Last year American’s left 662 million vacation days go unused. (Seriously. Visit Project: Time Off to see how overworked our country is!) If you followed our posts from last year you know we were definitely NOT in this group. Every ounce of vacation time we have was spent #parkchasing on the road, in a plane, or on the trail.
This past weekend we just finalized the last of our trip plans for 2018. You can bet that we won’t be leaving any vacation time on the table again for this year. In fact, we’re more committed than ever to making sure that our readers and our friends and family do not fall into the more than $60 million in unused vacation benefits. We’re planning posts about trip planning, budgeting, and guides to the best spots in the parks we’ve visited.
We want EVERYONE to have as much fun planning and taking trips as we do!
So here’s what we have up for 2018:
In 2017 we added 11 park units and 2 affiliated sites to our list. This year we’re planning 6 trips for a total of 17 park units. If all goes well (and no major trail injuries happen!) that will bring our total visit count to 72 of the 417 national park units at the end of the year. We’ve been brushing up on travel guides, asking our Facebook group to share tips, and carefully sketching out flights and campsites.
#Parkchasing Trip 1 – February 2018
This trip is already in the books, with our first park unit of 2018 being Pullman National Monument in Chicago IL. We spent the afternoon checking out one of the newest units in the National Park Service. The site includes a Visitor’s Center, the Historic Florence Hotel and a walking tour of the surrounding homes.
Total Park Units: 1
All Time Count: 57
#Parkchasing Trip 2 – April 2018
In April we’re planning to cross off two of the most visited national parks, Grand Canyon and Zion National Parks. We’ve wanted to visit these two since planning our first trip in 2010 and are finally getting to go. Our itinerary includes a 7 day road trip across 3 states:
- Hoover Dam & Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Nevada
- Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
- Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Arizona/Utah
- Pipe Spring National Monument, Arizona
- Zion National Park, Utah
Total Park Units: 5
New All Time Count: 62
#Parkchasing Trip 3 – May 2018
A work-related trip is bringing us to San Diego, California at the end of May. We’ve tacked on a few extra days after the conference for a long weekend camping trip in Joshua Tree National Park. We’ve read so much about the unique desert landscape and hiking here. We’re also going to spend a few hours at Cabrillo National Monument just outside downtown San Diego. The spot marks where the first European explorer landed on the West Coast in 1542. Our stops:
- Cabrillo National Monument
- Joshua Tree National Park
Total Park Units: 2
New All Time Count: 64
#Parkchasing Trip 4 – July 2018
It’s a little embarrassing that we live in Minnesota and have never been to Voyageurs National Park, the only one of the 59 national parks in our state! Located 4 1/2 hours north of our base camp in St. Paul, Voyageurs covers a large expanse of lakes and islands along the Canadian border. We’re planning a long weekend paddling trip this summer to officially cross this one off our list!
Total Park Units: 1
New All Time Count: 65
#Parkchasing Trip 5 – September 2018
We posted the route for our September trip to Oregon on Instagram and were thrilled about the response. So many of our fellow #parkchasers love this area and all that the Oregon coast has to offer. Our 10 day camping itinerary is filling up with recommendations for hiking, campsites and the best beach views. Here are the stops on our 900+ mile route:
- Fort Vancouver National Historic Site
- Crater Lake National Park
- Oregon Caves National Monument & Preserve
- Redwoods National and State Parks
- Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
- Lewis and Clark National Historic Park
Total Park Units: 5
New All Time Count: 70
#Parkchasing Trip 6 – December 2018
A family Christmas celebration brings us to sunny south Florida to wrap up the end of 2018. While this will be our second trip to Everglades National Park, we are excited to visit Biscayne National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve for the first time. It’ll be a nice way to round out the end of a busy year of traveling! The units on our list:
- Biscayne National Park
- Big Cypress National Preserve
- Everglades National Park
Total Park Units: 3
New All Time Count: 72