The National Park Service’s New App Will Help You Make the Most of Any National Park Visit

The app even has offline capabilities for use in the wild.
The app even has offline capabilities for use in the wild. / pixelfit/iStock via Getty Images

While popular national parks like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone have individual apps, planning a visit to most of the National Park Service’s 423 units—monuments, historic houses, nature preserves, and more—usually requires a web browser.

Now, however, you can get all your NPS questions answered in a single app. According to Travel + Leisure, the new offering is technically in its beta testing phase, but it’s currently available to all iOS and Android users. And though not every site has added all its information yet, there’s already plenty to explore.

The app covers all the logistical bases of planning an actual trip to a national park, including lodging and accessibility information, hours of operation, visitors’ fees, interactive maps with trail suggestions, and locations of bathrooms and food stops. You’ll also find news about upcoming events and educational activities that you might want to factor into your trip. And since cell signals aren’t always great in the wilderness, you can download the data for offline use.

And that’s just the practical side of the app. There are also tons of fun features that help you customize your visit—like an audio tour of Death Valley that takes you through all the filming spots from Star Wars. As Outside reports, you can upload your “belfie,” a selfie taken with the Liberty Bell, and even make personalized virtual postcards with as many as four photos from your trip. Another helpful feature tells you where to get your national park passport booklet updated with that site’s stamp.

Overall, the app is a great virtual place to bring together all the intrepid travelers, history lovers, and generally curious people eager to explore everything the National Park Service has to offer. You can download it for free via Apple or Google Play.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]