Best National Parks for Sightseeing - Travel Squad Podcast

Best National Parks for Sightseeing

We’re bringing you another full list of iconic national parks without hiking to see and enjoy. We love an “easy day” of 12 mile hikes to reach peak summit views as much as the next person, but sometimes you want to relax and sightseeing in America’s most beautiful natural preserves, and get that too! Some of these national parks have truly easy hikes, overlooks accessible by car or paved paths, or other adventures like snorkeling or white water rafting so you can see it all without a strenuous hike! Here are 10 of the easiest national parks to see without hiking.

  1. Haleakala National Park – Hawaii
  2. Gateway Arch National Park – Missouri
  3. Olympic National Park – Washington
  4. Shenandoah National Park – Virginia
  5. Mammoth Cave National Park – Kentucky
  6. Virgin Islands National Park – USVI
  7. Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Tennessee
  8. Biscayne National Park – Florida
  9. Great Sand Dunes National Park – Indiana
  10. New River Gorge National Park – West Virginia

We did a previous travel podcast episode on 10 national parks you can enjoy without hiking, so if you’re into nature, but don’t want or can’t do the strenuous workout, check out that episode as well.

National Parks for Sightseeing – Episode Transcript

2 (58s):
Welcome to this week’s episode of the Travel Squad Podcast. Today we are bringing you 10 more of the easiest national parks to see without hiking required. These national Parks might have easy hikes, they might not require any Hiking at all, and they definitely have some really great Sightseeing.

1 (1m 17s):
You know, I love an easy day and this is a true easy day in some of these national Parks, and I truly do mean that, not like a fake easy day, but these are really wonderful national Parks that I’m really excited to tell you about where you’re gonna see some of the best Sightseeing with minimal effort.

3 (1m 36s):
Absolutely. And you know, this episode is kind of like a 2.0 episode from episode 72 that we had, which was no hike National Parks. These ones I wouldn’t say are definitely no hikes. They’re very good national Parks for sight scene or if you are Hiking, easy hikes within the national Parks themselves. So I’m really excited to get into this because you know, here at the Squad we love a good hike. I don’t want to say I’m falling off on it, but when we do Squad trips now Kim over 30, she’s just like, eh, I don’t really wanna do hikes. So these Parks are really conducive for us, conducive for a a lot of people. And sometimes when Brit comes to me and says, let’s be crazy, and she plans something, you know, I’ll go with the flow, but I’m not really feeling a hike.

3 (2m 19s):
So, you know, we all have those days. And so this episode is perfect for that because the national Parks are beautiful and you always wanna do some sight scene or easy day, easy

2 (2m 30s):
Hikes. You know, we were just talking about going to Banff in Canada next year and you said something about an eight mile hike and I immediately was thinking in my head like, what the hell?

3 (2m 40s):
I know Kim over 30. I’m just talking about like, you know, there’s actually a really cool hike, not in Bam, but then we were talking about like, oh we should do glacier, which is on the border with Canada. And then from Glacier you could go into Canada, they have a national park that touches and work our way, but in Glacier they have, what is it, like a 15 mile hike that Skyline Trail or Sky Room trail, high Highline Trail. I wanna do that, but it’s like a trail carved in the Mountains. So it’s not really like any Hiking. So it’s a long one, but I think you could do it over 30 Kim

2 (3m 10s):
Trails. You know, trails that are mostly flat. I’m here for that.

3 (3m 13s):
That could have been a park to put in here, but a lot of good Hiking, so we couldn’t, but that is an easy trail for easy hikes within it. Maybe. Yeah, maybe. Maybe. You know, we haven’t done it yet. We don’t know. So let’s just jump right into it. I mean, normally we start with the tips, but we’re going full on in right now because we don’t really have any particular tips to give because we’re doing a smorgasboard of Parks right here, right? We got 10 of them for you. So everything’s gonna be a little different. So we’ll bypass the tip and just go full on it.

2 (3m 41s):
All right, let’s hit it. Number one on the list.

1 (3m 44s):
Number one on our list is Haleakala National Park in Hawaii on the island of Maui.

3 (3m 51s):
We know how Jamal feels about Maui. If you listen to the Maui episode, I’m just gonna come out and say it. You know, my least favorite of the big Islands of Hawaii that everyone goes to don’t see what all the big fuss is about. However, the exception to that is Haleakala National Park. I absolutely love this one. This is a volcano summit. 10,000 plus feet high. You can go to the top of the summit. Need permits though, won’t lie. Catch an amazing sunrise. So beautiful sight. Scene 360 all around the island. And again, perfect for sight scene and minimal Hiking. And if you are doing Hiking, easy ones along the summit.

