Book Review: A Guide to National Parks of the United States

Acadia National Park
Acadia National Park

The recently published 8th edition of National Geographic’s National Parks of the United States is a perfect companion for a road trip or for enjoying travel from the comfort of an arm chair with the foot rest up.

Covering the 59 scenic national parks in the United States’ National Park System, the guidebook serves as a nuts and bolts guide if you’re planning a road trip, and as an engaging read that covers the scope of the parks and their place in American history. The delivery is in manageable bites designed to make the parks seem accessible and interesting.

National Geographic National ParksDivided into seven regions of the United States from East to Pacific Southwest and one section for Alaska, the guidebook is a journey through spectacular diversity from mountain peaks to plains to prairies to the ocean. Starting with Acadia National Park in Maine and ending with Wrangell–St. Elias in Alaska, each section offers information about why a particular park is important, when it became a park, and what sites one should not miss when visiting. The sites that range from lodges to trails and overlooks are in bold face print which makes an easy to use guide.

True to National Geographic’s style, photos are gorgeous– popping with color and showing off spectacular beauty. Taken by photographer Phil Schermeister, the scope of subjects includes wildflowers, trails, animals and stunning vistas.

Maps throughout the guidebook show where the parks are in each region, as well as, landmarks and focal points.

In addition to information about the parks, the guidebook has sidebar type sections that covers unique aspects of  a particular park like the wolf population in Isle Royale in Michigan, and what caused the petrified wood of Arizona’s Petrified Forest. In the section of the guide on Arches National Park in Utah, the sidebar tells how to take photos of the landscape there. The right time of day is one of the keys to photo success.

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For good-to-know details at a glance, look for the one page in each park’s section labeled “Information.” This is where you’ll find specific details like: if the park has a lodge and/or camping, when is the best time to go, what are the specific landmarks and how to get there. The park’s address and phone number are included here as well.

Section divider. Photo of Oconaluftee River, Smokey Mountains National Park
Section divider. Photo of Oconaluftee River, Smokey Mountains National Park

With the 100th birthday of the National Park System coming up on August 25, 2016 buy a copy of this book to celebrate. As you read, jot down your bucket list. Biscayane National Park in Florida is on mine.

The book’s list price is $28, but you can find it on for less.

Post courtesy of Jamie Rhein. Photos courtesy of National Geographic. (I was given a copy of the book for review by Masters Media Publicity, but the opinions are my own).

1 thought on “Book Review: A Guide to National Parks of the United States”

  1. Pingback: National Parks Guide U.S.A.: For Kids but Adult Friendly | Nancy D Brown

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