The National Park Service's New App Makes Planning a Visit Easier Than Ever

Mammoth Peak in Yosemite's Dana Meadows

It seems like everything comes with an app these days, and now, the National Park Service (NPS) is no different. Designed to make planning a visit to any of the 423 NPS units easier than ever before, the new app — appropriately named National Park Service — features accessibility information, lodging reservations, hike suggestions, audio tours, restaurant hours, downloadable maps, and more.

According to Outside, a NPS spokesperson said, "Parks are continuously adding content to their sections of the app, so always check back to see if favorite parks have added more info."

The recently released app is still in its beta version, but anyone is free to download it and start utilizing its many features. Users can personalize their homepage with favorite parks, take an audio tour of Star Wars filming locations in Death Valley, learn about the geographic history of volcanoes, and much more.

Best of all, this app acts as a one-stop shop for everything national park enthusiasts need to know about all of the NPS units. Now, instead of having to download a separate app for each park, this new version offers all the necessary information, including updated news alerts, in one place.

The app also has several features that are just as fun as they are functional. For visitors who collect national park passport stamps, the app has detailed photos of each one, along with information on where to get them. App users can also create and send a custom virtual postcard, with up to four recent photos and a park stamp in the corner. Ever heard of a "belfie?" It's a selfie with the Liberty Bell at Philadelphia's Independence National Historical Park, and the National Park Service app will help you take one.

Of course, there's still much room for improvement. Destinations like Mammoth Cave in Kentucky don't have cave tours uploaded yet, and Yosemite in California only lists two hikes under Things to Do. According to Outside, a NPS spokesperson said that at this time, it's focusing on finalizing content and testing features.

The app is available on both Android and Apple devices.

Jessica Poitevien is a Travel Leisure contributor currently based in South Florida, but always on the lookout for the next adventure. Besides traveling, she loves baking, talking to strangers, and taking long walks on the beach. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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