It’s hard to be in the moment these days when there’s an almost-gravitational pull to look at the news on our phones for the one-billionth time. But one of the most powerful lessons we’ve learned while traveling is how valuable it is to immerse ourselves in the experience at hand. To refocus your attention away from the news, here are 8 exceptional ways to have fun and be present, Utah national parks-style.
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Do a Puzzle
Focus your attention on putting together a gorgeous image of Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park. This 1,000-piece puzzle will keep you occupied while giving you a glimpse of arguably one of the most beautiful arches in the park.
Who doesn’t want to play cards with this amazing set that features 12 national parks on its face cards, including Acadia, Great Smoky Mountains and Zion national parks.
Immerse Yourself in a Book (or two)
Curl up with Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey, a classic for anyone who has visited Arches National Park, wants to visit or just plain loves a writer with a rebellious nature and a visionary view of the West. Published in 1968, Abbey’s classic reveals his fierce devotion to the desert’s wild landscapes and equally fierce opposition to something he called “industrial tourism,” a concept where development, including visitor centers and roads, makes up the core of travelers’ “nature” experiences rather than nature itself.
Kids ages 8-12 will enjoy reading about a fictional mystery that takes place in Zion National Park called Ghost Horses: A Mystery in Zion National Park, part of the Mysteries in Our National Parks book series by Gloria Skurzynski and Alane Ferguson.
Has it been years since you sketched anything? Get in touch with your creative side with this this blank sketchbook that has a beautiful shot of one of the Red Canyon tunnels between Zion and Bryce as its cover.
And if you’d rather just color inside the lines of an already-made drawing, go big with the stunning The National Parks Coloring Book by Jen Racine. You’ll feel like an artiste as you work on these pages featuring 24 of the most popular national parks in the country.
Ignite Your Child’s Imagination
Are your kids complaining about being bored? Let them take themselves on a virtual trip to 20 national parks with National Parks of the U.S.A. Kids ages 6-9 will love this beautiful, award-winning hardcover book by Kate Silber and illustrated by Chris Turnham, which covers 20 national parks with gorgeous maps, illustrations and fun trivia about the animals and flowers that inhabit the parks. It’s available in hard cover.
Play a National Parks Board Game
Looking for an award-winning board games that highlights the amazing national parks across the country? Play Trekking the National Parks, in which players compete for points by claiming park cards and collecting trail stones as they travel across the country, stopping at national parks along the way. Every park card has a beautiful park photo accompanied by an interesting fact, inspiring and educating players.
Laugh Out Loud
Order Subpar Parks: America’s Most Extraordinary National Parks and Their Least Impressed Visitors. This gorgeous book is from the wildly popular creator of @subparparks (https://www.instagram.com/subparparks/) and features illustrated one-star reviews of over 75 our nation’s national parks along with informative text, anecdotes and tips from park rangers and more.