How to Help Travelers Plan a Trip to U.S. National Parks

Published on Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Throughout 2016, the U.S. National Parks Service is celebrating its 100th birthday with a full slate of special events held within many of America’s greatest parks.

While National Parks such as Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Grand Canyon are among the best known and well-visited, the NPS has awe-inspiring sights and unforgettable adventures throughout all 50 states and territories including Guam, American Samoa, and others.

Many travelers do not realize the close proximity of a National Park while they are on their trips. And some of these National Parks offer the opportunity to participate in some sports and activities that may require additional travel insurance.

Here are some of the most-forgotten, yet most-interesting, National Park experiences, along with the type of travel insurance travelers may need when exploring all the activities the park has to offer. To find a park near you – or discover your next bucket list location – visit the official site of the National Parks Service.

Don’t Forget About These National Park Experiences

Pony on Assateague IslandSunbathe with Ponies
Assateague Island National Seashore, Maryland & Virginia

Where else in the U.S. can travelers lay on the beach with wild ponies? At Assateague Island National Seashore, a National Park shared by Maryland and Virginia and located on the Atlantic coast, wild ponies are as common as deer. Travelers can take a dip in the ocean while groups of ponies wander through the sand. Travelers can also walk the many trails, dive for clams in the bay, take a leisurely tour in a kayak, or camp overnight in designated areas.

Additional Insurance Travelers Need: None! The most popular activities at Assateague Island do not require any additional travel insurance, including the ones mentioned above (hiking, kayaking, camping).

Crawl through Lava Tube Caves
El Malpais National Monument, New Mexico

See the beauty of New Mexico and the El Malpais National Monument from the outside and the inside. At El Malpais travelers can explore the land of both fire and ice. Crawl through lava tube caves to see the underground world of El Malpais. These tubes were carved out from ancient lava flow. Ironically, one can also navigate the ice caves that exist underground in certain parts of the park.

Additional Insurance Travelers Need: Adventure Plan or Hazardous Sports Upgrade. If travelers are going to be caving in El Malpais – whether in the lava tubes or the ice caves – they will need either RoamRight’s Adventure Plan or the Hazardous Sports Upgrade.

Drop Your Jaw in Nebraska
Niobrara National Scenic River, Nebraska

Here is a great statistic: There are over 200 waterfalls located within Niobrara National Scenic River. Located in the middle of the Great Plains and the Nebraska Sandhills, the Niobrara NSR is a great place to spend a day on the river in a kayak or canoe while experiencing the great wildlife of the plains. With plenty of opportunities for hiking and nearby attractions such as Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge (a 19,131 acre refuge full of bison, elk, and other indigenous animals), Valentine Fish Hatchery (which processes about 68 million fish eggs every year), and much more, Niobrara NSR has something for everybody. Browsing pictures from Niobrara on the NPS official website, there is no wonder why the NPS describes the park as “Not ordinary, extraordinary.”

Additional Insurance Travelers Need: None! Even if travelers hop into a raft on white waters, they are covered without any additional add-ons from RoamRight.

The National Park of American SamoaFind Paradise in American Samoa
National Park of American Samoa, American Samoa

Seriously, what isn’t there to do at the National Park of American Samoa? There are very few U.S. National Parks where travelers can snorkel  or SCUBA amongst the wildlife that you find under the waters of American Samoa. Anyone up for a hike? The trails in the National Park of American Samoa will dwarf any hike your travelers have ever taken. Perhaps most importantly, the National Park of American Samoa provides the opportunity to learn about the people and culture on the island. Learn about the ecosystem, villages, and cultures within the learning center.

Additional Insurance Travelers Need: Adventure Plan or Hazardous Sports Upgrade. It’s kind of complicated. Travelers will not need any additional insurance for snorkeling, but they may for SCUBA diving. Depending on the type of SCUBA diving travelers are doing, they may need some insurance add-ons. If travelers are diving above 130 feet and are either PADI or NAUI certified or are using an underwater breathing apparatus, no addition insurance is needed. If they are diving to depths below 130 feet and are either using an underwater breathing apparatus or is PADI or NAUI certified, then they will need to purchase the Adventure Plan or add the Hazardous Sports upgrade to their current plan. If a traveler is not PADI or NAUI certified, then there is a possibility they cannot be insurance. Residents of NY may be covered under different plans. It is best for travelers to ask their travel insurance provider before purchasing a plan.

Introduce Yourself to the Wooly Mammoth
Waco Mammoth National Monument, Waco, TX

A unit of the NPS since July 2015, the Waco Mammoth National Monument in Waco, Texas is home to some of the biggest (and oldest) animals around. In 1978, a pair of travelers searching for arrowheads found a bone instead; a bone of a 70,000 year old wooly mammoth. Since the initial discovery, the fossil remains of 16 Columbian mammoths were discovered, a nursery herd that is believed to have been killed by one natural event. Visitors to the Waco Mammoth National Monument can learn more about the extinct animal while peering over the paleontological site.

Additional Insurance Travelers Need: None! Travelers can enjoy a hike and the sights with no additional travel insurance needed.

Explore America’s Earliest History
Minute Man National Historical Park, Massachusetts

Sometimes, a taste of history is a great reason to visit a National Park. At Minute Man National Historical Park in Massachusetts, visitors get more than just a taste of the 240-year history of the United States. This park focuses on the events that started the Revolutionary War as colonial militia and minute men clashed on April 19, 1775. View firing demonstrations and explore the living areas of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott, and more.

Additional Insurance Travelers Need: None! Walk the trails, learn some history, and watch re-enactments. No additional travel insurance should be needed here.

Will Travelers Need Additional Insurance?

Depending on the activity, travelers may need specific or additional travel insurance. Some activities such as rock climbing, caving, SCUBA diving, and others may require RoamRight’s Adventure Plan or a Hazardous Sports Upgrade. This handy page outlines the activities that require the Adventure Plan or a Hazardous Sports Upgrade.

It is best for travelers to read the description of coverage before purchasing travel insurance, or call customer service for immediate answers. 

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