1 (4m 30s):
Yes. So we actually did this on my birthday in 2021, and you do have to have permits like Jamal said. So you’d go to recreation.gov and you wanna be on the site the day that they’re released. If you get there on the site late, they may already be sold out. That actually happened to us. And then Jamal was only able to get tickets for a Monday when we were originally planning on going on a Sunday, but it ended up working out because it was my birthday. The reservations are only like a dollar 50, so super cheap, but you have to have that permit and reservation to enter the park that early. We woke up literally at 3:00 AM we drove an hour and a half because you have to get there about 45 minutes an hour before sunrise and you’re at Hawaii, so you’re thinking beach gear and like summer tropical clothing, but it’s so, so cold at the top because it’s above 10,000 feet.

1 (5m 23s):
You have to dress in layers. I was wearing gloves, beanie jacket, I had my Turkish towel wrapped around me and I was still cold, but it was all worth the weight. Just being able to watch the sunrise above the cloud layer, it was truly breathtaking. And some of the best sites I’ve seen,

2 (5m 41s):
I think we should do a follow up episode on the best national Parks for if you wanna get up at the crack of dawn and get no sleep the night before. Because there’s definitely some, you have to be there extremely early in the morning to see the best of it or get in line. That’s

3 (5m 56s):
True. That’s very, very true and a lot of them have great sunrises for that. Quite honestly, and this is a really good one here at Haleakala, and even if you aren’t able to secure the permits for the sunrise, you do want to go to the top where you would watch the sunrise because you’re at the top of the volcanic summit and they say that you know, it’s where you are at at the summit, when you look down on Haleakala with the colors, it’s so red, it’s so barren, it looks like Mars or at least the photos that NASA releases of Mars and everything. So you really do feel like you’re on another planet and there are like a few trails up there and you can make them longer, but you don’t really have to. So it’s very conducive for the sight scene within the National Park.

1 (6m 38s):
So number two on our list is Gateway Arch. National Park located in St. Louis, Missouri

3 (6m 45s):
Brittanie. And I took a day trip from Chicago to come out here to go to this national park, but this is very iconic. Everybody knows what the Gateway Arch looks like in St. Louis’s, that very large tall silver Arch that’s just sitting on the bank of the Mississippi River. And it has an amazing history on why it is that they built that Arch. St. Louis was known as the Gateway to the west. So that Arch represents that. And clearly you’re in the middle of a city, so there is absolutely no Hiking to do, but amazing sight scene. You’re just on the banks of the Mississippi, you could look over and see into Illinois, you have the city of St Louis around you. You can take the tram all the way to the top and get 360 views of St.

3 (7m 28s):
Louis from the top of the Arch. And this is very conducive for that minimal Hiking and just beautiful sight scene within a national park because it’s in the middle of a city,

1 (7m 38s):
You know, I was like, what are we gonna see when we get to the top of the tram? What are we gonna see looking out? Because you’re walking around St. Louis and everything’s kind of flat and you’re like, okay, how’s it gonna be? But when you get to the top and you’re looking outside of the windows, looking at St. Louis, the St. Louis skyline and that area is actually very beautiful. They’ve made it a very beautiful park and it is very scenic. And so really good Sightseeing from the top of Gateway, Arch, National Park. And you can enjoy the museum exhibits. Like Jamal said, we enjoy the riverboat cruise down the Mississippi River. It’s like one of those traditional Steamboats. So this is a national park if you’re really looking to enjoy the sites with the minimal effort

3 (8m 19s):
Views from 630 feet up and Kim, dare I say, a perfect park for you over 30

2 (8m 25s):
Sounds perfect to me. I mean, hey, if you think the sites you see along the boat and the view of St. Louis is worth it, then I’m there. The third national park on our list is Olympic National Park. This is my favorite national park in all of the country.

3 (8m 41s):
Favorite really? You’re gonna come out here and say

2 (8m 43s):
Olympic, it is my favorite. Wow. Okay. Because of the ho rainforest, everything is green. There’s moss everywhere, there’s ferns everywhere. It’s like a different world. It’s so pretty. You can go any time of year, there’s no Hiking involved if you don’t want to. And there’s tons of things to look at.

3 (8m 59s):
No Hiking but trails, flat trails through the forest itself. So we wanna specify with that. So it’s very, very perfect. And even if you don’t go into the rainforest at Olympic, which I think would be crazy cuz that’s what it’s famous for, they do have the famous Rialto Beach and it’s those Pacific Northwest Beach’s giant boulders, kind of the timber that’s flown in from the the streams and rivers that are washed ashore on the beach. So it’s very rustic and rugged and beautiful sight scene without any Hiking but trails along the way.

1 (9m 32s):
And if you didn’t catch that Olympic National Park is in the Pacific Northwest, specifically located in Washington state.

2 (9m 39s):
Forks Washington to be exact is where it is. And if you go through the ho rainforest, you’ve done your Sightseeing there, you can go over to Forks Washington site, see the real truck from the Twilight movies.

1 (9m 52s):
Yep. That’s

2 (9m 53s):
Where Twilight took place. So it has a bunch of that essence still even all these years later. It’s amazing. I just wanna tell a funny joke I

3 (10m 1s):
Heard, I’m ready to hear, I’m ready for a good laugh care.

