Well folks, I'm back with the second half of my Top Spring Break destination list. In Part One, I covered some pretty good spots, including The Grand Canyon, Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, "Ski County" in Colorado, Northern California, Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks. As I said before, this list includes both places I've been and places on my bucket list. Now check out the remaining picks for our top spring break destinations list.
What outdoor destinations are on your bucket list?
[Click HERE to see 1-5]
It's actually a real shame that I still haven't been to Yellowstone National Park, especially considering it's only about a nine-hour drive from my hometown in Fort Collins. I hope to remedy that soon. In the meantime, I'll be daydreaming of geysers, steaming hot springs, stunning flora and copious wildlife. One of the few places left in North America where you can still see grizzly bears, elk, bison and even wolves in their natural habitat, Yellowstone is a veritable (and literal) melting pot of amazing natural wonders. Did you know the Yellowstone Caldera is the largest supervolcano on the continent? It's actually considered an active volcano, and the underlying body of magma is the source of the park's many geothermal features. If you plan on visiting the Wyoming portion of the park, make sure to swing by the Buffalo Bill Historic Center, which is widely regarded as America's finest western museum, and actually features five internationally acclaimed museums under one roof! As an added bonus, you might also swing by the Sierra Trading Post outlet in Cody.
7. Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe is the quintessential Spring Break destination in the western United States for several reasons. Not only are there seven different ski resorts in the area, there is the lake itself, which will likely be hoppin' with all kinds of events, outdoor concerts and general Spring Break shenanigans come mid March. If you want to avoid all that hubbub, it's recommended that you stick to the northern portion of the lake. According to Wikitravel, Tahoe City, on the northwestern shore, is considerably less crowded and more relaxed than South Lake Tahoe. Check out Trip Advisor for some great ideas on outdoor activities in the Tahoe City area.
8. Big Bend
They don't just say everything is bigger in Texas. It actually is bigger, even when it comes to their National Parks. Covering 1,252 square miles, Big Bend National Park is an impressive expanse featuring multiple types of topography, including mountains, desert and river environments. In Big Bend, you can roam for miles without seeing another soul, except for the local wildlife, of course. Did you know there are over 400 different species of birds, 75 different species of mammals, 56 species of reptiles and 60 different kinds of cacti! Activities in Big Bend run the gamut from hiking and backpacking to river rafting. For more ideas on things to do, check out nps.gov/bibe.
9. Great Smokey Mountains
Running along the border Tennessee and North Carolina is a place truly unlike any other in the United States. The Great Smokey Mountains have long been regarded as one of the most beautiful mountainous regions east of the Mississippi. If misty peaks and verdant forests teaming with wildlife sound like something you'd enjoy, this is definitely a destination worth putting on your bucket list. Visitors to Great Smokey Mountains National Park, which protects a large portion of this Appalachian sub-range, can expect to discover a hiker's paradise, with over 800 miles of maintained trails. If you're interested in spotting some local wildlife, you won't be disappointed. An estimated 1,500 black bears reside within park boundaries, so your chance of spotting one are pretty good. Just make sure you're prepared should you encounter one up close.
If you haven't had a chance to visit the largest subtropical region in the United States, you may want to consider a trip to southern Florida this spring. Not only do the Everglades include a national park, they have also been designated as a World Heritage Site, an International Biosphere Reserve, and a Wetland of International Importance. Want to see a crocodile or alligator up close and personal? Hop on an airboat tour, and get ready to witness one of the most bountiful ecosystems in North America. Less than an hour from Miami, and covering roughly 1.5 million acres, Everglades National Park is a jewel waiting to be explored.
That concludes my list of the 10 best Spring Break destinations for outdoor nuts. Do you have a top spring break destination in mind that didn't get included? Leave a comment and tell us about it! I'd love to feature it on the next list.
Top 10 Spring Break Destinations for Outdoor Nuts (Part 2)
By Andy Hawbaker
March 07, 2012
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