Vacation Ideas: 5 Amazing National Parks to Visit This Spring

When most of us think about vacation, we dream about overseas destinations, envision exotic adventures or picture ourselves relaxing on a sun-drenched Caribbean beach. It’s so easy to forget that we have access to some of the most amazing destinations in the world right here in America. They’re all just a road trip away!  We’ve all heard of Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. They’re incredible destinations that most of us have on our travel to-do lists if we haven’t seen them already. But they aren’t the only National Parks in America worth visiting. Searching for a spring destination? Check out these 5 lesser-known National Parks.

The Narrow Trails in Zion National Park - National Parks to Visit in Spring

Zion National Park (Utah)

National Parks are some of the best places in the country to go camping. With three different campgrounds, Zion National Park has plenty of space to pull up your camper or set up your tent in the heart of nature. The 229 square miles offer countless trails that guide you into beautiful canyons and atop the highest plateaus.

Must See: Zion National Park is a hiker’s paradise. It’s most popular hiking trail is called The Narrows. This trail (pictured above) winds you through a gorge with walls over a thousand feet tall, and can even take you into the shallow Virgin River, which is no more than a stream in some parts and safe for supervised children.

Sequoia National Park - National Parks to Visit in Spring

Sequoia National Park (California)

Yellowstone may have been the first National Park in America, but as the second National Park in America, the Sequoia National Park in California was the first created specifically to protect living things. Today there are thousands of great Sequoia trees thriving in the park, many of them hundreds or thousands of years old.

Must See: The prize of the Sequoia National Park is the General Sherman Tree. It’s the largest living single stem tree on the entire planet. The massive tree is 275 feet tall and over 36 feet in diameter. A close second to General Sherman is the General Grant Tree, a sequoia located in nearby Kings Canyon National Park.

The Newfound Gap in the Smoky Mountains National Park - National Parks to Visit in Spring

Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Tennessee & North Carolina)

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to the highest diversity of animals and plants in America. It boasts thousands of unique plant species and well over a hundred different species of trees. Astonishingly, most of this land remains untouched by humans. It also has some of the most beautiful views in the country.

Must See: One of the easiest ways to experience Great Smoky Mountains National Park is in your vehicle. The Newfound Gap Road allows you to drive through over 30 miles of forest. Because the road’s elevation is so high, passengers get great views of the park, with plenty of scenic overlooks to stop and take it all in.

Carlsbad Cavern National Park in New Mexico - National Parks to Visit in Spring

Carlsbad Caverns National Park (New Mexico)

Most of this National Park might be desert and grassland, but Carlsbad Cavern is known for its caves. With nearly 120 unique caves in the park, there’s enough territory to keep any cave fanatic busy and continually surprised. More so, these caves, like the main attraction at Carlsbad Caverns, are immaculately preserved.

Must See: The biggest attraction at Carlsbad Caverns is known as “The Big Room“. It’s the fifth largest cave chamber in North America, and one of the largest of these chambers in the world. This limestone chamber features excellent views of overhanging stalactite formations (pictured above) and huge, ancient columns.

Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado - National Parks to Visit in Spring

Great Sand Dunes National Park (Colorado)

Great Sand Dunes National Park proves that Colorado isn’t just known for its snowy slopes. Over 30 square miles of mountainous sand rests within view of numerous Colorado peaks. A popular hiking destination, the dunes feature the refreshing Medano Creek, where you can splash around and enjoy the occasional wave.

Must See: Some of the dunes are over 700 feet tall. Hiking to the top is adventure in itself, but it’s even better if you can reward yourself by taking the easy way down. The dunes are known for sand-sledding and sand-boarding. You can even rent sleds and boards from the park that are specifically designed to surf the dunes.


Get ready for your spring vacation or summer getaway with a variety of helpful products from The Lakeside Collection. Discover useful camping gear, athletic apparel, as well as travel essentials to help you pack up.

