I am not exactly a "tree-hugger;" I am definitely not "outdoorsy," but I absolutely adore our national parks here in the United States. I truly believe that our national parks are some of the greatest places on earth and that we should all visit national parks more often. This past summer, I had the amazing opportunity to visit Yosemite National Park, and it was the most beautiful place I've ever seen. Every time I visit a national park, I have a wonderful time and want to encourage others to experience the same.

Honestly, I love going to national parks even more than I love shopping or sightseeing in new cities. While I like to find yummy coffee shops and browse cute boutiques, I'd much rather visit a national park to explore the trails, see the flora and fauna, and get away from social media for a while.

I feel like it's really easy to live in the United States and take our national parks for granted. They can seem monotonous, boring, or even "too difficult" to navigate. These are all just common misconceptions that should be ignored. National parks are interesting, fun, and available to everyone (with a good sense of direction or not), and I think that our parks deserve more credit than they receive.

A good cell signal is rare in national parks so visiting a park is the perfect break from social media and binge-watching Netflix. National parks are wonderful for self-care and releasing yourself from the pressures of social media. As long as you're safe and have a map that most parks provide, the break from cell service will be welcomed and beneficial in the long run.

Cameras, however, typically don't require cell service. There are plenty of subjects in nature to take pictures of. You could spend days upon days in a national park and never run out of subjects to capture. Also, national parks can inspire remarkable pieces of artwork, like paintings or poems. In Yosemite Valley this summer, I saw a man on one of the boardwalks painting a beautiful scene of Half-Dome as he saw it. National parks are the perfect place to create art, whether it's photography or something else.

Visiting national parks can be beneficial not only for mental health but also for physical health. Exploring a park is a great way to exercise at your own pace. Getting exercise in national parks doesn't feel quite the same as working out in a gym; exercising in a park may be more enjoyable for some people. Hiking or even just exploring, in a national park is great for both the mental and physical aspects of personal health.

As sappy as it may sound, there's also a sense of bonding in national parks. Everyone you encounter in a national park is probably there for the same reason as you - that is, to admire the beauty of nature! It's a wonderful, peaceful feeling and, personally, one of my favorite parts about visiting a national park.

Life is full of commitments and things that vie for our attention. I feel like visiting a national park is a rewarding decision that can help us escape the pressures of everyday life and appreciate the simple beauty of nature. I really encourage everyone to set aside time to visit a national park. Who knows, you may find a new hobby on your trip!

National parks aren't just for tree-huggers and fitness gurus. National parks welcome people from all walks of life and can be enjoyed by everyone for little to no cost. Follow this link https://www.nps.gov/findapark/index.htm to find a national park near you. Happy exploring!