2 (10m 4s):
I saw this comedy standup little bit on TikTok and it was someone saying that anytime you’re in the Pacific Northwest, everyone in the Pacific Northwest is dressed for a hike. You’re like, I’m just going down the street to get a coffee. But you never know when a hike might break out and like everyone is dressed for a hike at all times up there.

1 (10m 23s):
You know, recently I’ve seen some TikTok and Instagram stories and reels about like I was supposed to go to Target and you end up on this hike. But like that would be what would happen if you lived in the Pacific Northwest. Like everywhere you go there’s a Hiking opportunity.

2 (10m 37s):
But if you don’t want to hike, if you just wanna sight sea Olympic National Park is perfect

1 (10m 42s):
For that. Yeah, a hall of mosses in the ho rain forest. So beautiful, so lush, so green. You know what I really loved about the forest is you see trees falling over and then there are literally new trees that are sprouting from that fallen over tree and like growing alive. Yeah, Kim said it, it’s a nurse log and we learned that while we were there and it’s just so amazing. I would’ve enjoyed it even more had it been a little bit foggy and misty while we were there, kind of give it that eerie feel. And we did go in the end of September and so we didn’t have that. It was a little more dry but still very, very beautiful.

3 (11m 21s):
It was still very, very green. But I mean it’s a rainforest. It’s known to have that kind of like misty fog layer and I feel like I really really missed that. And I know you had been there one time before Kim, before we had gone as a Squad and you said it was that way. So when I was so shocked with your statement that it is your number one, it’s because I didn’t experience it and it’s glory and I I want to go back and experience it when it is foggy and misty

2 (11m 47s):
And it’s not the time of year because we went in September the first time I went and I did get, that was in August, so it’s still summer. But I think the difference is I went very early in the morning and when we went it was a little bit later in the day.

1 (11m 59s):
Okay, I can see that. Yeah.

3 (12m 1s):
And if you want to hear all about Olympic in more detail, we have episode 68 talking all about it as well as another Washington State National Park Mount Rainier.

1 (12m 12s):
So number four on our Best National Parks for Sightseeing is Shenandoah National Park located in the state of Virginia.

3 (12m 21s):
Yes, I love Shenandoah National Park when we had gone out here on our trip to Virginia and one of the things that I really, really appreciated about Shenandoah, and I guess this is more something that people would appreciate if you live on the west coast of the United States, is that when we think of Mountains we have like pine trees and things like that. The Mountains and forested areas that are over on the east coast, they’re really not pine trees, there are trees with actual like leaves and you can see like the fall color change. And granted we weren’t there like at fall, but it was just a completely different mountain landscape than what I was actually used to. And I really enjoyed that aspect of it as, as a matter of fact, fun fact, it is the closest national park to our nation’s capital, Washington DC only 75 miles away as a matter of fact.

1 (13m 9s):
Yeah. So that makes it a great day trip or weekend trip if you’re in that area or visiting that area. Shenandoah is a very long thin national park and it follows the Blue Ridge Mountains and it has a ton of like ruling hills, secluded hollows and creeks, forests, all of that. One of the major draws to the park is Skyline Drive and it runs 105 miles and it’s great for Sightseeing. You can look to either side and there is just fantastic views below it has 75 different overlooks, perfect or spectacular views of Shenandoah Valley.

3 (13m 44s):
You mentioned the shape long and narrow, just Google, Shenandoah, National Park outline. It’s like crazy when you look at it like I don’t even know what I’m looking at because it’s so crazy how thin it is from those ridge of the Mountains. But you are correct in the point of the major thing to really do when you’re at the top is do that drive trail the 105 plus miles with all the overlooks, it’s completely breathtaking because at the Ridge they have a road that follows the whole way through. And

1 (14m 14s):
If you don’t wanna drive the 105 miles, you can drive any portion of that and get a ton of different overlooks and enjoy that. So you don’t have to commit to the whole Skyline Drive.

2 (14m 23s):
I really wanna go to the Blue Ridge Mountains in the fall.

1 (14m 26s):
Yeah, it’d be super

3 (14m 27s):
Beautiful. And that’s what I was saying, like when I was originally talking about Shenandoah, like I was just so impressed cause I’ve really never seen a forested or mountain landscape quite like that with the leave. So I could imagine during fall season with that change of the colors, like it would just be so, so beautiful cuz here in California, like I said, you know yes, in the foothills we have trees with leaves and they’ll kind of like like change but you don’t get it like you do in the east coast. And then again we, our Mountains are more like pine tree, so nothing’s changing on that. That would be really, really beautiful to do that out here at Shenandoah to see the season change.

