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Moon USA National Parks Guidebook Review: A Must for Every Park Lover

by Michele
4 comments
Moon USA National Parks Review - Yosemite Valley View with Michele sitting on rock
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Blooming cactus desserts, rugged snowed-capped mountains, kayaking with orcas and spotting grizzly bears. Want to plan an unforgettable trip to any one of  the 59 National Parks in the USA? Here’s my in-depth review of Moon USA National Parks travel guide that will help you prepare, plan, and book the ultimate park experience.

This post is sponsored by Moon Travel Guides.

When I decided to visit Yosemite National Park, I crawled the internet for information. Visiting California’s iconic park had long been on my wish list. I read countless blogs and even asked friends who had visited multiple times. I was all set. With their help, I knew where to stay, how to get around, and what to see. I thought that was ALL I needed to know. I mean, it’s a National Park, it’s hardly rocket science. What else could I possibly need to know?

As it turned out, quite a lot!

No one thought to tell me about the park entrance fees for cars, or how far away the closest petrol station was. More importantly, no one warned me about how essential it is to hide all your food and toiletries in a bear-proof box outside your cabin so you don’t have an unexpected visit during the night!

It’s the everyday realities of visiting a place like this that often go overlooked when someone asks you about a place you’ve visited before. You get excited and start reminiscing about the best spots and experiences you had and all the other practicalities slip from your memory and you end up only sharing half the picture.

The expression you don’t know what you don’t know springs to mind.

This is exactly how I felt when I arrived at Yosemite National Park. I found out about the more essential things from the accommodation staff once I arrived but I still wish I’d known beforehand so I could prepare properly. There were certain hikes I missed out on because I underestimated the time it took to do them or because you needed a permit to do. No one told me this.

It’s only natural to gloss over your travel experiences. I get super excited whenever anyone asks me about what unique things they should do in Rome. I also know Rome isn’t for anyone and it can be overwhelming if you’re not prepared, which is why I wrote this guide full of essential things to know before visiting Rome. I aim to share both sides of travel to help keep my friends and readers well-informed and prepared.

Before I visited Yosemite National Park, what I needed was an honest and detailed resource full of practical tips. What I needed was the Moon USA National Parks guidebook. Featuring all 59 parks in the country, this detailed guidebook includes in-depth information on accommodation, activities, hikes, expert insights, strategic itineraries and a pull-out post map to help you plan your perfect trip.

Who is Moon?

Moon USA National Parks Review - Guidebook coverMoon Travel Guides is a travel guidebook publisher founded in 1973 in California. Their collection of travel guidebooks are written by world travellers and writers. What I appreciate the most is how many of their authors actually live in the areas that they write about, which means you get a well-rounded summary of the destination that includes practical information but also local expert advice.

Who Moon Guidebooks are best for

  • Adventure travellers
  • People looking for one reliable resource
  • Those who appreciate beautiful photography and clean design

What to expect from Moon USA National Parks

High Quality

Moon USA National Parks Review - Yosemite hikesIf you’re new to Moon, the first time you thumb though one of their guidebooks you might be surprised by how beautiful it is – Moon USA National Parks is no different. Printed in full colour, every page features high-quality inspirational photography, helpful diagrams, and detailed local maps. Unlike other guidebooks that lack colour or imagery, Moon gives you get a real sense of what to expect of a destination, making it all the easier for you to plan your trip.

Introduction: Discovering the USA National Parks

Moon USA National Parks Review - Parks in CaliforniaMoon USA National Parks is a comprehensive guide to all 59 national parks in the USA. No stone is left unturned is this 700-page book chock-full of tips and resources.

The guidebook opens with an overview of top 10 experiences which include things like seeing the erupting geyser in Yellowstone to river rafting in the Grand Canyon. If that wasn’t enough, there are four other lists which highlight the best parks for hiking, wildlife, hikes, and scenic drives.

If you’re only familiar with a handful of national parks (like I was), this section provides a nice introduction to a variety of parks you may not already be familiar with. The photography is so stunning you’ll want to visit them all!

Top Tips: Know Before You Go

Moon USA National Parks Review - Yosemite tipsOnce you’re sufficiently inspired, the following section details a few things you need to know as part of your planning phase. I found this section to be really helpful. Did you know most national parks charge an entrance fee that lasts seven days?  Or that some offer fee-free days? What about needing to book accommodations up to a year in advance? I didn’t! Which is why I ended up sleeping in a cabin with no heater, luckily it wasn’t winter when I visited.