12 Fast Facts: Ups & Downs from Roller Coaster History

Ever since their first appearance in the earlier decades of the 19th century, roller coasters have been raising the bar at a rapid pace. The humble mini-train poking along on wooden tracks has been transformed into an insane collection of massive, fast-flying thrill rides that make even the most daring take a deep breath before locking in. Roller coaster production isn’t slowing down soon. Get to know the fascinating ups and downs of roller coaster history before taking your family to the theme park this summer with these 12 super-fast facts.

roller-coaster-at-sunset

  • Roller coasters were inspired in part by “gravity railroads” mining companies used to deliver coal downhill to locations many miles away. The earliest thrill-seekers paid to ride with the goods.
  • The most direct inspiration for the modern roller coaster comes from France, where rides consisting of small trains on wooden tracks were built for amusement, and daring loops intrigued daredevils.
  • In Paris, in the middle of the 19th century, “centrifugal coasters” appeared. These consisted of a long drop to gather speed, with a full loop in the center that guided the car around using centrifugal force.
  • The earliest “looping coasters” were known for being especially dangerous. Many caused whiplash.
  • The first official “scenic” roller coaster opened in 1884 on the now famous peninsula of Coney Island in Brooklyn. Slower, safe and popular, it guided riders through passageways and painted scenes.
  • Coney Island outdid itself with The Cyclone in 1927, a wooden roller coaster that still operates today.

cyclone-roller-coaster

  • After the Great Depression, amusement parks declined for decades. Roller coasters nearly fell off the map until an upswing in the economy paved the way for Americans to enjoy theme parks again.
  • Disneyland set up shop in the mid-fifties in California. Its main attraction: the Matterhorn Bobsleds.
  • There are nearly 900 roller coasters currently operating in North America. That’s less than half of the roller coasters operating in Asia, and still less than the total number currently operating in Europe.
  • The tallest roller coaster in the world is Kingda Ka at Six Flags in New Jersey. At 456 ft. tall, the giant roller coaster also boasts the longest free-falling drop in the world, kicking off with a 418-ft. drop.
  • While Kingda Ka is also the fastest roller coaster in the United States, it comes in second in the world rankings to Formula Rossa at Ferrari World in the United Arab Emirates. Rossa tops out at 149 mph.
  • The fan-voted best theme park for roller coasters in America backs up Cedar Point’s claim that it’s the “Roller Coaster Capital of the World.” However, many thrill-seekers say Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey has a higher concentration of the best roller coasters in the world, including Kingda Ka.

Before you think about setting off on your theme park adventure, make sure you’ve got all the gear you need to enjoy a flawless vacation. Shop luggage, totes, apparel, electronics and so much more for your family trip.

Tips to Secure Your Home While on Vacation

Protect-your-homeMany people go on vacations to relax and have a good time. While enjoying your vacation and it’s important to take precautionary measures to protect your home while you are away. You don’t want to come from your vacation to find that something has gone wrong at home.

Ways to keep your home secure while on vacation:

Cancel normal services and deliveries
Cancel the normal deliveries and services such as newspaper, grocery among others. If you are planning to be away for a while, you might also want to have your mail held by the post office or have it collected by a friend. Uncollected newspaper and piles of mail will send signals that you are out of town.

Ask your neighbor or friend for help
A simple but effective way to have peace of mind while on vacation is to ask a trusted neighbor or friend to keep an eye on your house while you are away. Ask them nicely to empty your trash for you, feed your pet, bring in your mail, rake your leaves etc. Ask them to contact you in case of anything. Give them something for their trouble if you feel it’s necessary.

Avoid advertising your departure
The only people who should know of your holiday plans should be your loved ones or people you trust. Don’t say you aren’t home in your phone answering machine and be careful the information you share on social media sites

Keep your valuables safe
Secure your Jewelry, car keys, and other valuable items in a hidden safe or leave them with a trusted friend.

Home security system
Install a reliable alarm system to alert the authorities in case of attempted break-ins to your property.

Make your house look as if you are home
Have automatic lights or timers come off at certain periods during the day. Having different lights come on in different rooms will give the impression that you are home. You can also leave blinds and curtains in some rooms drawn to make it appear as if you are at home. Just make sure to remove any valuables from sight.

Ensure all the doors and windows are locked
Make sure all the doors in your house are locked including the door to the shed or garden. Shut all the windows making sure not to leave the small windows at the back of your house or bathroom. Make sure all of your spare keys are safe and secure.

Insurance policy
Update your insurance policy for cover in case anything happens. If you don’t have a home insurance policy this is the best time to get one.

Once you have taken the above measures to protect your home, you can have peace of mind that your home is secure while away. Drive carefully to your destination. If you have a new driver in your home, don’t forget their provisional license before you hit the road. Make sure you have everything safe and secure including the items that need to travel with you.

Melody Cleo is a passionate blogger from Manchester, UK. In her free time, she writes articles on various topics such as technology, gadgets, travel…etc. As of now she is focusing on Driving licence UK, which provides driving licence services for UK people.

Image Credit: desertvalleysecurity.com