National parks: The perfect progressive vacation

National Parks graphic

Thinking about where to take your summer vacation?

Our country’s national parks, along with other public lands and recreational areas, are often ideal getaway spots. With the National Park Service turning 100 years old this summer, there has never been a better time to plan a visit to one of these natural wonders. From beaches to deserts, swamps to mountains, and even underwater, we’ve managed to preserve vast areas of great beauty.

In Baldwin County, Alabama, the national park’s beaches are made from silky white sand. In this special spot you might even see sea turtles nesting.

Turtles hatching in Alabama

In Florida, the Everglades are a “World Heritage Site, International Biosphere Reserve, a Wetland of International Importance, and a specially protected area under the Cartagena Treaty.” There you can see turtles, herons, alligators, dolphins, manatees and even crocodiles. This is one of the most pristine and at-risk areas in the United States.

Heron in Everglades National Park

In 2016 Acadia National Park in Maine is celebrating its 100th anniversary, making it one of our oldest national parks. From inside the park you can start your morning as the first person in the United States to see the sunrise from the summit of Cadillac Mountain.

Acadia National Park in Maine

Joshua Tree National Park is located in southern California where the Mojave and Colorado Deserts come together. The park covers 800,000 acres and contains a vibrant mix of wildlife, including the Joshua trees for which it was named.

Sunset in Joshua Tree National Park

For a more exotic getaway, try Virgin Islands National Park, which is described by the National Park Service as “an American paradise with breathtaking hills, valleys and beaches. With 7,000-plus acres on the island of St. John, Virgin Islands National Park offers snow-white sand dotted by palm trees, coral reefs, prehistoric sites and Bay Rum Tree forests. Its Trunk Bay is considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and features a 225-yard long underwater snorkeling trail.”

Virgin Islands in the Caribbean

You can learn more about even more public lands and begin to plan your summer vacation by visiting

While you are planning your trip, it is important to consider how these national treasures are at risk. Conservative and corporate interests led by individuals like the Koch brothers have for years been trying to seize, dismantle, sell off and exploit public land. Additionally, Congress has underfunded the park service.

The protection of these lands needs to be a priority. That is why CREDO has staunchly defended the protection of public lands, including pushing the Obama administration to stop giveaways of coal, oil and natural gas, and opposing development, privatization and profiteering.

The Obama administration has been hearing our voices and has taken some important – yet still insufficient – steps to protect public lands:

  • Recently, President Obama placed a three-year moratorium on coal leasing on public lands.
  • Additionally, under pressure from CREDO activists and others, the president scaled back plans for offshore drilling off the Atlantic coast.
  • Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell recently announced a “major course correction” to highly value public lands conservation.
  • Throughout his administration, President Obama has added 265 million acres of newly protected public lands and waters.

Take some time this summer and visit a national park. Then take action with CREDO to make sure this beauty is preserved for future generations.