2 (15m 1s):
Lucky number five on our list is Mammoth Cave National Parks located in Kentucky. This is conveniently located just about an hour and a half drive from Nashville. So if you’re doing a little honky tonk partying over in Nashville, you can shoot right up and see this park

1 (15m 17s):
Too. That’s exactly what we did. We actually wanted to go to Nashville and we’re like, what’s close by Bammo caves was only an hour and a half drive away and so we were like we gotta hit up this national park and enjoy the sites to be seen

2 (15m 31s):
Within it. Don’t even lie, you know, you wanted to go to the national park and just add it on Nashville.

1 (15m 36s):
Probably. Probably

3 (15m 37s):
True. We know my feelings about Nashville, we’ve talked about it. Same kind of similar with Maui. Think it’s definitely an overrated place, although I do need to go back and give it more time because you are very correct Kim. The whole point of the trip was to do Mammoth Cape. I would’ve loved to spend more time being able to go to those honky tonks in particular and get off of Broadway and go to the more local places to go ahead and see the music. But back onto the subject of Mammoth Cave because that’s what we’re talking about with this Sightseeing National Park. I mean just the history here is literally mind blowing. If you just envision yourself a Cave, you think stalagmite stag tights. I thought that going to this park like obviously I’m gonna see it, it’s called Mammoth Cave.

3 (16m 18s):
There are absolutely none in there. The reason why is because there isn’t even really water that’s going through there dripping through the limestone to create it. It was an old underground river that’s carved it out. The history on top of it too was like, I’m just gonna say this and you can go back and listen to our episode talking about it. If it wasn’t for this Cave America wouldn’t even be a country. And if that doesn’t intrigue you to Google it and look more into it, then I don’t know what else to say about that. But there is absolutely no Hiking to get in the Cave. You have to do ranger guided tours and it is a very easy breezy walk through that nice, cool Cave and really, really awesome to sight see and just go on an easy

1 (16m 59s):
Trail. Yeah, I think that to enter the national park itself, there’s no fee. But if you wanna do the Cave tours, there are fees and depending on the type of Cave tour you do, they range from like $8 to $66 depending on the length or what you’re doing. Cuz some of them go more remotely into the Cave. So we actually did two different Cave tours. They were awesome, highly recommend them. And a few weeks ago we did an episode on UNESCO World Heritage Sites and we did not mention Mammoth Cave as one, but Mammoth Cave is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

2 (17m 32s):
Ah, because of the ties to the US becoming its own country.

1 (17m 36s):
Exactly.

2 (17m 37s):
That’s very cool.

1 (17m 38s):
So highly recommend going to this national park. There’s a lot of sites to take in with minimal effort. You don’t really have to hike, it’s just trails. And really learning about the history in depth while you’re enjoying these ranger guided tours.

3 (17m 53s):
Number six on our list is going to be the Virgin Islands National Park located specifically on the Virgin Island of St. John Woo.

1 (18m 3s):
I loved Virgin Islands, National Park and I loved it for so many reasons other than like we talked about Olympic and we saw the beach there. Virgin Islands just takes it outta the park because the whole island has a ton of different beaches. And who doesn’t love a nice easy beach day with pristine blue waters and white sandy beaches?

3 (18m 23s):
Well not only that, imagine the sea life that’s out there. You have the coral, you have the sea turtles, you have everything. I mean honestly, everybody knows what the Caribbean is that crystal clear blue water, the beautiful snorkeling, everything that you can do. And on this one specific island in particular in the Virgin Islands, they deemed it so that, oh wow, like this is even more exceptional that it is a national park. So there is a trail that you can do because even though we’re talking an island in the Caribbean, it is lush and jungle, but along the coast you have that white pristine Sand beaches and perfect for that easy conducive day and not a lot to do other than just soak it all in and see the sites

1 (19m 7s):
And beyond the beaches, they have sugar plantation ruins, they have secluded beaches, they have even ancient petroglyphs that are carved into the stone. I’m like, who doesn’t love to see ancient things like that? I know they’d get you going, Kim, I’m already going over here. I mean I don’t know of another experience where you’re at a national park and you get to snorkel with sea turtles. Oh that’s

3 (19m 32s):
Really cool. And a couple beaches to note here on St. John and the National Park. My favorite one was going to be Maho Beach. It is a very long thin beach as a matter of fact. But what I really liked about it is this is where we saw the most sea turtles, just in their natural element swimming, you saw little baby baby sharks that were actually feeding on the algae of the sea turtle shells. We saw sea turtle chomp on a jellyfish. Cinnamon bay is another really good beach trunk bay also. So you have a lot of good options for those true easy days. Not Britney squat easy days, but real easy days.

1 (20m 12s):
And Trunk Bay is one of the most popular beaches in St. John. It’s the most photographed, most popular, most visited, and arguably the most beautiful beach in St. John, if not all of the Caribbean. So definitely go and check that out. And all of these beaches, the water’s just so calm and I love that because when you’re here on the Pacific, the water’s cold and can be choppy and all of that. This is just like some pristine waters where you can see down to the bottom everything’s calm at warm and just really nice for relaxing.

