17 Things HI USA loves about the National Park Service

22 August 2017

What’s not to love about the National Park Service? Without them there would be no gorgeous national parks to marvel at or national monuments to remind us of history and heroes, and a few of our favorite HI USA hostels sitting in these pretty places might not even exist. On August 25, 2017 the NPS turns 101 years old, and it got us thinking about all the things we love about the parks big and small from coast to coast. Whether you’re an American citizen or a traveler from another corner of the world, the NPS welcomes you to experience and appreciate the natural beauty of the country, reminding us that the Earth and its treasures are something we all have in common. Book your stay at our favorite hostels in or near national parks today, and take a look at all the reasons why HI USA loves the NPS.

1. All national parks are on protected land, which means that the plants and animals within them are protected for future generations to experience too.

2. Parks are accessible for locals and travelers alike, and the language of nature is universal and helps to break barriers and build understanding.

3. National parks make us feel a little healthier and energized, whether it’s from hiking, biking, swimming, kayaking, or just from being amongst trees.

4. The national parks and monuments are rich in American history and heritage, from Native American artifacts in the Point Reyes National Seashore to World War 2 batteries and canons in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

5. Being outdoors allows you to disconnect from technology and reconnect with yourself and nature, and while there are many Instagram-worthy moments in our parks, we love that you can get a digital detox during your visit.

Yosemite National Park, California
Yosemite National Park, California

6. The National Park Service has played a hand in protecting and rejuvenating endangered species, like wolverines and Canadian lynxes in East Glacier Park.

7. Park exhibits and visitors’ centers across the country keep us educated and informed: whether it’s at an interactive display on the trail or places like the Marine Mammal Center in the Marin Headlands, you’ll leave knowing more than when you came.

8. You can frolic amongst wildflowers all around the country in the spring time, and admire fall foliage in autumn.

9. There are dedicated park rangers and docents who make the experience better by sharing their knowledge and insider tips.

10. East Glacier Park is combined with Canada’s Waterton Lakes National Park, and together the two parks sharing a national border form the world’s first International Peace Park (and peace is kind of our thing at HI USA).

11. There are 59 national parks and 354 national monuments, seashores, memorials, historic sites, and battlefields around the country, meaning there’s something for everyone, no matter what kind of experience you’re looking for.

Rangers and volunteers in Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

12. The NPS also includes areas that “preserve places and commemorate persons, events, and activities important in the nation’s history.” Including the National Mall in Washington D.C.

13. There’s a national park in New Orleans dedicated to jazz (at the Old U.S. Mint)!

14. Just like HI USA, the NPS has a reliable troupe of volunteers who help maintain the parks and help run activities and tours.

15. And just like HI USA, the National Park Service is a champion for sustainability and environmental stewardship with green initiatives employed across the country.

16. The NPS also covers man-made wonders like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and Ellis Island, home of the Statue of Liberty, in New York.

17. They give us a gift on their birthday with free admission for everyone on August 25 (and 9 other days throughout the year)!

Pronghorns in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming


HI USA tip: Though they may not be part of the NPS, these city parks near HI USA hostels are definitely worth a visit. Also, take a look at our Green Footprints series to find out how you can travel sustainably in different cities, whether you’re visiting a park or just seeing the sites.