Admit it, you’ve always wondered what it would be like to be a park ranger. There’s just something about working outdoors: all that fresh air, helping the planet, etc.
Okay, maybe you’re not really looking for a career change…but you CAN give it a test drive.
The National Park Service has short-term volunteer opportunities throughout the country, whether it’s removing invasive species in Sequoia National Park or helping to maintain the Appalachian Trail.
If you want to get the kids involved, the National Park Service has about 200 Junior Park Ranger programs.
A group called the American Conservation Experience has an 11-day program in Grand Canyon National Park.
You spend your days working, while evenings and weekends are reserved for exploring the park itself. The $700 fee covers all your training, camping equipment, and meals.
Plus, look for non-profit arms of major national parks, like the Yellowstone Association and the Denali Educational Center. These guys are totally focused on bringing park education to the public, whether it’s spending the day in the field with a naturalist or spending a week hiking the glaciers of Alaska.
For more information, visit the National Parks archives.
Keep reading for more travel tips.