Rachel Carson Conservation Park in Olney, Maryland

Natural, National Beauty

I‘m truly a creature of habit. There, I said it. I wish I was a little more spontaneous, but it just didn’t turn up in my DNA. I require some kind of mental preparation for most things. My trips are as well-planned as they could possibly be, and I often fall into the repetitive patterns of day-to-day life. The trait doesn’t seem to hush the travel bug in me, though, and I do get suddenly restless. So, what do I do to balance this strange anomaly that is… my personality? I plan local field trips.

National parks comprise some of my all-time favorite sights. But, you don’t have to visit Yosemite or Yellowstone to take in the scenic views of a national park; there are tons of national parks right in your backyard. DC’s National Mall, for example, receives over 25 million visitors per year,¹ yet there are 59 other national parks in the DMV area. I took this interest of mine #nextlevel and did something extra geeky with it—I ordered myself and my husband National Parks Passports, “passports” you can stamp at every national park location you visit. They even have different colored stamps based on which region of the United States you’re in. And, they have kids’ versions! Collecting stamps became a sort of greedy competition for Jeff and me. He prefers the historic locations; I prefer the more outdoorsy locations. It’s all good, though, because there’s something for everyone and it’s totally educational. It’s also mostly free. And you can be assured that whatever park entrances you might have to pay go to a good cause.

Next time you’re looking for something to do and don’t want to spend the day elbowing your way through crowds, remember the little guys (er, parks). Check out the National Park Service directory to discover a little natural, and national, beauty near you.

Today’s featured photo: Don’t forget your state parks, which are equally spectacular! Rachel Carson Conservation Park is only a half hour from my humble abode and has several hiking trails, great for an afternoon getaway.

© 2015 Jordan Campbell. All rights reserved.


  1. Caitlin Gross

    I *think* we are getting that National Park passport for Christmas and I can’t wait! I’m only bummed I didn’t have it years before! But now we are ready when we go on our cross country trip!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jordan

      No worries! You can actually send a SASE to individual parks and they’ll send a stamp back to you. If you forget your passport, they keep these little pieces of paper in the stamping areas where you can stamp that and paste in later. 😉


    1. Jordan

      Yes! Lots to see in our immediate area. A lot of my “Back at Basecamp” articles will have local parks featured. Check the photo credits to see where they’re at, if you’re interested.


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