Handbook: National Parks
This handbook is aimed at helping you discover the National Parks of the United States.
It doesn’t cover every single park or every activity available in all of the parks. They hand out excellent maps detailing that when you get to the park. This handbook is geared towards what it’s like for those who travel full-time or for extended periods of time, and what it’s like to use the National Parks as anchors for such travels.
For several years, we based nearly all of our full-time traveling escapades around the notion that we’d hop from one park to another.
To do this, realistically, you can’t always camp within the park boundaries. Luckily, the National Parks not only contain the absolute best nature the United States holds, but are typically surrounded by some of the coolest small towns and cheap or even free camping in nearby National Forests and BLM land.
You’re in for a treat.
Featured Articles on National Parks
Every National Park Suitable for Vandwelling or RVing
Every national park in the United States that has a campground suitable for RVs, or at least vans. Filters for finding those with cell service, electric and more! Over 200 campgrounds!
Best National Parks for Remote Workers
Every national park in the United States with a campground that boasts good or great cell service, many of which come with electric.
Beach Camping on our National Seashores and Lakeshores
National parks on America’s lakes and seas, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico.
All the National Monuments with Camping
State-by-state guide to national monuments, some of the best kept secrets in the United States, and specifically those with camping within their boundaries.
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
We pull into Gunsight Wash, some BLM land just north of the national monument. No one is there. The ruts in the sand, abandoned campfires and cow patties sit lonely in the desert, no tires to dig deeper, wood to be burned or fellow campers to complain about the occasional waft of last night’s hay. […]
The New River Gorge National River
Exploring the New River Gorge in Autumn.
The story of the how the hoodoos came to exist in what is now Bryce Canyon National Park.
Zion National Park and Springdale, Utah
Finding seclusion in a crowded Zion National Park, and reflections on what it’s like to journey this park and the nearby town of Springdale, Utah.
Arches National Park
The sandstone, salt and erosion of Arches National Park in Utah recants us its history, its future, and the time between.
Canyonlands National Park
W. Anderson Lee recants a night spent at a corner table watching barfolk interact in Moab, Utah, and pleads to the reader to escape into the wilderness instead.
High Desert Magic, Utah’s Capitol Reef Country
Bianca Dumas recalls her time living among the outstanding landscapes and with incredible people in Capitol Reef National Park.
Photographs and facts about Joshua trees, Joshua Tree National Park, and other plants of the Mojave Desert.
Exploring the tallest trees in the world via Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park and the rest of California’s northern coast.
Stories of the men behind this forest, the trees that dwarf them, and the National Park they call home. Photos.
Mt. Rainier National Park
A brief description of what Mt. Rainier is like, accompanied by a host of photos of the park.
Glacier National Park
Journey the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Encounter multiple sunsets and a mountain goat or two along the way. Visit Glacier National Park with Wand’rly Magazine.
Grand Teton National Park
Explore the history and legend, the old barns and ancient mountains of Grand Teton National Park. Photographs, links and more.
Explore the Badlands National Park with Wand’rly Magazine, including photographs, links to more information and description fun time goodness!
The Olympic Peninsula
Snowboarder, avalanche chaser and dream liver Matthew Kuhar teaches us the ins, outs and why you may never want to leaves about Washinton state’s Olympic Peninsula.
The Blue Ridge Parkway
One of the most gorgeous drives in the United States.
Articles on National Parks
Boondocking Outside of Craters of the Moon National Monument
A couple explores free camping outside of Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho.
Vanlife Roadtrip Through Arkansas
Cities, national parks, national forests, skateparks and great van camping in Arkansas, the Natural State.
Eight Stunning National Parks in the US to Revisit
From well-known spots like Zion to wildlife refuges where you’ll have the place all to yourself (except for the eagles!), a hopeful look at 2021 being the summer of adventure.
Dinosaur National Monument for Travelers, Vandwellers and Kids at Heart
The term “monument” should not be mistaken for either a lesser being than what one might expect when it comes to a national “park”, nor should it be confused with the silly trappings of man, obsessed with his desire to carve from stone that which might rival what nature was able to, slowly, do on […]
Vanlife in the Outer Banks
Where to camp, what the towns are like and what they have to offer, and more on the most beautiful slice of beach remaining in the Southeastern United States.
