By Alison Fox
August 26, 2020
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Credit: Brent Doscher/Aurora Photos via Getty

Airbnb is teaming up with the National Park Foundation to help travelers explore nature as well as lesser-known (and less crowded) national parks.

The new campaign, launched this week — in celebration of the National Park Service’s 104th birthday — encourages travelers and nature lovers to visit less traversed national parks that are a short drive from their hometowns. The site will now feature a new page dedicated to listings nearby national parks.

“Travelers are getting in their cars with their families... to safely and responsibly explore their own backyards in the great outdoors — and national parks represent the perfect destination,”  Airbnb's senior vice president for global public policy and communications, Chris Lehane, said in a statement. “Many Americans are learning that they live within 100 miles of a national park, just a short drive away… Through our partnership with the National Park Foundation, we are lifting the veil over three specific less-traveled parks, connecting our guests to places they may not have otherwise thought to discover and driving tourism’s economic engine into even more communities.”

From the 300 glaciers in Washington’s North Cascades National Park Service Complex to riverfront stays along the Upper Delaware Scenic & Recreational River, there’s plenty of awe-inspiring nature to explore beyond famous parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite, which may be a longer trip.

Originally a 1970's fishing cabin, Canyon Creek Cabin was renovated and expanded to become this A-frame Airbnb that sits in the forest of the North Cascade mountains.
| Credit: AIRBNB

The company’s effort to direct travelers to more local destinations comes after the site began encouraging road trips and engaging with communities, partnering with local authorities, charities, and tourism boards to do so.

While there’s no replicating the feeling of a cool late summer breeze whipping around as you stare out at rolling hills and seemingly endless forests, Airbnb has also brought that feeling to people’s homes with their new “Sounds of the World” digital experience, featuring chirping birds and donkey braying in the Mojave Desert in California.

If it turns out exploring from home is indeed more your speed, curious adventure seekers can travel the whole country with virtual tours through America’s forests and national parks, learning everything from how to appreciate the American bison to the majesty of the Alaskan fjords.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.