National Park Week Starts April 18: There’s so Much to Discover From Sea to Shining Sea.

Sit back. Relax. And armchair travel with us to some of our nation’s most valuable treasures. We’re sharing our favorite National Parks for you to enjoy all there is to see and do, along with the best time of the year to experience each park.

Grand Canyon

Considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world, this park is painted with natural radiant golds and deep reds. This park is massive – 277 miles long, 18 miles at the widest point and one mile deep – you can spend days exploring the beauty of the second most visited park in the U.S. National Park System. Read about what you can expect at the Grand Canyon here.

Best time to visit: April, May, September, and October when the crowds are less dense and the temperature ranges from the 60’s to low 80’s.

North Rim of the Grand Canyon, beautiful colors

 

Yosemite

With four million people traveling here every year, the majority of this park’s visitors travel to the Yosemite Valley. Highlights include Glacier Point, Half Dome and El Capitan, and Yosemite Falls all set against sheer granite cliffs. Previously called Ahwahnee, meaning big mouth which describes the valley, the park has been inhabited by Native American tribes since at least 1000 BC.

Best time to visit: if you love snow, you’ll love Yosemite from November through March but be sure to bring your snow chains. High season is summer where you’ll find the most traffic, but some epic views.

Yosemite sheer cliff

 

Great Smoky Mountains Park

This is the most visited national park with more than 10 million visitors a year – or roughly 1 in 300 Americans visiting it each year. From North Carolina into Tennessee, this park offers a myriad of activities from hiking to fishing, horseback riding and more. It gets its name from the near-constant blue mist that always seems to hover around the peaks and valleys.

Best time to visit: October when you can see the changing fall foliage.

Sunset looking over the Great Smoky Mountains

 

Glacier Bay National Park

Located in the heart of southeast Alaska just outside of Juneau, Glacier Bay is a must-see for all who visit Alaska. From the songs of the humpback whale to the barks of the sea lion, the calving of glaciers to the chirps of the birds, this ever changing eco-system features countless voices of nature. Many cruises include a day sailing in Glacier Bay. Learn about the experience here.

Best time to visit: The majority of cruising takes place from April through September.

Glacier Bay, beautiful water and mountains

 

Here are some pro-tips on how to make the most of your National Park adventures:

  1. Get an annual pass. For guests who want to visit multiple parks throughout the year, get an annual pass for $80. In the military? Get a free pass for your service. Have a 4th grader? They may qualify for a free year pass that the entire family can use! Over the age of 62? Get an annual pass for just $20. Or a lifetime pass for $80.
  2. Do your research. Most parks have lodging and camping options within the parks, but last minute reservations are rare. For the best chance to get the dates you want, book 1 year + 1 day in advance when lodging opens up.
  3. Trust a Travel Specialist. We offer custom western U.S. tours and many include entrance to your favorite National Parks. Admission, accommodations, transportation, select meals and more are included when you trust your Travel Specialist to take care of the details. Learn more here.

Visit Boscov’s Travel located within select Boscov’s including Pennsylvania (Camp Hill, Colonial Park/Harrisburg, Easton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Neshaminy/Bensalem, Wyomissing, Reading, Pottstown, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Wilkes-Barre), New York (Binghamton), New Jersey (Atlantic City and Moorestown), Delaware (Wilmington), and Maryland (Salisbury). View our locations here. If you live a little further away, book over the phone by calling us at 800-755-8020. Learn more at boscovstravel.com

Disneyland: The Ins and Outs

Pixar Pier in California Adventure Park at Disneyland

The following post is written about Jen from Boscov’s Travel Corporate Department. Jen recently visited Disneyland in May and found out that the magic extends to the west coast. 

Being from the east coast, when we think about Disney, we think Walt Disney World in Florida. Jen, a self-proclaimed Disney fanatic, traveled to the west coast to experience the best of California and couldn’t pass up a trip to Disneyland! Jen gives you the inside scoop and the ins and out of her trip.

