America The Beautiful: Senior Passes For U.S. National Parks

America is truly a beauty. With their picturesque landscapes and breathtaking historical locations, the Country’s National Parks shouldn’t be missed. However, some parks require visitors to pay an entrance fee.

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Seniors who 62 years old and above can apply to qualify for the America the Beautiful Senior Pass. This special pass is a lifetime ticket with a one-time payment. Visitors who have America the Beautiful Senior Pass can have access to recreation sites managed by Federal agencies, including all U.S. National Parks. Proceeds from the senior passes will be used to improve national park facilities. Pass holders can also receive discounts on parking, interpretive services, as well as other activity fees.

How can senior citizens get their special passes? U.S. citizens or permanent residents may apply for their passes online or in person by visiting a federal recreation site. America the Beautiful senior passes can be bought for just $10, but applicants must submit proof of their age, citizenship, or residential status as they apply. Those who are applying through mail or online forms will have to pay an additional $10 for processing.

Those who have obtained the old Golden Age Passports can still use their lifetime passes. However, America the Beautiful senior passes have better provisions compared to the earlier versions of the pass.

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More Than A Desert: Great Basin National Park Is Diverse In Wildlife

Most people’s concept of Nevada is a vast desert landscape. There is simplistic beauty in the minimalistic environment. Yet, a hidden gem in the area is found in the small town of Baker which houses the Great Basin National Park. The park is unique in its surprising diversity. The range of biological sceneries in the park allows for more exciting activities.

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The most popular tour is along the Lehman Caves, which were discovered in 1885. These caves have interesting natural fauna. Bacteria, along with insects such as spiders, mites, and springtails, love the environment and visitors will see many of them as they walk the halls. Moreover, the caves are approximately 550 to 600 million years old and were once part of a warm shallow sea. When the water evaporated, many of the sea creatures formed the calcium carbonate-rich sediment on the floor and eventually solidified into limestone rock. These rocks, combined with the years of rain and melting snow created the underground chambers of the caves and formed the unique, spidery formations found at the base of the area.

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Those who’d prefer the outdoors can participate in the park’s 12 trails ranging from 0.3 miles to 13.1 miles. These trails show visitors the varied natural features of the park, which are not just desert landscapes but limestone arches and 11 species of conifer trees, among other things. These trails though can be quite strenuous and are not recommended for beginners.
There are so many activities to participate in within the park. It is best to call the park beforehand to see which one would best suit the guest.

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Katmai National Park Is a Bear Lover's Paradise

One of the few untouched national reserves is the Katmai National Park in Alaska. The entire park covers around four million acres – making it roughly the size of Wales - and is a haven for the Alaskan brown bear. Most of the expense is left untapped so visitors can experience the wild beauty in its natural state. As such, all hunting is banned.

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The park is named after Mount Katmai, which is a crater-lake volcano. It was formed during the Novarupta eruption of 1912 and is part of the Aleutian Range. The park has several other inactive volcanoes dotting the preserve, making it an interesting and exciting tourist destination.

The presence of these volcanoes left the monument largely unvisited until the early ‘50s. It was only after a few years that an exploration team ventured into the area. They saw the wide variety of Alaskan wildlife and knew that this was a visual experience that must be enjoyed by all. Most importantly, these explorers knew that they had to protect the surrounding area. The present national park and preserve was formalized in 1980 under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.

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The most popular destination of the park is Brooks Camp which is situated at the mouth of the Brooks River and gives visitors full access to the brown bears. Campers can even fish here – the salmon being recognized as one of the world’s best. Brooks Camp is also the starting point of many guided hiking tours.

Anyone who wants to see Alaskan wildlife up close and personal should include Katmai in their itinerary.

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Experience Utah’s Zion National Park

Looking for a nature-fueled adventure? Zion National Park in Utah offers some of the best sceneries and activities that individual travelers, families, and groups will surely enjoy.

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Zion National Park offers a variety of activities for people with different interests. Here’s what tourists can do in one of the best National Parks in the US.

Scenic driving

Zion offers a beautiful scenic drive for the steering wheel-happy traveler. The Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway will give tourists a beautiful hint of what the park has to offer. The Zion-Mt. Carmel tunnel was built in the late 1920s, and is the longest tunnel in the United States.


Good news for hikers! Zion has more than 120 miles of trails that range from beginner to expert.

The Weeping Rock is a 4.2-mile roundtrip hike with a paved trail. The Riverside Walk is a trail for beginners.
Canyon Overlook is a one-mile trip that showcases a beautiful view of Pine Creek Canyon and Zion Canyon.
Angels Landing is a five-mile hike for the experts. Its extraordinary view of the Great White Throne and the Zion Canyon will surely take a hiker’s breath away.

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During peak season (April to October), the park bans most cars. For visitors who do not want to take the shuttle, they can rent bicycles in Springdale if they want to go around the place.

Zion even has an IMAX theater that features documentaries about the park’s natural history. Amazing, isn’t it?

Discover more about the Zion National Park in Utah and other US National Parks when you visit this Dwyer & Associates blog.

