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National Parks Offer Affordable And Accessible Fun

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National Parks Offer Affordable And Accessible Fun Powered By Docstoc
					                                                  Presented by Daniel Toriola


     Camping is a great way of vacationing that has arisen out of our latent desire to remain in proximity of Mother
     Nature. Occasionally we feel the need to break free from the shackles of material world and cuddle in nature's
                                                    lap for a while.
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                                    National Parks Offer Affordable And Accessible Fun
                                                           By Candy B. Harrington



    National parks and family vacations just seem to go hand in hand. In fact, most people over the age
of 35 have at least one fond childhood memory of a national park family vacation. Today, many parents
long to recreate that magical childhood vacation experience with their own children; but at the same
time they worry about appropriate access. Are our national parks really wheelchair-accessible? The
answer is a qualified "yes." Access varies from park to park, so advance planning is a must; however,
generally speaking most national parks are a great choice for accessible and affordable family fun.

Finding appropriate accessible lodging is a prime concern for many national park visitors. Camping is
the traditional way to enjoy a national park, and some national parks have accessible campsites. Most
often, "accessible," means the campground has a level campsite, accessible parking and an
accessible bathroom. Some national parks go a bit further and have specialty campsites. For example,
Rocky Mountain National Park offers accessible back country camping at the Handicamp at Sprague
Lake.

Some national parks also have lodges or hotels within the park. Although these facilities are required to
be accessible under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, accessible rooms are often limited
and difficult to reserve. Sometimes the best option is to look for accessible lodging close to a national
park. On the plus side, lodging located just outside of national parks is usually cheaper than the in-park
choices.

Accessible facilities and trails vary from park to park, but most parks offer at least an accessible visitors
center. Many parks also offer accessible interpretive trails near the visitors center. Some parks, like the
Everglades go a bit further. Although this park is composed largely of swamp and marsh areas, there
are a number accessible boardwalk trails throughout the Everglades, including the Anhinga Trail. This
half-mile boardwalk winds through sawgrass pines and is home to a wealth of bird life. It's also a great
place to get an up-close-and-personal look at the resident alligators.

Over in Yosemite National Park, the newest access upgrade was unveiled in April 2005 -- the
culmination of the massive ten-year $13.5 million Yosemite Falls Restoration Project. Designed by the
same landscape architect who worked on the FDR Memorial in Washington DC, the project includes a
new 3/4-mile paved trail to the bridge at lower Yosemite Falls. The gentle grade allows for
wheelchair-access and the wide trail has many pull outs, resting spots and benches along the way.

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                                                  Presented by Daniel Toriola


Indeed, for the first time there is barrier-free access to the base of Yosemite Falls.

Crater Lake National Park has varied accessibility; and the wheelchair-accessible Rim Village Trail and
Watchman Overlook provide stunning views of the lake. And over in the Great Smoky Mountains
National Park, visitors can walk or roll along the Cades Cove Loop on Wednesday and Saturday
mornings from May until September. During this time, this 11 mile loop is closed to automobile traffic;
and it's one of the most scenic trails in the park. And Although the natural entrance to Carlsbad
Caverns is not accessible, visitors can reach the Big Room by elevator. This huge cavern has
spectacular rock formations, and a large section of it is wheelchair-accessible

No matter which national park you choose to visit, advance research is a must. The best place to start
is on the National Park Service website (which is NPS dot gov). Some parks have access information
listed, while others only have contact phone numbers. Sometimes you just have to pick up the phone
and talk directly with a park employee to find out about access.

Park rangers can also be a good source of access information. For example, even though I've
frequented Yosemite National Park for over 40 years, last year a park ranger clued me in about the
access at Washburn Point. Located just a half mile below Glacier Point, Washburn Point is nicely
accessible, has spectacular views and is less crowded than nearby Glacier Point. The ranger was
well-versed in access issues because his sister is a wheelchair-user. Remember, it never hurts to ask
about access. You might just be surprised by the answers you get.

Finally, don't forget about the America the Beautiful Access Pass, which you can find at the NPS
website, it's a lifetime pass for free admission to all national parks, monuments, historic sites,
recreation areas and wildlife refuges. This money saving pass is available free to any US resident with
a permanent disability, and it can be obtained at any National Park entrance. Don't leave home without
your America the Beautiful Access Pass.

Candy Harrington covers accessible travel and is the author of 101 Accessible Vacations; Travel Ideas
for Wheelers and Slow Walkers. Visit http://www.101AccessibleVacations.com, or her blog,
http://www.BarrierFreeTravels.com.




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                       Explore The Beauty And Excitement That Croatia Has To Offer!
                                            By Joshua Dundrin



 Croatia is the perfect travel destination for anyone that is looking for an exciting vacation that is
centered around the beauty of nature. Thanks to its diverse terrain, Croatia was actually named as the
Destination of the Year in 2006 by National Geographic Adventure Magazine. Croatia truly lives up to
its official tourism slogan of “The Mediterranean As It Once Was.”

Croatia is located in Southern Europe. The country features a wide variety of terrain. Throughout the
northern areas, you will find lakes, hills and plains. The coastlines of the Adriatic Sea are quite rocky,
while Gorski Kotar and Lika have mountains which are densely wooded. Like the terrain, Croatia’s
climate is also quite varied. In addition to the terrain and climate of mainland Croatia, there are also
over one thousand diverse islands which make up offshore Croatia.

Croatia is most famous for its breathtaking national parks. In total, there are eight different national
parks throughout Croatia. In addition to national parks, Croatia boasts ten different nature parks.
Under Croatian law, national and nature parks are both protected areas of nature.

In addition to the wonderful natural attractions of Croatia, all the major cities offer a thriving nightlife.
There are a countless number of delicious restaurants, and many of these feature live music for your
listening pleasure. If you are looking for bars or pubs, you won’t have a hard time finding them.

Overall, Croatia really is the perfect destination for anyone. With a little searching, you should be able
to find a reasonable price for a flight over there. Once you arrive, you will find that you can have a lot
of fun for a reasonable price. Accommodations throughout Croatia are also well-priced and quite
pleasant. Regardless of what you are trying to get out of your vacation, you will be able to find it in
Croatia!

If you're planning a Croatia holiday and want to find out more information about Croatia travel,
http://explorecroatia.net/ can help you plan your next Croatia vacation!




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