Experience the Beauty of National Parks this Earth Day

When I was a boy, my father took my brothers and me to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Coming from England, the wonder of Yellowstone had a profound impact on me – never before had I seen such incredible natural phenomena!

Now that I am a grown man and have children of my own, I realize how special this experience must have been for my dad. Hikes around the crystal waters of Jenny Lake, a visit to Old Faithful Geyser and searches for grazing bison were so much more than just a vacation, they were the creation of invaluable family memories. It’s this unique combination that led to the founding of Natural Retreats, nearly a decade ago. Based on this, it’s no wonder that my Top 2 Earth Day Travel Destinations center around family-friendly vacation spots, all in close proximity to incredible National Parks.

1. Homestead Preserve, Virginia
Whether you’re after a vigorous hike, a quiet place to fish or a picturesque porch on which to relax, our collection of homes at Homestead Preserve has everything you need for an idyllic Virginia getaway. With the Allegheny Mountains as their backdrop, our exclusive collection of Handpicked Homes can be found throughout the Warm Springs and Hot Springs communities, offering truly memorable family experiences. A day trip to nearby Shenandoah National Park and Skyline Drive rounds out an unforgettable family visit.

2. Lake Toxaway, North Carolina
Nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Lake Toxaway and the surrounding area is right out of a storybook. Take a walk in the over one million protected acres of National Forest and discover why this area is nicknamed the Land of Waterfalls. Lake Toxaway itself is a crystal clear mountain lake and our lovely collection of Handpicked Homes, many on the lake itself, provides the perfect jumping off point to explore this magical area – including the nearby Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

Originally published on Boomer Travel Patrol on April 9, 2015.