10 Reasons Why I Love the National Parks Service System

Seven years ago I planned my first major road trip. My children were toddlers and we were planning on traveling almost cross country to visit good friends who were temporarily relocated to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Sharing my itinerary with my Uncle Bob, he asked if I planned on visiting any National Parks. I knew of the National Park Service system, but didn’t know much information about the various locations. Uncle Bob pulled out a worn, tattered, small blue spiral book and about an hour went by before I spoke again. (Full disclosure: Uncle Bob is a good storyteller and he does have a TON of travel experience.) His National Parks Passport book was filled with stamps dating back to the early 1970s. It was the perfect memento of his travels and I knew I had to start my own passport book.

Since 2012, I have collected dozens of passport stamps from various stops in the National Park Service system. There are over 400 locations in the United States and American owned islands. These locations include parks, monuments, battlefields, historic sites, lakeshores, seashores, recreation areas, scenic rivers and trails, and even the White House. With every stop, I became a bigger and bigger fan of the National Parks system. Here are my top 10 reasons why:

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Highlights of 2017

My 2017 was filled with lots of fun travels. My family and I stayed mainly in New England, but we still managed to cover over 5,000 miles from northern Maine to New York City, and many places in between. For all of my new readers and followers, I thought I would highlight some of my favorite places and my most liked (and shared) posts from 2017:

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Holiday Gift Guide 2017

This might seem odd: a family travel blogger posting a holiday gift guide? Absolutely!  I have been offering advice and my personal experiences to so many people recently, I thought I would share with everyone.

I am a huge proponent of giving experiences for the holidays instead of material possessions.  My husband and I strongly believe that the best gift we can give our children is time together, exploring and learning about our world. I also love the area of supporting my community through museum and nonprofit memberships to further the good work so many places do to preserve history, protect land and wildlife, and give children the opportunity to learn and grow outside of the formal classroom.

I first wrote about "giving experiences" on CTinStyle before I launched Coast2CoastwithKids. Since that time I have both given and received even more experiences as gifts. Regardless of where you live, there are experiences you can share with children of all ages. Here are my favorites:

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Acadia National Park, Maine

I may not be a huge hiker or camper, but I am a huge fan of the water, especially the ocean water, and love any view that involves water or mountains. I’m also a HUGE fan of the National Parks Service system and have been visiting historic sites, monuments, museums, and parks for years, learning all about our country’s history and collecting stamps for my National Parks Passport. So, it seemed logical to put Acadia National Park in Maine on my bucket list. This summer, I helped to plan a family reunion in York, Maine (post coming next week) and I seized the location and added a visit to Acadia National Park.


Acadia National park is a 47,000 acre park (the only National Park located in New England) It’s located on Mount Desert Island, right next to the beautiful village of Bar Harbor. Acadia is unique in the sense that there is no one, defined entrance and exit site. There are multiple spots to enter and the park weaves in and out of the community. There are sections that require a park pass, which for 2017, was a $25 fee for a week pass for a noncommercial vehicle. Lucky for us, the Every Kid in a Park program allows fourth graders, and their families, to receive entrance to all National Parks all year long, so we got in for free! There is SO much to do in Acadia, it would take days to cover it all. Here are some of my family’s top spots:

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