The New Mexico Experience
From the pueblos where people lived 10,000 years ago, to one of the most intense and awesome experiences of modern art, New Mexico has to be felt with all our senses, not just seen with our eyes! This state is alive, beats to its own heart, and it provides the ever so important connection between […]
Roadschooling with the National Monuments: Fossils & Dinosaurs
This camping tour from South Dakota to Oregon is a season full of exploring fossil remains like everything saber-toothed cats to those favored Jurassic “terrible lizards” and even more obscure creatures on the way. The views along the way aren’t bad, either.
The Most Beautiful Free Desert Camping in the Southwestern United States
Exploring some of the lesser-known, most gorgeous areas to camp completely free in the Southwestern United States. Includes links to actual camping spots on Campendium and info on flora, fauna and natural surroundings for each place.
RV and Van Living in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado
Exploring the San Juan Mountains, National Forest and the small towns living within their elevation.
The Best Drives in the United States
Thirteen of our favorite drives, and places to camp and explore, in the United States. Includes drives in VT, TX, UT, WA, CA, OR, CO, NE and more!
Ten National Parks for Guilt Free Unschooling
Our favorites for letting the kids live wild…and learn a little something at the same time.
Discount Programs for Full-time RVers & Vandwellers
Covers the best clubs for saving money while RVing, especially if you full-time.
I Left My Heart on the 395: Guide to the Eastern Sierras
From Lone Pine to Lee Vining, Mono Lake to Mt. Whitney, we cover where to find the best hot springs, campgrounds, restaurants and more.
Surviving Florida: A Full-time RVers Guide to the Sunshine State
From sunshine in the Keys to manatees in the springs near the panhandle, Florida is full of crocodiles, amazing birds, cute small towns and big, big cities alike.
Small Towns and National Parks of Southern Utah
Exploring the national parks and small towns of Southern Utah in Issue #202 of Wand’rly Magazine.
An introduction to Wand´rly Magazine´s issue on the trees of California and the amazing locations where they reside. Sequoia National Park, Redwoods National and State Parks, Joshua Tree and the Eastern Sierras.
The story of a young scientist, his ax, and a 5,000 year old tree.
Cragged stony hills, small old west towns and wildlife roaming all around, from bison to Wild Bill Hickok, explore the Black Hills from the Wand’rly perspective.
Big Northern Parks
Introduction to our issue all about National Parks in the Northwest, from the Badlands to Mt. Rainier. This particular article features photos of Yellowstone National Park and the surrounding area.
Created way back in 1995, CoolWorks.com connects travelers with seasonal working opportunities in killer locations like Yosemite, Yellowstone, or anywhere else you might want to work in the glory of this great nation.
Lake Cayuga Scenic Byway
A drive through New York’s finest country.
Blog Posts About National Parks
Greetings from Hot Springs, Arkansas!
Town itself is a bit of a disappointment. A run down strip mall, long gone from its glory days with signs faded, crumbling and neon burned out maybe decades ago, it’s nothing to write home about. A Kroger grocery store smells of 1990s milk spoiled in the vinyl flooring’s cracks and jars of olives that […]
Nature Deficit Disorder
Sydnie makes an escape plan, from COVID, from being trapped at home, her kids with too much screen time, her husband quarantined away from the family. The story of family taking life by the reigns and exploring nature as the cure to it all.
How Deep Is a Mother’s Love?
A vault toilet, a phone and a long, long drop…
Greetings from Lake Kabetogama
Endless lakes and those quiet slow mornings on the Canadian border.
Greetings from Dinosaur National Monument
Getting lost at the edges of Colorado.
Greetings from Colorado National Monument
A return to the road…
Greetings from Tioga Pass in Sunny Yosemite!
Leaning into Yosemite from the Eastern Sierras, living among the national forests that line this slice of California’s most beautiful stretch of road along US 395.
Greetings from Joshua Tree National Park!
