I have ordered way too many National Park resources, but because of my book buying addiction I can recommend several books about the Parks that are the best on the market. When we first started visiting the National Parks I was buying a book for each Park that was specific to that location. In addition, I bought several that covered all of the National Parks. After buying and lugging around a pile of books on several trips, I found that there were two books I was consistently using for all of the Parks. I also have one book that I recommend for kids.
Can you tell which book is used the most? Yes, the dog eared, sticky note stuffed, National Geograhic book is my favorite and most often used. This book provides several, to a dozen, page overview of each National Park. There is a brief summary for each Park that I like to read as we drive to that particular park. The overviews in this book have been the best of all the books I have seen. I really don’t want to read 300 pages on one Park if we are visiting three parks in one week. I prefer a few pages on each to understand how the park was established, it’s importance, and the highlights to visit. I also need a map. The National Geograhic book covers these things, so I recommend this book over any other book about the National Parks. It also covers all 59 National Parks in the United States. Some of the other books only have 58, since Pinnacles National Park is so new. Here is the Amazon link for that book: http://amzn.to/2wyVH7U
Here is a sample from the book. There are 8 pages on the Great Sand Dunes National Park in this book and these are the first two pages.
There is a reason you will NEED a book while visiting any of the National Parks. There is very little to ZERO cell phone reception inside the National Parks. I found some near the visitors center in Yellowstone this summer and that’s about it! When you drive into the National Parks your cell phone won’t work, thus you won’t have Internet to look up info about the Park or find a Park Map. You will become very frustrated without resources. Get your books before the trip, so you are ready to enjoy each National Park without wondering where to go inside the park, what the highlights may be, or where to find bathrooms. Buy the books and save yourself the frustration.
When you arrive at each National Park and pay your entrance fee you will get some Park materials. Some parks provide a great deal of useful information. Some provide a basic map that is not as useful as the books I am recommending. We have been to 17 National Parks in two years and I can definitely say I haven’t counted on the Park materials at the gate to guide me on my visit at any Park location.
The second book I recommend is “You Guide to the National Parks”, by Oswald. This is a thicker, more substainal book than the National Geographic book. This book is my go-to resource for hiking trails and more detailed maps. If I can’t find something in my National Geographic book I go to this book. It also provides info on camping, which is useful if you have an RV or camper. The only reason it isn’t my top pick is because it doesn’t cover Pinnacles, the newest National Park, so the book is a few years older than the updated National Geographic book. It also isn’t as concise as the National Geographic book. However, it does have the best, most conscience and accurate hiking trail information from any other resource I have found. If you plan to do any walking or hiking at a National Park, this resource is amazing! Here is the Amazon link for this book- http://amzn.to/2xo3moC
Here is a sample page from the book, so you can see how they lay out their helpful hiking guide for a park. This page is for the Big Bend National Park hiking trails.
The final book I recommend is the Kid’s version of the National Geographic National Parks Guide. It provides fun info about each Park and several pages of detail for each of the 59 Parks. There are plenty of fabulous photos in this book too! Here is the link for the book on Amazon- http://amzn.to/2fAQTEu
We just got Map of the National Parks that we will hang in our camper. It has a National Park shield symbol for each location that is merely outlined, so you can fill it in on the map to show you have visited that location. Pretty neat way to do this versus the tacks on a map. This allows us to frame it too. I found a perfect frame. It is a front opening frame, so you can easily access the poster to fill in the shields. That way it never has to be taken off the wall! Here is the link to the Map: http://amzn.to/2fBcJI1
And the link to frame, which comes in the exact size needed and a variety of colors: http://amzn.to/2fAfh9o