As a reminder, before looking at the lists:
1. We are only considering places we have visited since we have been traveling in our motor home as full-timers. We may have missed many great places, because we have not been there.
2. We have not been to the northeast or to Montana, Nevada, Canada and most of Idaho as full-timers. So, we will not be considering those places. We have actually been there, but that was before our motor home travels.
3. The lists are based upon our interests. Others may have entirely different perspectives.
1. BRYCE CANYON
Nothing better than hiking among the colorful hoodoos on the endless hiking trails.
OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK
Spectacular mountain scenery.
Abundant tame and friendly wildlife on Hurricane Hill.
And a few miles away --- the totally green Hoh Rain Forest. An added plus, Amanda and Kaia helped us explore.
2. (tie) YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK
Jaw-dropping scenery that is so spectacular that it does not seem real.
Unforgettable hiking trails.
4. ZION NATIONAL PARK
The view from the Angels' Landing hike. We started far below.
Hiking with water shoes and hiking poles up the Virgin River on the Narrows hike.
Dianne and Kaia after sloshing through the Virgin River. Robyn and Amanda were there, too. Fun.
|Roger's favorite photo from Crater Lake|
How can the water possibly be that blue?
|Dianne's Favorite Crater Lake Photo|
Stark beauty in an isolated setting, if you ignore the guy in the picture :-)
We rented a jeep to explore the Water Pocket Fold along Nottom-Bullfrog Road. Dianne found a dinosaur fossil. Look at the colors in the dirt road.
7. EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK
Avian wildlife and alligators around every bend.
8. ARCHES NATIONAL PARK
Hiking to, through and over the endless red arch formations. The ranger-led Fiery Furnace hike was so much fun.
9. MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK
Exploring the amazingly well-preserved ancient cliff-dwellings. Indiana Jones has nothing to match this.
10. (actually at 6-way tie) We could not decide which of these to omit from the list.
JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK
Joshua Trees and gigantic boulders
DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK
We picked a cool day --- only in the nineties. Definitely a dry heat.
MOUNT ST. HELENS NATIONAL VOLCANIC PARK
Cloudy day. Wish we had a better picture. The film at the museum is not to be missed.
MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK
We only spent one day here, but hope to return for a longer visit.
DEVIL'S TOWER NATIONAL MONUMENT
We did not find any aliens, but enjoyed walking around the formation and through the prairie dog village.
BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK, TEXAS
We were here in May and the temperatures were stifling. We hiked anyway :-)
Before proceeding to the State Park List, some of you may have noticed that we did not include some of the iconic national parks. It is not that we have not enjoyed them and been awed by them in the past, but having visited them multiple times in the past, but they were not a major focus of our travels during these last five years. Our regards to Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Grand Canyon and the Great Smoky Mountains.
1. CUSTER STATE PARK, SOUTH DAKOTA
In the Black Hills of SD this heavenly place is more like a national park
than a state park. The prairie wildlife (bison, pronghorns, wild burros) were amazing.
2. ST. GEORGE ISLAND STATE PARK, FLORIDA
To get to these snow drifts in the sand, you must first cross a four-mile bridge from an isolated part of the Florida Panhandle. Camping in the sand dunes in near isolation. Wow.
3. DAVIS MOUNTAIN STATE PARK, TEXAS
We arrived the same year that a wildfire devastated the area. Lots of wildlife in the campground --- deer and javalina. (Dianne here: We were there during the spring bird migration and saw more different types of birds in one place than ever before.) There are so many things nearby: McDonald Observatory, Ft. Davis, Marfa. This is a place we will re-visit.
4. NEHALEM BAY STATE PARK, OREGON
Great walk through the sand dunes to the dog-friendly beach. Walking distance to the quaint town of Manzanita.
5. (tie) DEAD HORSE POINT STATE PARK, UTAH
Near Moab and adjacent to Canyonlands National Park, the views here were spectacular. We even saw a set from the movie, The Lone Ranger, in the valley below.
5. (tie) PROPHETSTOWN STATE PARK, INDIANA
Indiana's newest state park and developing into its best. Bicycle trails, hiking in the flower-filled tall grass prairie, very private full-hook-up camping in the pine trees, historic farm with Clydesdale horses, on the Wabash and Tippecanoe Rivers near Purdue University.
7. EDISTO ISLAND STATE PARK, SOUTH CAROLINA
This beachside state park has sites that fill and recede with the tides. The campsites are on the beach. We took the dogs on long walks on the beach and through the sedge grass every day.
8. BIG BEND RANCH STATE PARK, TEXAS
We camped at Lajitas, just to the east. Big Bend National Park was about 15 miles further to the east. This state park on the Rio Grande River was a great place for a twisty drive and short, challenging hikes.
Tours of the lighthouse, spectacular nighttime reflections, hiking trail around a quiet lake, great beach for the dogs to run in the sand.
10. BENTSEN RIO GRANDE VALLEY STATE PARK, MISSION TEXAS
We walk and ride bicycles here from our Retama Village winter home every week. The green jay in the photo is one of many colorful bird species that dominate this place. By the way, we have these birds in our backyard.
TURKEY RUN STATE PARK, INDIANA
Hiking in slot canyons, kayaking on Sugar Creek, walking across historic covered bridges.
SEMINOLE CANYON STATE PARK, TEXAS
Located in a remote area of south Texas near the Mexican border, this is a memorable place. Seeing the cave paintings (not petroglyphs) below require a ranger-led hike. Looking at these pictures again, the honorable mention status may be too low.
GOOSEBERRY FALLS STATE PARK, MINNESOTA
Bridges and pathways constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the depression highlight this pristine park.
Next up.... Dianne's post from Year Three, followed by Top Ten Lists for public, COE and private campgrounds.