Glia and I have some exciting news to share! We are planning a great American road trip. Our goal: to start a journey that will end with visiting all 46 of the National Parks in the 48 contiguous United States.
The National Parks system in the United States is a wonderful, varied, and extensive system of protected space, hiking trails, and unique ecosystems. It would take years to properly explore all of the places the National Parks system has to offer. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, this trip will not take years. Instead, we are creating a smaller trip that will attempt to explore a sample of each National Park.
Pets in National Parks
If you have done much research on taking dogs to National Parks, you probably already know. National Parks can have some strict pet regulations. Unfortunately, the majority of the parks do not allow dogs out of the campgrounds or off of the paved roads. There are even two parks Glia is not allowed past the visitor center parking lots of – Channel Islands and Isle Royal (both are mostly islands with protected ecosystems). For more information, check out our list of pet-friendly and not-so-friendly National Parks.
Additionally, if anyone is counting, most lists report 47 National Parks in the “lower 48”. For the purposes of this road trip, Dry Tortugas National Park, which is located approximately 70 miles off the shore of Florida, will not be considered contiguous. The main reason being that it requires a private charter to get a non-service dog to the island. And I am not sure that a private charter counts as part of a road trip anyway. For those of you with your own boats, this island is reported to be pretty dog-friendly once you have arrived.
Thankfully, many of the national parks are surrounded by amazing national forests and other protected areas. So for the National Parks that are not that pet-friendly, we will be exploring the sites just outside of the park boundaries. When we do get to the dog-friendly national parks, we will spend extra time enjoying these locations. In the end we should have a great list of dog-friendly activities in or near the United State’s 46 road-accessible National Parks in the “lower 48”.
Inspiration For This Trip
A couple years ago (2016), it was the National Parks’ 100th birthday. During that year, I saw a post by Dr. Randall Olsen – outlining the shortest driving route across the United States that visited all 47 National Parks in the contiguous 48 states. At that point, I wasn’t ready for a months long road trip, but I stored the information away. I thought it would be several years before I could make a similar trip a reality. Luckily for me, the opportunity came a mere two years later. As it became time in my life to make a job change, I figured that there was no better time for a long road trip than between two jobs.
Although inspired by Dr. Olsen, I will ultimately be using a slightly different trip route created by Travis Tamez for IsleBox.com. This alternate route is a little longer, but allows me to accommodate the acquisition of some travel companions while on the road.
Our Home On Wheels
The large majority of this trip will take place in our 1995 Minnie Winnie. The Minnie Winnie will be taking us from Minnesota to Arkansas to the West Coast and back to Minnesota. It is unlikely that she will make the trip out East, as several of those parks are dog-friendly enough for some good backpacking trips. And the logistics of parking an RV while we are out backpacking is daunting.
As a used model, the Minnie Winnie is undergoing a few small repairs prior to travel. But, thanks to my wonderful father’s handiwork, she should be ready to get on the road by April.
Glia and I are used to camping, but we have never traveled in an RV before. I am sure there will be many challenges and good laughs along the way. However, we are excited to essentially travel with our own small apartment. Who knows, if #RVLife goes well, maybe the next step is #VanLife.
The Great American Road Trip Begins…
Our journey begins on earth day, April 22nd, 2018. We are just finishing the planning stages now, but could always add a few more hikes to our list. Anyone have some can’t miss dog-friendly hiking opportunities in or around the United State’s National Parks?
We can’t wait to explore more of the United States and share our explorations with you, my dear readers. We hope to still stick to our once weekly posting schedule, but please forgive us if we fall a little behind. Our internet service may be spotty at some of our locations. Use the links on the side to find our Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook accounts, if you want to follow our day to day life along our journey.