One of the best things about RVing and camping is the thrill of exploring and discovering things you’ve never seen before. For many people who live among the city lights and chaos on a daily basis seeing wildlife is a rarity that challenges even the most die-hard wildlife enthusiasts. So to help you with your search, here are the Top 5 Places for Wildlife Enthusiasts in the United States to assist you with planning your next travel adventure.
5. Rocky Mountain National Park, CO
Located approximately 76 miles Northwest of Denver International Airport, Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado has long been known, not only for its natural beauty but also for its abundant opportunities to see a variety of wildlife. Wildlife enthusiasts young and old will be thrilled at not only the amount of wildlife but also the assortment of different types of species available to view.
Throughout the various seasons of the year, opportunities arise to see the differing wildlife that live in the park. Some of the many species on view are elk, Bighorn sheep, moose, Mountain Lions and bobcats, bears, coyote and fox, pica and marmot, squirrels, birds, and deer to name a few. Knowing the best places to spy wildlife in the park also can make all the difference. Moraine Park, Horseshoe Park, the Kawuneeche Valley, and Trail Ridge Road are all excellent places for wildlife enthusiasts to start their search.
4. Wild Animal Safari, GA
Located in Pine Mountain, Georgia just 50 miles south of Atlanta is this drive through 500 acre animal safari park. There are three options for the drive through section of this wildlife enthusiast adventure: drive through in your own vehicle, rent and self-drive one of their Zebra vans, or take the park’s tour bus with guide. This 3 mile section of the park allows you to get up close and personal with a variety of wildlife such as giraffes, zebras, buffalo, camels, rhinos, and more.
After the drive through section there is a walk through section of the park that affords wonderful views of bears, hyenas, alligators, monkeys, and so much more. Although this is not, strictly speaking, animals in their natural habitat like a national park, it is a great way to interact with animals in a way that you could not safely do in the wild. This is also an option that will thrill kids and adults alike.
3. Everglades, FL
After Death Valley and Yellowstone National Parks, the Everglades is the largest national part in the lower 48 states. It is located in the Southern-most tip of Florida and covers 1,509,000 acres of land throughout three counties. Everglades National Park is only one of three locations in the world to be included on all of the following three lists – International Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site, and a Wetland of International Importance.
When most people think of the Everglades they immediately think about alligators, and you will definitely see a lot of those here, but what many people do not know is the extent of diversity in this park. In addition to seeing alligators, you can also see the American crocodile which is an endangered species. This is the northernmost place in Florida that you will be able to see crocodiles and alligators in the same area.
Furthermore the park’s inhabitants include 36 threatened or protected species including the Florida panther and the West Indian manatee, as well as 350 species of birds, 300 species of fresh and saltwater fish, 40 species of mammals, and 50 species of reptiles.
The best time to visit this national park is between the months of December and April during Florida’s dry season. This is the most comfortable time of the year as well as the time when the water tables are low and the inhabitants are more likely to be visible around the park.
2. Yellowstone National Park
This national park is located within the three states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho and was the first National Park in the United States. It is also said to be the first National Park in the world. The park spreads over an area of 3,468.4 square miles and also contains the largest super volcano on the continent, Yellowstone Caldera, which is considered to be active. Yellowstone National Park is most widely known and visited for its Old Faithful Geyser but it is also very popular for the abundance of wildlife it hosts.
For wildlife enthusiasts, a visit to this park is a must. In addition to several species that are endangered, there are almost 60 species of mammals to see in the park including the gray wolf, coyote, grizzly and black bears, bison herds, elk, moose, various varieties of deer, mountain goats, cougars, and various varieties of sheep. There are also many different species of fish, reptiles, and birds to see throughout this vast, historical park.
1. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
Located in northwestern Wyoming and spanning approximately 310,000 acres, Grand Teton National Park is only 10 miles south of Yellowstone National Park which makes this area chock full of opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts to be amazed. The park is named after the tallest mountain in the Teton Range which rises over 7,000 feet above Jackson Hole.
Grand Teton National Park has over 1,000 drive-in campsites and over 200 miles of hiking trails making this a top destination for camping and RVing. It has great opportunities for hiking, fishing, and mountaineering among other outdoor activities and is known for its trout fishing in particular.
Among the wildlife throughout the park, there are 61 species of mammals recorded here including the gray wolf, grizzly bears, American black bear, coyote, river otters, badgers, cougars, Canadian lynx, elk, bison, moose, sheep, and wolverine. There are also over 300 species of birds, numerous rodent species, and many reptiles to be found here as well.
These are just a few of the spots throughout the United States that will excite any wildlife enthusiast, but it is not by far an exhaustive list. For more ideas visit the National Parks website to get listings of all the parks in the United States and listings of wildlife available to view at each one.