A trip to America’s national parks once meant packing a tent or finding the nearest roadside motel.
Indeed, in the mid-century heyday of the road trip, it was part of the charm.
But as park visitors have become more diverse, and more discerning, over the decades, so too have the surrounding accommodations. Today, travelers can choose from desert bungalows with private plunge pools, five-star hotels with room service, or chic cabins with outdoor rain showers — all in close proximity to open spaces and natural beauty.
For travelers looking to explore the Great Outdoors with full-service amenities, these luxury resorts offer front-row access…
Sounds like birdsong and flowing water may alleviate stress, help lower blood pressure and lead to feelings of tranquility
A creek runs by moss-covered rocks not far From Sol Duc Falls in Olympic National Park. Researchers have found that listening to natural sounds like running water may benefit human health. (Naphat Photography via Getty Images)
Miles away from the nearest road in Colorado’s Wheeler Geologic Area, the problem of noise pollution hit home for conservation biologist Rachel Buxton.
‘It was a gorgeous, remote valley, and then a plane flew over and you could hear the noise for ages as it reverberated in the valley,” she says. “I remember thinking, ‘wow, this is a really pervasive issue.’”
Buxton teamed up with researchers from the National Park Service and Colorado State University to author a 2019 study documenting manmade noise in U.S. national parks.
The study was part of a growing pile of research exploring noise’s negative impacts on animals and humans alike. Noise makes it hard for animals to find food and mates and can lead humans to suffer stress, high blood pressure and other ailments.