Nothing it’s more exciting than starting the new year by planning your next vacation. But what if you want to reboot your midlife with plenty of fantastic walks, fresh air and the best of nature? Then the US national parks might be a great option.
Whether it’s because of the sense of wilderness and freedom they are able to inspire or simply because of their magnificent environment that makes practising mindfulness so easy, their popularity never seems to fade. However, as they’re considered one of America’s most treasured and popular destinations, the risk is that they might be crowded all year round.
Below are seven trips from Yosemite to Acadia and Glacier Bay that can ease planning a national park adventure solo or with your family and friends to get the most out of your midlife.
On a tour of Yosemite National Park with Wildland Trekking, take in pristine winter scenery and stay in the unique accommodations of AutoCamp. Spend days hiking and snowshoeing among soaring granite peaks, frosty waterfalls and snow-covered sequoias, then return to camp and relax in a chic airstream (caravan). Summer tours are also available.
This is such an exciting trip for midlife women who dare. Book a cruise on Alaska’s Glacier Bay through Adventure Life and enjoy opportunities to hike, kayak, paddleboard and more. Along the way, watch for glacial ice and a variety of wildlife, including whales, seals, bears, birds and moose. End the voyage by dropping anchor and exploring an area of Glacier Bay National Park rarely visited by others.
Spend a long weekend exploring Acadia, Maine’s only national park, with Adventure Cycling Association. Circumnavigate Mount Desert Island, ride the park’s famous carriage roads, visit small towns like Southwest Harbor and Bar Harbor, and summiting Cadillac Mountain.
Set on the edge of Yellowstone in Big Sky, Montana, The Wilson Hotel serves as a base camp for adventure. Guests can explore the natural wonders and wildlife of America’s first national park while hiking, biking, boating, horseback riding, snowshoeing, skiing, snowmobiling and more, on their own or by booking a guided tour.
Fall is a great time to visit national parks for fewer crowds, less traffic and pleasant temperatures. Blacksford rents fully stocked Mercedes-Benz Sprinter overland adventure vehicles from Winnebago with an all-inclusive pricing model that includes unlimited miles, bedding, kitchen and bath supplies, a free annual pass to the national parks, 24-hour roadside assistance and no generator fees.
The 100-mile White Rim Trail meanders among multicoloured spires, arches, buttes and mesas carved by the Green and Colorado rivers in Utah’s Canyonlands National Park. On a four-day mountain biking and camping tour with Escape Adventures, guests ride the famed off-road route, occasionally detouring to admire hidden slot canyons and ancient Puebloan ruins.
Wyoming’s Fireside Resort offers 25 pint-sized, luxuriously outfitted tiny house rental units designed by Wheelhaus a short distance from Grand Teton National Park and the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, making it the perfect place to post up for a fall or winter getaway. Snowshoe across Grand Teton National Park, enjoy a snowmobile tour with Scenic Safaris, or sit back and relax around a cosy fireplace.
With 63 national parks nationwide, there are plenty of opportunities for you to explore the country’s diverse landscapes without competing with the crowds of headline acts like the Grand Canyon. Just avoid the peak seasons: during the late fall, winter, or early spring, there’s a good chance you’ll find fewer people, and serene environments (possibly blanketed in snow).