As far as visiting US national parks goes, 2019 was a banner year. I managed to visit seven national parks this year, including six for the first time, and a couple that are a bit challenging to reach. It helped that I received an additional week of vacation this year. I made a concerted effort to reach some, which took planning. Regardless, 2019 might be hard to top.
Saguaro in March. Gateway Arch in April (repeat). Badlands in May. Mammoth Cave in August. Isle Royale in September. Dry Tortugas in October. Great Sand Dunes in December.
2019 By the Numbers
Miles flown: 8428
Miles driven: 5864
Miles sailed: 140
Hardest to reach: Most national parks are not easy to reach from Indiana, as they involve flying and driving, or a really long drive. This year the hardest to reach award goes to Dry Tortugas. This required flying to Miami, then driving four hours to Key West, then catching a 2 1/2 hour ferry to the park. I recommend breaking it up with a nice vacation in Islamorada as we did. Runner up: Isle Royale. This took a 10 1/2 hour drive and then a seaplane (we could have opted for a four hour ferry ride).
Longest drive: Badlands. 1000 miles from my drive to the park entrance. But at least it was a scenic drive. Not!
Easiest to reach: Mammoth Cave. This was a 5 1/2 hour drive, mostly on interstates. Runner up: Gateway Arch – A 6 1/2 hour drive (Bonus – two Cardinals games!).
The Countdown: 30 down, 32 to go.
Next up: Petrified Forest and Grand Canyon (repeat) in February.
2019 Photo Calendar