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​A Hiking Paradise: Great Smoky Mountains National Park

One of the largest protected areas east of the Mississippi River, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a hikers paradise lying in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina. Within the park boundaries, there about 900 miles of hiking paths, including the famous Appalachian Trail. We spent a week hiking on a variety of trails and visiting four places in or adjacent to the 522,000 acre park.

​A Swampy Forest: Congaree National Park

Congaree is one of America’s newest national parks, becoming the 58th such protected area in 2003. Comprised of 26,276 acres, Congaree protects the largest intact old-growth bottomless hardwood forest in the U.S. We spent two days in the park’s swampy floodplain forest exploring several trails and camping in a primitive campsite.

Dry Tortugas National Park

A Day of Ferry, Fort, and Fish: Dry Tortugas National Park

A high-speed catamaran voyage of 70 miles each way along the Gulf of Mexico, exploration of a massive brick fort complete with a moat around it, and snorkeling underwater among the tropical coral and fish? We spent a day doing all of these things during our time in Dry Tortugas National Park, one of the remote parks in the lower 48 United States.

A Sailing Adventure: Biscayne National Park

Twenty-one miles east of the Everglades and just north of the island of Key Largo lies Biscayne National Park. It is the largest protected marine national park in the United States. With 95% of the park on the water, we booked a full-day sailing trip to travel across Biscayne Bay and set foot on one of its keys.

Where Alligators and Crocodiles Roam: Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park protects the largest tropical wilderness in the United States. It is a mosaic of marshes, creeks, prairies, and forests, with a abundance of wildlife. And it is the only place in the world where the alligator and crocodiles both roam. We spent four days exploring the park, the third largest in the lower 48 states and covering the entire southwest tip of Florida.