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ESTA FORM

Heading to the United States of America's national parks

Usually, when planning a trip to the United States, a few thoughts will spring to mind. More often than not, the most important being 'where to visit?'.

Visiting the land of the free offers so many opportunities to explore. From huge metropolitan cities to vast national parks, you can rest assured knowing that you'll be spoilt for choice wherever you might decide to go.

 

Perhaps, though, the best locations are not the ones that spring to mind first. According to The National Park Foundation, the United States boasts a whopping 59 national parks (NPF). The largest of those parks is Wrangell - St Elias in Alaska at more than 13 million acres. The smallest of those parks is Hot Springs, Arkansas, at less than 6 thousand acres.

 

Each of the 59 national parks is unique and majestic. Each destination holds a strong historic heritage and is waiting for explorers to explore the unknown.

 

With such an enormous variety to choose from, selecting a national park to visit may be slightly overwhelming to the first time explorer.

Within this guide, a brief but detailed explanation of two national parks you should visit on your travels to the United States. They are absolute must visit areas.

 

1. Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite’s situated in California, roughly three hours drive east of San Francisco. This beautiful park has it all. Wildlife, lakes, mountains, meadows, beaches and plenty more.

Throughout the year, people come from all over the world to hike the 800 miles of trails within Yosemite. In the summer temperatures can soar up to 35 degrees celsius, however in the night, they can plummet below freezing. Be advised to visit during the summer months if you're not a seasoned pro at hiking.

One of the most notoriously difficult trails that Yosemite has to offer is the Half Dome. With a distance of 14.2 miles and an elevation gain of 4,800 meters, this is a serious challenge. However, the rewards faced throughout the hike, are worth it at the top of the peak. The views are phenomenal.

This is just one of the many peaks available to climb/hike within Yosemite. This has to be on a list of consideration if you're planning a visit to the United States.

 

2. The Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon, perhaps one of the most famous national parks in the United States. Situated in Arizona, roughly 4 hours drive away from Las Vegas, Nevada.

Famous for the stunning views that it possess, The Grand Canyon spans across a huge 277-mile length, up to 18 miles wide and a mile deep. Estimates suggest that this momentous national park is 5/6 billion years old.

There is a reason that this colossal park is a national favorite. The views are unreal. Temperatures around the Grand Canyon can be exceedingly hot in the summer especially, as temperatures of near 50 degrees celsius or not uncommon. However, at night, expect temperatures to drop rapidly.

Be advised that if you’re wanting to pursue the hiking routes around The Grand Canyon, that they take copious amounts of food and water, wear sunscreen and wear protective clothing.

 

ESTA

If you're planning a trip to either of the national parks mentioned above or even any of the other 57 for that matter - make sure that you check out ESTA before you travel. The ESTA or Electronic System for Travel Authorization allows citizens of 38 countries to travel to the United States without a visa. Furthermore, these citizens may stay in the country for up to 90 days per visit. Perfect for those hiking adventures around the U.S. The ESTA application form takes roughly 30 minutes to complete.

 - Alternatively, watch this useful video on ESTA.