Exploring the plethora of stunning national parks around the country is not only fun, but it’s also educational! Apex Leadership Co. offers some ideas and tips for vacationing at a national park this summer.

According to the National Park Foundation, there are more than 420 national park sites in the United States, spanning more than 84 million acres. There are parks in every state — as well as territories, and parks in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa and Guam — from forests to oceans and everything in between.

With national park sites in every state, families can choose a trip in their own state or explore beyond it. Families can select their park based on their interests. The National Park Service and National Park Foundation’s Find Your Park website can help travelers choose the perfect national park vacation. It also has a number of resources to help plan activities at the chosen park.

After selecting a park or site to visit, do some research on the area and available activities to create an itinerary to maximize the visit. Specific guided tours may require advance reservations so be sure to book those as soon as possible.

It’s important to recognize that many national park lodging books up quickly, especially during their peak season, which in many cases is the summer. Camping is also an option at many parks and is a fun way to get in tune with nature.

Don’t miss fee-free entrance days! There are five dates throughout the year on which all National Park Service sites that charge an entrance fee offer free admission. This summer, on August 4, the anniversary of the Great American Outdoor Act, sites will offer free admission for all.

It’s important to remember to respect the land and the animals at any national park or site. Preserved ruins or petroglyphs are a unique view into the past. So look but don’t touch! When it comes to animals, it’s important to stay back and give them plenty of space. Wild animals may look majestic, but they are dangerous and untamed — and can attack if they feel threatened. It’s understandable for guests to want to get good photos of them in their natural environment but stay back!

When hitting the trails, be prepared. Visitors should do their research on the details of any trails they plan to explore such as the length and level of difficulty. Pack plenty of water and some healthy snacks, wear sunscreen and sun-protective clothing and accessories and wear comfortable shoes meant for traversing the trails.

A trip to a national park can hold a lifetime of memories for families. With so much to do and so much to explore, families are certain to obtain a whole host of information about the park they visit. Apex Leadership Co. encourages families to plan a fun and educational trip to a national park or site!