National park vacations on the rise

Considered “America’s best idea,” national parks provide travelers undisturbed views of natural wonder as far as the eye can see and provide a unique backyard oasis where postcard views meet real, life-altering experiences. All this unrivaled beauty, when combined with opportunities for exploration and easy accessibility, makes national parks a popular vacation choice for today’s travelers.

Trips to national parks have increased – up about 5 percent in the last two years – with an average of more than 280 million visits in 2010, according to the National Park Service.

National park tours have increased at an even faster rate. “Bookings on our North American national park tours increased by 20 percent in the last year,” says Scott Nisbet, president and CEO for the Globus family of brands, the world’s largest tour operator. “National parks are idyllic vacation ‘hot spots’ perfect for relaxation and introspection, wildlife exploration or adventure, depending on the traveler’s interests.”

Globus and the National Park Foundation (NPF), the official charity of America’s national parks, are working together to offer travelers GoParks! Tours and have put together six tips to help travelers plan and book the perfect national park getaway:

1. Give yourself enough time. America’s national parks offer you a myriad of activities and exploration opportunities. Make sure you plan a vacation that gives you enough time to enjoy all the parks have to offer as well as one that allows you to experience and explore your interests.

2. Research the right hotel or park lodge for you. Do you need air conditioning or a television in your room? These are just a couple of questions you should ask yourself when booking your accommodations either in America’s national parks or at local hotels, just outside the parks.

3. Determine the kind of experience you want before you book your trip. Do you want something perfectly planned and packaged for you with a guide showing you the must-see sites? If so, a tour with Globus or Cosmos would be a good choice for you. Or, maybe you’re a true adventurer? Someone who considers the unknown to be part of the fun? If so, you might want to plan a trip on your own. Or, are you looking to blend your adventurous spirit with some planned lodging and activities? If so, an independent vacation package with Monograms might be the perfect fit.

4. Plan ahead. If you’re traveling on your own – creating your own itinerary or booking a packaged vacation – you should book your national park vacation about six months in advance. If you decide a tour is the best way for you to experience America’s national parks, you have a little more time. For a tour, you should book your trip at least four months in advance. For more information, visit or contact your preferred travel agent.

5. You should also consider spending non-summer months at national parks. Travelers visiting national parks in the fall, winter and spring enjoy fewer crowds, reduced prices and the same great beauty.

6. Let someone know your plans. National parks are big and full of fun and adventure. If you’re traveling on your own, or with a small group, make sure you tell someone your plans when you head into a park’s backcountry.

Remember, take nothing from these parks but photos and memories. We all have to play a part in park conservation to ensure these amazing destinations can be enjoyed by future generations.

As “in demand” as national park vacations are, so are the financial needs to assist with ongoing preservation and conservation efforts of these beautiful destinations. As part of the GoParks! Tours partnership, when travelers book a Globus, Cosmos or Monograms U.S. national park vacation, Globus will make a donation to the National Park Foundation at no additional cost to travelers.

“Whether travelers are interested in taking a boat cruise through Kenai Fjords to see glaciers while also spotting whales, sea otters and puffins, exploring Yellowstone in the winter via a snow coach in search of bison, deer, elk, moose and wolves, overnighting on the rim of Grand Canyon National Park, or taking a scenic float down Snake River in Grand Teton National Park, tours provide travelers unexpected yet perfectly planned national park experiences,” says Nisbet.

For more information on the National Park Foundation, go to