3 (20m 46s):
We had a really, really good week long visit here in the Virgin Islands. We have an episode, episode 84 talking all about that adventure. So do go check that out because not just St. John is great, but all of the us Virgin Islands is great too and I highly recommend you make a trip out there and enjoy this American treasure. Well

2 (21m 6s):
You’ve got me wanting to plan a trip out here. It looked really, really pretty. It’s like a great way to not only experience the Sightseeing of the Caribbean, but it feels like an international trip when you’re still traveling within the US

1 (21m 17s):
And you could see the British national Islands from some of the Islands.

2 (21m 21s):
Ooh, little bonus.

1 (21m 22s):
Hey Travelers, let’s take a quick detour to talk all about our travel Itineraries that we’ve created just for you. We now have six different trip Itineraries one week in Kauai,

2 (21m 33s):
An American Southwest weekend or road trip

3 (21m 36s):
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1 (21m 39s):
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3 (21m 44s):
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2 (21m 50s):
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1 (22m 11s):
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3 (22m 25s):
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2 (22m 36s):
Okay, number seven on our list is the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s located in Eastern Tennessee and I know I just said Mountains but it is amazing for Sightseeing, especially during the fall season. Just imagine red, orange, yellow, purple greens everywhere that I can see. It is absolutely gorgeous.

1 (22m 57s):
You know, I went on a tour Sightseeing tour in a different area, Canab and I met a photographer on that tour and he said that like for fall colors, everything he compares all the other areas too is great. Smokey

2 (23m 10s):
Mountains. Yeah, it’s really pretty. And then that great Smoky Mountains name that it gets, it has this like eerie, it’s not smokey but like fog haze. Yeah it’s, it’s a sight to see definitely. You can certainly do Hiking here, there’s plenty of it to do. But you can certainly just sight sea walk on trails, just take in the sites. There’s also a lot of other ways to take in the sites besides just being in the National park itself. Just outside of the park is a little town called Gatlinburg. If you’re coming to the park you’ll probably stay there or Pigeon Forge. Those are the two kind of closest areas that you’ll stay in. But in Gatlinburg they have have a thing called the Skylift Park. And here you can take the tram gondola kind of thing up.

2 (23m 51s):
They have this big long suspension bridge you can walk across. You can even just sit up there around the fires and take in the sites. And when you look down at the town, it’s like a little town completely surrounded by trees of the park. It’s a very, very cool sight to see from up there.

1 (24m 7s):
You know, at the time of this recording Jamal and I have not been, but by the time this airs we will have been. So we’re actually gonna have an upcoming episode all about great smoking Mountains upcoming this fall.

2 (24m 18s):
Yeah, I’m excited to see what you guys will see not being in the fall cause you’re going in May and that will be I’m sure green everywhere you can see and I’m sure it’s just as beautiful.

1 (24m 28s):
Yeah, I can’t wait to find out. And we were gonna originally stay in Pigeon Forge but now we’ve moved our reservation to Gatlinburg to stay at the same exact hotel Kim.

2 (24m 38s):
You guys are staying there?

3 (24m 40s):
We’re staying there because you sold us on the love tub that they had

2 (24m 42s):
In that hotel love. Okay. Especially if you do go in the fall, but I’m sure it’ll still be amazing like cold weather fireplace, hot tub in your living room while you can watch Yellowstone on tv. I mean you can’t get any better sight than that. I’ll just say

1 (24m 59s):
I have

3 (24m 60s):
Not watched an episode of Yellowstone yet. I need to to I’ve heard it’s great television.

1 (25m 4s):
Yeah, I actually booked the same hotel cause you were telling me how amazing it

2 (25m 8s):
Was. It really was. And

1 (25m 9s):
It was cheaper than the Airbnb we were originally gonna stay at but the Airbnb was sold and so they canceled our reservation. Oh

2 (25m 18s):
Lucky you.

1 (25m 18s):
So it was like, well it works out and it was cheaper.

2 (25m 21s):
Tell our listeners what the name of that hotel is because they need to know. It was amazing

1 (25m 25s):
That hotel’s called Crossroads in in suites and when you look it up on like Expedia, make sure you’re choosing the option with like the king size bed, the fireplace and the jetted tub.

2 (25m 36s):
Oh so

3 (25m 37s):
Good. Gotta have the love tub. Otherwise you know, just any other hotel will do at that point I guess. Right.

2 (25m 41s):
Doesn’t look like much from outside but inside it’ll blow your mind. Well

3 (25m 45s):
I love going to mountain places that have that rustic feel of the resort and I just, even from the photos it looked like it had that a little bit and it’s getting me excited for it nonetheless. But can I ask you a quick question? Kim, did it have a lot of the trees that I was saying that Shenandoah had? There’s more leaf features. I know you said color change, so yes, but were there even like pine trees too? Was it a good like kind of mix or is it more just like really like true leave trees?