The key attractions in Dry Tortugas

The Dry Tortugas makes up for what is a pristine group of seven small islands located in the Gulf of Mexico, at the fringe of the Florida Keys in Miami. This is another sand and sea haven that has joined the privileged group of national parks in America. Here are some of the key attractions in Dry Tortugas National Park.

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Fort Jefferson is located on one of these islands. This in itself is one of the most magnificent structures in America, it being the biggest masonry structure in the country. It is an unfinished coastal fortress with a unique history which is enough to catch the fancy of inquisitive travelers.

The Dry Tortugas offers a scenic view unlike any, which is a most refreshing shade of the blue ocean that composes the majority of the whole national park. This park is also known for its shallow waters, which makes it more interesting and convenient for snorkeling and other fun-filled water activities.

The bustling coral reefs offer the chance to get up close and personal with a lot of marine life, which include the most colorful fish and aquatic flora. And as if the water wasn’t interesting enough with this biological abundance, the Dry Tortugas also features a most lovely offering of bird life.

It may not be as big as other national parks, and yet perhaps there lies its charm. In its sheer intimacy, the Dry Tortugas gives one the best mix of peace and diversity that only the best of nature can bring.

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Going Underground: The Beauty Of Mammoth Cave National Park

In central Kentucky, or rather underneath it, is a subterranean wonder of more than 400 miles of surveyed passageways. It is by far the world’s largest cave system, more than twice as long as the second longest Sac Actun in Mexico.

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The underground national park has a very rich history, with all kinds of human artifacts having been found in its passages. The cave system has been used as a burial site since the pre-Columbian era, hosting Native American remains and mummies.

But of all the human remains the cave system contains, a miner’s body, located under a large boulder, is the most popular discovery. The remains were dubbed “Lost John,” and he was interred in the 1970s as a sign of respect.

Much more interesting than these relics and other human artifacts are the natural formations of the limestone-lined, eerily-dark labyrinth that can be visited via different tours. These tours are guided by rangers, and showcase the various parts of the cave.

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One of the most notable tours is the Violet City Lantern Tour, which covers several of the shorter, popular tours, including the Historic Tour, the Frozen Niagara Tour, and the Domes and Dripstones Tour. Also, it requires a visitor-carried lantern, which adds mystery and excitement to the adventure.

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Come And See: Historic U.S. National Park Accommodations

Nothing beats an authentic feeling by staying at one of America’s historic hotels. These lodges do not just offer convenience for those visiting national parks, but it also gives visitors a unique natural and cultural exposure. Here are ten historic U.S. National Park accommodations that will not just offer a scenic view, but a whole new different experience.

Bright Angel Lodge, Grand Canyon National Park

Bright Angel was designed by Mary E.J. Colter, in 1935. It is located a few feet from the canyon rim. Aside from the spectacular Grand Canyon view, it is famous for its restaurant, which features Southwestern cuisine as well as an old-fashioned ice cream fountain.

Volcano House, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

This hotel, which was closed for many years, reopened in 2013. It was renovated for a price of $7 million, which preserved the original design by its architect, Charles Dickey. Visitors will enjoy the unique Hawaiian scenery as it faces Kilauea, one of Hawaii’s most active volcanoes.

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Majestic Yosemite Hotel, Yosemite National Park

Previously known as Ahwahnee Hotel, this classic building was established in the 1920 to serve visitors who want to stay in a high-end location while in the park.

Greyfield Inn, Cumberland Island National Seashore

This lodge was a former family home converted into a 16-room inn in 1962. A lot of famous names have set foot in this historical inn. In fact, John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette chose the inn as a location for their wedding in 1996.

Dywer and Associates advocates the conservation of the U.S. National Parks. Learn more about the company’s efforts by visiting this blog.

The Great Smokey Mountains: Things To Do In America’s Most Popular National Park

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the United States covers a vast area that includes the states of Tennessee and North Carolina. It also includes the Blue Ridge and the Appalachian mountain ranges. It is one of the most popular national parks in the country. Apart from its natural beauty, the place also offers many activities that visitors can do to make their vacation even more thrilling.

1. Hiking

There are numerous well-maintained hiking trails within the Great Smoky Mountains, totaling to over 800 miles. Since the trails are categorized based on their difficulty levels—ranging from easy to strenuous—beginners and experienced hikers alike will surely have a good time. The easiest trail is the Laurel Falls Trail, the moderate trail is the Alum Cave Bluff Trail, while the most strenuous of them is the Ramsey Cascades Trail.
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2. Scenic drives

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is renowned for its scenic highways, which pass through verdant forests that carpet the rugged but beautiful terrain. It doesn’t matter if it’s spring or winter because travelers will always be greeted with majestic forest scenes as they travel through the mountain mist.

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3. Camping

For those fond of camping, the park offers over ten camping sites that are perfect for friends, families, or even companies. The camping grounds have all the necessities such as restrooms with running water, toilets that flush, fire grates for an excellent bonfire, and picnic tables.

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