There’s nothing more refreshing than getting back to nature. It makes sense that the best learners are inspired by their surroundings, curious to explore and re-invigorated by fresh air and new environments. While the national parks in the US and the UK are quite different, they all offer students the opportunity to experience a landscape a world apart from the classroom. So, whether you’re looking for mountains or rolling hills, these national parks are well worth a visit.
Yosemite National Park – US
Nestled in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, Yosemite National Park is an iconic vista famed for its giant sequoia trees, the Bridalveil fall and the granite cliffs of El Capitan and Half Dome. If you’re looking for somewhere to lose yourself, we can’t think of a better place to abandon all your worries and enjoy some quality time with your thoughts. When you’re ready to get back to civilization, in Yosemite Village, you’ll find shops, restaurants and the Yosemite Museum featuring the Ansel Adams Gallery – a photographer renowned for his black and white landscapes of the area.
Dartmoor National Park – UK
Just set back from Devon on the south coast of England is Dartmoor National Park. This vast moorland is typical of the English countryside: expect the kind of forests, rivers and wetlands that inspired Emily Brontë’s ‘Wuthering Heights’. Craggy trails wind through rolling valleys with Bronze Age stone circles, Neolithic tombs and medieval farmhouses. If you’re looking for a taste of England’s rich history or to spot some rare wildlife, this could be just the escape you need.
Grand Canyon National Park – US
This couldn’t be further away from the rolling green countryside of England if it tried, the Grand Canyon is an immense red rock structure which in its layers, reveals millions of years of geological history. With many hiking trails to choose from and several viewpoints to reach for, it’s no surprise this national park features on many people’s bucket lists. In particular, Lipan Point, with its wide views of the canyon and Colorado River, is a popular sunrise/sunset destination.
Peak District National Park – UK
This national park is one of the largest in England and spans about five hundred square miles. It covers parts of the counties: Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire. Explore the steep limestone valleys at Dovedale or the dramatic Dark Peak with its gritstone ridges and high peaks. The nearby village of Edale also marks one end of the iconic Pennine Way footpath. This national trail spans two hundred and sixty-eight miles of rugged mountain tops – crossing half of the country.
Yellowstone National Park – US
For something completely different, how about a national park atop a volcanic hot spot? This three thousand square mile wilderness spreads across Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. This park really has it all: alpine rivers, dense forests, hot springs, dramatic canyons and legendary geysers – including the most famous, Old Faithful. This national park is also home to an extraordinary amount of animal species: bears, antelope, bison, elk and even wolves find their home here. Take a good map and a good friend (and perhaps some bear repellent?) and experience a national park like no other.
New Forest National Park – UK
In southern England, the New Forest is a firm favorite for beautiful heathland, magical forests and wild, native ponies. That’s right – horses roam freely across this region among owls, otters and wolves. The ponies belong to the local people and this tradition goes back many hundreds of years. This area is also popular due to the National Motor Museum which features F1 race cars alongside vintage motorbikes. The Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway is also a popular tourist spot showcasing exotic trees and flowers.
Can you picture yourself exploring the national parks of the UK or the US? Why not take your education abroad?