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6 U.S. National Parks to visit this summer

Katarina Kovacevic is a freelance travel writer specializing in hotels and resorts. She's the author of The Food Lovers' Guide to Phoenix & Scottsdale and founder/editor of Style Jaunt, a blog about fashionable travel. Her work has appea...

Affordable summer vacations

Travel Channel Host Samantha Brown has stayed in the world’s most luxurious resorts, but she has a soft spot for national parks. "When I visit a national park, thread counts and five-star accommodations are the furthest thing from my mind," said Brown. "There is a strength and resilience that we've inherited from our land. It's a powerful feeling." This summer, Brown is the spokesperson for the Nature Valley National Parks Project, which is helping raise up to $500,000 for the National Parks Conservation Association.

Joshua Tree National Park

According to Brown, National park visits are a nice option for affordable summer vacations.

"The beauty of the whole thing is that entrance to most of these spots costs no more than a movie ticket," she adds.

Here are our recommendations for national parks to visit this summer:

1Joshua Tree National Park

If you've ever made the drive from California to Arizona, you've probably passed through Joshua Tree and not even known it. Shaped by strong winds, unpredictable torrents of rain and climatic extremes, Joshua Tree is home to 12 self-guided walking tours. On clear days, the extra 20-minute drive to Keys View rewards with a sprawling vista that looks out on the Salton Sea all the way to Mexico.

Photo: Jarek Tuszynski / Wikimedia Commons

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