In America we are blessed to have an abundance of national parks from coast to coast and tip to tail where landscapes and habitats are revered and protected for time and eternity.
Related: The National Parks: Ranked!
As kids, many of us loaded up the family station wagon and ventured out to drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park or the Blue Ridge Parkway in The Great Smoky Mountains. Buses full of people unload hourly with hopes of seeing Old Faithful blow in Yellowstone National Park, and car-load after car-load stop to peer over the edge of the Grand Canyon.
In each and every national park there are miles and miles and acres upon acres of places to see and things to do out from behind the windshield and away from the crowds.
If Going-to-the-Sun Road is a must-see, try a Glacier Park bicycle tour. You’ll really appreciate the incline and "hanging-off-the-cliff" feeling as you pedal this marvel of engineering.
In Yellowstone the geysers blow year-round, so how about beating the summer crowds and taking a winter cross-country ski tour instead?
Crowds are legendary in Yosemite, so maybe the better alternative is to avoid it all together and go canyoneering at nearby Kings Canyon.
The Everglades are all about protecting the water, so hop in a kayak and see up close and personal why this sensitive eco-system is worthy of national park recognition. There’s dog-sledding in Denali, horseback riding in the Smoky Mountains, rafting through the Grand Tetons, and the list of possibilities goes on and on.
On your next trip, opt for one of the following alternative national park adventures and set out to see the landscape in a whole new way.