2 (26m 11s):
Yeah, I think it’s more the Shenandoah style. Just big leaves, leaves all over the ground. They change colors obviously really, really, really pretty. But you know, the trees aren’t the only sites to see in this park. And I actually stumbled upon another Cave, it’s not too far from Nashville. There’s a ton of caves in this area.

3 (26m 29s):
Actually it might actually be part of Mammoth Cave because the Cave system of Mammoth goes like four or 500 miles all around. So it could have even been part of that in the chamber itself.

2 (26m 39s):
Yeah, and it’s funny, so this Cave is called the Che Caverns and it’s, it’s located in Townsend Tennessee. So it’s very, very close to the national park but if you have a chance to go, it’s pretty cheap. When I went, I think it was like 22 bucks a person to go in. Very very cool dag mite dag tights. It also has a lot of history. It’s funny how they created this Cave because they saw the success of Carlsbad Caverns and they were like, oh we’re gonna open it up and welcome tourists here too. And so that’s how it became the big tourist attraction that it is today. But if you’re looking for sites to see without Hiking required, I would recommend this Cave.

1 (27m 16s):
Awesome. Well number eight on our list is Biscayne National Park located in Florida. Really close to Miami.

3 (27m 24s):
Yes. And I’ll tell you what, there is going to be absolutely zero trails even here. You wanna know why 99% of Biscayne, National Park is in the water itself?

1 (27m 35s):
You’re a little optimal, not 99, 95, 95.

3 (27m 39s):
Well I’m over exaggerating, but at the same point, pretty much the same thing, right? The park is pretty much all on water. That’s what you’re gonna want to do. And the reason for the protection of the water make it a national park is the amazing beautiful coral reefs that are in this area.

1 (27m 56s):
Yeah. So you can definitely go snorkeling, you can go kayaking, paddle boarding, you could take a boat out in Bisque Bay, but whatever you do, it’s a ton of beautiful Sightseeing. You’re not gonna do any Hiking like Jamal said. So you love that and it’s a free park to visit. You just have to pay for the activity that you do.

3 (28m 16s):
Yeah, if you have your own boat you can go out there and do whatever, but if you don’t have a boat then clearly you need to pay for a tour and somebody to take you out there, which is exactly what Brit and I did and I absolutely loved it. I mean I think anytime snorkeling is great. The coral reef was beautiful, they have manes in the area. We weren’t fortunate enough to see any manatees so that kind of made me a little bit sad but so much to do. And you know, any of the day Adventures that you wanna do, whether it be the Snor paddle boarding, you could just look online and even though the national park itself doesn’t administer these tours, if you go to the National Park website for Biscayne, they will take you to all the licensed private companies that offer these tours.

3 (28m 60s):
So anything you wanna do is between 59 to $149 per person for these tours that are either against snorkel, paddle board, canoe, anything like that or combination thereof.

1 (29m 10s):
Jamal, I feel like we lied to our listeners a little bit cuz we said that there are no trails in the national park. However there is a diving trail that you can take and you’ll do some of the best shipwrecks underwater in the park.

3 (29m 23s):
Well I mean it’s not Hiking, it’s a swim trail, it’s a type it’s swim trail.

2 (29m 28s):
I feel like we could do an episode on like water based or boat swimming based national Parks.

1 (29m 34s):
Yeah, absolutely.

3 (29m 35s):
Well when we were talking about Virgin Islands, we didn’t mention it I guess I’m glad you mentioned it Now Brittanie, I think one of the beaches that we mentioned, I think think it was Trunk and Trunk Bay Bay is it not? They actually have a guided swim trail where they actually have plaques on the sea floor that will tell you what it is that you’re actually looking at and then you can just like swim and follow the the trail that way.

1 (29m 57s):
Yeah. So if you go back to listen to episode 49, you’re gonna be able to hear all about all three of Florida’s National Park, Biscayne Everglades and Dry Tortuga. So go check that out. But Bisque is not to be missed. It’s right outside of the city of Miami Kim. I’m surprised you didn’t get there since you love Miami so much I’ll be back and you love the beach and you love snorkeling but definitely go back and give that a try.

3 (30m 22s):
Definitely listen to 49 because the irony is all three of Florida’s national Parks are sight seen, national Parks with no hikes or very few minimal trails. As a matter of fact, our previous episode that we did talking about no hike, national Parks listed Everglades and dry tortugas. So here we are now adding Biscayne onto this beautiful sight scene national park list version 2.0

2 (30m 44s):
Coming in hot with number nine, Great Sand, Dunes National Park. This one’s located in central southern Colorado. And Brittany has some really funny stories about tumbling down the Sand Dunes.

1 (30m 57s):
Oh my gosh. So when I was doing research on what to do in this national park, it’s like you can do some Sand Hiking or like you know Sand trails or you can be a little bit more adventurous and go Sand sledding or Sand boarding. And so Jamal and I couldn’t decide what we wanted to do and I’m a little afraid of like anything board like cause I broke my arm when I was snowboarding once, so I was a little hesitant about the Sand board but Jamal was super interested in that. So I rented a Sand sled Jamal rented a Sand board and we went up all of these Sand Dunes and we were sliding down them, boarding down them. The sled goes super, super, super fast and there’s no way to really stop yourself so you just go flying down the hill and then you just hit some air and you tumble around.

