National Parks?

Old Jun 6th, 2013, 10:00 AM
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National Parks?

We're interested in visiting some national parks. In the U.S., which are your favorites? Which have great scenery and are good for seeing wildlife? Any hotels to recommend? Thanks for any guidance you can give me!
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Old Jun 6th, 2013, 10:21 AM
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there are so many great ones, its really hard to say. I'm tempted to mention one in Alaska, cause that's where I've seen the most wildlife.

But if I had to pick one, I'd go with Yosemite. Its incredibly beautiful. We did see a bear there, and other wildlife. And, well, I'm a fan of Ansel Adams, so seeing those almost iconic views that he photographed was just amazing.

On the other hand, the next one I hope to visit is Yellowstone, in conjunction with the Grand Tetons.
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Old Jun 6th, 2013, 10:23 AM
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My favorites include these usual top ones - all have great scenery.

Grand Canyon / any of the hotels on the rim. Great scenery. Saw lots of big horn sheep & a few condors, but didn't see much other wildlife

Zion / many hotels in the town of springdale, UT. Lots of mule deer, but little other wildlife

Bryce / Bryce Lodge. One or two chipmunks

Yosemite/ Yosemite Lodge. Deer, but no other big wildlife to speak of.


Yellowstone - don't know hotels - more wildlife here

Everglades. Any hotel in Miami or Naples area. Lots of alligators.
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Old Jun 6th, 2013, 11:23 AM
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Yosemite, of course.
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Old Jun 6th, 2013, 11:23 AM
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Of the 43 U.S. national parks I've visited, my three favorites are Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Grand Canyon.

> Which have great scenery and are good for seeing wildlife?

Best combo for these two criteria are Yellowstone / Teton OR Glacier NP. You could visit all three in two weeks in August, and see more scenery and wildlife than you could ever want. Note, however, that this is the height of tourist season as well, so making advance reservations would be a must.
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Old Jun 6th, 2013, 01:48 PM
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My personal favorites for the combo of great scenery and wildlife are Yellowstone and the Tetons. If you have the time to throw in Glacier,as Paul suggested, even better. There are other amazingly beautiful Parks (we've been to many and keep adding more) but, in my opinion, none that offer the "bang for your buck" so to speak that Yellowstone and the Tetons do in such close proximity.

We love Yellowstone so much that we've been 3 times, in 3 seasons and went to the Tetons on 2 of those trips (skipped Tetons in the winter). Besides the abundance of wildlife in YS, we enjoy the variety of scenery. You have geysers, hot springs, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, vast meadows, other thermal features, Yellowstone Canyon, etc. All sorts of hikes from easy strolls to all or multi day.

Have enjoyed our visits to all the other Parks mentioned here as well as some not listed, but it's Yellowstone and the Tetons that call us back and those will be the first Parks we take our grandson to.
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Old Jun 6th, 2013, 02:24 PM
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We saw lots of buffalo and huge elk in Yellowstone, also a fox, and wolves (from a distance). Folks are very nice and will let you use their spotting scopes if you are interested.
Several moose in The Tetons. I really wanted to see a bear, but none in either place. We went in mid-August.

Be sure to reserve early!

For scenery, I would vote for Yellowstone-Tetons. Like Floridafan says, more bang for your buck because they are so close together.

Zions is also beautiful, but quite hot and we went at the end of September!
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Old Jun 6th, 2013, 02:32 PM
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My favorites are Yellowstone and Denali for wildlife and scenery.

If you have an appreciation for interesting geology and some great hikes then head for Arches, Canyonlands, Death Valley, Zion and Bryce.

I can actually say I haven't been to one I didn't like, but Yosemite, while beautiful, had way too many people and cars for my likes.
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 08:50 AM
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Thanks for all this great information. Looks like Yellowstone might offer the best combo of what we're looking for. If we did that one, how many days do you think would be about right for staying there?
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 09:03 AM
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What month? That would be key as to which ones might be best for that time of year. Your probably to late for this year as lodging would be difficult. Even a lot of next year would already be somewhat iffy.
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 11:20 AM
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sprio, at this point I don't even know what year, just eyeing potential trips. Would like to go when the weather is nice and not snowy, so probably summertime.
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 12:34 PM
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Last two weeks of June then would get my vote for Yellowstone/Tetons.

Crater Lake, Mount Rainier, Olympics for August

Bryce, Zion, Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonlands
April/May or October

Yosemite or Sequoia 1st 2 weeks of June

Everglades, Dry Tortugas, Biscayne Nov thru Mar

Glacier Mid-July thru Sept

Guadalupe and Carlsbad-1st week of November

Big Bend-March

Death Valley-Dec thru March
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 12:56 PM
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Glacier in Sept
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 12:59 PM
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If we decided on Yellowstone, what would the weather be like in that area in September?
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 01:18 PM
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I've only been in winter but I believe weather in September can be highly variable. Some of the park lodging will start to close http://www.yellowstonenationalparklo...ates-2247.html Visitor numbers will be less. There's excellent wildlife viewing information on the YNet forums.
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 01:20 PM
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You would probably get to see the elk rut, which would be awesome. Just don't get
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Old Jun 10th, 2013, 01:30 PM
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Patty, I didn't know that some of the lodging shut down for the season. Thanks for the link.
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Old Jun 11th, 2013, 09:00 AM
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spiro, that does sound awesome.
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Old Jun 12th, 2013, 09:22 AM
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As far as length of stay, we spent 4 nights but that was with much of the park inaccessible. In a different season, I would spend a week and split that between a few locations.
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Old Jun 17th, 2013, 02:22 PM
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Okay, thanks. I didn't realize how extensive the park is and that people stay in multiple areas.
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