river gorge national park August 28, 2022 New River Gorge is the second closest national park to Charlotte (closer than the Great Smoky Mountains but not as close as Congaree) and yet it’s taken us a while to visit. It’s the newest national park (thank you President Trump) and by all reports, a lovely natural area featuring one of the world’s oldest …

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grand canyon national park August 3, 2022 We had a grand ol’ time at the Grand Canyon! It is truly GRAND! This was our grandest trip yet, a cross-country expedition to see America’s most famous national park! All jokes aside, this trip was no joke. We flew into Phoenix on Sunday, and after stops in Saguaro National Park and Petrified Forest National …

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petrified forest national park July 14, 2022 From Phoenix, we traveled north to the Petrified Forest, an unusual area of colorful mesas and ancient fossilized trees about 100 miles east of Flagstaff. We had low expectations and ended up pleasantly surprised! The park is long and narrow, like Shenandoah, with one main road going from top to bottom. We arrived at the …

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saguaro national park July 7, 2022 The Arizona national parks have been on our radar ever since my sister Mary moved there two years ago from Cleveland. You might remember that Mary also visited Cuyahoga Valley with us when she lived in Ohio! In 2021 Mary and I daydreamed about visiting Saguaro together, and we shopped the Madewell x Parks Project …

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carlsbad caverns national park February 14, 2022 We have worked our way up in size and popularity of caves, from Linville Caverns, NC –> Luray Caverns, VA –> Mammoth Cave, KY –> now, Carlsbad Caverns, NM. Carlsbad is such a big attraction that we had to settle on an exact date and time for our visit months in advance, in order to …

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guadalupe mountains national park February 11, 2022 We’ve been intimidated by Guadalupe Mountains for a while. Despite its beautiful Spanish name, the park is actually a vaguely menacing range of flinty mountains. We arrived on a mild December day to find a harsh wind whipping past the visitor center. We were blown around an embarrassingly short trail and then retreated to our …

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white sands national park February 9, 2022 White Sands was the second park on our recent trip out to Texas. We left Big Bend Friday morning (Christmas Eve) and drove up to El Paso, stopping at Fort Davis along the way. With sundown being early and restaurants closing for the holiday, it was a fun rush to pick up groceries and dinner …

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big bend national park February 7, 2022 We drove to Texas to avoid being stranded at the El Paso airport. Originally we were going to fly into El Paso a few days before Christmas, rent a vehicle, loop down to Big Bend, and then head north to a few other national parks around the TX/NM border, but after a few too many …

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Hot Springs National Park hot springs national park October 24, 2021 While Hot Springs originally seemed a bit out of reach (13 hours from Charlotte), we seized the chance to stop by on our way to Greg’s family reunion in Tennessee this year. In the interest of gaining more states on our scratch-off map, we planned a circuitous route going from Charlotte -> Atlanta -> Birmingham …

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Acadia National Park acadia national park July 16, 2021 A couple months ago Gregory and I started chatting about Acadia over a second (third) cup of coffee on a quiet Shabbat afternoon. “Let’s run up there this summer!” we enthused. “We’ll drive overnight and spend a long weekend. Easy!” It became a fun game to work out how we could take our family of …

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virgin islands national park April 4, 2021 We celebrated our tenth anniversary in March with a spectacular trip to the Virgin Islands national park on St. John. It wasn’t the most romantic trip, since we were covered in children the entire time, but since I am nursing Rachel and needed to keep her with me, we decided to make it a family …

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dry tortugas national park January 13, 2021 If you’ve talked to us recently and we’ve been like “tortugastortugastortugas,” it’s because visiting Dry Tortugas National Park is a big accomplishment. It’s one of the most inaccessible parks, requiring a 2.5hr ferry or (shorter) seaplane ride to get there. Now that we’ve gone halfway to Cuba and back, we feel like a REAL national …

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everglades / Biscayne national park January 12, 2021 What is the most adventurous thing we could do with our 2-month old, we said to ourselves. Well, let’s do a whirlwind 8-day trip that will take us 70 miles into the Gulf of Mexico, deep into the heart of the Everglades, and across Biscayne Bay, involving 40 hours of driving, 3 national park tours, …

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great smoky mountains national park November 12, 2020 On our way home from Tennessee at the end of August, we visited our fifth national park, the Great Smoky Mountains. We’ve driven through this park on the NC/TN border many times but never stopped to explore it. Greg chose a place called Chimneys to have lunch, a scenic spot in Gatlinburg along the Little …

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mammoth cave national park November 9, 2020 One of our annual trips is an easy drive out to Fairfield Glade, TN for a few days with Greg’s side of the family, and this year we combined it with a visit to Mammoth Cave National Park in KY. Our 4th national park, in case anyone else is counting. We drove out toward the …

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shenandoah national park September 5, 2020 There we were, hiking around the Virginia mountains with our four children – and the fifth one at 33 weeks gestation. I was supposed to be relaxing at the Grove Park Spa, lounging around in a fluffy robe or giggling in the hot tub with my mom & sisters! How did this happen? When we …

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congaree national park July 20, 2020 First National Park of the year!! As places start to reopen, we finally had the chance to visit a national park this past weekend. The closest one to Charlotte is Congaree National Park in Columbia SC, about 2 hours south of us. At this point we have a little over 9 weeks until our new …

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cuyahoga valley national park November 19, 2019 With the North Carolina state park challenge over, it seems that we need a new project. Should it be national parks? There are 61 official “national parks” in the United States (although there is a movement in the park community to disregard the 61st park, established by President Obama, as it is entirely man made). …

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