1 (31m 43s):
And I remember taking a picture of my face after we did the Sand sledding and my entire face was just caked with Sand. It was just so

3 (31m 52s):
Funny. We have a great real honor Instagram page and the final scene of that reel is actually Britney eating shit on the Sand sledding portion. She just fell off. I mean you get so much speed that literally it almost can’t even keep up with itself and she just rolled over and tumbled. But Great, Sand Dunes National Park is so interesting to see. I mean you’re in Colorado, you think the Rockies and you look all around and yeah you actually do see Mountains, you see snow capped Mountains and somehow in the middle of them there’s these just giant Sand Dunes like where out of nowhere. Right? So it’s really unique and crazy to just see that difference in scenery.

3 (32m 32s):
I won’t lie, if you’re gonna do the Sand boarding or sledding, it does require some Hiking to the top of the Sand Dunes, which is a bitch, I’m gonna just admit it. But honestly you can enjoy this park without doing any of that if you wanted to because there is the portion where you drive in and a little flat level where some of the snow melt and even a creek comes through on the flat level of the Sand and you can just walk through that and see the scenery and the crazy disparity of the, just the two different landscapes. So it’s really enjoyable all

1 (33m 3s):
Around. Yeah and I would recommend not going in summer Summer because the Sand can get super hot, the Sand can be upwards of like 150 degrees. So we went in April, that was a perfect time to go. The Sand was actually nice and cool. The Madonna Creek was like ice cold cuz you’re just feeling that snow melt. And one Squad tip I have for you guys is if you do plan to go Sand flooding or Sand boarding, make sure to wear goggles or face covering to just prevent Sand from getting into your eyes and mouth. Cause I am pretty sure I ate a lot of Sand on that trip. Well

3 (33m 36s):
Not only did you eat a lot of Sand before we move on to our final beautiful sight scene National Park, why don’t you tell everybody the funny story again about how much Sand you had when we got back to the hotel room, Brittany, all up on

1 (33m 50s):
You? Yeah, so I was wearing pretty snug leggings and I was wearing a long sleeve shirt and a tank top underneath and so we’re going Sand boarding and I’m eating shit and there’s definitely like Sand getting everywhere, but I don’t really, it’s like how much Sand is really getting everywhere. So we go back to the hotel,

3 (34m 7s):
Well before we went back to the hotel, and I don’t mean to jump in like literally obviously we have Sand both all over us. We literally did the best shaking we could to get the Sand out of us one because we don’t wanna sit on it in the car to nor do we want track the Sand into the car. So we did a whole like beautiful shakedown and we thought we were like, oh yeah, we’re good.

1 (34m 27s):
So we get back to the hotel and I’m about to take off all my clothing, starting to take everything off and as I lift up my bra and my shirt just Sand starts pouring out like I don’t know where it was hiding in my cleavage. It was just like so excessive and like even outta my pants, I like probably filled the bathroom trash can probably a good quarter full.

3 (34m 47s):
Oh my god. She was just standing over the trash can, giving a good shake and jiggle and like out the clothes and like crevices of the skin and boom, here you go. Like now she filled a quarter of the trash bin. It was crazy. I was like, I don’t, I don’t even know how this happened. Like we gave ourselves a good shake.

2 (35m 2s):
What about you? Did you have to spread ’em and let

3 (35m 4s):
It fall out? I mean I had a, I had, I had a decent amount come, but I can’t even say a quarter of a trash bin. That was quite impressive that Brittanie pulled out of there. But again, she was wearing stuff a little bit more snug so I guess it trapped it in there. The irony and confusion is then if it was so snug, how did it get in? Right,

1 (35m 21s):
Right, right. Exactly. And last but not least, we have number 10 on our Best National Parks for Sightseeing list. And that is New River Gorge National Park located in West Virginia.

3 (35m 33s):
I loved this national park and I’m gonna be completely honest, there is Hiking and things that you can actually do here. If we had more time in this national park, when Brittanie and I had gone, believe me, you know Britney, she would’ve pulled out a hike, but you hear the name New River Gorge, there’s a river running through it, a nice Gorge that has created by that river and what can you do down that river white water rafting. So this is a very awesome national park to go ahead and do some sight scene and adventuring without having to do the hike itself. And I love this. And it has the iconic bridge that spans the Gorge too. And so just beautiful sights all around and no need to hike, just enjoy yourself doing some extreme sports.

1 (36m 18s):
Yeah, the New River Gorge Bridge is one of the most photographed places in West Virginia. And you can get really good views of the bridge and you’re like, why take pictures of the bridge? But it really spans this awesome Gorge, super beautiful tree lined all around river running underneath and right behind the visitor center, they have a wooden planked area where you can just walk down and enjoy the views. Jamal mentioned that we went white water rafting and we used a company called Adventures on the Gorge. They have a really nice property and they have a pool on property as well. And right behind the pool you also get really awesome views. So there is a lot to sight see, a lot to do. And then again, when you’re on the river whitewater rafting, that’s a whole experience in itself.

