National Parks | Destination Exclusives | RTX Traveler Issue 13

See America like never before at these majestic RTX destinations. Book an exchange, getaway or discounted hotel stay through www.rtx.travel today.

Writer and historian Wallace Stegner famously called the country’s national parks “The best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.” Let’s take a look at some dynamite national parks close to RTX destinations.

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Six national seashore beaches greet visitors at Cape Cod National Seashore in Massachusetts, which has a focus on a healthy lifestyle. Check out surfing lessons, yoga workshops, and kayak tours, and take your bicycle to explore the park via three extensive bike trails that run throughout. Ranger-guided activities are offered year round and include guided walks, talks, performance and music-based programs, campfires, canoe trips, and open houses at historic buildings.

First established in East Texas, mission San Juan Capistrano made its permanent home on the banks of the San Antonio River in 1731. Within a short time, the mission became a regional supplier of agricultural and other products including iron, wood, cloth, and leather goods produced by the Indians in its workshops.

Enjoy the rich history of Spanish and Native American heritage at San Antonio Missions National Historic Park near San Antonio, Texas. Four distinct visitor areas dot the park, each 2-3 miles apart. These stone structures from the early 1700s provided refuge to the populace against Apache attacks and deadly diseases from Mexico. See Mission Concepcion, Mission San Jose, Mission San Juan, and Mission Espada. The visitors center at Mission San Jose exhibits authentic and replicated artifacts explaining the diverse tasks found within the Spanish missions.

Discover a national park of a different sort at New Orleans Jazz National Historic Park. Fit in some music history in this jazz city by taking the 11 stop tour of jazz history sites in and around the French Quarter. Every Saturday and Wednesday, the park hosts a variety of musicians to explore the origins, development and progression of New Orleans jazz, and also features live music during many of the ranger presentations during the week.

Early Morning Sunlight Merges With A Twilight Moon Over Sand Dunes And Mountains At Death Valley National Park, California, USA

Las Vegas, Nevada, is anything but natural, but look to the surrounding desert and you’ll see a number of top tier national parks. The winter is also a great time to visit, when it’s not scorching hot outside. Take a two-hour road trip to the otherworldly landscape of Death Valley National Park, which roasts the air with temperatures well over 100 degrees in the summer, but has an average high of 66 degrees in January. Go four wheeling, hiking, or just sight see the incredible landscape of 3.4 million acres, the largest national park in the lower 48. If a four-hour drive to one of the prettiest national parks in the U.S. sounds good, then keep reading. Get overwhelmed at the massive hole in the earth that is Grand Canyon National Park, which is 277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and a mile deep. View beautiful ribbons of exposed rock, puffy cloud formations, and desert critters.

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About the Author

About the Author: Pat Barcas serves as staff writer and photographer for RTX Traveler Magazine, based in Asheville, NC. In his spare time he enjoys photography, astronomy, hiking, hanging out with his family and dog, and of course, traveling! His favorite RTX spots to visit are Orange Beach, Alabama, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, but he's visiting new places all the time. .

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