There are so many beautiful parks, forests and scenic drives that it’s hard to know where to begin. Today’s post will give you nine web resources for finding parks and other natural spaces in your area.
Try starting close to where you live. There is so much you can explore in your own backyard and throughout your neighborhood. There are also local parks, historic sites and walking trails. These are the types of places you are more likely to visit often for walks and bike rides with the family.
Start looking for one of the many beautiful spaces that are near you!
- Local parks. Check your county web site, or do a web search for County Parks, Nature Centers and Botanical Gardens.
- Search with the terms “your county name” county parks
- Search with the terms “your county name” roadside parks
- Trails for walking, hiking or biking. Check out Trail Link, and search by state. This site is part of the Rails-to-Trails conservancy, which creates networks of trails using former rail lines.
- Want to go somewhere you can take the family dog? Many of the state parks now allow pets into campgrounds and on trails. Just check the park web site or call to be sure. For everyday walks and dog park fun you can also search Dog Park USA.
- State Parks. Check out this site to find a state park in your area. You can also…
- Search with the terms “your state” state parks. (Often you can order a recreation guide through these sites free of charge.)
- Search with the terms “your state” Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The DNR site for each state varies in how they present their information, but most should have state parks, state forests, lake information and state trails (for biking and walking).
- National Wildlife Refuges are another great resource for finding public lands and waters. These areas are set aside to conserve wildlife, plants and fish.
- Want to go camping? Many of the State Parks and National Forests use Reserve America to list their campsites (private sites are listed as well). Here in Wisconsin we can also go through our state DNR site to find a park, and be automatically linked with the Reserve America system (so you may be able to as well). Search the state you want to go to, and they’ll show you a campground map, the services & amenities offered there, and often will even have pictures of the individual campsites.
- You can also search Go Camping America for private parks and campgrounds.
I hope you find this list useful. It probably doesn’t cover all the natural areas you may find where you live, but it’s a great start. I apologize for any followers living outside the US as the information in this post covers mostly US locations (since that’s where I am and what I’m familiar with).
Remember...before heading out to a new-found park or lake, check their months of operation and hours.
You should also watch for specific information regarding usage. For example, some trails may be strictly for walking, while others are set up for hiking, biking skiing, snowshoe walking and snowmobiles. When looking for a lake, some may be better for swimming, while others are best for fishing.
- Have a great idea that I didn't include?
- Suggestions for future post topics?
- Just let me know in the “comments” section. Thanks!
For information on how to make the most out of your time in nature, see the post Let’s Connect With Nature.
To reference this post directly, use this link.