Travel Log

Our National Parks Quest

National Parks travel can tick every box for amazing family vacation:

The boys prized stamps from our tmost recent trip
  1. Don’t need a passport

  2. Amazingly educational and historical

  3. Affordable

  4. Active and adventuresome

  5. Experiencing the beauty of our own country

For our family, our quest generates wonderful conversation and allows the boys to get involved in the travel planning process. Each of the boys at the beginning of the year get to select a park we will travel to that year and explain why they want to go to that particular park. They are invested and have to do a bit of research to present to the family so they become mini travel advisors so to speak.

For Thanksgiving this year, we headed to far West Texas and New Mexico to tick off number 9 and 10 on our quest to hit all the U.S. National Parks. We started this when the boys were very young, and they are so excited every time we get to “get a new sticker and stamp” when we check in to the National Park. It is not all about the sticker and stamp because each park has been utterly spectacular in its own right and Carlsbad Caverns, Guadalupe Mountains National Park and White Sands National Monument did not disappoint. I will not get into the weeds too much about our itinerary but will give you a few of the highlights as all three spots are true natural treasures:

Ready to hit the slopes at White Sands.

Ready to hit the slopes at White Sands.

  1. In Carlsbad, we walked nearly 1,000 feet down through the Natural Entrance (highly recommended vs taking the elevator) to see the largest underground cave chamber in the U.S.

  2. In Guadalupe, we hiked to the highest point in Texas (Guadalupe Peak – 8751’) without a single complaint from either child (wonders never cease!)

  3. In White Sands, we sled down 60 feet high white sand dunes in the largest deposit of gypsum sand in the world.

 Many people don’t automatically think of National Parks as a travel destination, but they are a great way to see what our amazing country has to offer. Each park has itw own unique set of as well as challenges on how to approach them. Travel to National Parks can involve quite a bit of logistical planning  and coordination to ensure a smooth trip. The key is PLAN EARLY. Lodging is limited, particularly the historic lodges, and sell out far in advance. Easterling & Miller Travel has well established partners to help hash out all of the details so grab a map, pick one and let’s get started. There are 60 in total so join in the quest and let’s start ticking them off.

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The view from the top of Guadalupe Peak