Catherine Parker, National Parks TravelingMom

Catherine Parker, National Parks TravelingMom

Catherine Parker has a passion for travel with only two states left in her quest of seeing all 50. As a former flight attendant with one of the largest airlines, there isn't a major North American airport that she hasn't landed in at least once. Since clipping her professional wings after 9/11, she combines her love of the open road with visiting national parks, historic sites and cultural icons. She is based out of Central Texas, dividing her time between writing and restoring a 95-year-old house. She shares her life with her three kids, her husband, two cats, a dog and six backyard chickens.


Blast Zone: Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument with Kids

The eruption of Mount St. Helens is one of my first memories of the world outside my immediate home and family. As a first-grader, I remember watching the evening news with my family and seeing people covered in suffocating gray ash climb out of a military helicopter. Since then, I’ve wanted to witness the aftermath of the most destructive volcanic event in U.S. history and share it with my kids. Mount St. Helens was once a recreational playground for Washington, similar to Mount Rainier National Park. Until one quiet Sunday morning in 1980 when the snowcapped mountain vaporized and...

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Redwood National and State Parks: Discover the Land of Ewoks

As a true kid of the 80s, my introduction to the Redwoods came one Saturday afternoon when I saw my heroine, Princess Leia, speeding through a fern-covered grove of giant trees outwitting the Stormtroopers. Hooked, I added it to my life-long list of places I needed to visit. Fast-forward a couple of decades and I had to introduce my own Jedi Padawans to this mysterious land, known as the Redwood National and State Parks. Might it still might be harboring mischievous Ewoks? Kids love records, and it doesn’t matter what the record is most times. On a recent road...

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Exploring Our National Parks One Book at a Time

As the National Parks TravelingMom, I cherish the time I explore our national parks with my three kids. As the summer fades and fall approaches, my kids get busier and busier with school and I yearn for the endless summer days hiking through our national parks. Until our next national park adventure, I can read Martha Day Zschock’s new book, Journey Around Our National Parks, with my kids and relive our days meandering through our favorite national parks together.   Exploring Our National Parks One Book at a Time I love books as much as I love our our...

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Tour Review: Viator’s 3-Day National Park Adventure

Want to explore the epic national parks of the Southwest but not sure where to start? As the National Parks TravelingMom, I know planning a national park adventure can require months. With busy family and professional lives, sometimes vacation planning doesn’t make it to the top of the to-do list. I understand. I want to share an option that might work for your family on the next school holiday or vacation. Here is my tour review of Viator’s 3-day national park adventure. Bucket list national park destinations seem to be on everyone’s to-do list this year. And taking the...

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National Parks: Free Centennial Weekend Family Fun

Load up the minivan, pack a picnic and explore the national parks for free family fun for the Centennial weekend in 2016. With a site in every state, most families can find a national park within a few hours of home. Explore a wilderness, learn some history, or take a hike with your family as you get your kids in a park for Free. Starting Thursday, August 25, 2016, through Sunday, August 28, 2016, all 412 national parks across the United States and its territories will be Free. This is great news for families since we all know getting the...

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Zion National Park – Paradise for Family Travelers

Standing in the shadow of the Court of the Patriarchs, I worship the majestic beauty of the Navajo Sandstone peaks, like I did when touring the man-made cathedrals of the Old World. I take a moment to reflect on the Creator and the Creator’s landscape. I cannot escape the sense of awe, knowing Zion National Park was created with just sand, water and countless millennia. The Navajo Sandstone dominates my senses in Zion National Park with its bold rock formations carved by a mostly tame Virgin River. Through the seasons of summer monsoon storms, the tickle of the Virgin...

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A Kids’ Guide to Exploring Bryce Canyon National Park

As I peer over the edge of Bryce Amphitheater, the ghostly figures marching in the mist of an afternoon shower haunt me. Hoodoos, the rock formations that resemble draped human forms, dominate the landscape in the highest concentration in the world at Bryce Canyon National Park. Coupled with an audience of young evergreen pines dotting the landscape, Bryce Canyon National Park offers dramatic hiking, cozy cabins and horseback rides that families will rave about all the way home.   Explore Southern Utah’s geologic technicolor show where the delicate pink of a sunrise rusts into vermillion then fades into sunset...

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Explore Like a Kid in Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park inspired me to sing The Sound of Music’s The Hills are Alive at the first glance of Mount Olympus from the alpine wildflower meadow at Hurricane Ridge. Along its trails, we hiked in a seemingly fairytale world of giant trees dripping in moss on a land covered with fern. My heart beamed seeing my kids’ excitement when we discovered tiny tide pools teeming with marine life. On a recent cross-country trek with my three kids, I found all this in farthest northwest corner of the continental United States in a wilderness that meshes three different ecosystems....

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Sizzling Sunsets at Grand Canyon’s South Rim

The Grand Canyon–an American icon as big as the canyon itself, finds its way onto every southwest road trip itinerary. Visitors from around the globe stand at the edge of its majestic landscape letting their eyes wander from the rim to the river. Gazing at the desert-hued layers that resemble a Native American blanket defines the spirit of the West and has been my family’s favorite for years.   Each time I visit the Grand Canyon I see a new facet, a new viewpoint. My love affair with the top 10 national park never seems to end. During my most...

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Lake Quinault Lodge Historic Lodging near Olympic National Park

Looking for an idyllic lodge perched over a shimmering lake nestled in a majestic forest with cool summer temperatures and lots of activities for the family? During a recent visit to Olympic National Park in Washington, I stayed at Lake Quinault Lodge and found all that. Featured on the PBS series, Great Lodges of the National Parks, this historic lodge features family activities that kids will love along with all the quaint details that Moms crave. Lake Quinault Lodge sits on the shores of Lake Quinault in the Olympic National Forest, a stone’s throw from Olympic National Park. With...

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