Let’s be honest. Cycling isn’t the cheapest sport out there. Also, no matter how well planned attempts to combine family vacations around destination races often lead to a catastrophe in one respect or another – think 12 hours schlepping around Disney and then trying to have fresh legs to race the next day. So finding the time and budget to fit in a family trip can be a daunting task. Enter your tax dollars at work.
The National Park Service, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, boasts facilities in 409 areas in every state, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. With over 84 million acres of protected land, the odds are that there this a National Park site within a day’s driving distance of you. Meaning you can go on a Friday afternoon and be back on Sunday night without breaking the bank or your patience in the car. What’s more, these sites are more than just pristinely kept, vast landscapes of rugged beauty. They also include national monuments, historical sites, battlefields, military parks, waterways and even the White House to name a few.
In my neck of the woods, Shenandoah National Park is the go to for lush beauty, hiking and biking for all levels, breathtaking views and a jaunt through history. This park, like many other National Park sites, has primitive camping for the rugged types, tent camping and small cabins for those with kids in tow and even a massive lodge for those looking more for the National Park Lite experience, i.e. great views while still having your own bathroom. All priced for a fraction of the cost of your average hotel stay.
And since all National Parks are pedestrian friendly, exploring them on your bike is ideal. You won’t even have to deal with the hassle of shipping or flying with your bike. So whether you are a history buff looking for educational experiences or a weekend warrior in need of an adventure, there is undoubtedly a National Park in your neck of the woods for you to conquer in a weekend without noticing a huge dip in your bank account.
Lei is a Moxie Cycling Ambassador and blog contributor. Check out her bio here!