Top Tours for the National Parks Centennial

Bryce Canyon National Park // Photo by Trafalgar
Bryce Canyon National Park // Photo by Trafalgar

This August marks the 100 year anniversary of the United States National Park Service, which today includes 410 natural sites spanning 84 million acres of protected area. To honor the milestone, the members of United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA) are offering new itineraries, added departures and special offers throughout 2016 aimed at exploring the natural beauty of the United States. 

Following is a sample of itineraries from USTOA member tour operators:

For the first time, Globus, an official partner of the National Park Foundation, is offering a 103-day tour that takes travelers to 35 National Parks from Hawaii to Maine. Travelers on the “Centennial Celebration: 100 Days of GoParks!” journey will engage in local experiences such as a buffalo safari near Custer State Park, wine tasting in Washington’s wine country and time with a naturalist in Denali National Park and Preserve. The tour begins July 7, 2016, in Honolulu and ends on October 17, 2016, in Las Vegas. It is priced from $30,405. For travelers who can’t commit so much time, Globus offers 24 other GoParks! Tours and a percentage of revenue from each is donated to the National Park Foundation.

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Go Ahead offers nine tours that visit U.S. National Parks – five of which are new – and is offering $200 off all when reserved by March 31 with the promo code 16USTOA. On the 11-day “National Parks: Canadian Rockies, Glacier & Yellowstone” journey, guests marvel at cascading waterfalls in Yellowstone National Park, drive along the scenic Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park and explore the Grand Tetons, where human history dates back 10,000 years. Price for this tour starts at $2,249 with discount code.

Austin Adventures has also expanded its roster of National Parks trips this year. Additionally, as an advocate of the Every Kid in the Park initiative from the National Park Foundation and the White House, Austin Adventures is waiving trip fees for all fourth graders traveling on any National Park adventure in 2016. Finally, as a participant in the NPS Centennial Tour Operator Program, the company will donate two dollars from each guest booked on one of its National Park trips in 2016 to Tourism Cares, Inc. to aid restoration projects at five National Parks. Guests can choose the six-day “Oregon – Crater Lake National Park” itinerary from $2,798 and the new six-day “Glacier National Park” itinerary from $2,898, among others. 

With horseback riding, fly fishing, ziplining, stargazing and other outdoor adventures on a dude ranch in Big Sky, the new seven-day “Montana: Big Sky & Yellowstone National Park” from Adventures by Disney aims to help guests feel like cowboys. Guests will also “glamp” at Yellowstone National Park, hike to the Norris Geyser Basin and visit Old Faithful. Available over select dates in summer 2016, prices start at $3,919 per adult.

Trafalgar offers nine National Parks itineraries, including the 15-day “Scenic Parks Explorer” with visits to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Arches National Park, Mesa Verde National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Jackson, Denver, Monument Valley and Las Vegas. The adventure includes off-the-beaten path experiences like a behind-the-scenes talk at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, a complex of five western museums in Wyoming, and a view of the Grand Canyon at sunrise. With 45 departure dates from May to October, prices start at $3,895 per person, land only.

Cox & Kings’ eight-day “Southwestern Spa and Healing Immersion” private journey is a respite for travelers wanting to disconnect from daily cares, reconnect with nature and rejuvenate at renowned spas. In addition to marveling at the Grand Canyon and hiking in Petrified Forest National Park, guests will receive a privately guided tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Taos from a Native American healer, take part in a hands-on cooking experience with a Native American chef and scholar, and relax at the natural hot springs of Ojo Caliente. Available throughout 2016, prices start at $8,950 per person. Save $250 per person based on double occupancy for travel by Labor Day weekend.

Visit www.ustoa.com

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