In 2010 and 2011 my three children and I trekked across the United States in a 32-foot long RV for a year. I homeschooled the children. Our primary journey had us visiting every national park in the contiguous United States. That was 47 different national parks. In addition to the national parks, we visited other national park properties such as Statue of Liberty National Monument, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Mt. Rushmore National Memorial, and an array of other desirable iconic places like Niagara Falls in New York. Niagara Falls is the first state park in the United States. During our travels, we visited every state in the lower 48.
I've always wanted something different for my children. I wanted them to have something unique on their resume of life. A trip of this magnitude has created profound change in my children. Now it is time for other children to draw on these types of experiences.
The idea of this National Park adventure stemmed from a 2001 family vacation to Grand Canyon National Park when I realized that the purchase of a National Park annual pass would enable us to visit each and every National Park over the next 12 month period, at no additional charge. I thought this would be a great idea since Big Bend National Park is in our home state and surely, in a year’s time we would be able to see it. Guess what, we never made it to Big Bend within that calendar year.
Nonetheless, I continued to think of ways we might be able to see numerous national parks in a years time. As the wheels began to turn so did my idea – why not see all 58 National Parks with the purchase of one annual pass? Why not take out 365 days to invest in the lives of our children and our family? Why not homeschool our children in the most amazing (outdoor) classrooms imaginable? Why not find a way to secure an RV to travel all over this country? Why not have the adventure of a lifetime discovering the hidden treasures this country has embedded throughout? Approximately 10 years later we began our journey. Our hope was not only to change the lives of our three young children but the lives of families across America. We desire to inspire people to spend time together, exploring this magnificent backdrop that is all around us.
Since that amazing time, we have created a non-profit corporation. The name of the non-profit is Discovering America's 58, paying tribute to my family's journey. When we traveled the United States there were 58 national parks. We visited the 47 that are in the contiguous United States. We did not make it to Alaska where there are 8 national parks, or Hawaii where there are 2 or the National Park of American Samoa located on American Samoa. This is the only national park site south of the equator. In 2014, congress created our 59th and most recent park, Pinnacles National Park, which is south of San Francisco.
Our mission is to educate, tutor, mentor, and assist youth in their growth, development, and ability to reach their potential.
Today and everyday you should try new adventures. Continue to always have a sense of wonder.
Traveling and experiencing various cultures is a profound way to broaden a person's horizons.