It’s a Dr. Seuss kind of world where everything is a bit extraordinary. Trees with mop top leaves and shaggy bark clothing, scroungy coyotes and boulders like toppled over sandcastles. And plenty of space to be free.
Greetings from the Cactus Forest!
Living amongst the cacti, the night sky, and the desert’s abundance.
Greetings from Guadalupe Mountains National Park!
The moon came up slow. Many and cumulus were the clouds covering the horizon, and from about a half hour below the tops of them it shone up through like the opposite of how the sun’s rays pour Jesus Christ “awe” down usually. We watched as Super Mario style mushroom worlds morphed into tusked skulls, […]
Greetings from Big Cypress National Preserve!
A slice of life in this massive swampland, from airboats to wildlife to humanity’s impact.
Greetings from the Everglades!
Eaten alive by mosquitos in America’s first National Park dedicated to preserving an eco-system rather than merely geologically impressive features.
Greetings from the Capitol of the United States of America!
George Washington, if still somehow his memory or spirit does live in this mighty obelisk, and what may he think from what he sees here today.
A Feral Freedom to be Wild
Where horses have learned to live wild within this boundary of law, we find a sunsets bay worth of reminders of our own role in this world.
Greetings from a Shenandoah National Park!
Wand’rly in a VW Bus + the Mali Mis Airstream crew in a “National Park” for the East!
Into the Rockies: A Video from Wand’rly
A little home video style movie featuring our family’s travels over the past two months, from the Petrified Forest of Arizona to the Colorado Rockies.
Greetings from Glen Canyon!
Kayaking, hiking and playing on beaches in a land of many time zones.
Greetings from Moab, Utah
Didn’t love Moab the first time around, but sans any weekend rallies, we’re warming up to the town.
4/20 Easter Greetings from Capitol Reef Country
Coming on Eastertime here in the lands of never-ending surprises, Utah’s Mighty Five.
Getting to know those big guys on the hill.
Farewell, Dear Zion
A better gateway into the Mighty Five I can’t imagine, though as we’ve now clung to your brother Bryce, we’ll let the next few weeks worth of trails and tales be the judge of that.
Migrations of Winter
I’ve had six winters to weather since this traveling lifestyle began. The first was slowly zig zagging from Austin, Texas to Arizona and back to West Texas. That was my rookie year and so yes, I was a fortunate snowbirder roaming a particularly warm southwestern ease in a Class C Dutchman that while was not […]
Greetings from Yosemite and the Sierras
Studying the trees, waterfalls and granite slab history of Yosemite Valley and the Hetch Hetchy.
From Mount Rainier, with Greetings!
Life in the shadow of Mt. Rainier, a weather maker, a volcano, a god on Earth.
Greetings from Banff!
Not too many weeks ago I wrote about how few fellow travelers we’d met in our years of moving around who’d really clicked with us. That’s all changed as of tonight. We were invited to a gathering of young Airstreamers by Tiffani of Weasel Mouth to join up with them and their friends in Banff […]
Greetings from Glacier!
Mountain goats, roaming herds of bighorn sheep, towering peaks and multiple sunsets in a day.
Summer in these Grandest of Tetons
Some say these mountains, particularly the giant wedge of carved out sky dubbed Grand Teton, were named for a band of Sioux Indians. Others claim it was French-Canadian explorers who saw that, of all mountains, these were the only peaks beautiful enough to bear the French equivalent of “large breasts”.
Into the Badlands
Four steps of footsteps, each lighter than the next, tread the packed solid dirt trail leaving just enough space for our boots between the tall grasses. Yellow and brown daisy looking flowers that die into massive dandelion poofs take flight spreading their seeds across the grasslands. Spires erect out of the flat, pointing toward massive […]
The Upper Peninsula of this Great Lakes land of Michigan has proven so dual in nature, the homey feeling of bug open forests and blue expansive lakes mixed with cold cans of beer folk living simple and hard lives. I could see me growing up here and ending up a very similar person. A mama […]
Hiking Big Bend, again
Lady, Tristan, Deputy and I hiking various places in Big Bend Country (the National Park & State Ranch, and more)
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Sleeping on a lava giant.