You’ll also get tips on the types of accommodations available, how to avoid crowds, and which activities require lotteries or advance reservations. There is even a helpful quick reference table which lists out each national park, its state, top reason for visiting, high season, and fee.

National Parks in Detail

Moon USA National Parks Review - Map of USA parksNow it’s time to deep dive into the particulars of each national park. There are a total of eight chapters which group the parks according to their geographic location. These include Alaska, California, Pacific Northwest, South West, Rocky Mountains, Great Lakes and Northeast, the South, and Islands.

Each chapter has a breakdown of each park including top sights to visit, best hike, activities, itineraries and tips for visiting multiple parks on a road trip, where to stay inside and outside the park, how to get there and how to get around. In addition, there is a map of the parks at state level and a detailed map of the park itself. If that wasn’t enough, the guidebook also includes a double-sided pull-out poster map. See, I told you no stone is left unturned.

This might sound like a lot of information (and it is), but Moon USA National Parks is actually quite easy to consume. In addition to each chapter being colour coded, the headings and body text are large, keywords are highlighted in bold, and each page has an interesting layout which is never text heavy.

Road Rules, Health and Safety, and Travel Tips

Closing out the guidebook is the ‘Essentials’ chapter which includes all sorts of practical  information starting with the prices of car and RV rentals, road rules, emergency numbers, and what to do in hot and cold weather conditions.

When travelling to national parks, a bit more planning and consideration is required than if you were planning a trip to say Copenhagen or Zurich. First of all, there’s no chance of a bear breaking into your car because you placed a pack of Pringles on the seat, nor are you likely to get lost and not have Google Maps to help you get back on track. The section on Health and Safety is probably the most important section of the book. It covers everything from avoiding heat exhaustion, parasites in lakes and streams, to staying safe around wildlife and taking selfies safely.

If you’re visiting the USA from abroad, there is also a section dedicated to passport, visa and entry requirements and well as money and currency exchange. Top tip: never exchange money before you arrive, you’ll be hit with terrible rates and exchange fees. Check out my guide on money-saving travel tips here.

The Verdict

Moon USA National Parks Review - Guidebook and mapI started the Intrepid Guide because I genuinely enjoy sharing what I learn and pairing it with beautiful photography – just like Moon guidebooks. That’s why I create free travel phrase guides, write detailed destination guides, and share interesting facts – especially on my Instagram account. Make sure you follow me @intrepidguide.

Moon has captured each park so beautifully that it’ll make you want to break out the calendar and plan out all your trips at once. Not only that but they also simplify the planning process for you by giving you all the information you need.

If you’re planning a trip to the USA (or even if you live there) and you’re looking to experience its beautiful landscapes, waterfalls, and wildlife, then Moon USA National Parks will be your perfect companion.

Key features:

  • Written by a local and travel expert who shares her insights and honest advice
  • It’s full of practical tips and background information of each park
  • Outlines strategic itineraries organised by region and by activity
  • Comprehensive planning resources, websites, address and phone numbers
  • Details on where to stay in and around each park
  • Includes a handy pull out poster map

Where to buy Moon USA National Parks

Moon USA National Parks is available to buy on Amazon and everywhere books are sold.

The Practical Stuff
Title: Moon USA National Parks: The Complete Guide to All 59 Parks
Author: Becky Lomax
Publisher: Moon Travel
Language: English
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1640492798
ISBN-13: 978-1640492790

Disclaimer: I received this book as a gift from Moon, all opinions are 100% my own, as always.


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How to plan a trip to 59 National Parks with the USA with Moon USA National Parks Guidebook


Over to you!

Do you have a question about Moon Travel Guides or travelling to Yosemite National Park? Ask me below!Let me know using the comments section below or join me on social media to start a conversation.

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4 comments

Bahar July 30, 2019 - 13:51

Thanks, Michele, I really enjoyed your post, it’s really useful.

Reply
Michele July 31, 2019 - 14:07

My pleasure, thanks Bahar 🙂

Reply
Anna July 22, 2019 - 01:26

Hi. Thanks for the tips. Is it possible to use a credit card from abroad? Or I’ll be paying cash most of the time?

Reply
Michele July 31, 2019 - 14:08

Hi Anna, credit card should be fine. I never withdrew cash so I think you’ll be fine with just your credit card 🙂

Reply

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