Spending time exploring the national parks and monuments in the United States offers more than you might imagine. These national treasures offer a chance to discover the history of the country, as well as an opportunity to experience some of the true natural and man-made wonders of the world. You can find any type of outdoor activity you want at one of America's national parks, from diving and snorkeling, to hiking and climbing. Many national parks and monuments are open year-round, with different activities available during every season of the year.
Joshua Tree National Park, California
Joshua Tree National Park is home to geological formations, plant life and animal species that you are not likely to see in such abundance anywhere else. The California Riding and Hiking Trail will take you through 35 miles of spectacular desert. Hiking the trail in its entirety is an option, if you have the time, or you can choose shorter hikes, for a half-day or full day. Bird watchers will find a paradise waiting for them in Joshua Tree. Species calling the park home include cactus wren, roadrunner, Gambel's quail, mourning dove and many more. The park offers all experience levels of rock climbing at 400 formations. Joshua Tree National Park is open all year, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Joshua Tree National Park
74485 National Park Drive
Twentynine Palms, CA 92277
Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
Mesa Verde National Park was the first national park in the United States that was established to "preserve the works of man." The park takes a glimpse into the ancestral pueblo culture, and contains approximately 600 cliff dwellings, located on 4,000 protected sites. This vast parkland offers visitors once in a lifetime opportunities for hiking, bird watching, wildlife discovery, biking and cross country skiing. Mesa Verde National Park is open all year long, but times vary from season to season. Check with the Park Service to determine hours of operation for your visit.
Mesa Verde National Park
P.O. Box 8
Mesa Verde, CO 81330
Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island, New York City
The Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island is home to the federal immigration station that processed over 12 million immigrants from 1892 to 1954. A visit to Ellis Island would not be complete without spending time at the American Family Immigration History Center, where you can find manifests for over 25 million people who entered the United States during the time the immigration center was in operation. Tours of Liberty Island, including a trip to the observation deck in the crown of the Statue of Liberty, are also available. The general hours of operation for the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island are 9 a.m. to 5:15 p.Mm. Check with the Park Service to determine the hours of operation available for your visit.
Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island
New York, NY 10004