It's nice to know national parks continue to be a popular place for family vacations and getaways. When I was little I found them so boring, opting to be skiing or on the beach or playing with friends on vacations. But, I completely appreciate them so much now and really enjoy them.

However, just showing up during your travels is no longer an option for so many due to overcrowding. Their popularity is commonplace now with tourism growing substantially during the last ten years according to the Earth Trekkers website. So much so, that timed entrances and even full reservations are now required for eight national parks. This helps to combat overcrowding and makes things so much nicer for visitors.

According to Travel & Leisure Magazine, reservations are typically free however some may come with an online processing fee. You can make your reservations and time entrances at

Here are the national parks and one national monument that require some sort of reservation:

  • Acadia National Park Maine
  • Arches National Park Utah
  • Glacier National Park Montana
  • Haleakala National Park Hawaii
  • Rocky Mountain National Park Colorado
  • Shenandoah National Park Virginia
  • Yosemite National Park California
  • Zion National Park Utah
  • Muir Woods National Monument California

It's important to note that the various types of reservations are during high season for the most part and each park is different. According to Earth Trekkers there are basically three types of reservations depending on your travel goals.

Timed Entry gives you access to the park or a specific portion of the park in a specifically timed window. Dare I compare it to the cable guy's arrival? But you get the point.

Vehicle Reservation gives you access to areas of the park that require advanced notice while the rest of the park is open to anyone at any time.

Hiking Permit and Camping reservations mean you can visit the park anytime however if you want to hike or camp then you need to make that advanced reservation.

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