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.


Cannonball in a Natural Pool at Chickasaw

The National Parks TravelingMom takes road trips across the continent exploring parks. However, a former national park in a neighboring state escaped her to-do list. A recent road trip to South Central Oklahoma had her kids splashing in a natural pool, watching the sun fall below the Arbuckle Mountains and tracking down bison in Chickasaw National Recreation Area. A few hours north of the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex, I found the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. The area is filled with natural pools and scenic mountain vistas. With a recreational lake open for boating, historic structures built by the Civilian Conservation...

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Mom’s Gone Crazy and Fell Asleep in the Walmart Parking Lot

Boondocking? Once just a secret among the caravaners and hippy kids camping on the cheap, boondocking has gone mainstream. Now grandma and grandpa use it as necessary part of long-term RVing to cut costs. Boondocking means free camping. Originally done only out in the boondocks, it now is popping up in suburban parking lots across the U.S. The National Parks TravelingMom boondocked in a Walmart parking lot last summer. Here she passes some hard-learned tips. How does a middle-aged mom of three end up sleeping in a van down by the river? (Really an SUV in a Walmart parking lot.) Blame...

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Discover a Mountain Retreat in Central Oklahoma

Hiking before a cup of coffee might frighten some people, but National Parks TravelingMom recommends it to energize your day. The Chickasaw Retreat and Conference Center features a mile-long trail right outside its door for guests to explore some of the 1,750 acres of wilderness in the Arbuckle Mountains of South Central Oklahoma, a couple hours north of Dallas/Ft. Worth. Why visit Sulphur, Oklahoma? Located steps away from the Chickasaw National Recreation Area, I discovered the Chickasaw Retreat and Conference Center set on a high point in the Arbuckle Mountains. Formerly the Platt National Park, it features a secluded...

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7 National Parks a Road Trip Away from LA

The largest city in California offers a gateway to some of the most dramatic scenery in North America. With seven parks within 4 hours of Los Angeles, families can explore desert visas, giant redwoods, or an island sanctuary. From the largest protected desert in the world to the largest trees in the world, California national park sites feature world-class scenery. So much for families to discover when they visit California. 7 National Parks a Road Trip Away for LA 1. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks 2. Death Valley National Park 3. Joshua Tree National Park 4. Channel Islands...

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Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park offers more than Dr. Suess-looking trees. During a recent road trip through Southern California, National Parks TravelingMom took a detour off the interstate to discover two different desert ecosystems in a park that’s easy to explore from a car. A few hours outside Los Angeles and in Palm Springs’ backyard, Joshua Tree features rock piles and teddy bear looking cactus along with the spiky trees from a music lover’s bucket list. Joshua Tree National Park Road trippers leaving Los Angeles might fail to look beyond the lane lines as they race east to Phoenix, Arizona....

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Escape to the Rock: Board an Alcatraz Cruises Ferry in San Francisco

  The National Parks TravelingMom has explored 39 of the 59 big national parks with her kids. Wanna know their favorite national park site in California? The obvious choice might be Yosemite, with its artist-inspiring landscapes. But no, her kids had to explore a creepy, dank, prison with peeling paint. Alcatraz, the infamous prison and home to Al Capone and other prisoners with nicknames like Birdman, Creepy and Machine Gun, topped their list. So hop aboard one of the Alcatraz cruises to The Rock for tour that might haunt your dreams. 4 Reasons to visit a prison with kids and 1...

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Top 14 Places to Visit Before Your Kids Leave for College

    Want to know where a former flight attendant turned road tripping junkie drives her kids? Besides crazy, the answer is everywhere. Yes, I’ve driven my three kids across the U.S. While most people can’t drive their kids across the country, they can hit a few iconic destinations before their teens graduate and head off to college. Why Travel as a Family As National Parks TravelingMom, I’m all about the iconic destinations that our national park system offers. Since I’ve driven my kids through the continental U.S., we’ve stopped at nearly every destination that appeals to families. Over 55,000...

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Learn with the Best at Northstar Ski Resort Lake Tahoe

A family ski getaway should be filled with shared moments of wonder and excitement. To do that, a family needs help, especially with young children. A ski resort that caters to the needs of families is key. By providing a superior learning environment for the kids and a village full of fun for après, kids create memories instead of meltdowns. I found all that on a winter getaway at Northstar Ski Resort at Lake Tahoe, California. Learn with the Best at Northstar Ski Resort Lake Tahoe Located near Lake Tahoe that straddles Nevada and California, Northstar Ski Resort offers...

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Best Beaches for Families in the US

It might be gray and gloomy outside though brighter days are on the horizon. Take a moment to relax and visualize the crashing waves. Sound divine? It is and now is the time to plan a family beach trip. Spring Break is weeks away and summer creeps closer by the day. To find the best beaches for families in the US, National Parks TravelingMom pulled together a list of beaches for animal lovers, shellers and sunset worshippers. As a Traveling Mom that’s driven across the continental US, friends always ask what’s my favorite beach. Kinda like asking me which...

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Smash the Best with the Fam at the Iconic Squaw Valley

Carving the perfect line through glistening snow under a blue bird sky while sneaking peeks of the pristine alpine lake. Could be a dream or just another day on the mountain at the legendary Squaw Valley Ski Resort in Lake Tahoe. An iconic resort since hosting the 1960 Winter Olympics, Squaw Valley tops lists worldwide and recently named USA Today’s #1 North American ski resort. Don’t let the Olympic history intimidate you. The National Parks Traveling Mom of three found a huge area packed with lots of family-friendly green runs, perfect for kids. Squaw Valley Ski Resort for Families...

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