It’s day 25 of the partial government shutdown ― the longest in U.S. history. The shutdown has affected the U.S. travel industry in many ways, from TSA checkpoint closures to vandalism in national parks.
Unfortunately, a large number of national parks have been forced to close during the shutdown. But if you’re a fan of the great outdoors, you can turn to the many state-run options. With this in mind, the travel site Atlas Obscura put together a list of “wondrous state parks,” drawn from its user-generated database of destinations.
“The news is inundated with how our national parks are being affected by the partial government shutdown, and this inspired us to look at what our users have submitted for state parks across the country and encourage our audience to explore those instead,” assistant places editor Kerry Wolfe told HuffPost.
“State parks are particularly great because of their hidden historical aspects, proximity to home (no extensive travel needed!), and they’re often filled with unexpected flora and fauna and intriguing natural environments,” Wolfe added. “For example, New York’s Green Lakes State Park contains meromictic lakes, which are rare geologic features only found in a few places across the United States.”
Without further ado, here’s a sample of 15 beautiful state parks you can visit during the government shutdown, with descriptions from Atlas Obscura. Check out Atlas Obscura’s list of 70 parks for more.
ʻAkaka Falls State Park, Hawaii (Big Island)
Danita Delimont via Getty Images
"These picturesque Hawaiian falls are home to a rare species of fish that uses a special sucker to climb up cliffs."
Medicine Rocks State Park, Montana
Federica Grassi via Getty Images
"This beautiful ancient site dotted with unusual perforated sandstone pillars was considered sacred by American Indian tribes."
Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park, Nevada
Posnov via Getty Images
"These huge stone ovens in the desert fueled the Nevada silver boom, and may have also been a hideout for outlaws."
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, California
Sean Duan via Getty Images
"This Big Sur waterfall drops 80 feet directly into the Pacific Ocean, and inspired the hillside house up top."
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Florida
Golden Dusk Photography via Getty Images
"Located within a historic park, the [Cape Florida Lighthouse] is the oldest standing structure in Miami."
Caddo Lake State Park, Texas
Westend61 via Getty Images
"Foragers once flocked to this big beautiful bayou to hunt for pearls."
Franconia Notch State Park, New Hampshire
Jeffrey Coolidge via Getty Images
"Even Henry David Thoreau found this glacial pothole [The Basin] irresistible."
Kodachrome Basin State Park, Utah
Bob Ell / EyeEm via Getty Images
"This quiet park's strange sedimentary spires were named after Kodak's color film."
Natural Bridge State Park, Virginia
Buyenlarge via Getty Images
"A sacred site for Native Americans surveyed by George Washington and owned by both King George III and Thomas Jefferson."
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, Minnesota
David Hughes via Getty Images
"This picturesque cliffside beacon no longer calls to sailors but shines once a year in honor of a famous shipwreck."
Totem Bight State Historical Park, Alaska
Wolfgang Kaehler via Getty Images
"This historic collection of Native Alaskan artifacts was resurrected through a partnership between the WPA and tribal artisans."
Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, Kentucky
by Jonathan D. Goforth via Getty Images
"Moonbows over Kentucky."
Providence Canyon State Outdoor Recreation Area, Georgia
Christy Meadows / EyeEm via Getty Images
"Providence Canyon, affectionately known as 'Georgia’s Little Grand Canyon,' is one of Georgia’s most treasured locations."
Ecola State Park, Oregon
VW Pics via Getty Images
"Hidden behind two regal viewing points, Crescent Beach offers a private, misty retreat into prehistory in the heart of Oregon’s bustling Ecola State Park."
Baxter State Park, Maine
DenisTangneyJr via Getty Images
"The highest point in Maine is a grand gift to the state's citizens that also happens to be one end of the Appalachian Trail."