Spending 2.5 days at Disneyland, Jen was struck by the notion that she was walking in Walt’s footsteps. You can really imagine everything he wanted the company to be! With time spent between the parks and Downtown Disney, Jen loved every moment of her adventure. But before we dig deep into our interview with Jen, she pointed out the #1 rule when thinking about the Disney parks: comparing Disneyland to Walt Disney World is like comparing apples to oranges – they have two completely different feels. Now that we have that covered, let’s dive in!

 

The Headboards at the Frontier Tower at Disneyland Hotel

While Jen was in Disneyland she stayed at the Disneyland hotel… and highly recommends it! Little magical touches abound and make Disney, well Disney. The headboards even play music and illuminate the room!

Jen noted the parks in Disneyland are in walking distance to the Disney property hotels, so it doesn’t necessarily matter which one you pick. At most, she walked 10 minutes to get to a park! She recommends staying at a Disneyland hotel because of all the included perks – you can walk to the park, score early access to the parks, and more! With early access, Jen rode 5 rides in an hour… all before 8:00AM! It’s safe to say May is a great time to visit Disneyland as there was minimal congestion.  The longest Jen waited in line was 30 minutes.

Disneyland has two parks that are really great in size and location. They have Disneyland Park and California Adventure Park. Disneyland offers lots of fun rides for kids, where California Adventure brings the thrill rides for bigger kids.

Jen at Pop-Up Disney!

Downtown Disney is just outside the parks. This outdoor shopping plaza reminded Jen of the original Downtown Disney in Florida (side note: she made the comparison to help us better visualize). Jen loved the vibe and how it was smaller than Florida’s Disney Springs and she let us in on a little secret (she actually likes this Downtown Disney better). She recommends Pop Up Disney, an experience where you go through a museum-like space with galleries and interactive displays! In some of the galleries Mickey and/or Minnie may be hiding, so you can look and try to find them – what a great activity to do as a family!

Of course we had to ask Jen about her favorite ride… her answer: It’s a Small World because of how different it is in Disneyland. For starters, the ride starts outside (how fun!).

Outside of It’s a Small World

Just a note for seasoned pros of Walt Disney World… FastPasses are not available in advance at Disneyland.  As you enter the park, you are able to navigate to your app and get one FastPass. So yes, you only get one until you use it. You will then get an email indicating you can reserve another one.

Jen mentioned she does not recommend using a FastPass for the World of Color night show. That FastPass allows you to be in the front, but there are no seating options. Plus your view may be slightly blocked and you’ll probably get soaked. We’re with Jen… use that valuable FastPass elsewhere!

Now the best park: Disney’s delicious fare. There are no dining plans in Disneyland, and Jen recommends you be adventurous as there are so many choices. She highly recommends Galactic Grille quick serve in Tomorrowland by Nemo’s Submarine Voyage.

All in all, Disneyland sounds amazing! As a seasoned travel professional, Jen knew exactly what to do. She made the most of her trip with two tapings of Steve Harvey’s Family Feud, a Celebrity Bus Tour, a stop at the San Diego Zoo, and a visit to Warner Brothers’ Studio where she got to sit at the original Central Perk (could we be more envious?!).

Warner Brothers Studio Tour – Central Perk

 

Let us help you plan your California adventure!

Visit Boscov’s Travel located within select Boscov’s including Pennsylvania (Camp Hill, Colonial Park/Harrisburg, Easton, Lancaster, Lebanon, Neshaminy/Bensalem, Wyomissing, Reading, Pottstown, Pottsville, Scranton, Selinsgrove, Wilkes-Barre), New York (Binghamton), New Jersey (Atlantic City and Moorestown), Delaware (Wilmington), and Maryland (Salisbury). View our locations here. If you live a little further away, book over the phone by calling us at 800-755-8020. Learn more at boscovstravel.com