Top National Park Summer Destinations for Travel Nurses 2022
It’s officially spring, and while the beautiful blooms on trees have many of us sneezing, the warming temperatures are surely appreciated. While we’re finally putting away the warm pillow-y coats to the back of the closet to enjoy the new-life sensation spring brings every year, we also start thinking about summer plans.
Travel nurses in particular should be putting their minds to their summer travel nurse contracts. The early bird gets the worm as they say, and while you might not actually want worms, thank goodness for anti-parasite medicines, when the worm in question is a metaphor for a fabulous summer destination, then hurry up and spread those wings!
This month we’re breaking up our summer destination recommendations into two parts: national parks, and cities. Not everyone is an outdoors adventurer, furthermore not everyone enjoys exploring cities. For this list, we’re appealing to those of you who find pleasure and appreciation in the great outdoors. You can find travel nursing contracts in cities nearby the parks allowing you the opportunity to explore by arriving a few days prior to your contract’s start date, or remaining a few days following. For those of you more interested in discovering the art and culture in cities, stay tuned for our next article.
Our Seven Picks for Top National Park Destinations in Summer 2022
1. Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
The Carlsbad Caverns National Park is located in the southeastern corner of the state. Additionally, it is a few hours’ drive from the White Sands National Monument, and just north of another national park that we didn’t put on the list, the Guadalupe Mountains National Park in North West Texas that actually crosses the Texas New Mexico border.
The caverns are gorgeous in their vastness and numerous stalagmite formations, various chambers, and tunnels. In the summer months, you won’t want to miss the nightly bat flight that occurs at dusk and from far away almost looks like smoke from a fire. For the more adventurous visitors, you won’t want to miss the Hall of the White Giant, or the Spider Cave. Be sure to check with the national park service prior to arriving, as of April 2022 reservations for tours are required, that may however change.
2. Mammoth Cave National Park, Kentucky
The Mammoth Cave National Park also holds the distinguished title of a UNESCO World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve. Not many think of Kentucky as being on the world map, but this cave system puts it out there due to the fact that it is the longest cave system known to humans. Some tours are as long as 2.5 miles while others are as short as .25 miles. Additionally, the outdoor grounds of the park offer horse trails, biking trails, and hiking. Furthermore, the Green River and Nolin River both roll through the park, so if kayaking, or fishing catch your fancy, opportunity abounds for you. Look for contracts in South Central Kentucky if you want to be close.
3. Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
Voyageurs National Park rests on the northern Minnesota border with Canada. Here, walleye fishing is popular while black bears, wolves, moose, and other wildlife live in the forests. As much as 40% of the park itself is comprised of waterways. Stargazing at night may even offer the opportunity to see the northern lights, even in summer.
4. Congaree National Park, South Carolina
Just a short drive from South Carolina’s capital city lies Congaree National Park. Hike the trails of the park’s champion trees, rent a canoe to traverse the waterways, and if you visit between May and June you may be able to win the lottery for the stunning Synchronous Fireflies Event.
5. Great Basin National Park, Nevada
Free star constellation programs are offered by rangers in the Great Basin National Park every Saturday night throughout the summer months. Hike or drive the scenic route of the majestic Wheeler Peak, and tour the underground caves.
6. North Cascades National Park, Washington
With over 400 miles of hiking trails, at varying levels of difficulty, this park is a hiker’s paradise. As the name suggests, North Cascades National Park is alive with sweeping valleys, cascading waters, and jagged mountain peaks.
7. Glacier National Park, Montana
Colorado garners most of the nationwide attention for its Rocky Mountains, nevertheless, Glacier National Park located in Montana’s Rocky Mountains is significantly less known. It’s namesake harks from the time of the glaciers that formed these peaks and valleys. Cycling, hiking, camping, wildlife sightings including grizzly bears, moose, and mountain goats, and the brilliant gem, Hidden Lake are all treasures to be discovered in Montana. Drive, carefully, the Sun Road which will take you along the mountainside with tight turns and exciting vistas.
Why We Picked These Seven
Many of the national parks featured in this list consistently have very low tourist volume in comparison to other parks. You may be wondering why the mega players Yellowstone, Zion, and Rocky Mountain aren’t part of this list. The fact is those three national parks are consistently the top most visited national parks year after year. In fact, in 2021 all three of those parks had more than four million people visit.
Perk of Being a Travel Nurse
There is, of course, nothing wrong with visiting a popular national park. They are popular not only because they possess special monuments or talented marketing teams, they are popular because they are, simply put, spectacular. That said, there are numerous other lesser-known beauties in our country, and as a travel nurse, you have more time to explore than your civilian companions who, if they’re lucky, have a measly two weeks per year. Make the most of the opportunities travel nursing affords you, outside of your career, and discover the lesser-known but no lesser-worthy wonders our country possesses.