As National Parks Week approaches April 16-24 with its free admission to any national park, Southern Californians are busy planning their trips for that time and throughout the year to celebrate the centennial of the U.S. National Park Service. The Automobile Club of Southern California has a variety of services enabling parks visitors of all ages to enjoy their trips and return home with a renewed appreciation for America’s natural wonders:
New National Parks “mini map” for kids
This Auto Club map of the U.S. displays all 57 national parks in the 50 states and provides facts, educational games and road trip activities to keep youngsters busy on the drive. It’s available free to Auto Club members and costs $1.95 for non-members.
Paper maps and AAA TourBooks
Paper maps are great planning tools for vacations of all types, and they don’t need battery power or cell phone service to work in remote areas. AAA maps are free to members and available for non-member purchase at Auto Club branches, and include maps that cover all regions of the U.S., in addition to separate guides/maps for Death Valley, Kings Canyon/Sequoia, and Yosemite national parks.
AAA TourBooks are a complete do-it-yourself guide for national park trip planners, listing nearby AAA Diamond-rated lodgings and restaurants, local attractions, AAA discounts, and points of interest. AAA TourBooks are a member benefit, cover every U.S. state and are available at AAA branches.
Custom travel planning
Visit any Auto Club branch and let the experts plan your trip for you, at no cost to you (excluding airline ticket processing fees for some transactions). Some of the most popular national park guided vacations available for booking at Auto Club branches include:
- National Parks of America tour offered by AAA Member Choice Vacations: This 12-day trip covers five national parks – Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Yellowstone and Grand Teton - plus other famous points of interest in Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota.
- Western Discoverer by Trafalgar Tours – Grand Canyon and Yosemite national parks are included in this two-week tour of California, Nevada and Arizona.
- Wonders of the American West by Insight Vacations- Visit seven national parks in 10 days in Arizona, Colorado and Utah, along with trips to Las Vegas and Lake Powell.
Numerous cruise lines also offer trips highlighting the sensational views and majesty of Glacier Bay and Denali national parks in Alaska.
The most popular self-driving vacation booked in Auto Club branches is the “Rails to the Rim” trip on Grand Canyon Railway, which whisks you on vintage train cars from accommodations in Williams, AZ to Grand Canyon Village to experience the world-famous natural phenomenon.
AAA.com and AAA Mobile app
Visit the Auto Club’s website, AAA.com/NationalParks, to research your trip with Westways magazine articles on national park adventures and a unique interactive map showing how the original routes to the Western national parks were developed in the early 1900s.
The free AAA Mobile app available for iOS and Android can be used by both members and non-members (except for member-only roadside assistance and discounts). It provides maps, turn-by-turn directions, AAA TourBook information about destinations, flight/hotel/car rental reservations, nearby current gas prices, parking lot information/prices for major cities, and nearby AAA branches, AAA discount locations, and Approved Auto Repair facilities. More information is available at AAA.com/mobile.