When Teddy Rosevelt sat down to theorize and implement the idea of a National Park he knew it was going to be a hard fought road. One split down the middle. Preservation on one side and progress on the other.
Thankfully in the end Old Teddy won out, birthing a new era of land, designed and specifically set aside to be so wondrous, stupendous, aw inspiring, magnanimous, and worthy of our time, that we as humans couldn’t comprehend.
These lands we call America's greatest treasures or simply put our National Parks.
For those who have been to one or even all of the National Parks you can completely understand where we are coming from.
Mountains, rainforests, glaciers, forests, rolling hills, waterfalls, animal life, adventure, climbers, hikers, trails, and cocktails. Wait,,,cocktails?
See Leisuremann's was founded in a National Park, (Didn't know this? Read our founding history story - here) The Great Smoky Mountains National Park to be more specific, and our love for the outdoors runs exceptionally deep.
So deep in fact that when positioned with the opportunity to go to a New National Park and enjoy a cocktail there, we inevitably drop everything and go.
So when we sat down to talk through the idea about this blog we wanted it to be special showcasing various National Park terrain as well as giving insight on where to go that would provide the most cocktail drinking bang for your National Park buck.
Without further ado, here are the top five National Parks to enjoy a cocktail at, in no particular order of course.
Washington State - 3hrs from Seattle, WA - 1,422 mi²
DESCRIPTION: Olympic is like no other national park in the United States. It boasts a diverse eco system showcasing temperate rainforest, mountains, old growth forest, glacial mountains, and coastal beach climates. This diversity makes it ideal for climbers, hikers, back packers, and the outdoor cocktail aficionado in you.
IDEAL COCKTAIL SPOT: Hike to the coastline beach and enjoy a stroll while sipping a Cosmopolitan or be brave and explore the temperate rainforests with a double Margarita.
SUMMARY: With it's diverse ecosystem, Olympic is not the National Park for the faint of heart but the ideal national park for those who like to differentiate their adventure from the ordinary.
Tennessee/North Carolina - 4hrs from Nashville, TN - 800 mi²
DESCRIPTION: The Smokies, as most hikers refer to them, boast something for everyone all four seasons of the year. The vast landscape of dense wooded forrest, switch back trails, hidden creeks, moonscape caves, and beautiful vegetation in the Spring & Summer months, provide the casual or even expert hiker with a sense of nature induced euphoria. Stay till the evenings and see why the Smokies got their name.
IDEAL COCKTAIL SPOT: Hike the Alum Cave trail up to the Le Conte lodge, where Leisuremann’s was conceived, and then take the side trail to either Myrtle Point or Cliff Tops. Both are positioned with a vantage point that only a stiff Sazerac could compliment.
SUMMARY: With it’s lush forrest landscape and something for everyone style of atmosphere, The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the perfect place to relax, take it easy, and go to sleep at mountain midnight!
California - 2hrs from Sacramento, CA - 1,169 mi²
DESCRIPTION: Iconic, surreal, majestic, orgasmic are words used to describe the feelings, places, and surroundings of one of our nations greatest national treasures. Sporting ancient Sequoia trees, cliff faces taller than modern sky scrappers, and views of mother nature that no one can comprehend, Yosemite is a true spectacle for those who want to see mother nature in here full beauty.
IDEAL COCKTAIL SPOT: With over 800 miles of trail, you won’t be left without any room for a great hike or view for that matter. First things first, check out the iconic valley view. Then find yourself wandering through Cooks Meadow enjoying a Bee’s Knees while listening to the breeze blow by.
SUMMARY: No matter who you are, Yosemite National Park brings you back to your natural roots, instilling back in you a sense of just how small we are in the universe.
Utah - 3hrs from Las Vegas, NV - 230 mi²
DESCRIPTION: Described as one of America’s smaller national parks, Zion sure as hell doesn’t disappoint. Picture a sunset painting, beautiful, majestic, grand. Now picture that same painting in real life. This is Zion. Boasting red rock formations that are uniquely their own to a trail so dangerous people have died trying, Zion is something special and truly in a class all to itself.
IDEAL COCKTAIL SPOT: Cocktailing at Zion is unique and due to it’s small stature recommending a specific place would be difficult but if we did we would probably recommend Watchman Trail, taxing at times, this trail is worth it. Rounding off the hike with a Margarita or a Cosmopolitan and a view of Watchman Peak surly doesn’t disappoint!
SUMMARY: Zion is a quick park but a park that on the flip side one could get lost in for days, months, and years. With trails that seems to defy gravity and picturesque lookout locations, Zion is truly a gem among stones.
California - 6hrs from Sacramento, CA - 280 mi²
DESCRIPTION: Words cannot describe the true majesty of Redwood National. Words can only describe how you cannot describe it with words. If that makes any sense. Soaring 300’ into the sky and boasting diameters exceeding 15’ these gentle giants take every breath and word from your mouth. As you walk you experience a humbled feeling for being amongst the giants has made you feel small.
IDEAL COCKTAIL SPOT: ALL SPOTS. Emerge into Redwood National with an Old Fashioned in hand and by all means get lost. Lost in the beauty of these giants and the shear silent world they tower over.
SUMMARY: If you think you seen all the trees and majesty there is to offer think no further than visiting Redwood National. With an ample trail system and sprawling woods, make sure to run, jump, hide, nap and cocktail your way through!