In honor of America’s birthday tomorrow, I thought I’d share with you something that has been brightening up my Instagram feed considerably these days. Instagram is probably my current favorite social media vehicle – I love the casual glimpses into my friends’ lives, and the beautiful or uplifting pictures posted by the accounts I follow. And lately, Instagram has been one of my favorite ways to get a fix of gorgeous shots of stunning natural scenery. I follow REI, Camp Trend, and National Geographic Adventures, among other nature-loving accounts. But today, I want to show you some of my favorite Instagrammers – the accounts managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior, and by several of our most beautiful national parks. Observe–
U.S. Department of the Interior (@usinterior)
The Interior Department’s Instagram feed mainly consists of national park images. Since I follow some of the national park feeds, but not others, I like getting glimpses into the rest of the park system. For instance, this image of Great Smoky Mountains National Park took my breath away.
And look at this shot of Glacier Bay. It combines two of my favorite things: national parks and whales. (Whales are my favorite animals. Fun fact: the first gift hubby ever gave me was a humpback whale adoption.)
The only problem with the U.S. Interior feed? They keep posting shots of national preserves and areas I didn’t even know existed, and as a result, my travel bucket list is blowing up.
In addition to the U.S. Interior feed, I also follow a few national park feeds. I haven’t been to nearly enough national parks, but hubby and I are hoping to correct this over the next few years. (I’ve been to Acadia, Yosemite and Great Falls National Parks, to Muir Woods National Monument, and to the Point Reyes and Cape Hatteras National Seashores. A good list, but nowhere even close to what I would wish. These Instagram feeds are tiding me over until we can make a trip out west, hopefully next year.)
Yosemite is my favorite national park. I visited the park when I was twelve and I still remember my first sights of the spectacular Half Dome and Yosemite Falls, and swimming in the pristine Merced River. I wish I could go back RIGHT NOW.
I haven’t been to Rocky Mountain National Park, but my brother – who lives in Colorado – has. I follow the park’s Instagram feed for a dose of Colorado scenery. We’re hoping to get out there to visit my brother and sister-in-law soon, and when we do, RMNP will definitely be on the agenda.
Arches National Park will also be on the agenda when we visit my brother – we’re hoping to do a family road trip from Boulder to Moab and check out several national parks along the way. I mean, how spectacular are those arches?
Another park I’ve never seen in person, but I really, really want to visit Mount Rainier National Park. We’re also talking about a trip to the Pacific Northwest, so hopefully I’ll be able to check this one off the list within the next couple of years. Meanwhile, this account is contributing some of the most spectacular images in my Instagram feed.
And look at this trail. This picture has me reaching for my hiking boots. See what I mean about my travel bucket list?
Shenandoah! So beautiful. One of my biggest regrets is not getting to Shenandoah when we lived in DC and northern Virginia. I am kicking myself for never making it there in ten years – and it was so close. A few times my alumni club went on outings to climb Old Rag, but I was never able to join them. We do have plans to go back to DC this summer, but I don’t think we’ll make it to Shenandoah. We have a long list of friends we want to see and I doubt we’ll have time for a big day trip (although we definitely plan to go back to Great Falls while we’re there – my favorite spot in the area).
Although I haven’t been to enough of the national parks, monuments or preserves, I love the fact that they exist. “America’s best idea” is, in my opinion, one of the finest things about our country. Hubby and I recently finished watching Ken Burns’ documentary on the national parks and now we’re itching to visit all of them. But travel is tricky with two tinies and our demanding lawyer jobs, so in the meantime, I’m taking my serenity to go, in the form of these spectacular images that pop up in my Instagram feed on a daily basis.
Happy birthday, America!