national parks

This New NPS App Helps Visitors Maximize the Fun

Points of interest, interactive maps, and where to find restrooms: Add this app to your phone before visiting one (or all) of America's treasures.

Dukas/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

What to Know

  • The official National Parks Service app debuted ahead earlier in 2021
  • Free; iOS and Android devices
  • Maps, tips, restrooms, restaurants, and lots more

DO IT ALL? Let's be real: That's not going to happen in a national park that spans thousands of acres, acres that include incredibly remote corners, cloud-brushing peaks, and/or deep caves. But you can "do it all" if you define what your own personal "all" might be during a trip to Lassen Volcanic National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, or Yosemite National Park. Your particular "all" might mostly encompass seeing a steaming fumarole, beholding a golden boulder lit by the setting sun, or admiring a super-famous waterfall, as well pursuing a few other pleasures of the park you're calling upon. How, though, to get the all from your own "all" while maximizing the always-too-short amount of time you have while there?

THE NEW NPS APP, created for iOS and Android devices, is the answer to that. The free and oh-so-helpful tool debuted earlier in 2021, and it has oodles on each of the 400-plus national parks found within the system. What does "oodles" mean exactly in this case? If you need a restroom or restaurant, the app can help. If you need an interactive map, the app is there for you. And thrilling points of interest? Those, too, are delightfully detailed. "It's like having a ranger by your side to guide your trip, giving you suggestions for places to go, directions to get there, and things to do once you arrive," says the main page for the app. That sounds so appealing, especially as people begin to move in the direction of more road trips, more outside exploration, and more summertime adventuring.

FIND OUT MORE, and get your app now, at the main site for this park in your pocket. Doing it all while visiting a national park? That seems more feasible now more than ever, no matter what your own definition of "all" might be.

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