Spring is officially here, and summer is well on its way! Whether you’re diligently monitoring the solstice’s approach with a homemade, paper-link countdown chain or just patiently awaiting the arrival of swimming season, we all will surely be welcoming summer with open arms – and open parks! Along with the bears, skunks and squirrels, some of our favorite parks come out of hibernation and reopen for the season. Plus, we get to explore all of the parks without having to worry about dragging our jackets along. Rejoice! Grab your Pocket Ranger®, throw on your swimsuits, and get inspired to hit the outdoors with these great ways to use your app for warm weather fun in the parks:
1. Search By Activity
Although there is plenty of fun to be had in the parks throughout the winter, there are always warm-weather activities that we miss. What activity have you been itching for all winter long? Biking? Camping? Hiking? Boating? Whatever it is, you’ll be able to get right back to it when you search for it using the app’s new Explore feature to narrow your finds down by activity.
2. Search for Nearby Parks
Are you so anxious to get back to exploring the great outdoors that the thought of enduring a 2-hour car ride just to get there is practically torture? Do you just want to be outside ASAP? Well you’re in luck, because you can also use the Explore function to search parks by location and pinpoint the destinations nearest you on a GPS map. Planning a trip to another part of the state and want to find parks near that location instead? Simply move or zoom the GPS map to wherever it is you want to be.
3. Browse the Calendar of Events
From migratory bird watching to musical concerts to wildflower festivals, there is never a shortage of fun spring and summer events taking place at the parks. Spice up your outing by planning your trip around one of these happenings. Simply browse through the app’s Calendar of Events and take your pick!
4. Make Reservations
In addition to the parks themselves, plenty of seasonal state park campgrounds re-open in the spring. Beat the rush of happy campers flocking to get back to their favorite campsite or cabin by reserving a spot in advance using the app’s Reservations feature. Phone numbers and online reservations links are at your fingertips!
5. Track Trails
It has probably been a while since your last nature hike, so your favorite path may understandably have faded a bit from your memory. Well not anymore! The app’s GPS mapping technology allows you to track your trails, which is helpful not only for retracing your footsteps when it’s time to head back, but also for visiting a top trek again and again. Keep track of distance traveled and time elapsed and, if you’re into sharing the wealth, pass your tracks along for your friends to enjoy the next time they’re at the parks. We’re sure they’ll appreciate it!
6. Mark Waypoints
Speaking of trails, America’s beautiful state parks offer plenty of sights to enjoy along the paths. Wildlife sighting, scenic overlooks, lake views, towering trees and more of nature’s eye candy await when you embark on the trails. Document and store your favorite memories from your excursions with GPS and photo waypoints. You’ll be able to easily revisit these sights, or simply share your cool finds with others.
7. Keep Track of Pals with the Friend Finder
Hitting the parks with a crowd? Keeping track of your buds (and locating those who may be lost) has never been easier than it is with the app’s Friend Finder. Swap pin numbers and viola! You and your pals will be able to view each other on a GPS map.
8. Share Your Photos
Look ma, no snow pants! No doubt you’ll want to document your triumphant return to the parks with plenty of photos displaying your adventures. Everyone knows the best part of taking photos is showing them off and receiving envious, admiration-filled comments, which the app makes easy to do! Whether Flickr, Facebook or Twitter is your platform of choice, the app’s photo sharing feature makes getting your photos in front of the eyes of friends and family a cinch.
9. Check the Weather
We hate to seem like we are dissing our favorite season, but even the most ardent nature lover has to admit that springtime weather can be a bit dicey. There is no bummer like accidentally planning your camping trip for the same weekend as an unseasonably late snowstorm. Luckily, the Weather tab on each park page will give you the forecast with the tap of a button. Technology is amazing!