There comes a time in every person's life when the confines of the city become a burden. The noise, the traffic, the hustle and bustle of a metropolitan crowd pushing and shoving as you struggle to make your commute--life in the city can be very, very stressful.
Why not get away from it all? There's a reason why they call it "the great outdoors". There's nothing quite like the peaceful joy of sitting by a campfire and indulging in warm weather. If you want to take a break from the chaotic mess that is the modern world, why not take some time off and spend a little while at one of the country's beautiful national parks?
You'll want to plan exactly when you're going, first of all. Pick out a date when the weather will be good, which most likely will lead you to summer. The problem is that summer's the peak season for park visits. July and August are the most crowded months at national parks. If you're dead-set on heading to one of the more popular parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite during the summer, call for a reservation as early as possible.
Parking may be a problem when you get there. During the summer the parks are full of people wanting to get away as much as you do, and the national parks will be jam-packed. Fortunately, many parks know that visitors like you spend an inconvenient amount of time looking for a spot to leave their car, so the parks have stepped up and offer alternative modes of transportation. When booking your reservation, inquire about any shuttle services the park may have. Tickets might cost you a few extra dollars, but the convenience will be well worth it.
You might need a permit to head into the backcountry for the park you'll be visiting. These regulations are in place so that the natural environment remains as unspoiled as possible. Because of this, the backcountry is one of the most peaceful places to visit when escaping the city. If you're looking for serenity and solitude amidst the beauty of creation, make sure you ask about permits when making your reservation. When you arrive at the park, you'll want to get a map and brochure to guide you to the best spots. They will help keep you from getting lost, should you decide to explore a little.
Now you might be looking to just expand your horizons, and the bigger-name parks aren't of much importance to you. You can look for hidden gems in the National Park Service's system by visiting their website, http://www.nps.gov/, and getting the contact information for a national park that tickles your fancy. One great perk about exploring the lesser-known parks is that there's a much smaller number of people of visiting them - which means easier reservations, the ability to make shorter-notice plans, and a bigger chance to get a prime camping spot. While some of the parks don't have attractions as awe-inspiring as Old Faithful, you'll be sure to have a relaxing, rewarding time nonetheless, and isn't that what you're after anyway?