STAFF OPINION: Why you should visit a national park before planning a trip abroad

By Gavin Britton | February 21, 2024 3:00pm

Photo courtesy of Gavin Britton.

As someone who has grown up taking road trips to state and national parks, I’ve experienced firsthand how much beauty the United States has to offer. From the amazing views of Canyonlands to the mountains of the North Cascades, national parks have some of the best views the world has to offer. 

However, not nearly enough Americans have witnessed these sites in person. Visiting one of the country’s numerous parks should be at the top of everyone’s vacation list.

Our hectic lives don’t leave a ton of room for us to appreciate or connect with the great outdoors. And while technology does give us access to nature documentaries and photos of nearly everything in the country, nothing compares to being reminded just how small we really are. Whether that be visiting the towering mountains of the Grand Teton National Park, or the endless coastline showcased at the Olympic National Park, I encourage you to visit one of your local parks.

Photo courtesy of Gavin Britton.

The national and state parks preserve rare glimpses of wilderness close to home. An added bonus is that these parks often offer access to clear night skies absent in cities and a protected area for wildlife.

While international travel is amazing, I believe there is an abundance of untouched beauty to explore here in the United States. National parks seem to be losing popularity, and many people focus on international travel when our country has amazing destinations too. On top of that, it is significantly cheaper to travel domestically, and you can even cut costs by traveling with a group of people.

So whether it’s camping under the Milky Way’s glow or hiking through a dense forest to a mountain vista, take the time to experience some protected majesty firsthand. Our one-of-a-kind national and state parkland should be at the top of your travel list.

Gavin Britton is the Multimedia Editor for The Beacon. He can be reached at

Have something to say about this? We’re dedicated to publishing a wide variety of viewpoints, and we’d like to hear from you. Voice your opinion in The Beacon.