1 (37m 2s):
If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it a lot of fun, a lot different than what I anticipated it to be. Like for example, when I learned that you don’t sit in the boat, you’re actually like on the edge of the boat, so you’re ready to fall out at any moment in time.

3 (37m 17s):
I really loved it. You know, we grew up living close to Sacramento. There’s two rivers. The one that you would go whitewater rafting on is the American River. For whatever reason we’d never done it. And then we do it here in this national park. And I think to myself, like I had this literally in my own backyard of my hometown growing up and never did it. And I don’t know why, like I am so ready to go back and do it. It was so, so fun. But just even touching upon like not even the whitewater rafting, you mentioned the bridge, I forgot what time of the year it is. So if you’re interested in New River Gorge and you should be look into this and see when the time is, but they have a festival where they actually close the bridge down to car traffic and they open it up to pedestrians and they have vendors on there selling food crafts.

3 (38m 3s):
They even have a catapult where they will launch people off the catapult to do base jumping from there. And you can watch that and it’s just so iconic, so cool. And you’re gonna have a really good time. We weren’t there when they did that, but I would love to go back and do it during that time.

1 (38m 18s):
We also didn’t mention this and we didn’t do this either, but you can actually pay to walk underneath the bridge all the way across.

3 (38m 27s):
Yeah, they have a catwalk.

1 (38m 28s):
Yeah, a catwalk where you’re like harnessed in. Oh. And so you would have some really good sites from up there. It’s not a hike, it’s just straight across.

2 (38m 37s):
It’s some Sightseeing, that’s for sure

3 (38m 39s):
That it is. Would you do whitewater rafting?

2 (38m 41s):
Kim? I would, yes.

3 (38m 42s):
Then we need to go to New River Gorge. I’m telling you like I had so much fun here. I really, I really want to go back like I loved it. Did

2 (38m 50s):
You ever find the video they made? We

3 (38m 52s):
Did, yeah.

2 (38m 53s):
Oh, we have to post

3 (38m 54s):
It. We did find it, you know how it came to the bee that it was actually like lost, you know when we watched it when Robin was here? Well we thought we had disconnected the USB from our TV and put it with like our stuff and we’re like, where is it? And for whatever reason Brittanie was moving the TV in our house and by that just, you know, we have one of the retractable ones move off the wall and everything and then she saw the USB plugged in. So we, we didn’t even take it out. We didn’t even look there. We thought we had taken it out and we’re searching like where could it be? But no, we have it and I’m stoked about it.

2 (39m 29s):
Oh yeah, we have to post. You guys were like fighting those waves.

1 (39m 32s):
Yes. Oh, those rapids were crazy. We’re going through so many different rapids one through five and we almost tipped at one point. It was awesome. We had a great time

3 (39m 42s):
And I really wanna just give another shout out again. The company we used was Adventures on the Gorge. And again, we’ve only been there one time, but we had such a good time, such a good company, so informative in terms of just everything about the safety and making sure that we had a good time. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t even go back and consider using anybody else. Like I’m real solid on, on Ventures on the Gorge.

1 (40m 5s):
Yeah, it was an all day excursion where we got the guide, we got the helmet, paddle life vest, we got lunch, they did like a jump rock the rapids and then the bus ride back to the Gorge was filled with beer. So we just had a great time.

3 (40m 21s):
Oh yeah, it was all, you can drink beer from the bus ride back from the river to the resort. And then once you’re there you can either leave or they say, Hey wait like 30 minutes for us to edit the video. We’re gonna display it. We have a restaurant you could have and buy your own beer at that point in time too. So that’s really cool. And so I love how they give you the the free drinks. Obviously they don’t give you any before the rafting for safety purposes. And I’m actually glad otherwise I’ve been like, it’s a little much. But afterwards hammered on in, man.

2 (40m 52s):
So unfortunately we did not get any questions of the week this week and I am very sad about it. It is my favorite time of the week, so please send us in your questions of the week so that we can answer them on next week’s episode. But thank you all so much for tuning in and listening. We hope that you found some good national Park ideas for you to go out there and sight see. And until next week, just keep the Adventures going with us. We’re on TikTok now as well as Instagram and YouTube, Travel Squad, Podcast. So follow us and keep in touch

3 (41m 22s):
If you found the information in this episode to be useful or if you thought we were just funny, please be sure to share it with a friend that would enjoy it too. And as always, guys, you know it. Please subscribe, rate and podcast and tune in every travel Tuesday for new episodes.

1 (41m 37s):
Stay tuned for next week’s episode. We have some more amazing Adventures and tips in store for you.

3 (41m 42s):
Bye everybody.

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