Friday, June 18, 2010

New National Park Book

I recently finished reading a new book on the National Parks, Complete National Parks of the United States by Mel White, published by National Geographic. I have quite a library of National Park books, but this one was a fine addition. When they say complete they mean complete. Not only does it cover the National Parks, but the National Monuments, National Seashores, National Historic Sites, and so on (25 different classifications).

The book covers the history, purpose, features, and things to do and see at each park. The entries are well-written and detailed enough so you know what the park is like and whether you would want to go. Longer more detailed entries would not be a good idea, as the book is already 528 pages and printed on heavy paper. There are maps for all the National Parks, but unfortunately not for the other units. There are color photos throughout.

There are many books covering the National Parks in every possible level of detail, but finding a book about the other units in the system is not so easy. This book has it all and is well-written and well-designed. If you want one book on the National Parks, this would be the one. The list price is $40 (hardcover), but I got mine at Amazon for $26.40.


  1. I want to go on holiday with my wife and children from las vegas to new york the scenic way and take in the grand canyon yellow stone national park Niagara falls along the way but I am concerned about the duration as I need to book flight to suit the duration

  2. Alex - deciding how long to spend is a tough part of vacation planning. I use Microsoft Streets and Trips to do my route planning. It tells you how many miles and how many hours your driving will take. There are web sites that do the same thing, but I like the program.

    Driving from Las Vegas to New York directly will take five-and-a-half 8-hour days. Adding the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Niagara Falls makes 7 days of travel. Then you have to add the time in each place, and don't forget to stop for the night! You could do the Grand Canyon in 1 day if you do not go on any long hikes. Yellowstone took me 4 days to see the whole park, and that was just the developed tourist areas. One day is plenty for Niagara Falls. Of course, there are other things to see on your way. You will pass right by Badlands National Park and near Mt. Rushmore and Devils Tower. There are many (man-made)things to see in Chicago, and you don't want to miss Greenfield Village and Henry Ford Museum in Detroit.

    My advice is to get the program and play with your route. You can specify how long you want to drive, how long you want to stop, and just about anything else you can think of. You will also want to go to the National Park Service's web site to see which parks are on your route or which ones are close enough to change your route. Good luck, and don't spend all your money in Vegas.

  3. Looks like a great book for a national park junkie like me :) Thanks for writing about it.

  4. Daniel,

    Glad to be of service.

    I looked at your gallery, and I think it is great. I added a link from my blog.