In honor of the National Parks Service Centennial, it’s time to boogie on over to your favorite national park site. August 25 is the actual date set aside to recognize this 100th birthday, but celebrations across America have been in full force all year long. Some very cool commemorative park apparel has been trending this year as well.

With 58 national parks and hundreds of recreational areas and monuments to choose from, the goal of the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation is to encourage people to embrace the opportunities to explore, learn, be inspired by, or simply have fun at these spectacular wonderments — many of them amazingly crafted by nature, some even deemed geological mysteries.

Families and solo travelers should view the celebration as a great way to connect again, or for the first time, with their favorite park, statue or public land. There’s also no shortage of learning a new thing or two. For instance, did you know that Wyoming is home to the very first national park: Yellowstone? “Hey, hey, Boo-Boo!” If you already knew that fun fact then you are smarter than the average bear.

I’ve never been to Yellowstone, but I surprised myself realizing just how many national sites and monuments I have visited in my lifetime. They are:National SeashoresPoint Reyes National Seashore, Point Reyes, California

South Padre Island, off the southern shores of TexasNational MonumentsMuir Woods National Monument, Marin County, California

Pullman National Monument, Southside of Chicago, Illinois

St Paul’s Cathedral, New York, New York

Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC

Washington Memorial, Washington, DC

National Parks and Recreation Areas

Rock Creek Park, Washington, DC

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California

Alcatraz Island, San Francisco, California

San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, San Francisco, California

Grand Canyon National Park, near Flagstaff, Arizona

grand canyon national park

Like me, you’ve probably been to more than you think once you start writing them down. Not sure which places are deemed national historical spots? You can find a list of them at findyourpark.com. Which of America’s national parks have you visited?

Each of these landmarks I’ve seen has left an indelible mark on my life. One of the most memorable is the Grand Canyon. This spectacular formation of rock that’s 18 miles across, 277 miles long and more than one-mile deep is so incredibly massive that it can be seen from space! What struck me as fascinating was that in all its vastness and depth, at some spots I was standing dangerously close to the edge (but not crazy close), and there were no guardrails! Even though that visit was years ago, I clearly remember the breathtaking sensation knowing I was standing in the midst of over a billion tons of rock that had been six miles below sea level billions of years prior. Let that sink in.

Wow. That’s gotten me excited to go exploring again! This time, I think I’ll head over to Lake Mead National Recreation Area, at the border of Nevada and Arizona, to catch this celebratory wave. There’s still time for you, too, to catch it! In fact, we would love to see photos of your visit in capturing America’s best from your perspective.

Grand Canyon
Because some of these parks get pretty chilly with all their trees and foliage, be sure to pack your trusty windbreaker. Columbia® has teamed up with the National Park Service to create a collection of apparel that helps celebrate the splendor of nature, like this smart looking Columbia Flashback™ Park Edition Windbreaker.

Love & RAWspect,

Terri, aka t-RAW

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