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Beginner Guide to Death Valley National Park – Where to Hike and What to Do

We’ve long been enamored with the idea of Death Valley National Park in California. I mean, we’re pretty into the dark and macabre, so how could we not want to visit a place with landmarks named things like Badwater, Devil’s Golf Course, and Funeral Peak?! But rest assured, even if those places inspire more reticence than excitement, Death Valley National Park is still absolutely worth a visit. So here’s some info to get you started.

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Beat the Crowds on the Quiet Side of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, split between Tennesee and North Carolina, is the country’s most visited national park. Like, by a lot. A lot, a lot. This park, which is free to visit, btw, saw over 12 million visitors last year. Twelve! Million! The next most-visited park only saw a little over three! So yeah, it’s safe to say that the Smokies are overrun with tourists and visitors, especially if you’re on the south side of the park around the Blue Ridge Parkway. Fortunately, there’s a trick to avoiding the massive amounts of people (and traffic) rambling through the area: head to the quiet side of the Smokies, the northern edge where there are still picturesque hiking trails and adventures galore, just a lot fewer people. Wanna know what things to do on the peaceful side of the Smokies? Here’s what we recommend.

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Woman stands on the edge of a lake with a backpack and trekking poles in Isle Royale National Park.

Backpacking on Isle Royale – Guide to Isle Royale National Park

Not gonna lie, a little over a year ago when my dad said, “I really wanna go backpacking in Isle Royale National Park next summer; wanna come?” I was 100% not sure where the heck Isle Royale even was. So after a quick map search (it’s an island in Lake Superior) and a brief discussion of whether it’s pronounced roy-al as in Royale with cheese or roil as in the royal family (park rangers use the latter pronunciation), followed by a hearty bout of laughter brought on by my parents thinking I plan more than a month in advance…Isle Royal National Park was suddenly very much on my radar.

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