National Geographic’s ‘Guide to National Parks of the United States, Ninth Edition’ Helps Plan the Perfect Outdoor Adventure [REVIEW]

New Mexico’s Carlsbad Caverns has been a national park since 1930. (Photo courtesy Canva)

I have loved visiting national parks since my parents took my sister and I to places like the Grand Canyon and Carlsbad Caverns while on family vacations when we were kids. With 62 parks available across the country, there are always new adventures waiting to be had, and you don’t even have to travel outside our nation’s borders to enjoy them. The only problem is knowing where to go and what to do once you’re there. That’s when the ninth edition of National Geographic’s Guide to National Parks of the United States becomes an invaluable resource.

National Geographic

From sea to shining sea, there is no better way to see America than to visit each of its national parks in all their stunning beauty and rich history. This edition of Nat Geo’s enduring classic guidebook takes readers through all of them, offering up essential travel advice such as the optimal times to visit, where to stay, how much it will cost to get in, and even if cell phone service is available in the area.

Park rangers and National Geographic writers have overhauled this edition, and have even introduced the newest parks in the system: Indiana Dunes, White Sands, and Gateway Arch national parks. Of course, if you want to visit one of the old favorites, like the vast Everglades National Park in Florida or the labyrinthine Mammoth Caverns in Kentucky, all of those are still here too.

Not only are in-depth details about each park provided, but there are also travel itineraries included. So if you’re a road warrior who wants to see as many of the parks as you can in one week, they have you covered. Also, the book is literally saturated with the amazing photography you’ve come to expect from National Geographic and features more than 80 detailed maps that will help inspire your next vacation.

Having been to numerous national parks already, I loved reviewing the sections about those I’d visited previously to see if I had indeed seen all the recommended sites. To my surprise, I discovered that I had actually just barely scraped the surface, so I really need to start all over again. For example, next time I head to White Sands, I need to take one of their ranger led events, such as the daily Sunset Stroll or the monthly Full Moon Hike or Full Moon Night, which includes special presentations, live music, and more.

Of course, Yellowstone is always going to demand multiple trips if you want to see even a fraction of what it has to offer. With 2.2 million acres to explore, most people typically start by visiting Old Faithful, the famous geyser that erupts about every 90 minutes. But the park also has a Great Loop which will take you around the park on a 142 mile path in the form of a figure eight. During the drive you move beyond the thermal activity at Old Faithful and start to see more of the park’s more majestic scenery, including Yellowstone Lake, Hayden Valley, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, which is rich with mountains and assorted wildlife. And if you get tired of walking, you can always rent a bicycle and explore some of the trails where they are permitted.

Like many people, I think we tend to visit the parks closest to us most often. For me, that was Hot Springs, Arkansas, particularly since I was a teenager and again since Heather and I got married. When we have gone, we’ve always taken in more of the spas, from the visitor center at Fordyce in the middle of the one/third a mile of bathhouses to the Buckstaff, which has been in operation since 1912. But the book also boasts about the plentiful hiking that is available here, which includes walking up Hot Springs Mountain or trekking through the 26 miles of hiking trails, including the 10-mile-long Sunset Trail which takes you to the highest point in the area, Music Mountain. So during my next visit, I suppose I’ll have to save my soak at the spa until after we explore the various hiking trails.

No matter which national park you’ve considered visiting, you want National Geographic’s Guide to National Parks of the United States at your side to help you plan. It will keep you safe, housed, fueled up and fascinated on your next outdoor adventure. But most of all, it will inspire you and help you plan the perfect getaway no matter how athletic you are, and will make for phenomenal trips you and your family will always remember.

Add to Goodreads badge
National Geographic logo


One of the world’s leading nonfiction publishers, National Geographic has published more than 1,700 titles, featuring such categories as history, travel, nature, photography, space, science, health, biography, and memoir.

A portion of its proceeds is used to fund exploration, conservation, and education through ongoing contributions to the work of the National Geographic Society.

To find out more about Nat Geo, visit, like them on Facebook, or follow them on TwitterInstagram, and Snapchat.

By National Geographic
528 pp. National Geographic. $28.

TLC Book Tours Tour Host

But the Guide to National Parks of the United States, Ninth Edition direct from Jathan & Heather Books or from one of these other fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Half Price Books, Hudson Booksellers, IndieBound, Powell’s, Target, or Walmart.

Guide to National Parks of the United States, Ninth Edition is brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

2 Responses to National Geographic’s ‘Guide to National Parks of the United States, Ninth Edition’ Helps Plan the Perfect Outdoor Adventure [REVIEW]

  1. Pingback: National Geographic Guide to National Parks of the United States and National Geographic Secrets of the National Parks, 2nd Edition, on tour February 2021 | TLC Book Tours

  2. Sara Strand says:

    I agree, I really enjoyed this and am already eagerly planning our summer trip… crossing fingers! Thank you for being on this tour! Sara @ TLC Book Tours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: