Guest Blog: 10 Inspirational National Parks Just in Time for Summer Vacation

By guest contributor Amy Anderson 

I was lucky enough to grow up in a family that chose National Parks over water park resorts and hiking over suntanning for our family vacations. (Thanks, Mom and Dad!) So when I think of the things that make me the most inspired and creative, I always come back to the natural beauty of our vacation spots. Here are ten of my favorite places that bring me my greatest artistic drive and zest for life!

1. Yosemite National Park, California: View from the top of Half Dome after a tiring and fulfilling hike up!


2. Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona: My biggest accomplishment was hiking this spectacular natural wonder my senior year in high school. Photo from fundenburg.


3. Badlands National Park, South Dakota: Huge, wondrous expanses make up this childhood favorite of mine–plus Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse close by. Photo from rachel-amarette.


4. Crater Lake National Park, Oregon: The deepest lake in the country and the most vibrantly colored one I’ve ever seen.


5. Devil’s Tower National Monument, Wyoming: It’s worth it just to see the tiny specks of people precariously climbing their way up this massive volcanic neck. Photo from backpackphotography.


6. Governors Island National Monument, New York: This island offers some of the best views of New York City and has beautiful buildings from its days as a military base (when it was home to my parents!). Photo from cebete.


7. Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming: Some of the world’s strangest and most intriguing natural spots are at this park, from mud pots to geysers. Photo from riverap1.


8. Zion National Park, Utah: A great place for casual hiking and amazing views, Zion’s wildlife and canyons are breathtaking. Photo from rene-germany.


9. Montezuma Castle National Monument, Arizona: The ancient cliff dwellings from around 700 AD are so well preserved and a mysterious look into the past. Photo from flissphil.


10. Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado: There was a moose milling around in my campground at this park. Enough said. Photo from krossbow.

About the contributor: Amy Anderson is a former Indie Fixx intern and a graduate of Northwestern University. Amy has wanted to be a journalist since she was just 5 years old and she’s also into the indie design and crafting scenes as well.


  1. An inspiring set of photos and great variety too. I thought all were going to be huge big landscapes until you included some water scenes – love water! – and a wonderful solitary rock. And then the Governors Island and Montezuma Castle monuments were included and they added a different element to the wide open spaces that I associate with national Parks. What a wonderful legacy from your parents.

  2. Wow! Great post, and beautiful photo selection! It makes me want to get out there and visit these spectacular places. I have thought of myself as someone who has spent quite a bit of time in nature, but I realize from this post how much I have not seen! Wow, the badlands look especially amazing! The big walls in Yosemite take my breath away ever single time I’m there!

  3. My family also did a lot of camping and traveling to and from national parks growing up and although I didn’t always appreciate it at the time, now I love looking back at the memories 🙂

    Great list!

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