Time to Fall for National Parks

No matter which part of the U.S. you’re in, fall is a great time to visit our national parks. The weather is cooler, trees are ablaze with color (well, maybe not in Florida …), and crowds are smaller. What could be better? Free admission!

 

All national parks will waive entrance fees on National Public Lands Day (September 30) and Veterans Day weekend (November 11-12), making these days the perfect time to visit what Wallace Stegner called “the best idea we ever had.”

To get ready for your visit—or to just enjoy the splendor at home—shop our National Parks Collection for the best books, maps, DVDs, gifts, and more! Here are our top favorites:

 

Greatest National Parks Trail Map Collection 

National Geographic’s Trails Illustrated group has been mapping national parks for more than 20 years. Now they have released the definitive Map Collection of national parks in a beautiful collectors box. The Map Collection is the perfect companion for the roadtrip of a lifetime or as a reference for armchair travelers who want to dream of their next national park trip.

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Guide to National Parks of the United States

This is the essential guide to visiting and exploring all 59 of our national parks, from Acadia to Zion. The National Geographic Guide to National Parks of the United States includes photos, maps, and practical information for each park—even the newest, Pinnacles National Park in California.

 

National Parks 10-Disc DVD Collection

Explore the wonders of our national parks from your living room with this 10-disc expanded DVD collection. Stunning cinematography takes us beyond the tourist hot spots to some of the most dramatic scenery on the continent: the summit of Mount Denali, the scorching deserts of Death Valley, and much, much more.

 

United States Atlas for Young Explorers

Get the kids excited with this atlas just for them. It’s packed with photos, information, and colorful maps—and the best part? It has links to special videos, games, sounds, animal information, and more on our website.

 

National Parks Wall Map

Bring the parks home with this beautiful laminated wall map highlighting the nearly 400 parks, monuments, seashores, and other natural areas protected by the National Park Service.

 

Yellowstone

This monumental book is a unique journey through Yellowstone, America’s first national park. Best-selling author David Quammen blends history, science, and research into a compelling narrative, accompanied by pictures taken by National Geographic photographers on a two-year deployment inside the park.

 

Can’t get enough national parks? Here are some of Nat Geo’s best online park photos, videos, resources, and more.

 

Just for Fun

 

Did You Know?

  • In 1872, the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act established America’s first national park. The inscription on the Roosevelt Arch, at Yellowstone’s north entrance, is a quote from the act: “For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People.”
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado has the tallest sand dunes in North America.
  • Big Bend National Park in Texas has the darkest measurable skies in the contiguous U.S.
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina and Tennessee is the most visited national park in the U.S., with over nine million visitors a year.
  • Yellowstone National Park has 10,000 geothermal features—including some 300 geysers, the greatest concentration on the planet.
  • Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park sits 282 feet below sea level, making it the lowest spot in the U.S.
  • Most national parks cover hundreds of thousands of acres—but not Hot Springs. This smallest of national parks covers just 5,550 acres in central Arkansas and protects eight historic bathhouses.
  • In 2013, President Obama created Pinnacles National Park, a 26,606-acre mountainous swath in central California home to critically endangered condors, as well as bobcats, coyotes, and prairie falcons.
  • Historic Route 66 goes right through Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona’s Painted Desert.
  • Most of the San Francisco Bay Area’s water supply comes from Sierra Nevada snowmelt stored in the Hetch Hetchy reservoir on the Tuolumne River in Yosemite National Park.
  • The largest national park in the U.S., Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in Alaska is six times the size of Yellowstone.
  • America’s second national park, Michigan’s Mackinac Island, was established in 1875—and delisted 20 years later. It’s now Mackinac Island State Park.