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PHOTO: Alcatraz Island. (courtesy Thinkstock)
The National Park Foundation has launched its Find Your Park program, a nationwide movement to redefine what the word "park" means. A national park is way more than anyone has previous imagined. America is home to more than 400 national parks - and you might be visiting one on you summer vacation without even knowing it!
Are you headed to the West Coast? See if you're visiting a national park without even knowing it:
Alcatraz Island, San Francisco: Home to the infamous federal penitentiary, this island is rich in both history and nature.
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco: The location and the graceful lines have made this bridge one of the most famous and beautiful in the world. Walk or bike the entire length of the 1.2 mile-long bridge, and then enter the Golden Gate National Recreation Area on the North side of the bridge.
Mojave National Preserve, Mojave Desert, Calif.: In this 1.6 million acre park, you will find rose-colored sand dunes, volcanic cinder cones, Joshua tree forests, and carpets of wildflowers. Find solitude from the crowds with the long-abandoned mines, homesteads, and rock-walled military outposts.
Glen Canyon Dam, Lake Powell, Ariz.: If you're visiting Lake Powell this summer, you can take a (free) tour of the historic project that created your summer vacation spot. An elevator will take you 528 feet deep into the interior of the dam.
Colorado National Monument, Grand Junction, Colo.: Rising over 2,000 feet above the Grand Valley of the Colorado River, the sheer-walled canyons offer picturesque landscapes.
Devil's Tower National Monument, Crook County, Wyo.: Attracting and capturing people's imaginations since prehistoric times, this rock formation rises 1,267 feet above the Belle Fourche River. It was declared America's first National Monument by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906.
Gateway Arch, St. Louis: You can see both the history and the culture of the city when you "Journey to the Top" - seeing the spectacular views from 630 feet high. Below the Arch is the Museum of Westward Expansion, which includes a collection of artifacts, mounted animal specimens, an authentic American Indian tipi, and an overview of the Lewis and Clark expedition.
To find more national parks near you, visit FindYourPark.com.
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