There is still some summertime left this year, and if you are looking for a fun last minute vacation consider some of the wonderful State Parks of the United States. With so much to see and do, our State Parks are the perfect place for a weekend getaway or even just a day trip. Here are 5 of my favorite State Parks around the country.
Hocking Hills State Park – Logan, OH
This State Park has a wide array of attractions, but it is the massive cliffs, rock coves, and waterfalls that draw in the visitors. Free admission is also a nice bonus! Hike through Old Man’s Cave and experience the enormous cliffs that create cave-like shelters literally named after a man that once lived in the caves. There is plenty of lodging both indoor and outdoor and activities to keep you busy. There are longer trails for those seeking a more strenuous hike, but most of the sight seeing is relatively easy to access. The views are breathtaking and much more expansive than the photos can capture.
McKinney Falls State Park – Austin, TX
Go fishing, hiking, swimming, biking, and camp for the night at this lush State Park in Texas. Open year round, it was once the homestead of the McKinney Family. It was where Thomas F. McKinney bred racehorses and built the first flour mill in the county. The land was donated to the public in 1970, and visitors can now hike to see the ruins of the McKinney Homestead as well as remnants from the flower mill. This State Park also has one of the oldest bald Cypress Trees on public land in Texas. Campers can hike into remote camping spots or enjoy the larger RV areas. Swim in Onion Creek and check out the rocky overhang where tribes people once sought shelter.
Camden Hills State Park – Camden, ME
The sweeping views of Penobscot Bay are breathtaking. It is like looking at a postcard. Hike Mount Megunticook, the highest hill in Camden where you might be able to catch a glimpse of Cadillac Mountain (In Acadia National Park) on a clear day. There are over 30 miles of hiking trails from five major trail heads. The State park is a short drive to the nearby city of Camden which is full of shops and a working harbor. Spend an afternoon shopping and grab a delicious seafood lunch fresh from the ocean. You can also take a harbor cruise and look for whale and puffin.
Riverside State Park – Spokane, WA
Along the Spokane and Little Spokane River in Washington, Riverside State Park has 14,000 acres of lush, fertile land. There are 600 acres for ATVs and snowmobiles, and the Centennial trail also provides 37 miles for biking. Once a gathering ground for Native Americans, this park was built in 1933 by the Civil Conservation Corps. The CCC was started by Franklin Roosevelt in response to the Great Depression and many parks around the country were built by these young men. In Riverside, the CCC erected the suspension bridge which is the oldest log structure in Spokane County. Massive boulders sit in the crystal waters of the river making for a scenic hike along the 9 mile recreation area. Visit the Spokane House Interpretive Center where you can get an inside look at the history of the land including the fur trade or travel along the interpretive trail and see the Indian Painted Rocks.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park – Paradise, MI
Way up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. This site of this waterfall, along the Tahquamenon river, is home to over 46,000 acres of beautiful, untouched forest. There are the upper falls as well as the lower falls and both are magnificent to see. Visitors can hike alongside the river to view the falls or rent a rowboat to get to the island and experience a whole different perspective. The falls have an orange tint due to organic matter called tannins that comes from the many swampy areas that connect with the river. There is plenty of wildlife and lush fertile land to see and plenty of recreation. There are also many neighboring state parks with beautiful sights along Lake Superior.