Opt Outside: 8 National Parks You Can Explore This Summer

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While globetrotting may be off the table this summer, retreating to nature certainly isn’t. Now, more than ever, people are immersing themselves in the natural world to rejuvenate the mind, body and soul — and lucky for us, many of the country’s most treasured national parks are finally back open for business. Below, we’ve compiled a list of parks accessible by car (and boat) from LA, so dust off your hiking boots, plan your escape and run wild.

Arches National Park | Utah

Among the most iconic parks in America, Arches National Park — which is located near Moab, Utah — is renowned for its 2,000+ natural sandstone arches that comprise a true red rock wonderland. The park is increasing access in a phased approach, with campgrounds opening on July 19. But that doesn’t mean you can’t book this breathtaking under canvas glampsite in the meantime.

Bryce Canyon National Park | Utah

Bryce Canyon National Park in southern Utah is known for its crimson-colored, spire-shaped rock formations, which should definitely be on your bucket list this summer. The park recently opened its Sunset Campground for reservations, with a majority of trails (other than backcountry) now open for business, so snag a spot — or one nearby — and get going.

Channel Islands National Park | California

Want to embark on a little day trip? Look no further than Channel Islands National Park — an archipelago of five remarkable, ecologically rich islands off the coast of Southern California. While camping isn’t available at the moment, you still have the opportunity to hike the trails (we’re big fans of Santa Cruz Island), sail the perimeter, explore the waters and so much more.

Grand Canyon National Park | Arizona

Haven’t been to the Grand Canyon yet? Flip this summer upside down and make your way to America’s favorite topographical wonder. The national park has widened its access with the south entrance open 24/7 and the north open for day use, while campgrounds are gradually expanding their availability in the coming weeks. But you’re in luck because there are plenty of lodges to stay at along the rim.

Joshua Tree National Park | California

Angelenos’ beloved Joshua Tree National Park — characterized by rugged rock formations and stark desert landscapes — is now open for play, complete with accessible trails, roads, bathrooms and individual family campsites. Don’t want to camp? Joshua Tree has some of the hippest, most Instagram-worthy Airbnbs around.

Sequoia National Park | California

The land of giants, Sequoia National Park is home to a dramatic landscape that showcases nature’s size, beauty and wild diversity. While you can’t currently camp in the park, all roads and trails are open for daytrippers — plus, you can seek out private campsites nearby, like any of these.

Yosemite National Park | California

America’s top-ranked national Park, Yosemite fortunately reopened on June 11 with access via reservation only. Camping and wilderness permits are also fair game, but you need to act fast before they’re gone. Read up on the rules here and do your best to score a res this summer. And if not? Book a beautiful campsite or lodge nearby.

Zion National Park | Utah

Zion National Park is partially back in action, allowing summer visitors to witness its incredible sandstone cliffs, jaw-dropping narrow slot canyons and rich, geological history. While camping isn’t in the cards at the moment, you can embark on any of the park’s best hikes and book a room at the beautiful Cliffrose Lodge or any of the nearby glampsites.

What national park(s) are you headed to this summer? We’d love to know — shoot us an email at team@smithandberg.com or tag us in your travels at @smithandberg on Instagram.

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